Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Dating Tip: Try Going Against Type

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Years ago, back when I was single, I was lamenting to some friends about the state of my love life when one of them asked what, exactly, I was looking for. I rattled off a fairly extensive list of all the traits — physical and otherwise — I was attracted to (tall, funny, big nose, glasses, maybe a swimmer’s body, dimples, etc., etc.), and she said, “Oh! I know the perfect guy for you!” Long story short, she set me up on a blind date with this guy who didn’t wear glasses, wasn’t particularly tall, didn’t have dimples, wasn’t a swimmer, and had an average-sized nose. In short, he wasn’t really my type. And you know what? My friend was right. He WAS perfect for me. We’ve been together ten years this May, married for seven, and have two pretty great kids.

One of the best pieces of dating advice I can pass along to those of you who are looking for a serious/longterm/committed relationship, is…

to date someone who isn’t your type. Date several people who aren’t your type! Start making a habit of dating against your type. Instead of swiping left, go out for coffee with him (or her). HE may not be the perfect guy for you, but a cool thing happens when you break the pattern of dating the same type of person — you begin breaking the pattern of having the same type of relationship (and if you’re single and wanting a longterm relationship, this is probably a good thing, assuming none of your relationships have worked thus far). Dating against type is the equivalent of stepping outside your comfort zone. And that’s exactly where exciting things can happen.

Before I share with you some other success stories from people who have dated against type, let’s talk for a second about the idea of “comfort zone,” or why people have types they’re afraid to stray from. I have a theory. I think that being attracted to a certain type barely even factors when staying inside one’s dating comfort zone. Rather, my theory is that people seek out partners who help sell an image they’re trying to project to the world or help tell the narrative they’ve created for themselves. For example, a woman who believes she was an unattractive child and then grew up to be pretty might seek out only the hottest guys to help sell her Ugly Duckling narrative. In her mind, having a hot boyfriend will affirm for her — and, very importantly, for everyone else – that she is, indeed, pretty now. Someone who grew up socially awkward and not very popular might seek the super cool, bad-boy kind of guy because he affirms for her that she’s no longer awkward if she can land a guy like that.

Essentially, these relationships are much less about connecting, and much more about compensating for a long-held insecurity. Dating against type can help shift that focus. (But, of course, doing work on yourself — going to therapy, fostering friendships, building a career and social network — are also essential in breaking the pattern of seeking affirmation through dating). If you’re someone who dates the same type over and over and has the same kind of relationship over and over (usually with your being “ghosted” or rejected or somehow disappointed), think about why you keep perpetuating the same pattern. Is there an image you hope to project through your potential partners? Is there a narrative about yourself that you’re desperate to sell? Or do you simply really, really like tall guys with dimples? These questions are worth exploring, and if they feel uncomfortable at all, that’s a good thing. Exciting things happen outside your comfort zone.

But don’t take my word for it! Here are some examples from DW readers who have dated against type and found happiness in doing so:

“I like short guys, my husband’s tall. I like nerds, he’s a sweet ole country boy. I was a widow and married more than once, he had never even been engaged. I have four boys, he has no kids. I am eight years older than him. I’m an introvert, he’s a social butterfly. He’s an animal lover, I never was, but now we have six pets! I’m a homebody, he can’t stand sitting still. He’s goal-oriented and I’m a free-spirit. Our religious, political, and personal views are opposite. He likes country music, I like punk/pop…but we have both learned from one another, our personalities are similar, and our differences make us stronger. We’re a good team.” — T.

“I wasn’t ‘excited’ to meet my husband. More neutral, like ‘might as well.’ And I can’t imagine being more compatible with someone. And yes, he makes typos in his emails, he’s dyslexic. And I’m an English major. And I make twice what he makes. So what? We’re very happy.” — K.

“The guy I’m currently dating is the opposite of my ‘type’ in many ways, the most notable being that I’m an athiest who always actively avoided dating religious guys while he is a practicing Catholic. We met by chance last fall and became friends, then started dating around the end of last month and quickly fell in love. To say it’s working out would be an understatement because I’m pretty sure he’s the one.” — A.

“I have a friend who’s a super high-powered saleswoman in finance and fell head over heels for a cook. They are living together, engaged, and she’s pregnant.” — L.

“I gave up on my ‘type’ a long time ago. The type I always gravitated towards (cool guys with glasses, basically) always were totally wrong in so many ways. Once I gave up that ‘idea’ of what I ‘should’ go for, I found I was pleasantly surprised by who I found. And yes, I’m still single (so none of them have worked out for the long run) but I feel good being open to any possibilities that I may come across in the future!” — M.

