The Surprising Benefits of Dating Someone Who Isn’t Your Type
Dating someone who isn't your type can result in these four unexpected benefits.
Posted Sep 29, 2020
Most people have one or two favorite flavors of ice cream they generally gravitate to. Despite the vast variety of flavors available, many people who are creatures of comfort tend to be drawn to what is familiar to them. Trying out a different ice cream flavor may not feel like much of a risk but for some people it may feel like wandering into unknown territory without knowing the taste and if one will enjoy it. If someone is open to trying new flavors, they may be surprised to find they enjoy another flavor just as much or even more than their favorite flavor.
Similarly, research has shown that many people also have a particular type they typically date. If you notice that you are dating the same kind of partner over and over again, then you have a “type.” Having a type can refer to physical attributes as well as certain personality characteristics that are similar across all partners (such as someone creative, spontaneous, or outgoing). Often when you have a particular type you are drawn to repeatedly without success, there is a reason it isn’t working out. Dating someone who isn’t your type can result in the following unexpected benefits:
1. You may learn that what you want is not necessarily what you need
If you haven’t given people who aren’t your type a chance in the past, you may be surprised to learn that some of the qualities you thought you wanted in a partner are not necessarily what you need. For example, maybe you are primarily drawn to outgoing partners but end up having a strong connection with an introverted partner who you wouldn’t typically have been drawn to.
2. You may learn something new or surprising about yourself
The beauty of dating someone who isn’t your type is that you will probably be less inhibited and as a result may go out of your comfort zone and end up learning something new about yourself. This person may also expose you to new hobbies or activities that you didn’t think you would enjoy.
3. You may become more flexible in your dating approach
Even if things don’t work out with someone who isn’t your type, it can help you learn how to be more flexible and open to new experiences with people who may not necessarily be your type but could have long-term future potential.
4. You may learn your attraction to a potential partner can grow over time
Just as your attraction to someone can wane over time, attraction to others can also grow over time. Some of the strongest romantic bonds have been built as attraction has grown organically over time. 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. This can allow you to be present when dating someone new and increases the chances of building a long-term connection with them.
Ultimately dating someone who isn’t your type can be an incredible learning experience that opens you up to new possibilities, helps you learn more about your wants versus your needs in a partner, and potentially leads you to a long-term relationship that lasts. Next time you’re tempted to write someone off because they’re not your typical type, consider giving them a chance, you may be surprised by what you learn.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.
Park, Y., & Macdonald, G. (2019). Consistency between individuals past and current romantic partners own reports of their personalities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(26), 12793–12797. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902937116