Should You Date Against Your “Type”?

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My thesis — as well as most relationship experts’ thesis — is that what you’re most attracted to isn’t necessarily good for you, nor compatible in the long run. The answer to your compatibility woes is usually much more nuanced. Thus, you’re not giving up on your type; you’re trading off on certain qualities in order to find a better long-term fit for your life. 

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  1. 1

    The old over correction issue. Been there. Done that. Won’t do it again.

  2. 2

    The new format is good! I like hearing the voices of  the people who read this blog. It  brings a very welcome addition to the experience.

    Overcorrection is definitely something i suffered from when I started dating while reading Why He disappeared and started to follow your blog. I had had it up to here with  having very rigid expectations and winding up  with the crumb givers who i overinvested in without receiving anything as much in return. So in a bid to break through that, i decided to date all kinds of men who wrote to me on Okc. The problem with going overboard with the ‘i’ll date anyone’ type of openness is that i wound up  going on a lot of  dates I felt no chemistry with and looking at the clock praying for the date to be over. Maybe it was a much needed transition phase, but i was glad when i realized i could be a bit more  selective in whom i went on a first date with, as long as i kept myself open to new  men.

    My advice before  meeting someone is to look at their photos and profile and  e-mails  and state honestly to yourself whether you would find them attractive in real life. I am an all-or-nothing kind of person, I either find someone sexually attractive or not. I do fortunately find a wide range of men of all kinds of looks, backgrounds and personalities attractive (a big plus is that height  is a non-issue  for me, which widens the pool). You can only ever find out whether there will be chemistry in real life, but knowing you could see yourself being attracted to him sure does help. And if you do have a very specific type (whether it is looks or personality) visualize what it would be like to date the opposite. The knee jerk reaction is to go ew/preferences are preferences etc. Yet i found that when i visualized going out with fun and  upbeat non crumb givers i felt massively uncomfortable (hello, attachment style) but also curiously elated.

    1. 2.1



      Holy sm-kes Malika.   This is so well said.   I think many of us, I included, have a difficult time with this

    2. 2.2


      We have more in common that just having names just one letter apart! I’m with you, all the way, girlfriend! All of the above applies equally to me. We should be each other’s wingwomen 😉

    3. 2.3

      I did that too Malika. I can’t date someone that is not physically attractive to me from from the start. The chemistry has to be there in physical form – chemistry can then be built up by the personality (or removed too) – but it has to start out there physically.

      Problem for me is, looking at the photos etc and deciding if in real life you will find a man attractive. It rules out A LOT  of men for me. (Men really need help with pictures they pick to put on dating sites!!!)

      Then there are the ones that you think “maybe” when you see their photos and then you meet them and in person they are nothing like those photos! Or they are physically appealing in person – but then their personality is nothing good in person, even if they were good on the phone. SIGH


      1. 2.3.1

        Hi SS and Marika:

        Thank you for the kind words. I sometimes wonder whether i am being too weird/picky with my method. Yet since i became pickier the first dates have become a whole lot better. If nothing else, they weren’t nearly as random than before.

        Hi QueenBee:

        I think you just worded my dating problems in 2016! Yes, it does rule out a whole lot of men. Even with less than stellar pictures, it is usually easy to gauge whether they would be physically attractive to me, and most men don’t pass that test ( I am sure i don’t pass many other men’s attractiveness test either!). I wish that was not the case, but i always remind myself that i only need to chat with a few men. In a bar i only find a couple of the men there attractive, so online dating doesn’t feel any different to me. The same goes for the eventual meetup. With the past first five dates, i felt nada with the first three for the exact reasons you stated. But the last two went  very well! It unfortunately didn’t work out with either of them (the one i really liked faded after three dates, the other wasn’t my type for the long term). But here’s hoping to a new year of possibilities for both of us!


    4. 2.4

      I know I overcorrected too. I had little to no boundaries for disrespect when it came to the men I was in love with in the past. and recently the guy i was with went to having all kinds of silly boundaries to keep from getting hurt only to still accept the one unacceptable thing in the end which was cheating which defeated the whole purpose. why he disappeared is a God send for me right now. when it comes to the dating scene I know I want to focus on qualities such as respectful, nice, interested in relationship, spends time, not distant, etc but I do struggle with a few things. for example height is an issue cause I am tall and feel less feminine the thought of towering over my guy. I want atleast tall as but im 5’11”. so all the great guys shorter im passing up cause im insecure about my height and how it would look lol. attractiveness is something I cant pin point. there are guys that I find attractive others don’t and vice versa. I think I am open but then again there are guys that they were not ugly but I was not attracted to them and cant say for sure why lol. so I guess right now im kinda in the phase you were malika which is im trying to be open and just try to judge by qualities that’s important. but I don’t plan to force myself to be with someone I have 0 attraction for either. so I think ill atleast give it to first date to decide its a no on the attraction/chemistry part. I just don’t want to do what I use to which is once I am in love and invested overlook the fact that they are bad for me just because they do spend time, make me laugh, is attractive, and we invested so much time in each other lol.

