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When you're in the dating world, it’s not uncommon to lớn be drawn khổng lồ a certain “type” of person. Maybe you’re interested in a physical type, such as people who are taller than you or brunettes with curly hair. Or perhaps you gravitate toward a certain personality type like someone who is more reserved than extroverted, with hobbies và interests that most closely align with your own. After all, being selective has never been easier with the abundance of dating apps & websites at our disposal—many of which allow filtering by lifestyle and physical trails.
But whatever your preferences have sầu been up lớn this point, you may want khổng lồ reconsider your screening prerequisites & recognize that dating someone who isn’t your typical type can be quite beneficial. In fact, experts say it can be the key to developing a meaningful, fulfilling relationship.
Ahead, we breakdown why we seem lớn press repeat when it comes to relationships, và five sầu reasons mental health professionals say you should consider breaking that pattern và dating people who aren't your type.
Why Do We Date the Same Type?
According to experts, there are many layers that ảo diệu the reasons why we're drawn to a specific type. From the evolutionary perspective, for example, pairing up was a means for survival as opposed to lớn seeking love sầu & attraction, explains Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical psychologist and Director of Curry Psychology Group in Newport Beach, California. "In the early days of human existence, life was short and brutal. Those who chose male partners who were healthy, strong, and capable of providing protection and access khổng lồ resources were more likely khổng lồ survive." And those who selected female partners who were healthy và fertile (plush lips, symmetrical face) were more likely to lớn continue their genetic lineage, Curry adds.
Then, there's an individual's personal history khổng lồ consider. "We also tkết thúc to choose partners based on our early experiences with parents or other primary caregivers," adds Curry. These formative interactions inkhung our sense of self-worth and expectations for others' behavior that carry over inlớn adulthood, says Curry. Genesis Games, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Miami, adds that these important people "can be biological parents, step-parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, và even nannies. The absence of one of these adults can also leave a mark and influence our 'type.'"
For example, if we grow up experiencing comfort and affection, "we learn that we are worthy of love and that we can expect others khổng lồ treat us with care và kindness," says Curry. On the other hvà, if we were surrounded by pain and fear, we may view this as normal, too. That said, from a neurological perspective, our brain loves shortcuts. It's human instinct to "seek out patterns và operate according to lớn them," says Tina B. Tessimãng cầu, Ph.D., psychotherapist, & author of Dr. Romance’s Guide lớn Finding Love sầu Today.
And finally, "We probably end up dating similar kinds of people because we vị have sầu a type, because we attract a certain type of person, and because we just happen to lớn be in situations where we encounter a certain type of person more frequently," writes Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology & chair of the psychology department at Albright College.
Why Is It Important to Break the Cycle?
Dating a "type" is limiting. If you only date a certain type of person, you limit the number of people who could potentially be right for you. And while you shouldn’t lower your standards or feel like you’re settling, you should open your mind & give sầu other people a chance—even though they don’t necessarily fall inkhổng lồ your usual dating category. After all, you simply don’t know who you’re going to lớn mesh with, and that’s true for people who are your type or not. "Statistically speaking, if we reduce the dating pool to lớn singles who meet strict physical và monetary criteria, our odds of meeting someone who also possesses the personality traits that are conducive sầu khổng lồ lasting happiness significantly decrease," says Curry.
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You’re prematurely judging someone. Along these lines, if you only date people you consider lớn be your ideal type, you’re passing judgment on them before taking the time to get lớn know them, which is especially easy to bởi vì with online dating. And in today's app and online dating world where the information provided by a potential match can be sparse, you may be missing out on meeting someone truly great by evaluating them under such rigid standards.
"Once you are consciously aware that dating people who are your type doesn't equate to lớn happiness, you can open your eyes that what is familiar is not necessarily good. Try not to judge people quickly but rather allow the relationship lớn grow và become more comfortable with change," says California-based psychologist Diane Strachowski, Ed.D.
Katie Lear, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, says that "identifying what you want out of a relationship and comtháng warning signs that you're falling inkhổng lồ familiar patterns in advance can help to combat this."
You’re stuchồng in an unhealthy relationship pattern. Another important reason why it’s in your best interest to date someone who isn’t your typical type is that it can help break a detrimental relationship pattern. In fact, you may not even realize that you’re dating the same kind of person over again, such as continually dating someone who can’t or won't commit, or whom you’re trying to fix. "That being said, if you’ve experienced a pattern of chaotic, deceitful, abusive sầu, or uncaring dating experiences, then I would urge you khổng lồ seek some guidance from a licensed mental health provider," says Curry. "A competent & qualified therapist can help you work through underlying issues that may be standing in the way of the relationship you want."
You’ll challenge your comfort zone. While scanning online profiles for a specific "look" has become a quiông chồng way to navigate through thousands of options, says Julie Ingenohl, a Glastonbury, Connecticut-based Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, "when we consistently opt for looks first, we miss out on the big picture. Who is this person? What are their strengths as a human being? What kind of heart do they have? Will they treat me right?" Ingenohl's suggestion, particularly with online dating is this: "Scan until you find someone who is not your typical type. Continue to lớn look at their picture until you find one attractive feature, then cliông xã and read their protệp tin. In this way, you can begin to lớn retrain your brain on how it finds beauty."
Turn off any unnecessary filters you might have set on your dating apps—this alone can help you branch out and connect with someone you might not have sầu otherwise.
You may not know who’s “right” for you. It's true: Your type may actually be wrong for you. While you may be looking to meet someone who shares all of your interests, has a similar background, and/or is just like you, it’s important lớn keep an open mind. The key lớn keeping an open mind, says Lear, is taking the time lớn analyze past relationships & look for similarities. For example, "Do I tover to lớn be attracted to lớn guys who come on really strong at first, & then ghost me in a few weeks? Do I keep chasing men who are more aloof and distant than I am?" offers Lear.
The Keys to lớn a Satisfying Relationship
When it comes khổng lồ relationship satisfaction, Curry references the work of psychologist Ty Tashiro, who identified personality traits that tover to be associated with it, including high levels of agreeableness (kind, tolerant), emotional stability, & lower levels of novelty-seeking. "While these traits may not sound as sexy as a combination of good looks, wealth, & adventurousness, Tashiro's retìm kiếm has shown that couples who rate their partners higher in the stable stuff have the strongest levels of intimacy and sexual satisfaction," says Curry. Similarly, psychologists John & Julie Gottman have researched couples for more than five sầu decades lớn learn that intimacy & sexual satisfaction are strengthened when partners are attuned khổng lồ each other's needs, says Curry.
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It may also be helpful to lớn underst& your attachment style. Referring lớn the work of Sue Johnson & attachment theory, Games says, "People who approach relationships from a secure based