“My husband wasn’t my type at all but he’s caring, compassionate, loving and makes me laugh. I can be myself around him and he accepts me for me. We’ve been together for three years — yesterday was our 2-year wedding anniversary.” — A.

“I honestly never in a million years would’ve thought I’d marry the man I did. In high school, he was the really smart guy and I was the popular one. I made fun of him, I teased him, and I probably annoyed the hell out of him, but I also wanted to know more about him. He ended up moving away, then moving back a little while before his father passed away. Because I knew his sister, I went to the funeral. We met up and things kind of just clicked. He melted my heart and I kept wondering how stupid was I to have passed him up during our school years. We’ve been together for almost five years, are married, and have a beautiful seven-month-old son. They’ve been the best of my life.” — C.

And, there you go. Exciting things happen outside your comfort zone, even/especially outside your dating comfort zone. So step outside of it. Swipe right. Go out with that person who isn’t your type and see if maybe you’ve been wrong about your “type” all along.

62 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MissDre February 18, 2016, 9:57 am

    I wish I could figure out what my ‘type’ actually is… maybe then I could try dating outside of it. I’m not yet insightful enough to figure out the pattern.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna February 18, 2016, 10:22 am

      Yes, I think that’s an important question to ask. How do you know your type? Personally, I’ve never had a physical type. All the guys I dated look pretty different from each other. I think a commonality might be that they’re all kind of shy/ didn’t have a lot of relationship experience, and they’re all intellectual types.
      That said, I still kind of relate to what Wendy is describing. With my boyfriend, I didn’t think I wanted to seriously date him at the beginning. Unlike with previous relationships, it started as FWB. So maybe it was a case of going against a certain pattern of dating.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 10:43 am

      You have a type! Didn’t you say you only date ethnic men (or was it black?) and you only date really tall guys? (Or am I making all that up?) So your next date should be: a short white, Midwesterner, ha.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 18, 2016, 10:57 am

        I definitely like tall guys, but I have no problem dating somebody short. As for dating a white guy, not gonna happen. If that means I die alone surrounded by cats, so be it.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie February 18, 2016, 1:15 pm

        I’m not being snarky at all with this question, just purely interested in your thoughts: Why are you against dating white men?

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 1:25 pm

        Maybe it’s a financial issue. They require more sunscreen which can be expensive, especially the good sunscreen.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 1:28 pm

        (I dunno I’m in a goofy mood.) But seriously, I am always a bit put off when people say they will NOT date a certain race. I mean, attraction is attraction and maybe you’re drawn to a certain look. But the “I only date (insert race)” and “I would never date (insert race)” people confuse me. I don’t know if “confuse” is the right word. It’s weird. And it makes me wonder why. So, MissDre, why?

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones February 18, 2016, 1:57 pm

        I don’t really think she’s against dating white men, she just not attracted to them. Honestly, you can’t force anyone to be attracted to someone they are not.
        .
        For instance, I don’t like guys with long hair. It just really turns me off, so on a subconscious level I don’t even see them. My eye just kind of skips over them. The only guy with long hair that I thought was attractive was Christian Kane. But I’ll tell you, he was OK looking with long hair but man, did he get smoking hot after he cut his hair.
        .
        I think some of y’all think it’s odd that she’s not attracted to her own race BUT it happens a lot. My husband who’s white, has never dated a white woman. He says he’s only ever felt chemistry with black or Latino woman, so it happens to other people.
        .
        I think her problem is less about race, and more about the kind of guy she’s choosing to get into relationships with. I think she’s subconsciously picking the guy whose values & ambitions aren’t matching hers.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie February 18, 2016, 2:09 pm

        Interesting perspective! I wasn’t necessarily thinking of it as a problem per se, just more curious. She’s mentioned it more than once, and the ‘die alone with cats’ instead of dating someone white seemed a little strong? I get being attracted to certain looks, but kind of like AP said, the “I only/I never date x race” is just a foreign idea for me.

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      • avatar

        Kel February 18, 2016, 8:57 pm

        I’ll toss in, sometimes there are cultural considerations–I’m Asian American and it’s pretty important to me to date someone from a similar cultural background. I wouldn’t say I would never date someone who wasn’t, but a lot of things would be easier.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 18, 2016, 10:52 am

      I’m thinking about it and thinking about it and I just am not seeing it. I mean, I certainly have an idea of what I’d like, but that has never stopped me from giving someone a chance if I felt even the slightest bit of chemistry.

