In the past, any time somebody has asked me what my “type” was dating-wise, I’ve just shrugged and said I didn’t have one. After all, I’ve gone for all sorts of people in my romantic life: chubby, tall, bald, intelligent, not-so-intelligent, pretentious, patronizing, fratty, humble…you name it, I’ve probably woken up next to it (even if I was a little embarrassed thereafter). I assumed that because they had all looked and acted so differently, they must all be different “types.”
But then why, I would ask, does every single relationship turn out the same way?
While there was one, maybe two exceptions to my pattern, most followed approximately the same one: First, we’d get super close entirely too quickly without even realizing it because it “just felt right.” Then, after relationship establishment, we’d be attached at the hip for months. After an extended honeymoon phase, the fighting began because I would get irritated at their inability to reliably commit while they simultaneously got frustrated with my focus on having a “real relationship,” whatever I thought that entailed at the time. Each night, after calming me down, they would light up a joint, grin blankly for a while and pass out. Eventually, we’d break up and I’d move on to the next person entirely too quickly and…well, let’s just say it was the redundancy equivalent of the SAW franchise.
I assumed this was primarily my doing for a long time, that I was so terrible, I must be poorly matched for literally anybody. Each time, I’d go for somebody I thought was different than the last. Oh, look! This one’s _____ and _____, he must be the total opposite of stupid ____! But every time, I ended up being completely off-base.
Whether it was due to my being treated like a small child because of a 24-month age gap, being perpetually lied to about ridiculous topics or our relationship having the emotional range of Chris Brown’s neck tattoo, each one finished up similarly: I felt hurt, they felt frustrated and we both felt trapped.
Obviously, the only common denominator in all my shitty relationships is me. I am admittedly a difficult person to be with: I’m extremely stubborn, emotional and if you could make a diorama out of my daily feelings, it would look like a topographic map of the Grand Canyon. Yet the majority of them essentially sucked the life out of the rest of their relationships, too, so I felt the need to determine what exactly was going wrong from the very beginning of each relationship. I would ask myself incredibly stupid questions about the commonalities between each partner: Was it the fact that they all skateboard? Or perhaps that they all work in film?
Finally, it hit me a few months ago while I was standing at my own going away party in LA. Perhaps it was the sixteen whiskey gingers coursing through my system or the fact that I was smoking on a porch with four people I’d dated side-by-side, but it finally came to me: I do have a type and unfortunately, it’s one that I definitely do not belong with.
Hi, my name is Sam and I’m addicted to emotionally unavailable stoners.
Being the kind of person who cries every time that fucking Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial comes on, I don’t relate well to people that frequently numb themselves. Not in that “I’m in pain so I need to make it go away with this booze” kind of way; on the contrary, almost every ex of mine smokes weed so the quick drive to Trader Joe’s is a little less shitty.
Now, I by no means am against weed – I lived in California the last four years and watch a little too much Community, if you catch my drift. But like clockwork, every person I’ve ever dated develops a daily, if not hourly, habit. For some reason I just love their goofy bewildered cuteness; it snags me every time, even if it means that they tend to forget important conversations or fall asleep prior to completing important tasks. I love their “go-with-the-flow” attitude until one day, I realize that applies to everything.
This may or may not contribute to the much more detrimental part of my “type’s” profile: the emotional unavailability.
Sure, I’m 22 and the whole “forever and ever” thing is not exactly on my dream radar in regard to relationships anyway. But I think if I want to be in long term relationships, as I frequently tend to do, opting for the candidate whose definition of “long term” is anything over three months is probably a poor choice. My naïvety convinced me that I could somehow change them to be different, which was unfair to myself, but even more unfair to them. Even when we would briefly reconcile – as I’ve done with nearly every one within a two year period of breaking up – I would stupidly expect something new, even though I was well aware that I was exemplifying the “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” mantra.
Due to relocating to a state far, far away, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on why I spent so many years going for people I subconsciously knew would end up exactly like the last one and I’ve realized it comes down to good ol’ comfort. Even if I knew my exes and I were terrible matches fairly quickly, I would persist with them anyway out of fear that everything might be too different should I begin with a new person, a new “type.” It was more relaxing to feel disregarded than to be taken completely seriously simply because I was used to the former.
But I’ve never done myself any favors with this boyfriend-based Sisyphus games. So now, I’m determined to not actually go looking for anybody whatsoever, a move which has so far made me considerably happier romantically than ever.
By acknowledging that I have a type yet not letting it dictate any of my dating choices, I feel much less anxious about the future with new people because I can better adjust to fixing the aspects that may need some work. And that’s is great, because they’re usually not anxious about any of it either (because they’re high).