How To Let Go Of Your “Type” And Broaden Your Dating Horizons

How To Let Go Of Your “Type” And Broaden Your Dating Horizons iStock/Dimensions

If you look back at your past relationships, it’s clear you have a “type.” Whether you’re a sucker for a guy who looks a certain way, works in a certain career field, or just has a specific personality trait you find attractive, you gravitate to men who are nearly carbon copies of one another. We all have our own preferences, but what you think you want isn’t necessarily what’s right for you. If you keep striking out in love, it may be time to kick your “type” to the curb and broaden your dating horizons — here’s how to do it.

  1. Do a little self-reflection to identify your patterns.  You can’t change your current patterns without identifying what they actually are. This is the time to get real with yourself about any toxic cycles you may be caught in or behaviors you may exhibit that continually trap you in unhealthy or simply unsuccessful relationships. The sooner you realize the commonalities in all of these failed partnerships, the sooner you can begin to work on them.
  2. Examine your underlying (and limiting) beliefs. Are there any ideas you’re holding onto that are limiting or simply untrue? Do you believe in any unfair stereotypes or prejudices that mean you avoid certain types of guys? Or, do you maybe hold yourself back for going after certain guys because you believe you’re not on their level or that they wouldn’t like you for a specific reason? It goes without saying that ruling out people based on background, current circumstances, or anything else beyond their control isn’t just wrong, it’s self-defeating. In order to broaden your dating horizons, you’ll need to get rid of these limiting beliefs.
  3. Be open to new experiences and opportunities. The same old, same old will never get you anywhere new. It’s important that you at least consider going new places, trying new activities, and giving it a shot with a guy who might be nowhere near your type. Not only will that get you out of your current right, it also gives you the chance to be very pleasantly surprised by what comes your way.
  4. Expand your social circle. To broaden your dating horizons, you should also expand your friend group. Plenty of people still meet through mutual friends, so the wider your circle of acquaintances and pals, the more chance you have of meeting someone who’s interesting, attractive, and all about getting to know you too. Not only that, but a sense of community alleviates loneliness and takes the pressure of finding love because you never feel alone. Double win!
  5. Try different dating apps. If you’re a hardcore Tinder devotee but keep meeting guys who flake on you or who only want to hook up, what are you even doing? You’re going to keep meeting the same types of guys on there as you always have — that won’t change unless you do. That means hitting up Hinge, Bumble, or any other dating apps that might be more in tune with who you are and what you’re looking for.
  6. Get curious again. It’s so easy to start feeling jaded when you’ve been in one too many bad relationships (or situationships), but don’t let it happen. When you first entered the dating scene, you likely felt excited about the endless possibilities out there. You never knew what type of guy you were going to meet and whether one would come along to sweep you off your feet. To broaden your dating horizons, embrace that old sense of innocent curiosity. Let go of the hurt and disappointment and try to go into things with fresh eyes. You might discover some incredible things.
  7. Discover new interests and passions. There are so many opportunities to cross paths with amazing people in this life, especially if you’re someone with a lot of hobbies and interests. Whether you want to learn Japanese in night classes or join the book club at your local bookstore, get out there and do things you love (or try things you might love once you get a taste for them). This will broaden your personal and your dating horizons with some potentially impressive results.
  8. Let go of your dating checklist and focus on core values. If you’re someone who’s stuck to a rigid list of must-haves when it comes to guys, it’s time to rip it up and throw it away. Guys don’t have to tick off every single item on your list to be really good partners (in general and for you). Instead, focus on the core things that truly matter, like finding someone who’s honest, respectful, and truly cares about you.
  9. Look for potential growth opportunities. While you should never go for a “project guy” or one that you have to fix, you should totally approach dating from a perspective of growth. Dating someone outside of your type is likely to be somewhat of a challenge, especially because the relationship likely won’t go the way your past ones have. This is a good thing! Look for situations and people you can learn and grow from, and recognize that this is most likely to happen when you broaden your dating horizons.
  10. Be more flexible. Learn to adapt and flow within relationships, developing an ability to connect with people who may be different but complementary to your personality. It’s not all your way or the highway — relationships are a give and take and learning to go with the flow is a must, especially if you’re looking for something long-term. Don’t jump ship the minute something doesn’t go the way you wanted or expected it to. While you shouldn’t stick around in an obviously toxic situation, offer up a little grace at times.
  11. Let yourself be vulnerable. By now, you’ve likely built up somewhat of a Teflon coating from dating the same types of guys over and over again. You know how to protect yourself from the inevitable disappointment that comes your way, and that means keeping your guard up. If you want to find a better dynamic with someone, you’ll need to get rid of that protective layer and allow yourself to open up.
  12. Learn from the successful relationships around you. This is one of the best things you can possibly do to broaden your dating horizons. While you never want to compare your own romantic life to anyone else’s, it’s certainly helpful (and inspiring) to look at successful love stories around you. Maybe your parents are still together 25 years down the line, or you have a friend who found her dream guy somewhere she least expected him. Looking to other love stories can really open your eyes and your heart to some really amazing possibilities.
Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.