By Alessandra Petrino
The Daily Universe
As much as we would all like to think that romantic relationships spring up out of nowhere and happen simply because two people are “meant to be,” such notions only apply in rare circumstances.
Whether we are consciously looking for a romantic relationship or not, there are always certain characteristics we all look for in prospective significant others.
Without knowing it, most of us have a subconscious “checklist” for the people we are attracted to.
However, I am not speaking about a person’s physicality.
Yes, perhaps it can be said that many people have a certain “type” that they are attracted to. And more often than not, when someone discusses having a “type,” the characteristics they are referring to are physical attributes.
Although I do believe that physical attractiveness is one of the first things one notices about a possible boyfriend or girlfriend, a person’s “type” has become a list much more extensive than just physical attributes.
So, after my recent heartbreak with someone who was the complete opposite of my “type” physically, I began going through the motions, asking myself what went wrong and, more specifically, what I did wrong.
Like most of us, I resorted to the comfort of my closest friends to console me.
I prompted them to tell me what was wrong with me. And, like the good friends they are, their answers were merely, “There’s nothing wrong with you.”
Well, most of them, anyway. While speaking to my best friend about what I could have done differently to have made things work out, he said something that had never really occurred to me.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” he said. “It’s the kind of guys you fall for.”
Clearly, that made absolutely no sense to me. For the first time, I had fallen for someone who didn’t fit one bit into my “type.” Or so I thought.
“You fall for these guys who make you feel needed, and once they don’t need you anymore they hurt you,” he added.
It finally made sense. My “type” had little to do with physical attractiveness and more to do with how the emotional stability of the person made me feel.
Finally recognizing this as my mistake, it got me thinking.
Are we all, in fact, dating the same person over and over?
No, I don’t mean in the sense that we are all dating one person (I’m not into polygamy) and no, I don’t mean we just keep taking our exes back.
When I ask “Are we dating the same person over and over,” I mean to say, are we all dating a person that makes us feel the same emotionally as we did in our past relationships? Are our love lives stuck on repeat? Or are we perhaps just experiencing dating déjà vu?
“We’re not dating the exact same people, because everyone is unique,” said Whitney Dunning, a 4th-semester political science major at Brigham Young University. “But there are certain personality traits that we are attracted to and therefore we seek out people with those traits, even if it is not blatant but hidden within them. And sometimes those traits can be destructive.”
For example, if a person gets cheated on, is it more likely they will get cheated on in another relationship because they accept or even expect to be treated that way?
“We all have certain things we like and don’t like after being in many relationships or one wrong one,” said Bringham Young University student who wished to remain anonymous. “So, we search and search for that perfect soul mate that meets all the requirements that we think is for bliss but it never pans out that way. Well, I suppose I shouldn’t say never, but most often not. It’s easier to try and find someone when you already know what you’re looking for.
The problem is that it puts blinders on all of us to the billions of different kinds of people there are that we deem ‘not our type,’ so we miss out.”
Perhaps those of us stuck in this pattern need to learn from our experiences and come to terms with the fact that our “type” may not be right for us in an emotional sense.