      Let’s see… in the past 2 years I’ve gone on dates with (including my ex bf)…

      Ages: As young as 24, as old as 37 (I definitely prefer guys in their 30’s).

      Ethnicity/Nationality: Haitian, Trini, Indian, Colombian, Sri Lankan, Zimbabwean, Ghanaian, Bengali, Persian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Mauritian, Mixed Race (I’m avoiding black guys at the moment). This list includes international students and first generation Canadians.

      Religion: Atheist, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim (don’t care what religion someone is, as long as they don’t expect me to be religious).

      Job/Career/Education: Unemployed (ex bf), Phd student, Masters student, Graphic Designer, Architect (still in school), Chemical Engineer (but not working in his field), doctor, Bartender, software engineer, personal trainer, university prof… (some sort of post secondary education is required, even if it’s trade school, but there are not a lot of tradesman in my city).

      Height Range: As short as 5’5 and as tall as 6’4

      Personality Type: Moody introvert (ex bf), sweet and soft spoken, outgoing/witty/charming

      Places I’ve met them: Tried dating 2 guys who were longtime friends first, tinder, OkCupid, out with friends

      What’s the pattern?? Obviously the common denominator is ME. And no I’m not sleeping with them.

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      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo February 18, 2016, 11:59 am

        I hope this doesn’t come off too harsh, but here it goes.

        You do have a type MissDre- Men who love women who don’t love themselves. The common denominator is that these men like women who really want to make a connection with them, sometimes so desperately that she’s willing to overlook red flags and obvious incompatibility. Women who pour themselves out in a heartbeat, so they don’t have to put as much effort into the relationship, because she’s doing the heavy lifting.

        Honestly- we’ve seen you comment about how you are going to take time and try and love you, but that only lasts for a short time before you’re interested in a different guy.

        I feel like the whole point of this discussion has sailed over your head. You’ve got this whole complex math problem where you plug in a man’s traits, and you’re trying so hard to crack the numeral code, that you’ve missed the whole point. You’re trying to plug a man in to fix a hole that can only be filled with introspection and self love.

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones February 18, 2016, 12:22 pm

        Self love is a tough one, and I’ve often struggled with it myself. If you don’t have that kind of sense of self, it can really be hard to see the disconnect.
        .
        I think Miss Dre has said in past posts that she experienced abuse during childhood so that maybe the proverbial cap on the well of her self love. While I didn’t experience personal abuse, I saw it happening around me with family members who didn’t love themselves enough to leave shitty abusive relationships. It was subconsciously ingrained in me that shitty abusive relationships were just the normal up & downs of a relationship. It’s not. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that disrespect & dishonor in a relationship isn’t about physical abuse nor cheating. It can happen in so many insidious ways, that you may not realize it’s really happening for a long time. You just know that something doesn’t feel right in the relationship.
        .
        The thing that helped me with breaking patterns in relationships & just everyday living was “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. It really put some stuff into perspective for me. Now, I can identify shitty relationship* behavior, and either walk away or handle it in the best way for me.

        *not just romantic relationships.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 18, 2016, 9:58 am

    After going out with a number of guys, one date each, I realized I needed to feel something for a guy or it was a waste of time for me and for the guy. My type was I had to feel some connection, some chemistry. I have never understood the idea that someone must have a specific height or look or occupation. Needing to feel a connection before dating wouldn’t work well in today’s dating world of apps and websites. It worked perfectly for me.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover February 18, 2016, 11:08 am

      I’m the same way, but I found online dating worked just fine (that’s how I met my husband). I wouldn’t spend a lot of time on lead-up online… very little texting/chatting/emails. Basically chat for a bit, see if I was interested, and then set up a date. If they didn’t want to set up a date yet, bye bye. Too many guys aren’t really looking, or are “keeping their options open”. Cutting them off early meant I only dated guys who were actually looking to date. Then I’d go on one date, and if I wasn’t feeling it, that was that. It worked really well for me. The nice thing about it is that you’re not going on constant dates, so it doesn’t feel like it’s taking over your life. I’d go on one date every few weeks or so, on average. I know there are people who go on three or four dates a week and I don’t even know how they can handle it! I also only dated one guy at a time to give him a full chance without comparing to someone else.

      It’s not really that different from meeting someone any other way. I think you just need to make some rules for yourself first so you don’t get overwhelmed and you don’t waste a lot of time. And don’t get excited until after the first date. 🙂

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 18, 2016, 11:36 am

        It is nice to hear that there is a way to make that work.

