As much as I hate to admit it, I have a type. That type is, basically, the boy version of me but with, you know, male physical parts. I never really understood the old saying, “Opposites attract.” In my mind, why would I want to date someone opposite of me? What if I’m going on and on about my love for Bernie Sanders, but the guy I’m dating is pro-Trump? And, when it comes to movies and concerts, of course we can forget about going to those together, or even hitting up a restaurant afterward, because I’ll want a burger while he’s a vegetarian. My type would want all the same things I want, so why would I branch outside my type? It never made sense to me.
But then I met (and eventually married) a man who could not have been any further from my type even if he tried. Sure, he had the handsome thing down, but he was older than me, his favorite band was The Beatles (my type of guy does NOT like The Beatles), and instead of being one of the hard drinking New Yorkers who worked 80 hours a week who feared commitment, like the ones I’d always known, my husband was anything but that. It was a lesson, for sure.
It was also a lesson that made me realize we all need to date someone who isn’t our type at least once in our life. Having a type is great, but you really need to branch out sometimes. Here’s why.
1. You’ll learn things you didn’t even know existed.
As much as I loathe The Beatles and always will, I learned that Paul McCartney is actually a decent person and John Lennon was a wife beater. Of course that latter one is the most uplifting example, but I will say that he taught me things that no other boyfriend had taught me simply because he wasn’t my type.
2. You’ll gain a higher tolerance for others.
We tend to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us, because it’s comfortable, easy, and safe, so of course the same can be said for dating our type. But when you branch out and are exposed to the friends of the person you’re dating who isn’t your type, you realize there are so many more of them out there! And ample exposure to them will help you in the tolerance category.
3. They’ll bring something to your life you didn’t know was possible.
Not only did this person bring to my life the reality that I could actually be genuinely happy (and madly in love) with someone who’s not my type, he added color, too. It was hard to get bored with him, because he was so different from all the rest.
4. You can pat yourself on your back for opening your mind.
The problem with having a type is similar to the mindset of only shopping at one store, only wearing one color, or having the same haircut for decades (I’m looking at your Anna Wintour), is that you aren’t living your best life. You’re sticking to what you know, assuming it’s the best fit, and never trying out anything else. It’s boring, and yet you don’t even realize it’s boring, because you’ve never given anything else a chance. Which brings us to…
5. It will be a challenge.
It’s not easy dating someone who isn’t your type because they’re the opposite of everyone you’ve dated before. Stepping outside that old comfort zone presents you challenges every day. Which is good! Your partner should challenge you!
6. Your type might change.
In loving a man who was so opposite from my type, it made me realize that all the superficial stuff I once attributed to my type was meaningless. Since then, my “type” has evolved. My type no longer has to like the same music as me, be a hardcore drinker, or even be a walking ad for J.Crew. Now, my type has to have a good heart, all his limbs, and a full time job. Oh, and be a liberal. And definitely have all his teeth. And he can’t be a hunter. Or have any kids. Or be a cat person. And a maybe a couple other things.
7. You’ll learn more about who and what you want.
Not only will dating someone who isn’t your type make you realize there are more people out there to date and love, but it will make you comprehend your needs and wants for yourself and your relationships more. You’ll have a better concept of what type you need around for the long run and what type is best for a casual fling.