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Fleabagging: What It Means, 15 Ways to Stop & Have an Amazing Dating Life

Do you find yourself in a constant cycle of making questionable relationship choices? Learn how to quit fleabagging and fix your dating life!


These days, there’s a word for everything when it comes to the dating world. You’re no longer simply dating the wrong people over and over again; you’re no longer just stuck on a toxic merry-go-round with people that are inherently bad for you; and you don’t only have bad taste in partners. You, friend, are fleabagging.

What is fleabagging?

The term “fleabagging” is used to describe the act of continuously dating the wrong people.

It comes from a BBC TV show, called Fleabag, which follows its main character as she experiences consistent heartbreak due to her less-than-optimal choices in partners. [Read: 21 secret signs of a bad relationship]

This is not to be confused with your average dating game, where you date people who simply aren’t right for you. Fleabaggers date people that are just plain wrong for them.

Things tend to go pretty badly in these relationships, but those things are rarely learned from. More often than not, fleabagging involves going back to a person who’s already proven themselves to be bad for you.

What counts as fleabagging?

Fleabagging can be one of a few things.

You might fall for the same type time and time again, knowing that they’re just not the right type for you. Even though this type just proves to constantly hurt you, you justify it by saying that this is your type, and you can’t help it!

You tell yourself that this person was wrong for that reason, and that one was wrong for this reason. And surely that one of them is bound to work out at some point! But, they’ve proven themselves to be no good, you just refuse to listen.

Another version of fleabagging is less about a type and more about constantly making bad decisions. You might jump from relationship to relationship without putting any thought into it. [Read: Serial dater – 19 signs to instantly recognize a smooth operator]

It’s like you’re in a relationship just for the sake of being in one, despite the fact that you usually have no connection with the person.

The final way to fleabag yourself is to run back to the same person over and over again even though you know it won’t work.

You’ve already been through that relationship a time or two, maybe even three, and you know darn well that it’s a disaster. It never goes well. Regardless, you’re always willing to give it another shot.

Are you struggling with fleabagging?

It’s pretty easy to decide whether or not you’re actually fleabagging yourself. Just look at your dating history.

Is “nice” your only criterion for a partner? You might date people who are precious and polite without even considering whether or not you actually like them.

Of course, you want to be with someone nice! But how far does that get you if there’s no chemistry at all?[Read: Nice guy syndrome – 42 fake things nice guys do]

Do you readily jump into relationships without a thought? Flying from one person to the next with such gusto isn’t the best way to go about your dating life. If the only thing you need to know about someone before you get involved with them is their name, you’re fleabagging.

Of course, slipping into the same toxic relationship with the same toxic person is also fleabagging.

Perhaps you’ve dated a certain someone on a few different occasions. You feel some sort of uncontrollable magnetism toward them, but you know that being with them is practically the worst thing for you.

Even though you know that they’re detrimental to your personal well-being, you continue to go back to them. You might venture out and date someone else for a few months, but as soon as that ends, you’re back to your usual.

Is fleabagging normal?

Is fleabagging normal in the sense that it’s a common occurrence? Certainly. [Read: Why do I always choose the wrong guy & repeat the same mistakes?]

Is it normal in the sense that it’s healthy? Heavens, no!

You’re definitely not the only person to suffer from fleabagging. In fact, it’s a pretty popular thing to unintentionally do to yourself. Plenty of people are fleabagging themselves without even knowing it. In their minds, they’re just dating around, and it’s not working out.

However, the fact that every does it doesn’t mean you should. It’s a terrible cycle to get yourself in.

Reasons why you might be fleabagging

There are plenty of reasons that you could be fleabagging yourself, and you’re the only one who can identify your specific reason. [Read: Attachment styles theory – the types and 19 signs & ways you attach to others]

Unhealthy relationship habits always stem from somewhere, you just have to find out where.

It’s always best to start with your childhood because research has shown that our adult relationships often mimic or are formed by the important relationships we had as children.

Maybe your parents weren’t very present, and when they were present, they were distant. They were never there, so you never felt important. You might be trying to overcompensate for the lack of love you felt then by searching for it so relentlessly now.

Maybe your childhood has nothing to do with it. Maybe you’ve just reached a state of loneliness, and this is your subconscious’ solution.

How to stop fleabagging and improve your love life for good

If you’ve come to the realization that you’re a fleabagger, you might be wondering if you can change your behavior. [Read: 38 small changes to better your love life & improve the relationship]

The good news is that you absolutely can! Fleabagging might seem like a neverending cycle, but it doesn’t have to be. Drop those bad habits, change your outlook on dating, and become a healthier version of yourself so that you can have a healthier dating life.

1. It’s time to look within

This isn’t about anyone but you.

It’s time to stop pointing fingers at other people or using your past as an excuse for your behavior. If you want to change how people see you, then you need to change how you see yourself. [Read: How to date when you have low self-esteem and find true happiness]

Fleabagging is something you do to yourself, so take a look and figure out why you’re doing it.

2. It’s you, not them

You are attracting and allowing yourself to date people who are wrong for you. So, you’re the only one who has the power to change your actions and behavior.

Think about where you might be going wrong when choosing your dating partners, and figure out how you can change that.

