27 July 2011

Opening up the dating pool

By: Jessica B.

That’s right, no more kiddie pool, time to head to the deep end. Kidding, sort of.

During my weekend pedicure, the Millionaire Matchmaker was on TV (could not avoid it) and Patti made a comment that made me think. If you make love a priority, love will come to you. I don’t totally believe that but it’s not a secret that in the battle of dating vs. work in my life, work seems to win pretty consistently. So maybe there is some truth to that.

Her comment made me think about putting love and dating a little more at the forefront, which means, I have to be open to dating guys that might not be my…type.

Being in my early 30s, there comes a new reality of dating. I may date men who are divorced, men who have kids and men who are still in their 20s. And dating men in their 20s when you are not 20-something anymore feels…weird.

Now that I’m in a new decade, I’m trying to be more open minded and not let the (potential) age difference feel like a barrier. Friends (including guys) tell me that age isn’t a big deal, but they’re still in their 20s, I’m not. So is that easier said than done?

I’ve also had one (or more) friends say that I have a checklist of qualities I want in a guy. This isn’t a bad thing (e.g. no criminals) but in order to open up the dating pool, I need to be a little more flexible.

But in the spirit of being more open I still need to be logical. Recently, I completely misread a situation with a guy and interpreted conversations as flirting and interest, instead it was friendship. DAMN YOU FRIEND CARD. That realization was a bummer, but, it was that spark (or my interpreted spark) that got me thinking about this again. So that’s not a total loss.

What about you? Did you date outside of your “type?” If so, how did you know where to be flexible?


  1. It’s scary dating outside your “type” because it’s different than anything you have known. But I will say this – Winston wasn’t my “type.” As my little sis in the sorority put it, “Oh my gosh, Erin. I cannot believe you’re dating him! He’s so fratty and basically goes against everything you stand for.” Direct. Quote.

    And he and I are married. … Go figure. :)

    So, if you’re willing to take the risk and throw caution (some of it) to the wind, give it a shot! You never know where it’ll take you!

  2. Kate says:

    I dated all kinds of guys. I was pretty open and flexible, but in the end, I knew who the right one was by a feeling. It might sound weird or funny, but Brian was the first guy in forever (or since my high school boyfriend at least) who felt like home to me.

  3. i’m looking forward to moving to a new place to try out a new dating scene. i’m excited about charleston and i’m trying to become less picky when it comes to dating, but i feel with online dating it makes me more picky as i don’t like something i see online i won’t reply but if i met them out and had met them first it might not be a uugh – not replying to that message.
    i try to date outside my type – but recently i’ve discovered i really have a type so i’m hoping a new place will help with that.

  4. I JUST wrote about my last “relationship” and how it was with a guy that wasn’t my “type”. idk now at 26 I have started to branch out. I used to not date guys of a certain age or if they had kids or divorced … whatever. But now I’m more open to it. It just seems like there isn’t a guy out there that’ll fit my old “list”. Maybe I’ve grown, who knows. I’d still like to be with someone who’s never been married or have kids etc. I would love to really experience all those things together for the first time, but I’ve sorta given up that dream. I feel like I can’t fault a guy for having a kid or falling in love/getting married before me. I’m not letting that put the breaks on a relationship with them. (but please, dear lord, no baby mama drama!) My non-negotiables is still smokers- I will not date a smoker. No criminals. And he has to at least want kids and get married. If you don’t? Well I’m not going to try to convince you that you do. Been there, done that.

    Good luck in your dating adventures!

  5. Mega says:

    To Heidi’s comment, everyone has baggage, especially by this age.

    In any case, you should be with someone that makes you happy and treats you the way you deserve to be treated. Everything else is moot. So he may not like TV that much. Maybe he doesn’t give a crap about fashion. Does he make you feel good? Does he make you laugh?

    What else is there?

  6. Lil' Woman says:

    I think it’s good to be more open minded but stick to your beliefs (i.e no criminals etc.) and what’s important to you.

  7. I think you should have your non-negotiables and then things that you would like but you’re flexible on…

    Having been in a relationship with the same person for almost 7 years now I know very well that people CHANGE (not deeply, but small things change and change often) and you don’t want to miss a chance with a great guy because you hate his car (or something, that was totally a hypothetical).

