If your dating life feels like it's in a rut, it might be time to reevaluate things and give dating outside your “type” a shot. Why? Because what you need from a relationship might not mesh with the type of person you've been pursuing romantically. It's also possible you've grown and changed who you are now, and that doesn't work with your old type of romantic partner. Over time, you might just decide that you need to branch outside your type and find some excitement in dating different types of people.
Before you say you don't have a type, everyone has one — it's just that "type" might not mean exactly what you think, as Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League, tells Elite Daily. "You may have certain types you’re drawn to because there are certain qualities that you find extra attractive in a potential partner, even if you don’t consciously realize what they are. You might be turned on by wit, but not care much about looks. Or perhaps the broody loner makes you swoon, but an outgoing extrovert seems try-hard. You have a dating blueprint for what attracts you, and the sum of those qualities is your type,” he explains.
What Does It Mean To Have A Type?
Having a type is when you’re looking to form a romantic connection and you tend to gravitate toward a similar type of person over and over again. Whether that’s only dating models or football players, or only hooking up with blondes or redheads — trust, you have a type. Now, having a type doesn’t just mean you only go out with 6’3” hockey players with dark hair. Your type could be that you’re often attracted to emotionally unavailable people. You could have a pattern of only dating Capricorns. Acknowledging that your type exists is the first step toward expanding beyond it.
Sandra Myers, matchmaker and relationship expert, says if your type refers to physical traits, then it’s time to reevaluate how much it’s affecting your dating patterns. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I looking for someone tall or someone who shares my values and would make a great life partner?’ ‘Am I looking for someone blond or someone who shares my passion for travel and new adventures?’” Myers tells Elite Daily.
“Physical attributes can change over time, but who someone is at their core will remain. I always tell clients that it's great to find certain qualities attractive and we'll put those on the "nice to have" list, but your list of "must haves” should include three to five things that reflect someone's character, values, morals, and lifestyle. If you say you'll only date people over 6' tall, you could potentially miss out on the financially secure, quick-witted, charming person who is 5'9" and is going to be an adoring partner,” Myers says. So keep your eyes open. Try not to choose the same person in a different font.
However, there are also a few things to keep in mind when you start dating people who aren't your typical type.
What Happens When You Date Outside Your Type?
You’re More Open To Fresh Romantic Scenarios
There are a lot of reasons people stick to dating their normal type, life coach Nina Rubin tells Elite Daily. “People have types for lots of reasons, including cultural and familial norms, attraction, and based on history,” she says. As you grow as a person, however, you may outgrow your type without realizing it.
“Types are like clichés — they exist for a reason but aren’t always the best choice later on,” Rubin explains. By deciding to broaden the scope of people you'd consider dating, you open up all kinds of new possibilities for potential romantic partners. “When you date someone outside of your type, you open yourself up to a greater pool of people who may share your values. You may end up meeting someone awesome and surprising,” says Rubin.
You Can Grow As An Individual
The type of person you’re dating might end up being very different when you look beyond the familiar, but these experiences can also help you evolve and change for the better. Although it can be a bit intimidating to date someone who's different from those you’ve pursued in the past, Barrett says you shouldn't be afraid to try new things.
“Don’t be nervous about dating outside your type. Be nervous about staying in your comfort zone and doing the same thing over and over. We’re all here to grow and evolve, and you might find that broadening your dating horizons helps you grow in fulfilling ways,” he says.
Besides, you never know the benefits of dating different kinds of people until you’ve taken a shot. “A benefit of dating outside your type is growing and learning, and escaping a box. Showing an openness to new experiences can be very rewarding," Barrett explains.
"For example, let’s say a woman only dates ‘bad boys' because she likes the excitement. She might start dating a ‘nice guy’ and realize that not only is he not 'boring' as she always assumed, but that he’s much more kind and supportive than the bad boy is. So, she’s grown and found a better man for her life. It's a huge win-win.”
You Can Focus More On How You Feel Emotionally
If you're not sure how to date outside your usual type, Barrett suggests considering how your type usually makes you feel. Is it a good feeling? If so, what is it about them that makes you feel that way? Once you can answer those questions, you'll have a better idea of what you want that goes much further than the surface aspects of a type.
“It’s important to remember that you’re not drawn to a certain type. You’re drawn to the way a type makes you feel. You might think you need to date, say, the sensitive artist type in order to feel loved and connected. But you could have a great relationship with the witty, funny nerd as long as that person makes you feel the emotions you get from the sensitive artist,” says Barrett.
In order to give both your date and yourself a fair shot, Rubin says it's essential to keep an open mind. “Listen and be open to understanding them. Get to know them without judgment,” she advises. “Focus on what you want. Notice what hasn’t worked in the past so you can have something else this round. Be specific with your values so you’re able to identify when someone else matches up with them.”
Ultimately, the key to dating outside your typical type is to prioritize picking partners who meet your emotional needs. That, and just to have a little fun exploring all the amazingly different kinds of people who are out there. If your criteria are too narrow, you just might miss out on someone who would click with you on a deeper level.
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League
Nina Rubin, life coach
Sandra Myers, matchmaker and relationship expert
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