I haven’t seen anything break the internet quite like Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s budding romance at the Kansas City Chiefs game. Within minutes of the world seeing her cheering him on from a box during Sunday Night Football alongside his mom, my entire FYP exploded with all things 87 and ’89. And it’s still that way—days later. Whether you think their relationship is real or just for good PR, the entire NFL and a good majority of Swifties are already shipping them. But this hasn’t come without some slight confusion from Swifites everywhere: Travis Kelce is a far cry from Taylor Swift’s usual type (you know, the creative artist type who just happens to be British). But her glow on Sunday night is telling me that this might have everything to do with that.
Is Taylor teaching us yet another profound lesson—that it might actually be good for us to venture out and date beyond our typical type? To get to the bottom of this, we asked a few experts from Manhattan Wellness to break down why we are always so drawn to a certain type of person, why it can be problematic, and why we should give other great, good-looking (talking about you, Kelce) people a chance.
What does it mean to have a type?
“Having a ‘type’ in dating typically refers to being drawn to a similar type of person time and time again,” explains Lauren Fuchs, LCSW. “It could be physical attributes, common interests, or the way a person treats you that defines your type, but if you look hard enough through the lavender haze, it’s likely you’ll find a common thread linking one person to the next,” adds Sara Stein, LCSW.
It’s definitely not uncommon to date someone who embodies similar characteristics to past partners, so if you’re in the trenches, know you’re not alone. Stein explains that “it can be comforting to know what to expect from a partner, and often we subconsciously find ourselves seeking out similar types of romantic interests in an effort to rectify relationships that didn’t work out in eras past, or because we feel we’ll ‘do it better’ this time around. The unknown can be daunting, but until we’re finally out of the woods, we may not realize the amazing potential we’re missing out on.”
Is dating the same type of person problematic?
I’m going to tell you something I’m not exactly proud of: I went through a phase where I was dating guys from the same friend group one after the other that were basically carbon copies of each other. I’d be embarrassed and somewhat ashamed if I didn’t know for a fact that I’m not the only one who has dated basically the same person over and over again. Looking back, I don’t know why I thought that the next time (and the next) would be any better. For me, the answer to this question is yes, it was problematic, but it’s not always.
“At the end of the day, we all have preferences in dating, and it’s completely OK to have standards. But if you’re finding that dating the same type of person time and time again is eliciting some icky results, you may want to try something new,” says Fuchs. For example, “if we find ourselves consistently attracted to someone that won’t commit or doesn’t respect our privacy, we are reentering negative cycles one after the other,” explains Elizabeth Marks, LMSW.
5 tips for breaking the cycle
Let’s face it, old habits die really hard, but it’s not impossible to change your dating ways. The team at Manhattan Wellness is sharing five tips for breaking the endless and often exhausting cycle of only dating people who you consider to be your type.
Take inventory of your experiences in relationships past
How did you feel when you were with your previous partners? Were you able to show up as your authentic self, or was there something (or someone) holding you back from doing so? Any relationship worth pursuing should be one where your individuality, passions, and strengths are celebrated, not diminished, so if your relationships weren’t serving you and making you the happiest version of yourself, that’s worth noting before dating the same type of person again.
Make a list of what you are actually looking for in a long-term partner
Write down what feels most important to you in a relationship, focusing less on the facade and more on what makes a person who they are at their core. What do they value? What is their love language? How do they handle conflict? Are they good at communicating? Do they have similar life goals as you? This will help you establish meaningful and real connections from day one and date with intention rather than dating someone who simply checks the boxes of being your type.
Focus on how someone makes you feel
Rather than focusing on the characteristics someone has on paper, think about how they actually make you feel. Are they showing up for you when you need it? Are they treating you, your friends, and your family with respect? Do they make you feel safe and secure? Are they giving you what you need? There is a difference between being comfortable with someone because they are familiar and actually feeling right about someone. That’s not to say that someone who is your “type” can’t be the one, but really take into consideration how they make you feel in all areas of life rather than assuming they are good for you because you’re comfortable enough.
Have an open mind
If you find yourself saying or thinking “I’ve never really been attracted to a brunette” or “They don’t have the type of personality I typically go for” and you’re tempted to swipe left or turn down a potential partner because of that, stop. Instead, ask yourself if it could be beneficial to get to know this person and see what you connect on. After all, if Taylor continued to only date creatives, she would have totally missed out on Travis who completely adores, respects, and admires her.
Respect your own evolution
You are not the same person before and after any relationship, so it’s important to recognize that as you make your way back into the dating world. Go into new relationships with an open mind and as your most authentic self to experience a real shift. Being vulnerable and putting yourself out there can be scary, but picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying something new is what opens the door to potential greatness. Like Taylor Swift’s ever-evolving music and image, it’s possible to adapt and grow in your dating life. Embrace change and personal growth, and you may find yourself forming more meaningful and fulfilling connections.