Why You Should Date Outside Of Your Type

by Clara Beyer

A couple weeks ago, an Elite Daily dating article told old us not to stray from people who remind us of our exes. If you're naturally more attracted to a certain type of person, it argued, you're not doing anyone any favors by fighting the impulse. In fact, you might find yourself trying to change your partner to fit your type better, and that's not healthy for anybody.

Stay the course, and eventually you'll find the person with whom you're meant to be.

If there's one thing I gathered from that article, it's that the author must have a good relationship with his mother.

Why? Well, based on the Freudian argument, one’s type is potentially based on his relationship with his mother; the same goes for daughters and fathers.

Unfortunately, someone’s type may be a bad fit. Consider the classic stereotype of the girl who has daddy issues. If her father is a jerk, according to Freud, she's probably going to be into — you guessed it — jerks. And while that's a lucky thing for the jerks of the world, this girl would be better off fighting her instincts and dating someone unlike her father — someone with whom she could have a truly healthy, supportive relationship.

Your parents don't have to figure into any of this, of course — it’s just Freud being Freud (and let's not forget he was also convinced that all women experience "penis envy"). If you've only dated self-absorbed slackers, it doesn't necessarily mean that you’re destined only to date self-absorbed slackers. That would be awful; if I were condemned only to date guys like my first boyfriend, I'd still be chasing seventh-grade A-team lacrosse players. Gross.

Full disclosure: I used to have a very distinct type. I liked guys who were tall, preferably blonde, skinny, cerebral and a bit shy. It was a running joke that my friends could spot someone of my type from across the room. For some reason, tall, nerdy blondes just appealed to me. (Freud may be interested to know that my father is tall, but a brunette.) For some reason or another, things always fell apart with these guys.

Fast forward to right now: I'm in the best relationship of my life and he’s an extroverted brunette who stands half an inch taller than me on a good day.

As far as the physical stuff, it turns out that my type is pretty flexible. I'm attracted to him, so the fact that I'm taller than he is when I'm in heels doesn't really bother me.

Regarding personalities, I learned a lot from dating those quiet, tall, nerdy blondes. I learned that I definitely should date someone as smart as I like to pretend to be. Intelligence is non-negotiable for me. And while introverts are great, I've realized I need to be with someone as emotionally open as I am, which may be more difficult to come across with shy men.

Basically, every relationship should teach you something about what you want in your partner. Hopefully after the sting of a breakup wears away, you will be able see your ex's merits as clearly as his flaws. Learn from the good and the bad; use your exes to fine-tune your dating criteria. Every time you dip back in the dating pool, have a more refined idea of what your "type" really is.

Photo via We Heart It