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        RedRoverRedRover February 18, 2016, 12:18 pm

        It might be harder for younger people who have had this stuff for their whole dating life. When I started dating, people weren’t using the internet yet, lol. So I didn’t change the way I dated, I just used it as a new way to meet people. The rest of the dating process was the same for me.

        If you grow up with it though, it could be different. I think the old way worked, so hopefully people who aren’t just looking for hookups will eventually go back to it. But yeah, it probably does make it harder now for a lot of younger people to find something serious online.

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      • avatar

        Sabrina February 18, 2016, 6:08 pm

        I like this! I’m not single and have never done this, asked a guy out. For me it’s too late to use the advice but I really like that don’t waste time attitude. the worst is when I hear about people disappointed that the person didn’t like them/ vice versa or something else went wrong number after chatting so long online. Ask the important questions, get a vibe that’s right and meet somewhere safe.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 18, 2016, 6:59 pm

        Exactly. I think people do so much chatting beforehand sometimes, and they get all excited and build up an idea of the person. And then either the person doesn’t want to ever meet up, or they do meet up and it doesn’t match up to what they imagined. Plus you have no idea if there is any physical attraction/chemistry yet when you’re just chatting. Better to go in with very few expectations and just experience the person as they are.

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      • avatar

        Sabrina February 18, 2016, 10:15 pm

        It’s terrible but I used to chat with guys (lava life any one?) and never or very rarely meet them. It did help me build confidence chatting (I was chatting online but this helped my conversation skills) because I was really bad at it before. Actually I was usually nervous about meeting the guys because I thought they would think I was fat. (I was not actually fat but this is how I felt.) so I wasn’t intending to deceive them but rarely followed through even though they were the type i thought I’d like in person. Lonliness, boredom, bad habits… There are so many reasons people may be on an online dating site and never go on a date (wanting to cheat on or leave spouse but not following thru also comes to mind…)

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  • avatar

    Ale February 18, 2016, 9:58 am

    I broke up with my type of guy after seven years of dating. I stayed single for three years and then met a guy who wasn’t my type at all. We have been dating for almost two years and I’ve never been happier.

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  • Cleopatra_30

    Cleopatra_30 February 18, 2016, 10:07 am

    I definitely have a basic list of what I look for in a guy, both physically and interests wise. And 3/4 of the time I have dated out of that just by chance. I have a pattern of dating shorter guys who have a few extra pounds, don’t always lead an active and healthy lifestyle, and don’t generally share all my interests that I deem ‘important.’ Some good things came from those relationships, I learned a lot and also discovered some new traits that I want in a guy because they had them, and I liked them. I have also gone out with guys who check off all of those ‘dating boxes’ and nothing comes from it. So really it seems I need a balance in a guy after dating on both extremes.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 10:24 am

    I don’t think I have a type. The only common features I can pick out are: boyish and playful (I’ve never dated or gone out with a handsome/put-together/adult-like guy – does that make sense?) and lack of professional ambition … Shit. I think I do have a type. But how do I break that when the handsome / put-together/adult-like professional-types don’t ask me out? I don’t think they like me because I don’t give off the vibe that I’m a handsome/put-together/adult-like professional myself. Or maybe it’s because I don’t think of myself like that. Because I’m insecure? So I avoid that type? This is too much for this work morning. It doesn’t really matter because I don’t plan on dating for a long time. Fortunately, life without a partner but with a baby is just fine! More than fine – it’s wonderful! Too many fun things going on, no time for dating anyway.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny February 18, 2016, 12:42 pm

      When the handsome/put-together/adult-like professional types don’t ask you out, YOU ask THEM out! 😀

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 12:58 pm

        I don’t really know of any…. Except there was/is one single attorney in my office about my age who fits this bill. He barely knows I’m alive. Really, I think he’s called me 4 different names. He’s now dating a really, really hot woman who is 10 years younger than us and has a stripper name. I can’t compete. Dating is just a lot harder now, pushing 40 and with a baby, and without a stripper name, ha.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 18, 2016, 1:05 pm

        Addie, there is someone wonderful for you when you’re ready and the time is right. I’m so glad you are happy with your baby and no partner and I could see you remaining that way for a long time. But I also think you will find great joy is sharing your life with someone as your baby gets older and more independent. I don’t know who the right match for you is, but I have a hunch he’ll be at least 12 years older and have a kid or two of his own (maybe teenagers by the time you meet/start dating). He could be a widower or divorced — but someone who has solid relationship experience and appreciates a good woman. He will not feel threatened by your career success and he will be totally charmed by your quirkiness. I know you won’t settle for less than that, anyway.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh February 18, 2016, 1:20 pm

        I love that description of Addie’s partner!! I see the same thing. He will also like eating pizza without pants on 😛

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 1:32 pm

        Only I get to not wear pants. He’s gotta cover that junk. I don’t want it to get on my pizza.

