Are You Dating the Wrong Physical Type or the Wrong Emotional Type?

If you have found that your dates aren’t turning into full-blown relationships, the problem may relate to the kinds of people you’re seeking out. Specifically, I’m talking about your “type.” There are two different ways that you could be looking for the wrong types. You could either be going for the wrong physical type or the wrong emotional type. Let me explain because it’s not always as clear as it sounds on the surface.

Your Physical Type:

When you think about the people you seek out in dating, do they have a specific physical type? Do you tend to go for men or women with a specific physical description? For example, do you tend to look for people with a specific body type or hair color? Do you restrict yourself to a specific age range that is different from your own (e.g., you look to date older or younger people)? Do the people you date have a specific physical style? For example, do you tend to date people who have, say, tattoos or piercings, or dress in what the young ones call an “emo style”? Do you only go for the clean-cut, straight-from-the-Mayflower-ship type? When you are dating, spend some time thinking about the physical traits you’re attracted to because you might need to extend your type.

Your Emotional Type:

How would you describe the emotional type of the people you’re attracted to? Self-disclosure alert: Until I had years of therapy myself, I was drawn to narcissists – those who were emotionally unavailable, thought they were God’s gift to the world, and always focused on themselves and their wants and needs more than my own. When we talked, they weren’t terribly interested in what happened during my day.

For you, what emotional types draw you in? Ask yourself if you are attracted to any of the following types: alpha types who take charge; quiet, passive types who go along with what you want; sarcastic types who have an “edge;” depressive, wounded-soul types; serious introverts; the “life of the party;” spontaneous, slightly wild types; or maybe even know-it-all types? Think about what the common thread is in the emotional type of the people you have been drawn to in the past.

How you can tell you’re dating either the wrong physical type or the wrong emotional type:

When you are dating the wrong type of person – either the wrong physical type or emotional type – you will discover a pattern that your dates aren’t turning into relationships. Perhaps you go on a lot of first or second dates, but nothing happens after that, or perhaps your dating relationships last a month or two but don’t turn into long-term relationships replete with the official “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” title. Another way that you can tell that you’re dating the wrong type is when you get feedback from friends or family and they tell you outright that you keep choosing the wrong people.

How to get unstuck from dating the wrong type:

What is the most clear-cut solution to the problem of having dates that never turn into long-term relationships? Plain and simple, try dating people whom you would never have imagined yourself with before (as long as they are decent, upstanding people). Give that guy who is a little overweight a chance, or ask out the woman who has an ethnicity or cultural background that you have never dated before.

Openness and flexibility equal wisdom when it comes to finding a relationship.

People are remarkably similar at their core, regardless of the color of their skin, the amount of money they have, or how physically attractive or unattractive they are at first glance. Deep down, we all want the same thing: someone who loves us consistently, and someone we can trust to be there for us in the future. The best advice I can give you is to accept or initiate a first date with someone you think is kind, and someone whose company you enjoy. Find someone who makes you laugh or makes you feel safe, someone you would call when you have a bad day or need a hug. As silly as that may sound, it is a positive and comforting emotional connection that will keep two people together through the inevitable storms of life.


About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve


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