When I was 4 years old, my aunt took me to a grocery store and pushed me in a cart. A man walked by me and my 4 year old lips said “That’s a fine man aunty. When I get old I’m gonna marry me a fine man.” Yes, I said this yawl. My lips were prophesying because til this day, I still have an extreme soft spot for attractive men. I have picked looks over character more times than I can count. I have broken my own heart going after abs and dimples because the lust of my flesh just couldn’t refuse that fine man my 4 year old self loved so much. Don’t let him be tall, it’s a wrap for me and my common sense because I’m releasing boundaries and standards just to climb that ladder. Give us free! But recently, I realized one of the biggest reasons I’m single is due to my type. As I type this, I am in the process of unlearning my type. I know what to do but I am going through the process of applying my knowledge.
Everyone walking this earth has a type. Whether you want to admit it or not, that’s your business but we all have preferences. Even if someone tells you they will date just about anyone, if you give them an option, they will choose what they prefer. There is absolutely nothing wring with having a type. I believe having a preference is extremely important because everyone is different. If we didn’t have preferences, there would be no need for everyone to be unique. We could all just be the same. Now that I’ve driven home my opinion of having “a type”, let’s talk about the downfall of only dating your type. Yes, I just said there is nothing wrong with preferring something over another and there isn’t. But if you only choose what you prefer every single time, you’re missing out on a whole lot of other options that could be more beneficial. I’ve missed out on a few great guys because I was thinking with my eyes and not my common sense. If I’m going beyond just the physical, I also preferred what was comfortable to me. Growing up with an emotionally unavailable mom made emotionally unavailable men subconsciously attractive to me. It sounds absolutely nuts but many of us are subconsciously attracted to things we’re unaware of. This is why self-awareness is so important because you can’t break cycles you’re unaware of. So as I type this smack dab in the middle of my own unlearning process, here’s how I plan to start dating outside of my own preference.
Understand You Type and Why It’s Unhealthy
I’ve already mentioned that my type was fine men. In high school and college, I literally only dated athletes and pretty boys. I would naively say this out loud with pride. To me, dating an athlete or pretty boy not only satisfied my visual desires but it also gave me a boost of confidence. I wanted validation from outside people so if I dated men who were really attractive I felt I’d get props. This is why self-worth is so important because we date at our level of self-worth and we will pick wrong if it’s lacking. As discussed before, I had a tendency to be attracted to emotionally unavailable men due to how I grew up. Now I look for signs that a guys is emotionally unavailable before investing any energy. Lastly, I have a huge tendency to romanticize minimum effort. I am a hopeless romantic so any small form of romance and I put on my rose colored glasses thinking this guy is just so great when he didn’t really do anything. All these characteristics make up the men in my past and every one of these situations failed. I will now focus less on good looks and more on character, stability, and emotional availability. No more breaking my own heart.
Keep Your Standards and Boundaries but Release Your Physical Preference
The biggest misconception with dating outside of your type is that you have to settle. That’s not true at all when your standards and boundaries are based on factors that will lead you to a happy and healthy relationship. I’m sorry but height, abs, wardrobe, and status aren’t factors that’ll help build a lasting relationship. Yes, you should definitely be attracted to your partner but being super hung up on how tall they are or how you don’t like their shoes is going to keep you single or keep you in unhealthy relationships. Your standards should be things like good communication, dependable, ambitious, disciplined. Your boundaries should be things like no overnight stays until we’re official, not house visits until we establish trust, no meeting my friends until I know this is serious. This is saying yes to someone you usually wouldn’t but keeping your standards and boundaries while you explore this new atmosphere.
Be Patient With Yourself When You Fumble
Listen, change is a marathon not a sprint. You can not wake up a new person. You have to wake up every single day committed to changing and staying consistent with the process. There will be days when you’re doing an excellent job but there will also be days when you fall back into old habits. Do not beat yourself up when you fumble. I am a very wise woman. I can give advice for days and give you ways to implement change. But yet and still I pick what’s comfortable. Comfortable is easy and convenient. It is hard to say no to comfort so even I fail sometimes. But I don’t beat myself up. I recognize it and I tell myself “No, we can’t continue this. Let’s pivot and get back on track.” It’s just that simple. The longer you stay down, the harder it is to get back up. This is why you must be patient with yourself and not dwell on failures.
Understand That Better Exists
When all you’ve experienced is negativity in an area of your life, it’s easy to become bitter about it. Once that bitterness sets in, you lose hope that better exists so you just stop believing for it. With a mindset like this, you can never meet anyone better than your past because you don’t believe it exists. So if you meet a person that’s great, you’ll push them away because your mind wants to continue to believe that only bad exists so you’ll fulfill that prophecy. This is why you have to first adjust your mindset before you can date outside of your type. You have to believe that better than you’ve experienced exists. There are faithful men walking this earth. There are emotionally intelligent men walking this earth. There are romantic men walking this earth. There are men who love God and are submitted to Him walking this earth. I haven’t experienced them yet but I know they exist and I will meet them soon.
Get Exposed to New Places
The reason I keep meeting the same type of guys is because I am in the same places. In order for a change in pace, I have to change my surroundings. In January, I took myself off dating apps forever. I had a quick slip up last month where I signed up for Facebook dating but I got off after 15 minutes because I knew I was falling into old patterns. There’s nothing wrong with online dating but it’s just not for me. But I know I can go outside to cigar lounges, golf clubs, upscale restaurants, networking events, etc in order to be exposed to a better fit person for myself. Sometimes, you have to change your environment to be exposed to better options.