Dating experts have named a new online dating trend after “Fleabg,” which is an Amazon/BBC series. The show is a crude comedy/drama about a grief-riddled and angry single woman who ends up dating people who are clearly very bad for her.
The show itself is pretty heavily sexual and not necessarily a morally uplifting thing to watch, especially since the main character dabbles in a relationship with a “hot priest” (insert Catholic eye roll here).
But this online dating trend named after the show is definitely worth some thought as a single Catholic man or woman. If you can look at your dating life and see that you’ve made the same mistakes more than once, or even more than a couple of times, you might have an issue with fleabagging.
What is fleabagging?
We’re all human and bound to make mistakes in all areas of our lives. Our dating lives are no exception. But there’s a difference between an occasional mistake here and there in your dating life, and this cyclical repeat of a mistake that is being called “fleabagging.”
A 2019 survey found that about half of singles identified with this trend and felt that they were continually making the same mistakes in dating.
There are a few different types of reasons why this might be happening so often in dating. To start, our modern society and pop culture certainly don’t help things by setting us up with unrealistic ideas of what love should look like. After watching a few romantic comedies or reading some romance novels, you might find yourself continually drawn to the type of man or woman so often portrayed in movies or books. But you might discover that you have an innate incompatibility with this type of person.
There’s also the inescapable fact that some people have a type of person they’re most attracted to. While there’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself, it can definitely contribute to repeated problems in a person’s love life if they’re attracted to the type of person who ends up clashing with them.
Another reason you may find yourself falling into this online dating trend can be feelings of desperation to end loneliness, and the (possibly unconscious) feeling that what you’ve already experienced is safe because of its familiarity.
This pattern of poor dating choices can also come from a lack of self-esteem in some cases. For example, those who continually date people who treat them poorly might not really believe deep down that they’re worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.
What can really be at the heart of this issue, though, is a lack of deep analysis when it comes to our past mistakes. It’s hard to stop yourself from repeating the past if you’ve never even identified just what was so bad about a past failed relationship.
Are you struggling with fleabagging?
There are obviously some love lives where the issue of fleabagging will be pretty clear. In the show where this online dating trend originates, the problem seems obvious. Other times, though, this issue isn’t quite so blatant.
Sometimes you may only notice that you’ve had a lot of problem-wrought relationships in a row and not necessarily realize that there’s a pattern in the type of problems your relationship have.
One red flag in this area can come from the input of your friends or family members. Most of the times, comments from friends or family that seem to criticize our choice of partner seem like overreactions or mere intrusions. But sometimes those with a more removed vantage point are able to spot the pattern before we are. Rather than jump to annoyance, it’s a good idea ask yourself whether there might be something to these comments.
Perhaps the bigger struggle when it comes to fleabagging is knowing just what to do about it if you do suspect you have a pattern of picking partners who are not a good fit for you.
How to stop fleabagging
The good news is that a bit of thought and self-inspection can help you break the cycle of fleabagging in your love life.
Start by trying to get to know yourself a little better. You could try taking a few personality tests to get to know yourself and your tendencies. Consider what personality traits the people you’ve dated have had. Sometimes even a simple analysis like this can shed a ton of light on what has been going wrong.
You can also consider which love languages you tend towards. While contrasting love languages doesn’t mean that a relationship between two people won’t work, it can become a problem in a relationship without good communication. For example, maybe main way you feel loved by others is through words of affirmation. But if you tend to date people who have trouble expressing their feelings out loud, you’ll probably run into quite a few problems.
As Catholics, we also have an advantage in this area of learning from our past mistakes. Much of the process of growing in our spiritual lives has to do with identifying our faults and mistakes, and of making a plan that will help us overcome these things. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to break this cycle of fleabagging is to bring the problem to God in prayer.
Though the source of the problem might not even be a moral fault of yours, bringing it before God and asking Him to help you overcome it just like you can do with a moral fault can be a really helpful idea.
Ultimately, we should be bringing all of our struggles to God because he is in control of our lives and he wants us to be happy. Ask God to help you in your struggles to overcome a cycle of dating mistakes.
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