    I hope you blog about your dating adventures :)

  8. allison says:

    remember when we said we didn’t want guys with “baggage?” hahah as you get older, that’s not really possible anymore is it?

  9. I’ve dated older and younger, and even a guy with a kid. I ended up marrying a guy who I would have initially ruled out based on my “list”… so it can be good to consider relaxing on certain points.

  10. Noodles says:

    I have mixed thoughts on this. On one hand, I really hate the dating notion that people are like check lists and we totally discount them if they don’t fit into every specific box we have. That said, I feel like I’ve learned that for me, some things are non-negotiable. Sobriety, acceptance of my faith, being a pet person, a willingness to actually read a book. (Seriously, the short answer behind my Most Horrific Breakup Ever was that he didn’t own books. Because HE NEVER READ. I’d read. He’d play World of Warcraft. Talk about a conflicting dynamic and worldview. But I digress.)

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that in some ways I’m more flexible in guys, while at the same time I’m also more rigid in other areas. I’ve learned to not care so much about the superficial stuff (height, weight, hairline) and learn to hold the line on the things that matter to me and are the important foundations to building a solid relationship. (You know, after many many dates.)

    Age and experience: you have made me a wee bit wiser.

  11. Akirah says:

    I’ve dated all types of men. It was good for me. Granted, I was going thru a phase where I wanted to have fun and gain experience, but I learned a lot about myself. It seems that you, however, aren’t just looking for “experiences,” but rather a companion. In that case, I say, be open, but not ridiculously open. I don’t think a 28 year old would be that drastic of a step for you. At the end of the day, you want an equal…a man with a good heart living a passionate life. But I really do think the more you date out of “your type,” the easier it is to find out what you’re really looking for.

  12. Good luck to you, lady! It’s tough out there, but there really are a lot of amazing single guys and I know one is just waiting for you to come along!

  13. I don’t have a type per se unless a$$hole counts. Ha

    I do have a few things that I look for though. I want someone who is at least my age (30) and no children. I think I would end up too attached to the children and would stay in a relationship longer than necessary because of it.

  14. Erin says:

    The best advice I think I ever got was to look for someone who has the qualities I’m looking for in a person. (Instead of interests.) And sure, there are definitely some non-negotiables in the interest categories… for example, I want to be with someone who is excited about traveling. They don’t have to be well-traveled, but they have to want to travel, because that’s something I LOVE to do as frequently as possible. But do they have to be into all the same sci-fi nerdy tv shows I am? No. I’ve been watching those by myself for years and I’m doing just fine with it. :) Anyway, I am 32 and just met a guy two months ago who is quite perfect for me, but I have spent some of that time freaking out because it doesn’t look the way I thought it would. For example: he turns 29 this fall. I always said I wouldn’t date someone who is younger than me. But am I going to walk away from this because he isn’t a diehard Fringe fan and is 28? Hell no. He is a wonderful person who has all the qualities I am looking for.

    I guess, what all this rambling is meant to say is that I completely understand where you are coming from. Good luck, you will find him!!

  15. Molly says:

    I pretty much was open to anyone for a least a first date when asked unless I got a strong bad vibe (and not one where I just didn’t want to go because I didn’t think I’d like him, which of course happened multiple times).

    As for age, I think it’s important to remember that there are 30+ year old douchebags and 20 something guys who have it together (as much as anyone can). It’s all about the person, not the age, relatively speaking.

  16. Melinda says:

    It is good to be open to a relationship that isn’t the one you expect to have. In my experience, those relationships I wouldn’t have sought out were the strongest and most solid. Given a list of my husband’s traits, I wouldn’t have picked him from a pool of men, but he is the one and only for me. We work together in a way I never would have expected.
    Best of luck in finding the one for you. He is out there.

  17. steph anne says:

    I think it’s okay to have some basics that you want but as long as you’re open to anything because sometimes the best one out there for you may be someone you’re not first looking at. I’ve learned that it happens when you least expect it. :)

  18. When I was dating, there were basic things that were non-negotiables (for me), including someone who was close to their family and who had a quick wit. Otherwise? I was pretty open as long as there was a connection. It made for good experiences and helped me really zone in on what I needed/wanted.

    That being said… I ended up marrying someone who was my type physically and mentally!