  3. 3

    Love the new format Evan and the questions and coaching touched on some familiar themes for me. Especially callers 1 and 2.


  4. 4

    I really enjoyed watching your coaching sessions.   I’d like to see more.   Thanks.

  5. 5

    I learned a lot on this podcast. I learned the most from Caller #2. I had never heard of attachment style. Thanks.

    1. 5.1
      Yet Another Guy

      Oh my lord, that call covered my marriage.   I was so glad when Evan finally told the caller that she was going to wear her boyfriend out because that is exactly what my ex did to me.

      1. 5.1.1

        I had the same experience with the last woman I dated. She was questioning if we were a match because I didn’t like sushi.

        She just harped about that and other minor things until I told her to take a hike.

        I think we humans are conditioned to focus on the one mistake or the proverbial “F” on the report card.


  6. 6

    Interesting podcast. Like the old Focus calls!   The thing that was the best advice was Caller #2’s second question. Thanks for answering it.   When trying to decide if you’ve gone too far to the other side, just check in with how you feel.   It’s sometimes hard to tell when you are making a change. The old way, while misguided, felt so good and familiar.   The new way or new type of person feels so uncomfortable, but logically you know they are better than others.   It’s not bad uncomfortable, but it’s uncomfortable.

    And sometimes things can feel right and then the feeling changes as you get to know someone.   I have only felt once that sort of instinctual knowing that I could accept a guy’s flaws. We broke up because he couldn’t accept his flaws. But I knew I could have dealt.   It’s kind of rare.   It also works when the guy lets you in earlier so you sort of know those flaws upfront even while in the hormonal haze.     Anyway, next time I’ll just try to trust my instincts. I am finally distinguishing between uncomfortable because he’s wrong for me and uncomfortable because I’m changing and making new choices.     The latter is scary but good scary.   In the former, the little things just persist and get more annoying and unacceptable to you.   It takes a little time to suss out, but eventually becomes clear over time.

  7. 7

    Enjoyed the new podcast format — especially as it gives me a better sense of what coaching with you would look/sound like!   Something to consider in the new year…

  8. 8

    As much as I want to go along with Evan  on this, I can’t quite get there. I think it really, really matters on what kind of person you are. For example, I know a lot of ladies that like a certain “look” but don’t consider true compatibility. Most of them, bless them, are people who have not done a lot of personal work to know themselves. I also know a lot of people who DO look for true compatibility and HAVE done a lot of personal work to know themselves and their issue. I’d tell the first group to date men outside of their type, but not the second.

    If you know yourself enough to know you are never going to want a long distance relationship / kids / a drinker / guy who won’t or can’t communicate, then  dating guys that do that, seems like a waste of HIS time, and unfair. If you are unsure or in doubt about what you want, then it seems reasonable to try it. I’ve just never personally been one of those people. My favorite foods from childhood are still the foods I like, and the things I never liked, I still don’t like them. When I look back at my relationships, they all ended over things that I saw very early on in the relationships, but thought “maybe we can talk it out” or “maybe I’m not being reasonable” – nope!! They just kept on being issues that got bigger and bigger and eventually killed the relationship. It has never served me to try to change fundamental aspects of myself to fit into the relationship.

    I do think I’ve wasted the time of guys that had crappy online photos and I hoped that they would be more attractive in person. Nope. I’ve wasted the time of guys that I didn’t find attractive and kept hoping their personality would win me over. It’s never happened. If I don’t want to kiss a man the first time I meet him, it’s never changed. Not once.

    I think that’s my metric – is it a fundamental aspect of a happy life for me? Meaning, can I see myself living with or without whatever it is? If I can’t be happy with/without it, then I would end the relationship. What I like about this is that there’s no blame or judgment about the partner. There’s just honoring what you need to be happy.

  9. 9

    My now husband is not the sort ofguy I typically would have dated when I started on line dating, and although I didn’t actually meet him online, i think online dating and Evan’s advice got me to a point where I was open enough to consider him when he came along. So thank you again Evan!

    The way online dating helped was that i did try to broaden the range of men i would go on a first date with – initially i didn’t date men with kids, then i realised most people my age have kids so I was reducing my dating pool a lot, so started trying dating men with kids. Initially i only dated university educated types – i started trying dates with those in other walks of life. I dated older men and younger men, different ethnic groups. What all this gave me was a more realistic idea of what’s out there. We think the online world is a sweet shop of endless posssibilities but in fact, the men on there are just the same men you meeet at the office or the bus stop. The cool 25 year old guitarist may have his profile on your dating site, but he doesn’t want to date you any more than he would if you met him in real life. He’s “on offer” but he’s not really “on offer”,   its just an illusion!

