Have you ever noticed that people follow distinct patterns when it comes to their dating habits? Have you identified your own pattern? When it comes to dating, most of us can be pretty predictable and fall into one of five basic dating personality types.
There is no positive or negative here. Your dating personality can change, and oftentimes it will over the course of our lives. Humans are complicated, of course, and it's possible to recognize characteristics of more than one type in yourself, but one will probably stand out for you more than the rest.
If you're single and hoping to get into a relationship, knowing your own type and the type of those you're meeting and dating can save you a lot of confusion and heartache!
So, which one are you?
1. The Avoider
As the name suggests, Avoiders avoid! Common characteristics are:
- Not being proactive about meeting more and new potential partners.
- Getting easily frustrated and giving up when beginning to date or thinking about dating.
- "Half-assing" online dating efforts and flakiness when it comes to nailing down concrete plans.
- Generally uncomfortable flirting or putting himself/herself "out there".
Avoiders want to have an organically unfolding connection with partners; they hope that a suitable partner will appear without any special effort on their part. When they do date, they usually date those they know through friends, work or school. Avoiders believe (or desperately hope) love will "just happen." They can easily find reasons to disqualify potential partners, and feel intimidated by intimacy, especially when they are being pursued.
Tips for the Avoider:
Avoiders need to stop avoiding and start dating. New thinking takes practice - you're not likely to magically wake up one day and find yourself going on lots of dates without a concerted effort to do things differently than you have before now.
Get the support you need- a friend who can hold you accountable can be a great way to keep you on track when you feel like throwing in the towel. Online dating, singles events or working with a professional dating coach or matchmaker are all ways to jumpstart your love life. If you practice your dating skills you will greatly improve your confidence and de-mystify the process of dating. If your new actions feel uncomfortable, take that as a good sign!
2. The Dreamer
Dreamers have a very active imagination when it comes to their love lives - even when they're not dating at all. Common characteristics are:
- Prone to elaborate fantasies about a crush or being reunited with an ex.
- Becoming fixated on one person, even if that person hasn't demonstrated a concrete interest in dating you.
- Tendency to compare potential partners to the "ideal" partner you imagine - an ex, crush or vision of the "perfect" man or woman.
- Unwillingness to date anyone unless you feel instant chemistry and passion.
Dreamers believe in love at first sight and feel that anything less is a waste of time. They don't easily move on if their attraction to another is not reciprocated or the other person isn't seeking a relationship. Dreamers can easily be taken advantage of by someone who enjoys their attention but isn't interested in being a partner. They can be highly critical of those they're not already emotionally invested in and see their crush as nearly perfect. Dreamers can spend a lot of time frustrated by the inability or unwillingness of their "dream" partner to materialize or commit to them.
Dreamers tend to be very well suited to monogamy, since they are so single-minded about the object of their desire. The problem arises when the reality doesn't live up to the fantasy the Dreamer has created, or when the relationship is over or hasn't even begun - a Dreamer can stay single for a long time because of an attachment to an unavailable partner.
Tips for the Dreamer:
Similar to Avoiders, Dreamers need practice dating other people. And they need to focus on becoming their own fantasy. What are the qualities you desire in others? Are they present in you? Can you cultivate them? Oftentimes what we greatly admire in others is a clue to what we desire for ourselves. Dreamers also need a reality check - if you find yourself putting someone up on a pedestal (particularly if you're not in a relationship), take a step back. Don't indulge the fantasy but look for the reality of your current situation.
Dreamers should adopt the Avoider strategy and additionally, focus on cultivating personal passions in their own lives.
3. The Martyr
Martyrs can find themselves in the same unfulfilling relationships and romantic entanglements over and over. Common characteristics are:
- Dating those who "choose" her or him, even when they're not particularly interested in that person.
- Getting into relationships with those who mistreat or take advantage of her or him.
- Making excuses for their partner's poor behavior, especially if they have a difficult past or childhood.
- Becoming quickly committed and "serial monogamy" - can find it hard to say no to a new relationship for fear of hurting the other person's feelings or being alone.
