Should you stick to one “type” when dating? Four women reveal what happened when they didn’t

EEveryone has a type, whether they want to admit it or not. Just look at Taylor Swift and her British men (Joe Alwyn, Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, Harry Styles), Leonardo DiCaprio and her models (Gisele Bundchen, Bar Refaeli) or even Khloe Kardashian and her basketball players (Lamar Odom, Tristan Thompson) . Leaving your comfort zone can feel daunting at the best of times. But when it comes to matters of the heart, it can seem almost impossible.

Whether it’s hair color, work, favorite TV show, or whether your potential partner is a dog or a cat, many of us tend to stick to a certain pattern – or “type” – when we seek love.

Research by dating app Inner Circle found that while only one in five singles say dating their ‘type’ is going well, only one in four are willing to date someone different. . Many are stuck somewhere between a largely unsuccessful pattern and the fear of trying something new, a term the app coined as “the groundhog.”

Hélène, 29, says The Independent that the reason she’s done it in the past is because it’s an easy way to create a “comfort blanket” in the scary world of dating, making sure you know what you’re looking for. “But actually, you can miss a lot of wonderful people with that mindset, and it’s very limiting,” she says.

So what does it mean to think outside the box of singleness and date someone outside of your type?

Francesca, 34, had always imagined her perfect match as someone who worked and lived in London like her. She admits on reflection that this belief came from her own “sniffling” idea that those who stayed in their hometown weren’t adventurous, a quality she looked for in a partner.

However, after moving away after a health issue, she fell in love with a man who started out as her best friend, causing her to re-evaluate what traits were most important when it came to growing. a long-term relationship.

These lessons can also be learned on a shorter adventure. Indigo, 32, was forced to rethink her ideal partner criteria after a chance meeting with someone she never imagined dating.

“I’ve always had a ‘type’ and was determined to only be interested in that, until I met a bartender who was the opposite of my ‘type’,” he explains. -she. “I saw them and I could just feel that they had good hearts, it was such a powerful feeling.

Getting away from my “type” has changed my perspective on my dating style to this day.

Indigo, 32

“It changed my perspective on my dating style to this day – it taught me to really see the person and when I have that powerful feeling of someone, to listen to that feeling and go for it,” she says. “I will be eternally grateful to this person for opening my mind and my eyes. We didn’t stay together long because he had to move, but we’re still friends and I’ve never forgotten that instant instinct.

Indigo adds that before this meeting, she had been “very rigid in my dating mindset”. “What I was looking for was so unachievable and I knew that on some level. I just didn’t realize it until I met him.

Some 60% of respondents to the Inner Circle survey also admit that dating someone who isn’t business as usual would feel like they were ‘settling’ for something less than they thought. merit.

But you run a higher risk of settling for the wrong relationship if you don’t walk away from your perceived “type” once in a while.

Alicia, 23, is currently dating someone who looks different from her “stereotypical type” and works in a different industry than her former partners – and she’s enjoying the trip. “I felt like I was on equal footing with this person because I felt less pressure to impress them and I didn’t feel like I had to act a certain way because she’s so different from the guys I usually date,” she says.

There’s also another delicious side benefit, which she discovered: “The sex is really good and I think that’s partly because I went with someone who isn’t my usual type.” , adds Alicia. “It makes it more exciting and unusual.”

Dating apps encourage users to stick to a preconceived “type”

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The dominance of dating apps also undoubtedly encourages users to stick to a preconceived “type” because you can curate your own profile so specifically, as well as what you’re looking for, leaving less to chance.

“[They] encourage people to pick a box, which defines who they are and their potential future relationships,” Indigo says. “These apps encourage users to create a ‘designer partner’ and develop an ideal that ultimately borders on the impossible.

“We have an online dating culture that not only restricts our choices, but also cultivates a toxic environment where, if the people we connect with don’t meet the expectations we’ve created in our boxes, they get rejected. and considered insufficient or even dishonest. All because we’ve been put in a box where we’re encouraged to pursue the impossible – our perfect type.

It may be that restricting our romantic choices to a certain criterion reflects something that we lack in ourselves, rather than something that is missing in the other person.

We are attracted to partners who reflect our own emotional state

Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari, relationship expert

“We are attracted to partners who reflect our own emotional state, so once we heal and grow as people, we may find ourselves attracted to other ‘types,'” says expert Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari. in relationships. “That said, your partner can be a great mirror for the part of you that you need to develop or recover. You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding the ‘type’ you’re attracted to.”

She suggests that we might even be looking for characteristics – good or bad – that we experienced or appreciated in our parents during our childhood.

“There’s a reason for this unconscious attraction, because being part of a relationship with our ‘type’ is nature’s way of helping us to heal old wounds, release old defense mechanisms and rediscover a sense of connection. , of the connection, of the wholeness and joy that we were born with,” she says, adding that as a relationship matures beyond the honeymoon phase, it will soon become clear if this “type” works for you in the long term or if it is incompatible for you.

After all, romance is in the most unexpected places – don’t let a rigid idea of ​​what that might be like get in the way of your pursuit of reality.

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