    Having dated all these different types, I did an exercise at one point where i wrote down what I liked/ didn’t like about all the guys I’d dated over the past 2 years. (say about 20 guys) Clearly you can’t create a composite person (“looks of date number 1   with sense of humor of date number 3”) but what this does do is allow you to truly see trends in what works/doesn’t work for you. You then end up with a real-life idea of what your “type” truly is – you may THINK clothes don’t matter but if you wrote off 6 guys because you didn’t like their dress sense then clearly, to you, clothes DO matter! I found that yes, dating men with dependent children just didn’t work for me, but dating non-university types was fine.

    I met my now husband on a singles holiday and had to overcome one of my biggest deal-breakers “lives hundreds of miles away”   – if it hadn’t been for Evan’s advice about being open to possibilities and my online dating experiments I’d still have been holding out for the childless university educated 5ft 11 guy in my own city who has plenty money and likes travel to exotic locations. I have now got my 5ft 9 childless, lowish income   dairy farmer from the south coast persuaded to go on safari holidays, so all has worked out in the end!




    1. 9.2

      Hi Helene:

      I have also reached the two year mark of dating different men. I love your advice on chalking up what works/does not work for you and letting yourself be open to different types without being eternally on the look out to the personification of your laundry list.  I have  gone on dates with about thirty men in the last two years. If i was going for the perfect composite it would be the looks of date number ten (he was seriously number ten and the most attractive man i have ever met) with everything-about-him-except-the-non-interest-in-a-serious-relationship-with-me of number thirty. Alas, life does not work that way, but who knows what form of amazing  dairy farmer the future will bring.

  10. 10

    Indeed! I think if I’d met mr dairy farmer at the beginning of the 2 year quest I might have been more reluctant to get involved with him because I didn’t have enough dating experience to realise what a good catch he is. In many ways I thinks its a bit like property hunting – everyone has their initial idea of their dream home, but when I hear of people who’ve been searching for 5 years and haven’t found a property they want, I think: either what they want doesn’t exist   (” a house right in the heart of the city with no traffic noise”) or what they want does exist, but its out of their price range. The sooner we accept reality and focus our search on something that is achievable for us, the less time we waste on pursuing a fantasy, the sooner we will find love – and a nice house!

  11. 11

    I had an online dating experience recently   that blew me away. I only swiped right as his profile picture was with an unusual breed of dog and I happened to be pet sitting the same type of dogs at the time. So I just had to ask him- about the fog! We hit it off instantly and chatted non stop every day for 2 weeks before we met. BUT I was in no way attracted to him judging by his pics. I even told my friends that I am excited to meet him as I know we are going to get along, but I do not find him sexually attractive so no chance of romance. And then we met. The moment he hugged me hallo and I looked into his eyes I was thinking ‘I want to kiss this guy,!.’ I couldn’t believe the chemistry between us and I ended up finding him so handsome even though he was not at all what you’d generally consider a good looking guy. And so against my type with pearcings, tattoos, beard and other things I’d never thought I’d be OK with physically. So yes don’t judge a guy by his picture only, you just never know. Anyway he is the reason I found Evan as he did the typical ‘not ready for serious let’s be friends’   text after a whirlwind romance I thought was actually going to be the real thing. I cut him off completely knowing where this will end, with me being strung along. Whenever I feel like texting him as I still miss him,   I read a blog post or think of some of the golden nuggets I’ve learnt here and it makes me stronger again. Thank you!

  12. 12

    I dated against my type over thirty years ago. That was the guy who became my husband.

  13. 13

    My type makes me feel safe, but hate my life at the same time… He’s usually ok looking but not great, has way more issues than I do, is anxiously attached, smart as hell or talented in whatever profession, but miserable. 11/10 needs saving. That’s been my type for years. I only just realised this.

    My sister recently convinced me to talk to someone really good looking, normal, and happy, but maybe not necessarily incredibly brainy. I am scared as hell. I don’t feel like I can match any of his qualities as fully as I would like to. I keep working on myself, but I’m not there yet… I came from a really rough background and never really had parents and little support. I was the parent, looking after my much younger sisters. Who by the way, look shielded, healthy, well dressed and are developing their talents happily. But I feel I look neglected, tired and ragged, with a life littered in missed opportunities. And I’m just not sure how anyone normal/cared for/happy could fall for someone like me.

    So even if I wanted to change my type… I just feel too far behind them. They don’t tend to even look my way anyway, considering the fact that there are far better options for those kind of guys out there anyway.

  14. 14

    I’ve dated my “type” and the opposite and what seems like everything in between. Finally, I gave up on dating and just spend time with myself, my quirks, my humor and my inquisitiveness. And what do my friends say?   “You are SO different when you’re NOT dating!”   

    So I’m   just going to stay in this realm for a while and just get to know myself. Maybe my “type” is what my parents wanted for me, and that just won’t work.

  15. 15

    Evan: You’re the bomb – you always hit your target! Enjoyed the podcast/caller format, too. Thank you!

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