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      • avatar

        ktfran February 18, 2016, 2:24 pm

        LIKE!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 18, 2016, 1:30 pm

        Aw this was really sweet, Wendy. Thank you for peering into your crystal ball! I like what you see.

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  • avatar

    absurdfiction February 18, 2016, 10:26 am

    I’m also married to a guy who isn’t my type. I’d been acquainted with nonfiction for a long time, and while he always had a crush on me, he was always just ‘the kinda annoying short dude who was friends with my friend’s boyfriend.’ We fell out of touch for a few years and when our paths crossed again, we were both single, and I took the time to get to know him better. (I was on a bit of a slutty kick after getting out of a serious relationship, so I was much more open to talking to all sorts of people, ha.) I realized quickly that he was actually pretty perfect for me. All those things that I thought made him annoying/weird when I was a teenager were suddenly endearing – part of what made him such an understanding, fun, and fearless friend. I’m weird as hell too, and I never knew how much easier and happier a relationship could be with someone who really gets you. The people I’d dated before were good on paper, treated me decently, and were conventionally attractive, but something was always missing. The spark, the ease, the connection. Nonfiction makes me feel more like myself somehow. As we’ve navigated life together these past five years or so, I’ve grown in so many ways, and learned about so many things that I can’t imagine could ever have happened with anyone else beside me. I’m so glad I threw caution to the wind and said yes when he screwed up the courage to ask me out.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 18, 2016, 11:39 am

      My husband and I had that spark you mention. The ease of connection. It was there from the first day. The first day that I spent any time with him we talked nonstop. It wasn’t a date, just a casual encounter on campus.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros February 18, 2016, 10:38 am

    I’ve mostly dated guys who aren’t my type. There were two who were my type. One was great and we only broke up because of logistical reasons (like us living in two different countries during college) and the other was a jerkface. The rest have been so not my type. Military guy, drummer, engineer. And none of them (including the type guys) have been my type appearance-wise. I tend to like slimmish guys with dark hair and brown eyes, and most have been blond ish or if they do have dark hair, they are of a different build.
    .
    So for me personally, I think dating in my type is actually a way of dating outside my type if it makes sense. I think that my openness has resulted in me dating guys who were not good options because I wasn’t valuing the things that would make someone attractive to me or that indicate that we would get along well.

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  • Portia

    Portia February 18, 2016, 10:44 am

    I think I have a physical “type” but I didn’t really date within that type when I was dating, maybe only 50% of the time. Bassanio is very close to my physical type though (except he doesn’t wear glasses – I love guys with glasses).
    .
    Then again, I didn’t do internet dating, and I can see how that would have a large impact on the subset of people one dates. If I’d seen Bassanio’s dating profile, I’m not sure if I would have thought we were a match – we actually have very few TV/movie/sports/other interests one would put on a dating site in common. And he’s much more social/outgoing than me.

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  • avatar

    Wendy (not Wendy) February 18, 2016, 11:09 am

    “Rather, my theory is that people seek out partners who help sell an image they’re trying to project to the world or help tell the narrative they’ve created for themselves.”

    OMG, this was so true for me! What I really wanted to be in life was a Title 9 model–not an actual model, but someone who jets around having adventures in cute athletic dresses. I love wandering around REI, both gear and clothing, doing what I call “shopping for my imaginary life”. (I do act on my desire for adventures, I just never seem to pull it off quite like a Title 9 model.) And I see now that I was looking for the guy that matched that image of myself. Someone who would wear North Face fleece and go hiking with me but didn’t mind if I wanted to go solo paddleboarding in a rockin’ tankini with a sassy coverup. Those guys have tousled hair, don’t watch sports, can’t build a deck but will figure out how to do it, like to read but mostly history or Jon Krakauer or something, no science fiction. You get the picture.

    I moved to a city with a plethora of those guys. They were all over OKCupid. (In the town where I was living, which had none, I used to browse through OKCupid in that city and tell myself, look, I’d be dating great guys all the time if I lived there.) Trouble is? That kind of guy seemed to have no interest in ME.

