Deep Dive: Is Sticking to Your ‘Type’ Ruining Your Love Life?
If you’ve been dating for any length of time, you’ve probably developed a “type.” You may even have a mental checklist of the things you look for in a potential partner, starting with how they look. While having a type might help you zero in on a particular subset of the dating population, it also might be interfering with finding the person who is perfect for you. After all, you’ve dated a slew of people who fit your type but you’re still single, right? Yeah, that’s what we thought. In this deep dive, we’re delving into the question: is sticking to your type ruining your love life?
Cover Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill (Getty Images)
Deep Dive: Do More Partners Make You a Better Lover?
Dating by Type Narrows Down the Field
Especially when you’re dating online or with an app, the sheer number of potential matches can be overwhelming. Having a type helps you winnow down the options to a manageable number. Types developed because having one made dating more efficient. But has this technique really served you?
Your Type Might be Too Restrictive
If you will only date blonde-haired, blue-eyed people in great shape, you’re eliminating a huge portion of the population from your search parameters. While it may be true that blonde-haired, blue-eyed people in great shape turn you on the most, try to expand your definition of attractiveness to include a more diverse array of people. You don’t want to end up alone every Saturday night swiping left indefinitely.
You Can't Find Chemistry in a Checklist
Just because someone checks off all the boxes for your desired height, weight, hair color, eye color, age, and/or profession doesn’t mean you’ll click IRL. Similarly, just because someone goes completely against your type doesn’t mean you won’t feel that intoxicating attraction. Chemistry is a tricky thing, and it’s something we humans still don’t fully understand. You can’t predict who will make your stomach flip (in a good way) until you meet them face-to-face.
Don’t Knock It ‘Til You’ve Tried It
You may think you’re only interested in a certain type of person, but how do you know until you’ve tasted the rainbow? Experiment by removing your usual restrictions on potential dates and try dating – and even sleeping with – different kinds of people for a month. Even if you don’t make a love connection (or get laid), you’ll certainly meet some fascinating people and learn something about yourself in the process.
Consider Wants vs. Needs
Sad, but true: we aren’t always the best judges of what is best for ourselves. You might want someone who looks like a model, but is that what you really need in a relationship? What our eyes enjoy isn’t necessarily the kind of person who is good for our mental health – or our hearts. Rather than demanding that your potential partner look the way you think they should, think about the personality traits that are deal-breakers – like being honest, understanding, ambitious, or spontaneous. Looks will fade but character (or lack thereof) is lifelong.
Dating Against Type Can Be Uncomfortable
And that’s exactly why you should try it. Dating against type can expose some of your long-buried insecurities, prejudices, and assumptions. Getting out of your comfort zone while dating might be awkward at first, but the insights you’ll gain about yourself, dating, and humanity in general will be worth the initial growing pains.
People Can Surprise You
You might think you know everything there is to know about, say, tall women. But by dating against your type, you might end up falling for a woman who hovers a foot above you and realize you had tall women all wrong. If there’s one thing dating can teach you, it’s that people are complex, multi-faceted creatures. Go in without preconceptions and open yourself up to the wonderful unexpected delights of dating.
Look for the Hidden Gems
It could be argued that people who don’t fit into the Instagram-attractive mold have compensated in other ways. Maybe they have a finely-honed sense of humor. Maybe they’re wicked smart. Maybe they’re the kindest person you’ve ever met. Sometimes, attractive people don’t have rich, interesting personalities because they haven’t had to develop them. Society has accepted them and facilitated their success based on looks alone. When you date against your type, you’re setting aside some of your shallow requirements and inviting in a whole new cast of people.
If your dating life has proved disappointing, it’s time to shake things up and break down barriers. By dating against your type, you’re throwing yourself head – and heart – first into a whole new adventure. Still not convinced? Think of a time someone rejected you because you didn’t meet one of their criteria. Maybe you were shorter or less outgoing than the type of people they usually date. Maybe you were packing a few extra pounds. Still, you knew that if they’d only give you a chance, you would prove to them what a great match you could be, right? At this very moment, there might be a special someone waiting for you to put down the checklist and welcome them with open arms. Go get 'em.