The Benefits Of Dating Outside Your Type

We all have our preferences in dating. For some of us, a partner who's a whiz in the kitchen gets us going. Others may prefer a partner who loves to take them out to eat at new restaurants. These minor preferences are a normal part of dating, but preferences should be just that — preferences. When we start to turn them into dating laws for ourselves, we can get too caught up on the type of person we want to date.


Having a type can pigeonhole you into unrealistic expectations when dating. People are complex — it's unfair to yourself and potential partners to have a list of expectations that's impossible for one person to fulfill. Plus, when you fixate on the idea of who you should date, you miss out on dozens of other people you may have been able to have a genuine connection with. If you find yourself in a constant state of disappointment when your partner doesn't meet your every wish and want, it may be time to consider dating someone outside of your type.

Sacrificing your type does not mean sacrificing standards

We all want a partner who is kind, empathetic, and honest. These are characteristics that should continue to be nonnegotiable in your dating journey. After all, signs your potential partner has emotional intelligence matter a lot more than them being a specific height. When we say don't get caught up on a type, we mean avoiding criteria like being athletic, working in finance, owning a dog, vacationing in national parks, etc. 


"There's a common misconception that standards and preferences are the same thing. When you want someone who is tall, for example, that's a preference. Obviously, it's important to be attracted to the person you're dating, but you're limiting your dating pool when you focus so heavily on specific aspects about someone's appearance," explained an article for The Every Girl.

Having standards is like having boundaries for behaviors you find acceptable and unacceptable in dating, which is really important. But so many kinds of people can meet your standards and fall nowhere close to your type. The person who works as a graphic designer, owns a cat, and loves to vacation in Europe could be the kindest, most genuine person you'll ever meet. But if you close off any possibility of dating just based on how they match up to your list, you would never know. Approaching dating like you would a job interview or shopping trip can create superficial connections that ultimately fizzle out.


Consider your needs versus your wants

Our needs and wants in a partner are two different things. You may think you want someone who can be your adventure buddy, but what you need is someone who can teach you how to fully relax and let go. When considering what you need in a relationship you'll have to think about what parts of yourself you still want to improve and work on. It's okay to not love your partner's hobbies — in fact, it can even be healthy. Having the space for you both to have your own identities outside of the relationship is paramount. 


"A benefit of dating outside your type is growing and learning, and escaping a box. Showing an openness to new experiences can be very rewarding," dating coach Connell Barrett told Elite Daily.

If you find yourself wanting to be more social and come out of your shell, dating a fellow introvert who dislikes going out won't help you in achieving this goal for yourself. Seeking partners who round us out as people is going to lead to a much more worthwhile connection than a partner who is okay with us being stagnant. Relationships have to have room for both parties to continue to grow and evolve if you ever want them to work out long-term.  

Getting over the fear of having nothing in common

A big reason why people cling to their idea of a type is that dating someone we feel we have nothing in common with can be a daunting challenge. Having a type can be a safe way to create a foundation of shared interests, but it can trip you up if that's the only thing you and your partner share. It can be easier to figure out if you and a potential partner have shared interests — what's more difficult is understanding if you have shared foundations and beliefs for the world. Having a similar foundation can make for a stronger relationship in the long run.


"Not having an immediate attraction to someone can work in your favor by allowing you to get to know the other person without feeling pressure or getting distracted by the physical chemistry," Roxy Zarrabi Psy. D. told Psychology Today.

It can take time to learn this about someone else though, meaning you'll have to get through a few dates of potentially awkward small talk before you start to understand someone as a person. Taking the time to get to know a potential partner has so many benefits, like seeing how your partner interacts with other people before you commit. If you're worried about the awkward stage of dating, try choosing activities that can help you smooth this time over.

Activities that get you both thinking and talking beyond superficial subjects are a great way to determine how your date asserts itself in the world. Consider going to an art museum, bookshop, park, or movie. These environments not only let you both share your opinions but can offer insight into if your date listens to you and respects different world views.


The benefit to dating outside your type

Dating someone who doesn't match your typical type can introduce you to new things you may have never known you'd enjoy. Plus, losing the strict expectations opens up your dating pool significantly. Widening the search for love creates more opportunities to find it. When we date a person who falls outside our normal type, we start a new chapter for ourselves.


"Once you are consciously aware that dating people who are your type doesn't equate to happiness, you can open your eyes that what is familiar is not necessarily good," psychologist Diane Strachowski, Ed. D. told Byrdie.

It takes a certain level of open-mindedness and confidence to ditch your usual dating type. Not only are you looking for a partnership that will help you grow, but you're putting in the work yourself to grow on your own. The best fit for you is always going to be someone who offers unconditional love and support. When you begin dating with the mindset of how this person makes me feel, instead of how this person matches your type, you open yourself up to creating deeper, longer-lasting connections.