    I’m happily married to a guy who isn’t like that at all now. And it’s kind of a relief that I don’t have to live up to anyone else’s ideal of marrying a Title 9 model… that’s just something I do for me if I feel like it now and then.

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    • avatar

      K February 18, 2016, 11:39 am

      “Those guys have tousled hair, don’t watch sports, can’t build a deck but will figure out how to do it, like to read but mostly history or Jon Krakauer or something, no science fiction.” – I’m laughing, because this is my boyfriend! And he hikes with me. But he actually doesn’t own any North Face, I don’t think.

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  • avatar

    kay216 February 18, 2016, 11:11 am

    When I first started dating, I only dated guys in the military. As soon as I broke type I met my husband and we are 1000x better match than anyone I dated before him!

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  • avatar

    TheOtherOther Me February 18, 2016, 11:39 am

    I think a “type” is not just someone whose looks or interests fit a certain mold, but who also matches your subconscious biases/assumptions. Many people (including myself, for most of my life) stick to our own race, age, and socio-economic class, but when we dare to break out of that , sometimes wonderful things can happen. I am an super-organized, over-educated, upper-middle-class white chick who used to only date middle-class, intellectual white guys — it never occurred to me to get out of my comfort zone since there were so many guys who fit this demographic. But after being in a dating rut for many years, the lightbulb went on, and I broadened my horizons. I went out with Latino guys, working-class guys, high-school dropouts, Asian guys, etc. Then I met my quirky black husband who grew up poor, has an AA, and lives by the seat of his pants, but we are perfect for each other!

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    • avatar

      TheOtherOtherMe February 18, 2016, 11:41 am

      …and he’s younger than me!

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  • avatar

    K February 18, 2016, 11:42 am

    I mentioned in the forum post on this topic how I used to mainly date engineers and now I’m dating an artist. I forgot to mention that I also mainly used to like short guys with dark hair and light eyes. My boyfriend is tall with blonde hair and brown eyes! Definitely against the type that I obsessed over in college and a few years afterwards.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana February 18, 2016, 12:19 pm

    I have a type, I dated outside type once and it was fine, the sex was great but we only lasted about a year. My most type-y dating like this guy was what you I considered my “dream”– tall, dark brown hair, beautiful blue eyes, he was a poet and musician, loved the same music, was in bands, was outdoorsy, worked on a farm, loved travel and adventure and we read all of the same authors, liked the same food.. you get the idea. It was SO boring, the sex was awful, we are so much better as friends than anything romantic.

    My current partner is my type-ish in that he has a lot of characteristics I typically looked for in men, but also a lot I never would have thought would intrigue me. Personality wise, he is a super alpha male which is something I was not accustomed to at all and it can be hard sometimes but he doesn’t put up with my bullshit which is kind of important as I tend to have a lot of it..

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  • kare

    kare February 18, 2016, 1:07 pm

    My type used to be guys that I wasn’t really attracted to but told myself to give a chance because they were super into me and seemed like such nice guys. Yeah no…they ended up getting really creepy. That or I would seek out guys I found less attractive fo some reason….I had a lot of inner demons and didn’t think I deserve the “conventional” attractive type. Now I bang a hot guy that sends me cat videos throughout the day.

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    • Portia

      Portia February 19, 2016, 9:22 am

      Well done on banging the hot guy who sends you cat videos!
      .
      I dated a bunch like that, guys I wasn’t super attracted to. And avoided or only hooked up with the guys I thought were hot, telling them I didn’t want a relationship. There’s one in particular I really screwed up that way. Anyway, when I met Bassanio, I figured he was too good looking to give me a chance. And it took like a month or two of hooking up for me to agree to a relationship.

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  • Cassie

    Cassie February 18, 2016, 1:30 pm

    I’m trying to think if I ever had a type, and while I was never picky on physical attributes or interests, I always looked for someone with similar values and good character. Christian (because I am, and it’s very important to me), caring, responsible, helps others, respects both men and women, employed (didn’t really matter what as long as he was at an honest job and was hard-working), and funny. I had interest in guys who weren’t always all of those things, but usually red flags or incompatibility would pop up early enough that I wouldn’t spend too much time on it.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar February 18, 2016, 1:57 pm

    I have a type. If you line up my past relationships you can draw the lines of similarity from one to the other. 6 feet/Caribbean (mixed with black)/almond shaped eyes/at least two jobs (somehow)/a little arrogant/excels at something/funny/seemingly happy but inevitably it turns out they are secretly wrestling with something. When I deliberately have gone against type it never worked. I shudder in horror. I call my husband the prototype since technically I knew him before everyone else but he definitely my type.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy February 18, 2016, 2:05 pm

    I think my ‘type’ begins and ends with ‘Intelligent’. Beyond that, I’ve dated tall guys, short guys, outgoing guys, shy guys, musicians, techies, engineers, artists, ski bums. The other thing I guess they all have in common is a passion for something. If a guy can’t get excited about anything, we just don’t mesh (because I get excited about *everything*).

