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Date Outside The Box

How to Find The One (Hint: He's Not Your Type)

By Natasha Burton

After reading Andrea Syrtash's book, He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing), from cover-to-cover in one sitting, I just had to chat with her about this idea of dating men who are totally different than the guys we have typically been attracted to in the past ... and marrying one, and being happy. (Full disclosure: I'm currently dating my so-called "non-type," and thus have a vested interest in the subject.) The dating and relationships guru kindly answered my questions, sharing her take on why we should throw out those checklists and open ourselves to new dating possibilities.

How did you come up with the term "non-type"?

So many women talk about their "type" and how they wouldn't settle for a guy who didn't have X, Y and Z; but I kept hearing stories of women who fell in love with men who weren't what they thought they were looking for. "Non-type" seemed to capture [the idea] well. Women often fall a lot more in love than they realize, so it's no surprise that we may not consider someone [at first], who later grows on us.

What's the value of being with a non-type?

Oftentimes, when you break out of your usual pattern, you discover more about yourself. A non-type can bring out facets of your personality that you didn't even know were there. For instance, one of the women in my book thought extroverts were her type. She's quite shy and never wanted to be with a shy guy. Once she started dating her non-type, a very quiet and thoughtful man, she discovered that she had to assert herself more and couldn't rely on someone else to speak up for her. She's really happy that she found her non-type — not only because he's great, but because she likes who she is around him.

Why do you think women sometimes stick to dating the same kind of guy — even when it's not working out?

As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you keep dating the same type of guy, or repeating a dating pattern that's not working for you, logic would tell you to try something different. It takes a lot of courage, though, to break out of your comfort zone into unknown territory. If your dating pattern is that you're always the one who is more interested in commitment [than] the person you are dating, you may want to make a promise to yourself that you won't settle for that any more and will only date men who know they want to be with you. This may sound like a simple insight, but we all get used to our roles and patterns.

How can changing our dating attitudes change the kind of men we meet?

Perspective is a big part of dating success. If you think all men cheat or there are no good ones left, I'm sure you will find guys to prove your theory. If you have a negative attitude about dating, the men you meet will pick up on this. Who would you gravitate to in a room — the guy who has a sour look on his face and is complaining, or the one radiating a natural confidence and charisma? If you choose a more positive perspective about dating, you are more likely to enjoy the process and are more likely to be received well.

What are some dating tips for finding a non-type?

Stay open to guys who may not be on your usual checklist, if you enjoy being around them. Quiet your "should" voice (I should be with someone who ... ) and replace it with want. Stop over-thinking your dating life and start following your instincts. When you're with the right match, you'll see that it's a feeling — not a thought.

You mention in your book that there's a big difference between "love" and "like."

Like doesn't cloud our judgment the way love does. How many times have you heard a woman cry and complain about a man she's with, only to say "But I love him" as the reason she can't leave? All of the women profiled in my book, who eventually fell in love with their non-types, shared an experience of deeply liking those men before they knew what that meant. They weren't pressured by their "like" feelings, so love grew organically. I would never suggest marrying a person whom you do not love — I'm simply asking readers to consider how wonderful it is to fall into "like" first.

What makes a relationship thrive — and last?

If you find a person who is a good partner, lover, companion and friend, you are more likely to find long-term relationship success. It's not enough to have a great lover, if the person is a bad partner; or to have a wonderful friend in your spouse, if you don't have intimacy with him, as you may not feel fulfilled. I'm a firm believer in dating your spouse: Good relationships don't just happen; they are created. It's true that relationships are work — but the work doesn't always have to be difficult. It's important to make a conscious choice every day to be the partner you want to have.

SHOP NOW: He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing), $15

  • Syrtash's book is available at Amazon.com

    Courtesy of Rodale
Date Outside The Box
How to Find The One (Hint: He's Not Your Type)
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