A Case For Dating Against Type

Crystal Jackson

Dating the same type of person is clearly not working if we’re still single or in a toxic relationship. Yet, we often continue to date the same physical or emotional types — often on repeat. When we tire of these patterns, we sometimes decide (or at least consider) dating against type.

How To Date Against Type

Quit Limiting Ourselves

First of all, we might want to quit limiting ourselves by our preconceived ideas. We often decide that certain types of people aren’t for us, and we limit the field of dating to people like the ones we’ve dated before. If this was working, you wouldn’t be here now, reading this. So, we change the game by opening ourselves up to possibilities. We don’t ignore our values, but we do open our minds to different kinds of people.

Toss Out Unrealistic Beauty Standards

If we haven’t already, we need to throw out any unrealistic beauty standards. I will state, for the record, that attraction is absolutely essential. I’m not saying we should date people we don’t find attractive. I am saying that we can’t expect someone to be a perfect 10 when we’re putting in 4.5 level effort. If we say we want someone who is fit and healthy but absolutely disregards our own health, we need to throw out that idea with the trash unless we’re willing to make the same level of effort.

It’s the same with any other weird beauty standards. If you’ve pre-selected a particular body type, hair color, or height, you might just be ruling out someone that you’re attracted to, who’s right for you, who just doesn’t fit a very specific beauty standard. You should make sure you aren’t holding on to any outdated ideas about beauty.

Stop Recycling Trauma

We can stop dating our unresolved issues and recycling our trauma. We often have a tendency to be attracted to people with the kinds of problems we haven’t yet addressed. Our relationships act as a mirror. Our codependence attracts codependent partners and/or narcissists. Our unhealthy boundaries attract equally unhealthy partners. Until we work on our own issues, we will likely keep attracting the kind of people sure to exacerbate our problems.

To change up that pattern, we need to cultivate relationships where we can be honest, vulnerable, and authentic. We need to be able to practice self-care with partners capable of doing the same. Personal growth should be a part of our relationship.

Notice Past Relationship Red Flags

We can notice red flags from past troubled relationships and honor those. What I mean is this: when we’re in the process of dating and getting to know new people, we can recognize when we see red flags and then quit while we’re ahead. If we want to stop dating the same kind of people, we have to stop engaging with them.

We need to recognize our own patterns and put a stop to them — creating new, healthier patterns. It can be as simple as honoring our dealbreakers rather than giving people a free pass to trample our boundaries. Cluing into those patterns may feel lonely now, but it clears the way for us to engage in healthier dating interactions.

Start With Friendship

We could consider starting with friendship. Instead of looking for and cultivating romantic relationships, we could consider developing friendships — not for the express purpose of dating but to broaden our horizons and build our social circle. Dating relationships may naturally follow — either from those friends or as a result of expanding our network.

Quit Dating Until We're Ready

We could consider quitting dating — until we’re actually ready. Just because we’re single doesn’t mean we have to be on the dating treadmill. We’re allowed to opt out and take a break. We can take time for ourselves, develop our own interests, and even work on personal growth. We can invest in our friendships and careers and get to know ourselves a little better.

When we feel ready and then choose to date, we’ll be in a better position to attract the right type of person — and we’ll be in a better position to engage in a healthier relationship than we would if we’re dating out of loneliness or dissatisfaction with our lives.

We can keep dating the same kind of person, or we can choose to change the game. What we don’t need to do is settle — for the kind of lives we’ll live or the people we’ll love. We deserve so much more than that. We can have it, too, if we’re willing to put in a little effort to upend what we’ve been doing in order to choose our lives (and relationships) with a little more mindful attention.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails: https://crystaljacksonwriter.substack.com/

Madison, GA
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