It seems obvious from a bird’s eye view: the fewer guys you’re open to dating, the fewer options that exist—and the more time you’ll spend single. But in the the time I’ve been working with smart, capable women to help them find true, lasting love, I’ve observed that those who constantly bemoan the lack of “good” men out there are also the ones who exclusively date within a certain “type.”
While it’s important to know what you want, setting guidelines that are too strict or specific could actually be what’s keeping you single. If you know or even just think this might be your problem, here’s a dissected look at why this dating method is detrimental to finding love, and what you can do to combat it.
Do the Math
I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again: Having a type limits you. Whether you classify your type using physical characteristics, personality traits, or an affiliation with a certain sports team, ruling out all other men simply means you have fewer fish in your dating sea. This may feel prudent when the options seem overwhelmingly endless, but unfortunately you’re eliminating scores of quality guys for what I’m guessing is a pretty arbitrary reason. Having standards is necessary but keeping them broad is key. Make a list of the qualities you look for in a potential mate, be honest with yourself, and cross off anything superfluous. You’ll find that by cutting the clutter, you’ll open yourself up to a whole new world of dating.
Are You Growing?
The external evidence that having a type is keeping you single is obvious, but it may be doing so for internal reasons as well. By continuously dating the same type of guy, there’s no way you’re growing through your relationships. Dating may be aggravating and seem fruitless at times; but no matter how many failed relationships you’ve experienced, you should be learning things about yourself from each one that will simultaneously prime you for the right one when he comes along. If you’re constantly dating guys with a common theme, you’re not making the most out of your dating experience. Just like stepping outside your comfort zone in life will help you grow, doing so in your love life will allow you to grow in love.
Is It Really Working for You?
Think about it: If you’re feeling frustrated and perpetually single, it sounds like your “type” isn’t really working out for you. It’s possible that whatever quality it is that draws you to these men also correlates to a less desirable one, or at least one that isn’t compatible with your personality. Or, it could be that the trait you are holding out for does not a quality guy make. Consistently try to broaden your horizon and date someone who may not be as tall as you normally look for… but possesses a killer sense of humor. Or try going on a date with the sweet guy at work, even though he’s not into old school hip-hop. This is not to say that the next “different” guy you date will be The One, but what’s the harm in trying something new if the old hasn’t been working anyway?
Gotta Start Somewhere
Think hard about where your “type” originated. Are you looking for an ex you still hold a candle for in each new guy you date? Or did your preferences take root even earlier when you were salivating over the cute guy whose locker was next to yours in middle school? The point is, your type didn’t develop out of nowhere—so it’s possible there are more qualities you’d love that you just haven’t discovered yet. And there’s only one way to find out. Challenge yourself to say yes to every guy who asks you out over the next six months (as long as he’s not a jerk, of course.) Even if you’re still single at the end of those six months, I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised at how much your taste in men has evolved. The more you practice dating someone you wouldn’t normally go for, the more interesting and beneficial your dating life will become. And sooner or later, one of those guys you open up to will be just right!
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