Relationships

Everybody Has A Type, Even You—How To Change Your Dating Trends

By Nikoleta Klikovac··  7 min read
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“I don’t have a type!” We’ve all heard it before, some of us have even made this declaration ourselves. But is it true?

We can define a “type” as unintentional similarities in multiple partners. These similarities aren’t qualities that you’re consciously looking for in a partner, so kindness and generosity don’t count. Sorry, ladies!

The journey to understand your type can be a long one, but psychologist Lisa Firestone says there is a simple first step everyone can take. Besides understanding what a “type” is, we must understand how our attractions work. This can require a bit of self-reflection, which can be scary when your type is less-than-satisfactory, but it’s the first step to changing the kind of people you date.

How Does Attraction Work?

“We have to understand a basic law of attraction: We choose people whose defenses fit with ours,” Firestone said in Psychology Today.

“Defenses” are the way we cope with our environment. They apply to finding complements to our own personalities. These usually start in our childhoods. For example, a clingy adult may have not received enough attention as a child. Therefore, someone clingy may find themselves attracted to those who are more aloof because it’s a copy of a relationship they’re familiar with. Two aloof people would not complement each other in a relationship, so the opposites attract rule can apply the same as it would in your favorite romance novel or Hallmark Christmas movie.

Unfortunately, these trends are not always positive in finding our perfect match. Firestone says we tend to replicate the relationships we grew up with in our homes. While those with healthy childhoods have an advantage, those with less than perfect home lives may be inclined to seek unhealthy romantic relationships. 

What Your Location Has To Do with It

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examined the characteristics individuals looked for in their partners. The study’s primary author, Paul Eastwick, determined that people do have a type: “Sometimes it [your type] reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live.”

Dating in NYC is completely different than dating in Chicago because a different kind of person is drawn to each city.

I never considered the role that the city you live in can play in your dating life. Upon further thought, though, it makes sense. Dating in New York is completely different than dating in Chicago because a different kind of person is drawn to each city. With different political views, socioeconomic standings, and other factors, your dating pool isn’t just limited based on where you live, it’s completely different.

Your Type Also Has a Type, and It May Be You

“We probably end up dating similar kinds of people because we do have a type, because we attract a certain type of person, and because we just happen to be in situations where we encounter a certain type of person more frequently,” Gwendolyn Seidman said in Psychology Today.

Perhaps it’s not just that you have a type, but that you may appeal to a certain kind of person. Regardless of your romantic interests, you’re limited to those interested in you. So, if only a certain type of person is attracted to you, then your dating pool is limited. This could be the best news in the world if you have consistently dated phenomenal people, but not as much if your track record isn’t quite so good, like mine.

“Imagine that you're very easy-going…people who are more controlling, or just fussy about their activities, might especially like that quality and find you easier to get along with. Again, this wouldn't be because you especially like or seek out controlling or fussy people. In essence, rather than you having a consistent type, you might be that type's type,” Seidman said.

All three of these factors are things that are seemingly out of our control. It’s unrealistic to up and move every time you notice a trend in your dating patterns. You can’t fully control who finds you attractive, even if they may not be your ideal person. The only option left is to change your type. 

Changing Your Type

Your type can be limited to one or multiple characteristics. Not every man you date will have the same appearance, the same interests, or the same personality. In fact, they could all be different, like they were in my case. Once you find the one persisting trait in your partners, however, it’ll become obvious that having a type is a universal experience.

My own type turned out to be men who were self-absorbed – I was attracted to conceitedness. Though I still haven’t determined what experience would have caused this, I’m confident that a deeper look into myself would help me discover why this less-than-attractive trait is so attractive to me. 

Not all hope is lost if your type has less than admirable traits. The key to stopping an undesirable trend in dating is simply to figure out what your type is. Once women begin to realize what traits they’re unconsciously attracted to, it’s much easier to avoid the people who possess them. Dating patterns can be reconfigured just by paying attention to them. Changing your dating trends is all about self-awareness. 

Changing your dating trends is all about self-awareness.

“Finding people who challenge our defenses and offer us a more secure attachment is the best strategy for changing our ideas about how relationships work, challenging critical feelings about ourselves, and ultimately even changing our patterns so we can bring more love and closeness into our lives,” Firestone said.

I realized this and began changing my dating habits. Past dates and boyfriends were quick to put their own needs ahead of mine. That’s reasonable in some circumstances, especially in a month-long relationship, but not as a constant trend. I began taking a good look at the men I was interested in and figuring out whether they fit the mold I had created in the past. Once I realized how common they were in my life, I decided to take a different approach, this time in the right direction.

For the first time, I found myself catching feelings for a man who cared for me and wanted me to be happy no matter what. Even though the relationship didn’t work out because long distance is daunting, he was proof I could change my type. He never hid how he felt for me, and he constantly put forth an effort to make sure I knew he would always be there for me. Even once we ended things, he still showed how much he cared for me by remaining a close friend and encouraging me in all of my passions. 

Closing Thoughts

No matter what your type is, good or bad, you do have the power to change it if you want to. You can make the decision to find someone different from those you have dated in the past, with a lot of work. It’s definitely not easy. Sometimes, it’s really hard to turn away from familiar traits, even when they aren’t good for you. Nonetheless, finding that new kind of person to date is one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world.

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Seek Truth. Find Beauty.

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