Imagine that your taste in partners was like a game of battle ship.
Your preferences already preset like your pieces on the board. They are static. As you enter into the vast ocean of potential matches, different candidates offer up different coordinates.
Scheduled a dinner date – B6, bought you a drink – C16, held your hand on the walk to your car – A9, asked to see you again. You sunk my battleship!
Without realizing it, you’ve developed preset attraction triggers that no matter the person, once they know the coordinates, will sink your battle ship. These attraction triggers are established by two factors; sexual selection, and mate selection.
To best understand the difference between the two is to consider that one is biological, and the other is conditional. Who you select as a suitable marriage partner, your mate selection, might not be the person that you’d like to have a one night stand with but they have all the great resume qualities that make them a catch.
Who you’d like to have sex with, your sexual selection, might be totally outside of your physical norm but for some reason you find them irresistible.
Often we think we know what we like but our bodies, when left to its own devices, will make selections that surprise you. You find yourself with a ‘type’ that you just can’t resist. Your logical brain however, will choose based on your current values. When you develop a ‘type’ it means that you’re relying on one factor to make the final decision.
So who is choosing who you date? Your biology, or your conditions?
If you’re letting your carnal desire decide, you’re likely denying basic needs that match your values. If you’re listening solely to your logical brain, then you’re likely getting bored with your choice, and wondering where the chemistry goes over time.
We’ve all had a scenario where we find ourselves sexually attracted to someone who physically we wouldn’t give a second look. Or the opposite scenario where the sexiest match you’ve ever swiped on turns out to be someone you only find lukewarm in person. No matter how exciting at the time, falling for the same ‘type’ could be keeping you single.
Recognize The Pattern
There are no negative feelings in the future.
In relationships you often hear people say, ‘I don’t want to be hurt’. Likely because they have been hurt in the past and they don’t want to experience something similar with a new love. The problem with this statement is that every negative emotion is a replay of an old wound that never healed. When we haven’t healed past hurts, we tend to choose partners who reopen those same wounds.
This isn’t a form of masochism, this is your subconscious mind reminding you that there is some pain worth paying attention to. When you’re dating a ‘type’ it’s impossible not to notice the similarities between them and other people in your life. They could be just like a parent, friend, or ex-love. At first you recognize qualities that you enjoy, but inevitable a pattern will emerge.
This is an opportunity to uncover what past hurt you’re holding onto and heal it once and for all. Ask yourself the following:
Who does this person remind me of?
What are the negative feelings that I associate with this person?
What are the positive feelings I associate with this person?
By asking those simple questions you’ll start to uncover why you have this pattern in the first place.
Combine Your Sexual Selection With Your Mate Selection
Over-indexing on one or the other can lead us to choosing the same ‘type’. You just a get feeling right, and then all of a sudden you find yourself choosing someone who isn’t a good match in the long run. It’s part our culture to want to ‘know’ the moment that we see someone that they are the ‘One’ for us. Typically when we feel like we have that intuitive thought where something just feels ‘right’ there is only one part of our brain making the decision. The logical side that says, this is exactly who my parents would want me to marry, or the sexual side that says, I could lay in bed all day with this person in pure bliss.
A healthy relationship can’t survive one or the other.
In order to allow both sides to have a say, your standards, and your sexual selection, you have to avoid compromising on what you truly don’t want. You’ll know immediately when one side is being denied, either there is not enough chemistry, or there too much chemistry and not enough substance.
No matter how hard you try, one will not compensate for the other. Maybe your type is always thoughtful but can’t keep a job. Maybe your type is amazing in bed, but works too much to ever spend quality time.
It doesn’t take a detective to find out that something is missing. Typically you know right away but you don’t want to accept it because part of your brain is being satisfied. In this situation, make sure you have a little of both qualities to rely on. Some sexual attraction with a side of practicality. It might not sound sexy but it’s what healthy relationships are made of.
Heal Your Own Shit
Unhealthy relationships replace, replay, or repair. You are either replacing a co-dependent relationship, possibly with a parent, with a lover. You are replaying a negative relationship with a parent, or enmeshed family member, with a lover, or you are healing from past wounds with a lover.
When you find yourself attracted to the same type, there is a sense of familiarity. Either your biology, or sociology is making the choice. This doesn’t mean that your ‘type’ isn’t good for you overall, it just means your ‘type’ isn’t going to fulfill all of your needs until you let your standards join the party.
When you can raise your standards, regardless of your initial selection, you’ll find it easier to make a better choice. You can expect more out of a partner, and a relationship. When you can be a better chooser, then who you choose becomes less of factor in the equation.