If You Have A Relationship Type, Experts Say These 7 Surprising Things Can Help You Change It
Whether you recognize it or not, you probably have a type. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that most people have a "type." No matter how different everyone you date may seem, there's likely going to be one very distinct trait they all share. Truth be told, it isn't easy to consciously change the type of people you usually go for. But if you're tired of the same old thing over and over again, experts say there are things you can do to change your type.
"It's very possible to change your dating type," Celia Schweyer, dating and relationship expert at Dating Scout, tells Bustle. "At some point, a person can change their dating course — sometimes towards trouble, but often towards a more satisfying relationship."
According to Schweyer, desires are very similar to behavior. Both can be learned. While it may take a while for you to successfully move away from dating the same type of people, you can do it. It's all about acknowledging your "wants, needs, experiences, and mistakes to change for the better," she says. So here are some surprising things that can help you change your dating "type," according to experts.
1. Put Your Needs First
You've likely been taught that it's never good to be selfish. In most cases, that's true. But if you want to change your dating type, you need to be selfish and put your needs above everyone else. According to Schweyer, you can start doing this by simply recognizing that your exes, or the last few dates you've been out with, just haven't been right for you. "By accepting this, you are already putting your needs in the priority list," she says.
2. Healing Unresolved Childhood Issues
"According to Imago therapy, we're attracted to partners who remind us of the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers," Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified Imago relationship therapist, tells Bustle. "We're looking to recreate childhood so we get what we did not receive growing up." Because of this, people may be set up to be attracted to the same type of people. If you don't work on healing yourself from the past, you're bound to keep repeating the same patterns. When you're dealing with unresolved childhood issues, therapy can be really helpful if you can't do it on your own.
3. Remember The Pain
It is important to heal and move on. But as part of the process, Schweyer says you can try keeping a mental note of the pain you've been through due to falling for the wrong person. "By using the bad memory as a tool, you are building yourself immunity against falling in love with the same type of person over and over again," she says. "It's just like how toddlers naturally learn about danger after getting hurt." Don't let pain hold you back from getting out there and experiencing love. Instead, let it motivate you to find someone who won't make you feel bad again.
4. Say "Yes" More Often And Go Out With People You Would Never Consider
"Having a checklist that goes down to the floor will never work in your favor," Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse, tells Bustle. "If you’re waiting to find the perfect person, you’re going to be looking forever." One of the easiest ways to start dating outside of your type is to consider people you never would've considered before. Say yes and go out with them, even if it's just for coffee. You might hit it off and you might not. The important thing here is you will start to open yourself up to other possibilities. According to Bizzoco, it can help you learn to differentiate your desires from your dealbreakers.
5. Date Someone Who's The Polar Opposite Of Your Ex
"Get yourself out of boredom, and boost the adventurous side of you," Schweyer says. "By trying the opposite, you may discover for yourself a new perspective of life and a fresh outlook towards dating." Try dating people who are completely different from your ex, either in looks, personality, or hobbies. You may not like everyone you go out with. But it's a great exercise to help you explore all the different options out there. It can also help you narrow down your list of what you really want and don't want in a partner.
6. Go Against Your Initial Instincts
You should always listen to that gut feeling if it's warning you to stay away. But according to Bizzoco, sometimes going against your instincts can help you be more open to new experiences. "If you keep dating uptight business types and aren’t getting any results, why not consider going out with an artist or someone in a creative field?" she says. "Don't be afraid to change it up and open new doors."
7. Being Single
If you keep getting into bad relationships with the same type of people, stop dating for a while. Make a choice to stay single for six months to a year and work on the relationship you have with yourself. "Figure out who you are and what you really want," Bizzoco says. "Once you have a better idea of what kind of partnership you deserve, and you feel good within, that's typically when the right one will come along."
You can't always control who you're attracted to. It's biology. But that doesn't mean you need to keep dating the same type of people over and over again. If you use these tips, you can break old patterns and find someone who's really right for you.