In my past dating life, there was one mistake I made over and over again: I focused more on finding a specific type of person than on finding someone who could simply make me happy.
I had a list in my head of all the qualities I needed to look for in any potential significant other. And to be perfectly honest, a lot of them were quite ridiculous. I attached a lot of importance to these things, though, and didn’t realize until last year—when I met my current boyfriend—that they weren’t so important after all. As he and I got to know each other, I slowly learned what it meant to fall in love with a person rather than an idea.
There was a time when I wouldn’t even consider dating guys who were the same age as me. Older guys were more mature, after all, I told myself, and more intriguing. Then I met my boyfriend, who is my age and far more mature than any older guy I had met before, and I stopped associating age with maturity so much.
I also used to focus way too much on stereotypes in the past. I wanted a guy with that rough punk-rock edge, someone unconventional and exciting—essentially, a “bad boy.” I believed every girl had a “type,” and while some could be content with the plain, ordinary guys, they just weren’t for me. Looking back, that all seems so childish now. I can’t imagine looking for a romantic partner who fits a specific label. What matters much more to me now is that the person treats me and everyone else around him with compassion, kindness and respect.
And I always paid close attention to guys’ tastes in music, movies, books and clothes. It’s natural to want those tastes of your partner’s to match up with your own, but the problem was, I let myself believe that those things said something bigger about one’s personality, and it just became another means of boxing people into “types.” My current boyfriend and I have plenty of differences in our interests—and that’s perfectly fine by me, because when it comes to what we want out of life and what we want from each other, we’re always on the same page.
The pitfall of only seeking out partners who are “your type” is that when you narrow your focus that much, you miss the big, important stuff. You end up sacrificing your true values and the things you know deep down are real building blocks of a solid relationship: being able to grow together as a team, to communicate honestly and trust that the person is listening, to be treated with patience and fairness, and to know you’ve got someone who has your back no matter what life throws at you. A relationship founded solely on “type” is superficial and more likely to fail because you aren’t seeing the person for who they truly are.
My boyfriend and I have been going strong for over a year now and our relationship has made me happier than I ever thought I could be. He’s not at all what I thought my “type” was, and nonetheless, he’s perfect for me in so many ways. If I had stuck to my old habits, I would’ve missed out on the most fulfilling relationship I’ve ever had. So don’t be so quick to write someone off just because they aren’t “your type”—because that person might turn out to be exactly what you’ve been searching for all along.