Martyrs can be very empathetic, which is a wonderful quality. However, they can too easily lose their own sense of self worth and diminish their own needs and desires. Unfortunately, it's easy to justify a relationship with an incompatible or even abusive partner if you're not able to believe you deserve more (which you do) or that you can find another person who wants to date you (you can, trust me). Martyrdom can easily lead to masochism if you're not careful.
Tips for the Martyr:
If there is one thing the Martyr needs to focus on, it's their sense of self-worth. If you are a Martyr, it's probably a good idea to take a break from dating until you are able to choose your partners from a position of confidence. The goal here is not perfection - it's knowing that you have something special to offer and you don't have to settle for anyone who doesn't excite you and fulfill your needs. Remember - we all deserve someone who wants to be with us for who we are, not just because our partner couldn't say no.
4. The Nurturer/Protector
The Nurturer/Protector is attracted to those they can care for and protect. Common characteristics are:
- Attraction to the "potential" in others - maybe an unrealized talent or admirable personality trait.
- Often "rescuing" partners from some distress - financial trouble, addiction, an abusive or otherwise toxic relationship, or a difficult period of life such as a job loss, health issue or death of a loved one.
- Can become involved with people at a drastically different stage of life - someone who is much younger or has fewer resources than the Nurturer/Protector to handle their current situation.
Nurturer/Protectors, unconsciously or consciously like a "project". They pride themselves on being able to see a side or an aspect of a person that most others can't see. They secretly (or not so secretly) hope that they can love or encourage their partners into lasting change or breakthroughs. This relationship dynamic can lead to resentment on the part of the Nurturer/Protector, who can feel frustrated that their efforts are unappreciated or don't achieve the results they are hoping for. There is also a danger of unconsciously setting your partner up to continually need your protection and support.
Tips for the Nurturer/Protector:
This dating type can result in well balanced relationships when the person being nurtured/protected is on the same page and enjoys this dynamic. If, however, the Nurturer/Protector finds her or himself in out of balance relationships that lead to resentment, and heartache, take a step back. Look at the commonalities of those you've dated - are you always paying the bills, or helping someone find a new place to live, or providing a safe landing for them to exit a bad relationship? The best way to create a new pattern is to shine a light on the existing one and making a new decision going forward.
5. The Charmer
The Charmer is a highly socially intelligent person, and is generally characterized by:
- Natural charm and magnetism that easily attracts others.
- Feeling energized by the initial phase of attraction and seduction.
- Feelings that monogamy is unnatural/unrealistic (at least for them).
- A series of short relationships or no relationships at all beyond initial days or weeks of seduction.
Charmers love the thrill of the chase (or being chased). They are naturally adept at attracting many potential partners. They can be impulsive and fall in love easily and passionately for a short time. Monogamous relationships tend to be a rare or short-term event for the Charmer who is especially addicted to the novelty of new attractions.
Tips for the Charmer:
Charmer, know thyself! Society might frown upon your charismatic, noncommittal ways, but there is no one way to be in this world. The key for you is to use your powers for good, not evil. Your number one rule should be honesty, honesty, honesty. Starting with yourself. Do you want to have a lasting relationship? If so, pump the brakes and don't fall into your usual habit of moving at lightning speed.
If you don't want a commitment, be upfront and take responsibility for the impression you might be conveying by charming new prospects so effectively. You probably have left your fair share of broken hearts in your wake and a lot of those could have been avoided if you were upfront from the beginning (before sex) about what you were looking for.
Those non-Charmers out there have responsibility too, since in many cases we turn off our logical brains in the face of the rush of adrenaline a Charmer can provide. Just as the Charmer should avoid saying what they know the other person wants to hear (unless they mean it), everyone would be wise to take words and actions into account when our hearts are involved. If it's meant to be, taking it slow won't stop your relationship from happening.
So, which type are you? Do you recognize yourself in one or more of the above? Do you think I missed a type? Let me know! Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter. You can also sign up for more free advice, updates and even a free session with me at www.francescahogi.com!
Francesca is dating coach, professional matchmaker and regular guest expert on NBC's The Today Show.