3. Look at your life values

What do you want from your life?

Do you want children? Do you want to travel the world? Maybe you want to live surrounded by family and friends. Is religion important to you?

Take note of what’s important to you. Figure out what your values, goals, and dreams are, and find someone who shares similar ones. [Read: How not to be codependent and learn to stand on your own two feet]

4. What are your needs?

What do you need? It’s a question we don’t often ask ourselves, but it’s important.

What do you need from a partner? What are the traits you’re looking for? Do you need a trustworthy partner? Is kindness important to you? Do you want someone with a great sense of humor?

Take the time to really consider what you want, and then take even more time to consider whether or not a potential partner can meet those needs. If they can’t, don’t bother.

5. What are your deal-breakers?

You should definitely have personal boundaries. If you don’t, then you’re pretty much asking for trouble.

What are some of the things you just refuse to accept from a partner? Set your own personal rules for what is and isn’t good for you. The most popular example is knowing without a doubt that you want children one day, but they don’t.

If that’s a deal-breaker for you, stand your ground and let that relationship go. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

6. Focus on self-love and self-worth

You’re dating the same type of person over and over again and experiencing the same lackluster results because you don’t respect yourself. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

If you did respect yourself, you wouldn’t continue to go for those who are clearly wrong for you. So, focus on yourself and building your sense of self if you want to cut your fleabagging behavior.

7. Date yourself first

This is an old cliché, but it’s a valuable cliché.

If you really want to stop fleabagging, then date yourself first. Learn more about who you are. Learn to love yourself, and enjoy spending time with just you.

Then, you’ll be able to understand what kind of person you are, what you want, and the type of person you need.

[Read: How to love yourself – 15 ways to self-love and happiness]

8. Take it slow

If you want to stop dating the wrong people, it’s time to slow down.

You don’t need to sleep with the first guy you meet, and you don’t need to start a relationship with someone you met last night.

You can take things slow. Choose not to get involved with someone just because you feel like you need someone.

[Read: How to pull back in a relationship when you’re giving too much]

9. Don’t force it to work

You don’t need to try and make it work with someone who isn’t satisfying your needs or is treating you poorly.

You don’t have to be in a relationship, but you definitely don’t have to be in a relationship that isn’t working.

10. It’s okay to be single

You don’t need to be in a relationship. You especially don’t need it if being in a relationship means being treated disrespectfully. You’re better off alone.

It’s time to stop feeling like you need to be in a relationship. You don’t need anyone. If you’re seeking relationships simply to avoid being single, you’re doing it wrong. [Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life YOU really want to live]

11. Learn how to say no

No is a complete sentence.

If someone asks you out on a second date and you’re not feeling the vibe, just say no. It’s common to feel obligated to say yes to people when we don’t want to.

But you don’t agree to something you’re not comfortable with or let someone pressure you into something just to avoid confrontation.

12. Recognize the problem

Sometimes, you just have to take a really good, long look at what’s going on to figure out what’s going wrong. After all, you can’t fix it if you don’t know what’s broken.

If you’re sick of being in a fleabagging purgatory, take some time to examine your past relationships.

See if you can identify what went wrong. What about the relationship made you unhappy? Why and how did it end?

When you’ve taken a look at each one, see if you can identify any patterns. Are there similarities with the types of people you go for? Is there a pattern pertaining to the end of the relationships? [Read: How to respect yourself – secrets to self-worth and self-belief]

If you’re able to notice certain habits that aren’t working for you, you can change them.

13. Get an outside perspective

Talk to a friend or family member to get an outside opinion.

It’s very possible that they might notice little habits and nuances that you don’t. Those who are close to you know you well enough to know your relationship patterns, and they’ll likely be able to offer some helpful advice.

If you feel like you have toxic habits that you’ve carried with you for most of your life, consider seeking help from a therapist.

Not only can they help you get to the root of the problem, but they’ll also help you by working out some healthier solutions. [Read: Healthy relationship – 27 signs, qualities, & what it looks like In real life]

14. Change your patterns

We’ve mentioned identifying your patterns, but how can you change them?

If you happen to be the type who jumps from relationship to relationship, take a break. Instead of making it a point to find a new relationship, make it a point to avoid one.

Instead, spend the extra time you have with your friends and family. Focus on the relationships you have with those who already love and care about you. When you aren’t doing that, just hang out with yourself. Pick up a new hobby, and find ways to enjoy your time with yourself.

If you identify consistency in the type of person you go for, think about what you could do to go against your own grain.

For instance, if you’re attracted to the car before you’re attracted to the guy, avoid hotties with nice muscle cars. That doesn’t mean that you have to go for a guy in a tiny electric car. It just means that you shouldn’t use that one thing as the deciding factor in whether or not you’re going to date someone.

15. Meet someone different

If you’re the type of fleabagger that goes back to the same pot of honey in between other relationships, find a different pot. [Read: How your self-respect impacts you and your relationships]

Realize how damaging this pattern is, and decide to change it. The next time you have an opportunity to go back to your old lover, avoid them instead. Do things differently and try to meet somebody new instead of falling into your own trap.

It’s time to get your love life right. Now that you have some tips to stop fleabagging yourself, you can get out there and change your dating life for the better!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...