Everyone has a type, right? That specific kind of person that they constantly date over and over again? My roommate had dated three different guys, all of whom were reserved and quiet and wore glasses. My friend seemed to only be interested in blondes. And my cousin had a weird fixation on dentists. And me? I always found myself being drawn to loud, obnoxious chatty types.
Now I’m all for self-awareness. I think there is a lot of importance in understanding yourself and understanding what you want. It gives you direction, drive, and ambition. But let’s be real here: I didn’t really know what I want. As a person who had never been in a relationship, I really shouldn’t have restricted myself to a specific genre of people. And yet, that’s what I did.
When I met him, I couldn’t help but be attracted. We were introduced by some mutual friends, and my initial impression was one of hope. He was sweet, silly, and very attractive. But he was reserved. Quiet and conservative. He wasn’t nearly as upfront as the other guys I’ve been interested in. Didn’t have the same swag or demeanor. Didn’t share that obnoxious level of confidence. He just wasn’t my “type”. Nope. Not at all. And yet, I found myself wanting to see him more, happy in his presence.
This happiness, however, just didn’t seem justifiable to me. How could I be happy with this guy who was so different from what I was used to? I admittedly spent way too much time thinking about our relationship. I compared him to other guys and obsessed over our “lack of compatibility”. He was way too quiet. He wasn’t flirty enough. His sense of humor just wasn’t right. It came to the point where I harassed my friends for advice that I never took anyway, where I demanded reassurance from them before every date, where I would second guess the legitimacy of my own happiness, where I was contemplating breaking things off with a guy who made me happy. All because he wasn’t my “type”.
I knew this was silly, but I couldn’t get past it. Because I hate to admit it, but my “type” had a stupid amount of importance for me. It was something that I created while spending my life watching rom-coms and obsessing over random guys. Every boy I had a crush on in middle school, every guy who made me feel special, every male hero I fell in love with in a book or movie, had become a part of my “type”. My “type” was every heart-fluttering experience I’ve ever had, every butterfly I’ve ever felt. It was memories of unrequited love and prepubescent heartbreak and cheesy romantic fantasies all tied up in string and tucked away into a box with the words “I DESERVE THIS!” written on it in red Sharpie. I knew exactly what I wanted. I could picture the guy that I would wake up next to. I knew how he would look, how he would kiss me, how he would tease me and pick me up from behind. I had illustrated my soulmate, and every guy I liked was just an attempt to get closer to this picture. That was my “type”
And this guy wasn’t it. I spent nights thinking about every guy he wasn’t. Every characteristic he didn’t have. Every fantasy he couldn’t fill…
My friend called me out for this, and let me tell you: nothing puts things in perspective better than your best friend sitting you down and cussing at you for 15 minutes because you’re having a nervous breakdown about a date.
She berated me for my problematic behavior and my rather illogical thinking process, pointing out the incredibly toxic effects they were causing to my life. Because let’s be real for a second. You want to be self-detrimental? Sabotaging your relationship with someone that makes you smile and laugh and giggle and blush. That’s how you be self-detrimental. She reaffirmed me of my feelings for this guy. And finally she reality checked me by accusing me of making stupid excuses that would convince myself from facing my fear of commitment (which is a complete other story).
For the first time, I studied the relationship objectively. He was a great guy, and we had a lot of fun together. Being with him was comfortable and easy. It felt natural; I was happy. The existence of other guys couldn’t change that fact. I stopped comparing him; I focused on what we had; I accepted the happiness that I had been rejecting due to its “invalidity”; and I CALMED THE FUCK DOWN.
Everything seemed to fit. Turns out, his calm demeanor was a good balance to my chatty, eccentric nature. He was a great listener. He listened to my annoying rants and crazy spiels, patiently and understandingly. His reserve, surprisingly, kept the relationship interesting. I took every moment trying to uncover every little quirk in his character, and each one kept me bewildered and wanting more. It was different from anything I’ve had with a guy. It was interesting. It was exciting…
I get it. You don’t really care about my sappy love story, my relationship, or my life for that matter. Hearing about some pretentious person’s love life isn’t fun, and it’s even worse they start trying to give you unsolicited advice. But you somehow made it this far so I’m definitely not letting you leave without understanding a few things.
Love is not your favorite rom-com. It’s not you’re favorite novel. It’s not that dream you have at night or that fantasy lingering in your heart. And it’s certainly not anything you can write into your future no matter how bad you want it. This a cruel yet ultimate truth: YOU ARE NOT GOD, AND RYAN GOSLING IS NOT GONNA SHOW UP AT YOUR LOCAL COFFEE SHOP AND OFFER TO BUY YOU A SCONE! Because I’m sorry to say this, but your fantasies are bullshit. I get it: we all have imaginations and it’s completely impossible to prevent your brain from pulling that shit. But the moment your fantasies near the realm of expectations and begin materializing as your “type” is the moment you start hurting your opportunities in finding a real person.
In no way am I telling you not to dream. I am, however, telling you to check yourself and your fantasies every now and then. Remind yourself to not to use your fantasies as a gage or requirement for your real life opportunites. Unfortunately fantasies are impossible standards to compare reality to. They’re like the pictures of that perfect hamburger in fast food advertisements. When you’re finally able to grasp the fact that your hamburger is not gonna look like the picture, only then will you be able to enjoy your significantly shittier-looking burger and all its deliciously greasy glory.
ALSO, yes, you are allowed to enjoy that burger even though the sesame seeds are weirdly spaced out on the bun and the lettuce is an uncomplementary color to the red of the tomato. While not all feelings and emotions are explainable, they are valid, and it’s best to accept them and trust them. In the end, love is an emotion, or at least an emotion-based concept. Because of this, your strive for love should be directed and led by your emotions. If you want to be happy, do what makes you happy. Even if that means going out with the guy thats not your “type”. Because, although this is a very flawed, overly simplistic, and inaccurate statement, being happy is really what love is about.
Now, I just want to make sure you know that I didn’t tell you all this to show you how bullshit-ty having a type is. Because having a type is kinda helpful, especially when trying to sort through that excessive pool of guys outside your window. But, in the end, I would say it’s bullshit enough that it shouldn’t be the final deciding factor, and it definitely shouldn’t be controlling your dating life. There is a ridiculous amount of different people in the world– like 7 billion of them– and in the end you would be making a more educated decision if you tried a good sampling beforehand. Kinda like when you sample every flavor at an ice cream store before ordering. Because even though it might be scary and different, you really shouldn’t continue to order Rocky Road when you’ve never even tried Mint Chocolate Chip.
And let’s be real for a second. If you’re really on the hunt for the perfect ice cream flavor, why would you keep getting Rocky Road? I mean, yeah, you’ve loved Rocky Road since you were little, but the marshmallows always get caught in your teeth and you don’t even like almonds. If things aren’t working out with that ice cream then there’s probably something wrong with it. You might need something fruity instead. Or maybe one of those ice creams that has brownie pieces mixed through it. Or maybe something that’s just really wild and crazy. Like cotton candy-flavored ice cream. Don’t let that weird blue food coloring–filled ice cream freak you out. It might be really good, and, honestly, it deserves a fair chance. Like the worst thing that could happen is that you don’t like it.
And who knows? If you’re really lucky, you might find out that you like really like cotton candy ice cream. Like way more than Rocky Road.