Shrink Wrap

What we can learn from the trials and triumphs of celebrity relationships.

Cameron Diaz: Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone?

Widening your romantic margins

It looks like actress Cameron Diaz has found her rock, or more specifically her rocker. She has been spotted out and about with her new man, rock band Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden. Sources close to the couple say Benji is "madly in love" with the Something About Mary star, but she is looking to take it slow. Cameron has been previously linked to pro baseball players and suave leading men including Alex Rodriguez, Justin Timberlake and Matt Dillon, so dating the tattooed hard rocker seems to be something new for her. She says she hasn’t given up on romance. “I’m totally down for love,” she said. “And I now know that what is most attractive in a man to me is authenticity ... I am attracted to someone who knows who he is.” All this romance in the air raises the question if stepping out of your comfort zone might open up a whole new world of dating possibilities. If so, how do you become aware that you are boxing yourself in, and can you define your type so you can branch out and be open to someone new?

Everyone typically has "their type" - whether it is tall, short, brown or blond hair, conservative or free- spirited - and as a result instantly screen out people who they think aren't it. Some people even gravitate to familiar names that surprisingly are often ones that are the same or similar to their siblings. This can happen without even realizing it. In my book Adult Sibling Rivalry I talk about this, calling the phenomenon The Invisible Sibling because when this happens someone might be either trying to recreate a good sibling relationship, or have a chance to fix a bad one.

Instead of allowing yourself to be locked in to what you think you like, whether that is appearance, a particular name, age or a profession, widen your margins and be open to someone new and different. Give yourself a chance to discover if, in fact, you might find something attractive or appealing in a person you previously would never have given a chance. You might even discover that you like a different “type” more. By increasing your options you will greatly increase your odds, and thereby stop limiting yourself from finding the enduring relationship you are looking for.

Once you let those labels go, the real key to gauging if someone is the right person for you is how you feel about them and how they make you feel about yourself. Do you feel that you can be open and honest without worrying that you are looking foolish and being judged? Do you feel appreciated, acknowledged and cared for? Do you laugh together and find that you see the world through the same eyes often enough?

On the surface Cameron is the girl next door, and Benji is a tattooed hard rocker. But clearly she didn’t let those categories hold her back from finding happiness and love. In the same way that actors can be typecast for certain roles, people too often typecast who they want to date. Cameron is a great example of stepping out of the romantic box people so often put themselves in. She has not limited herself by age, profession, appearance or anything else, but rather seems willing to connect with men whom she has described as feeling authentic to her. If you are willing to look beyond the dating norms you’ve set for yourself, who knows what happy ending you might find? Welcome the unknown, and see who comes your way.

Please tune in to “Let’s Talk Sex” which streams live on HealthyLife.net every last Tuesday of the month at 2 PM EST, 11 AM Pacific. We look forward to listener call-in questions, dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships, at 1.800.555.5453.

Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.

            For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.

Jane Greer, Ph.D., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, author of What about Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship, and radio host of Doctor on Call.

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