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      SpaceySteph February 18, 2016, 2:19 pm

      I dated a dumb guy once. It was a mistake. In this once case, I think “intelligent” is a type you shouldn’t date against.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy February 18, 2016, 2:23 pm

        Yeah, it’s not a type I ever plan on doing away with. I’m not actively dating right now anyway – two boyfriends is quite enough.

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    haggith February 18, 2016, 2:15 pm

    There’s no way I’d date someone who doesn’t share similar politics than me! Even religion (I don’t have any). I’ve always had a type but I was never looking for him and dated actually people who didn’t fit completely to that type but I was attracted to for several reasons. Well, I ended up marrying my type five years ago and can’t be happier. I’m not sure if I’d advise going against your type but definitely to have the courage to take risks.

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      RedRoverRedRover February 18, 2016, 2:33 pm

      I was going to post something similar at first, because I guess I married my “type”. My type wasn’t really physical, it was more a list of requirements that were dealbreakers if they didn’t have them, like what Cassie said above. My list is similar to hers in a lot of respects, but I would add intelligent and educated (and remove Christian since I’m not religious).

      But I didn’t end up posting it, because the more I thought about it, I realized that those of us who are after the “type” that really suits us, find someone who suits us. So we take ourselves out of the group of women looking for a match. After say ten or fifteen years, the women who haven’t found a match yet are more likely to be the ones going after a type that doesn’t really fit them. And those are the women Wendy’s addressing. She’s not telling every person to do this. She’s saying if you find you’re always in the wrong relationship, then do this.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh February 18, 2016, 2:44 pm

        I agree I think it’s easy to say but dating my type worked out fine, when it did. But, if you always date the same ‘type’ and it’s not working it would make sense that something needs to change. Even if you don’t end up with someone who is against your type, you take something away from those experiences.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine February 18, 2016, 2:28 pm

    Just get to know the whole person. When I started dating my fiancé I wasn’t looking for anything more than fun. If I had been looking for more I might have dismissed him because he’s really different from me in terms of background and education. I’m so grateful I didn’t let those differences blind me. Sometimes the qualities we need in a mate don’t show up ‘on paper’ but the truth is those are the things that bind you together.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy February 18, 2016, 2:38 pm

    I’m attracted to so many physical types and if I hadn’t ended up with Drew, I could see myself with anyone from any race or culture. I tend to be least attracted to men who look the most like me (fair skin, red hair, freckles, midwestern, protestant, european background, blech), but even then, there have been exceptions. What I couldn’t waver on are a few personality traits like good sense of humor (for me, this is even more important than intelligence simply because I think you have to BE smart to be truly funny, so it’s kind of a 2-in-1), patience, generosity, and compassion. There are other traits that are definitely appealing to me but wouldn’t be deal breakers if someone didn’t share. I do think I’d have a pretty hard time with someone who didn’t share my general political views (i.e. didn’t at least lean left), but I’d be open to a more fiscally conservative person if he were at least socially liberal on the topics that were most important to me.
    .
    All that said, I’m glad I’m not single and looking because I don’t think I was veery good at it. I was always second-guessing myself/ my choices, and worrying that I was screwing up.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph February 18, 2016, 2:55 pm

      Maybe not wanting to date pale people is an evolutionary protective thing… you know, selecting against skin cancer.
      My husband is white but much browner than me (of course, would be hard to be whiter than me… ) so I hope our kids are at least able to get a tan! I dated a Colombian guy before him and damnit but I did enjoy thinking of having kids with some melanin! (although we were otherwise very incompatible)

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 18, 2016, 3:19 pm

        I don’t know, I’m a pale who married a pale! I’m not particularly attracted to pale skin, but I’m not unattracted to it either. Luckily we’re both introverts so we stay inside a lot, lol. Hopefully we pass that on to our kids along with the pale skin.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny February 18, 2016, 2:48 pm

