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How to Know If Your Type is Unhealthy for You

A woman who has a specific dating type, laughing with a guy on a date who's outside of her normal type.

Most of us don’t want to admit that we have a type, but it’s really not our fault. According to a study done in 2015, your own unique experiences can affect who you’re attracted to. Maybe it’s who you see every day at work or school, or who you dated previously, or who you were married to previously, but those faces that you saw every day can affect how you see and experience new faces.

We often focus on external attraction when we think about types. And that’s important, of course, but it’s not the only thing that contributes to attraction. Physical attraction must be coupled with emotional attraction and, as a result, that means that along with physical types, we also have emotional types.

So if who we see affects our physical types, what affects our emotional types? Well, who we choose to be with has a lot to do with how we see ourselves.

How Your Childhood Affects Your Type

When we’re young children, we develop defenses. These defenses help us cope with a world we don’t understand yet. In time, we become accustomed to these defenses, to the point that we believe they’re a part of our personality. These defenses help us form attachment patterns. If we formed negative ideas about ourselves as children, it’s likely that our attachment patterns didn’t become the healthiest examples of relationships.

If you felt like it was on you to take care of people as a child, it’s likely that you’ll be more attracted to people who you need to “fix” or “save.” If you felt neglected as a child, it’s likely that you’ll be more attracted to people who are aloof and that you need to “chase.” On the other side, if you felt like you were constantly watched and had little independence, it’s likely that you’ll be more attracted to someone who is controlling.

How “Opposites Attract” Affects Your Type

Another aspect that can affect your emotional type has to do with the old cliche “opposites attract.” Often things are cliche because they’re somewhat true. Our type can also come from the fact that we tend to be attracted to people that complement us. We have this unconscious idea that tells us that we need someone to balance us out. So if we have a hard time showing affection, we might be attracted to someone who is clingy and perhaps even overbearing. Or if we’re highly ambitious and have a Type-A personality, we might be attracted to someone with very little ambition.

Opposites attracting can create some sort of a balance. The ambitious person learns to stop and smell the roses. The person who wasn’t interested in work learns to take better care of themselves and have a more secure future. We see this a lot in rom-coms and popular culture. In real life, this can also lead to both partners feeling like they have to change and lose parts of themselves that they like, in order to be with someone else. 

Is Your Type Bad for You?

You may notice that many of your past partners have a few similarities, besides the fact that they’re all blondes. Perhaps they’re all unemployed and expect you to take care of them. Or they check in on you every hour or every day. Or you literally don’t hear from them for weeks on end. Have you been happy in these situations?

These situations aren’t always a bad thing. Maybe you don’t like to be on the phone with your significant other just as much as they don’t like to call—and you’re both really happy when you do get to see each other. Somehow it makes it more special for you. If that makes you happy, more power to you. But if you find yourself calling your partner every day or texting when you really need to talk to someone and you don’t get a response for a week, it may be that you’re with a type that’s not right for you.

Opposites attract doesn’t mean what everyone thinks it does. You should be with someone that opposes you, but in a healthy way. Maybe one partner is outgoing and encourages you to come out of your shell, but the other partner teaches them to learn to appreciate the quiet moments more. Maybe one person loves to travel, but the other is more of a homebody, so one person learns to appreciate new cultures and while the other discovers the wonders of a staycation. But if one person opposes the other by never being there for them, because they’re more of a loner who doesn’t need so much time with their partners, then it’s not a healthy opposition.

If your type is holding you back from a healthy relationship, try breaking free from your dating type and date people you may not have considered before. It’s easy to fall into dating patterns, but when you date outside of them you open up new possibilities that just might work better for you. 

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