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A Case for Dating Outside of Your "Type."

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

By Cora Boyd

My boyfriend is not “my type” at all. I’m a dating coach, so it’s always humbling when my own love life takes me into unchartered waters. After a string of millenial Pablo Nerudas, Cajun poker players, and at least one saxophonist who lives in a treehouse, I was taken aback to find myself compelled by a cyber security consultant with a penchant for lifting, and a responsible Chevy Equinox.

More often than not, our dating patterns are unconscious. We blunder about repeating history with our choices and behaviors, expecting to see different outcomes and not understanding why we aren’t. I wasn’t fully aware that I even had a type until I took stock and realized that the overwhelming majority of my former flames have been a grungy, anti-establishment Sonic Youth worshippers with accents. Oops.

There are many unknowns on the quest for love, so it’s understandable that we seek some sense of control in the familiarity of dating people who remind us of other people we’ve dated before. But in sticking to a type, we run the risk of having each relationship be a watered down reference to another. Which is pretty much the least romantic thing I can think of aside from Juan Pablo’s season of “The Bachelor.”

To quote “High School Musical” – and why wouldn’t we – summer marks the start of something new. The temperatures are climbing, and it’s time to raise the heat on your love life by venturing out of your type and into the arms of your summer beau. Here’s why:

Summer is the time to try new things.

‘Tis the season to throw caution to the muggy wind and do things you wouldn’t normally do when the sunshine and the aperol spritzes don’t have you feeling some type of way. Like wear culottes. Or say yes to a rendezvous with someone who doesn’t resemble all of your exes. “I think the physical types are where people are limiting themselves,” says Amy Van Doran, matchmaker and founder of The Modern Love Club. “You’re reducing your search based on these physical things, but whatever happened to wanting to date someone who makes you happy?” Attraction comes in many forms, and the dog days are the perfect time to blissfully frolic around sharing canoles with someone unexpected. As another wise woman named Hilary Duff once said in 2003, “why not.”

You’ll break unhelpful patterns.

“There is a high probability that ‘having a type’ is holding you back from the relationship that you want,” says relationship coach Theora Moench . Instead, Moench favors embracing the unknown in love, which means “letting go of past assumptions about who we think we want to date. Usually because our old selves have picked bad matches in the past.” Van Doran agrees, “By repeating the same patterns over and over, you’re not even giving yourself a chance to succeed.”

You’ll challenge your biases.

In my own dating coaching experience, I’ve noticed that when someone only wants to date one type of person, it’s usually because they’re overly concerned with how their relationship looks from the outside. “After college, I started to notice how judgmental I was being of anyone who wasn’t part of my elite liberal arts bubble,” says Laura, 28. “I don’t think I would have dated any of the people I have in the last few years if I hadn’t checked myself and realized that my assumptions about people who didn’t go to a ‘prestigious’ university were not nice or accurate, and were also really limiting my love life.” Challenging your biases about groups of people is a surefire way to becoming a better person. “As a Christian, dating a Pagan girl exposed me to a lot of people I normally wouldn’t have met,” says Barrett, 23, “It really broadened my world and helped me develop empathy.”

You’ll open yourself up to more possibilities.

Expanding your options in dating isn’t only more realistic than trying to build-a-bear a partner, it’s also more fun. “I realized that having a type created the fantasy that there’s a magical guy who’s perfect for me. This caused me to deny everyone else a chance,” says Rose, 23. “There have been plenty of great guys who were into me and I said no because of superficial reasons.” Instead of creating an extensive list that limits your options, dating coach for shy men Tripp Kramer recommends using three, and only three, non-negotiables as a guideline to filter out any people you know it won’t work out with long term. The non-negotiables can be “anything from a personality trait to a value [someone] holds,” he says. “Any more than three and you’re trying to find a unicorn.”

It’ll be an adventure.

Think about it – would dating really be any fun if it were predictable? If you’re craving an adventure this summer, save the money on an expensive ticket to Montenegro and swipe right on someone outside of your wheelhouse of experience instead. Better yet, fall in love with that person and then go to Montenegro together. Double the adventure. Double the fun.

Originally Published on Tinder's editorial platform Swipe Life. View full article here.

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