    When I think back on it, I think I subconsciously defined my “type” back in high school. Yikes. I was totally into the alternative/musician/quirky type. Specifically, with Buddy Holly glasses. Yeah. Needless to say, I mostly stuck to that for awhile until my early/mid-20’s.
    And Wendy makes a good point about it being a way to compensate for an insecurity. Because I *wanted* to be cool/quirky/alternative myself, so if I associated myself with guys like this, then maybe I could make up for what I was supposedly lacking.
    .
    I think what really helped me get over this was realizing, once I got to know these guys I was initially really interested in, that I didn’t even *like* them as people. They were obnoxious, or immature, or whatever. I even remember a point when I was about 24 or 25, and semi-dating/hooking up with a guy in my building, who was so cute and a DJ, and so exciting. I realized that… I didn’t even like him as a person. He was vain and obnoxious and chewed with his mouth wide open. (ew.) And that killed any superficial attraction I had. And I also realized that it was the men who had that personality that just meshed well with mine, who was cute in his own way, that just worked so much better.

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  • mrmidtwenties

    mrmidtwenties February 18, 2016, 2:58 pm

    For me, finding my current girlfriend, was about breaking type and habits I had fallen into. I was mostly going on dates with girls in the last year of university that were way more into me than I was into them, mostly I think they were into me because I wasn’t far out of university and had a job and hobbies that most guys in university simply don’t have yet. I also was in the habit of sleeping with them on the first date or second date and not spending the time to get to know them well enough to actually form a relationship. Current relationship, she is actually 2 years older than me, has a career, and we waited until date number 4 to have sex, my goal was date 6, but close enough 😉

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    • veritek33

      veritek33 February 18, 2016, 4:21 pm

      I think it’s really awesome you were able to recognize that in yourself mr mid. I’m working on breaking my patterns right now too and I don’t think I’m as aware of them as I’d like to be. Good on you sir.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 February 18, 2016, 4:19 pm

    I’m sure others will have opinions on my type but I’m still sorta figuring out what it is. For a long time it was bearded guys that were on the bigger side, not fat just bigger, who treated me badly! Yay! And then some suggested maybe I try to look for the more fit, into running/working out stuff like I am guys. But didn’t get much response from that genre. I thought I had broken type with the tinder teacher this summer because he was different in the beginning but then turned out to be similar to others I’d dated. And army guy was very different from what I ususally date. Very clean cut, military, works out like I do, etc. But not emotionally available.

    I think my problem is I don’t notice I’m repeating my type until I’m already doing it. So I gotta work on that. I try not to worry too much about age and certainly don’t mind going out with older guys. My first boyfriend was 5 years older and the last long term relationship my boyfriend was a year younger. So I guess it hasn’t worked out with either, but for many issues other than age. I dunno, I’m working on getting out of my type. It’s just a slow learning process for me.

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  • mylaray

    Mylaray February 18, 2016, 5:01 pm

    To be honest, I don’t really quite get having a type. I don’t think I have one. I’m attracted to a wide range of people; I dated men and women and nonbinary people of all races. I think with each relationship I chose a very different person the next time and so on. I had bad patterns that I broke but I don’t think they were ever a type. On the other hand, my husband says I’m exactly the type he thought he would end up with, but never thought would happen. I do think noticing and breaking patterns when having a string of relationships that don’t go anywhere is really key.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl February 18, 2016, 7:40 pm

    I remember doing an exercise with my therapist where you write the traits of the significant partners in your life, good and bad, and rate them. Then you start seeing a pattern and deciphering which were the good ones you want to look for

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  • avatar

    Adrienne February 18, 2016, 10:13 pm

    I never really had a “type” in college (other than not looking for a serious relationship). It took me until ending a serious relationship in my mid 20s to sit down and really think about what I was looking for. I narrowed it down to 4 things:

    1. I had to be attracted to them (I never really had a physical type)
    2. They had to be intelligent.
    3. They had to be respectful.
    4. They had to be ambitious.

    The man I ended up marrying doesn’t have a college degree. But I realized that school doesn’t equal smarts, and that was my judgement to overcome. I’m pretty sure in high school he could have played the asshole jock. But he was growing as a person, and the love and respect he showed to me and the other people in his life is subtle, but always there. He was 30, living at home, working for his dad (who I later realized barley paid him, but that’s another story). But he was driven. He worked his ass off, followed the economy and stock market in his free time, etc. Before I had basically associated ambition with job titles and a career path.

    I’m married to a man who loves and respects me. Who is ambitious for our family, which he shows through not only his own work, but by supporting my career. And I can talk to him for hours.

    I don’t know if people have to date outside their “type” so much as be open to understanding what they are actually looking for.

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