By Gina B.
There seems to be a lot of experimental dating going on. And no, I’m not referring to the down-low or girl-on-girl (at least not for purposes of this article). I’m talking about people who have decided to dramatically relax their criteria to widen their dating pools.
You’ll recognize these experimenters, because they’ll say things like: “I never thought I’d end up with someone like him, but he’s a really nice guy. He’s much nicer than all of the pretty boys I used to date.” Or: “I know that I typically like women who look WAY different than her, but she’s sweet and has a good head on her shoulders. Did I mention she has a great job?”
I’m torn on this issue. The way I see it, there are a few schools of thought. Some of us are becoming more open and realistic, while others are settling. Which is depressing as hell.
If you are one of those people who have 12-page lists of attributes that your significant other must possess, stop reading now. A little bit of experimentation might be a good eye-opening experience.
BUT, if you find yourself considering people that you’d otherwise never touch just for the sake of having someone to date, you’re going down the wrong path.
As a personal example, I have a distinct physical type. 99% of the men that I’ve dated have been handsome and over 6’ tall with thin or athletic physiques. They all have nice broad shoulders, pretty eyes and smiles. Complexion isn’t so important to me, as long as the skin is smooth and even. They don’t all look alike, but they have similar aesthetic components.
Where I’ve gotten myself into trouble is within that remaining 1%.
There are men who have slipped between the cracks who would not have been my first (or 5th) choice in a lineup. But there was something about their personalities that I liked (in most cases, persistence was the X-factor), so I chalked it up to “experimental dating.”
There were a few problems.
First, I wasn’t overly physically attracted to the 1-percenters, and I’m sure they could sense it. (Granted, sexual energy isn’t everything, but really? It’s great to be with a person who inspires you to want to pull them into the broom closet for a secret meeting. And? A nice person to whom you’re not physically attracted is called a “friend.”)
Also, I found myself justifying the relationships (see paragraph 2). I might have told my friends – who gingerly pointed out that my then-boyfriends were different than what they expected – that I had decided to stop being shallow. (Months later, they confided that they believed I was settling.)
The biggest problem was that I wasn’t being fair to the guys, or to myself. Although I liked them and we had fun together, ultimately they deserved to date a woman who was really excited about being with them, and I deserved to be with a guy that I was excited about.
When the relationships with my 1-percenters ended, they ended badly. When I made concessions, I had expectations that I would be treated with more care.
Boy, did I miscalculate those expectations.
I learned the surprising lesson that, while it hurts like hell to be cheated on by someone that you’re really into, it’s almost worse to be cheated on by a person that you’ve experimented with. There’s a lot of anger, and you might feel rage and resentment – as though you should never have experimented to begin with. You won’t understand why you’ve caused yourself unnecessary pain.
Many years ago, one of my friends, during a heated venting session after a bad breakup, said something that I’ll never forget: “I can’t believe he cheated on me! And why did I date him in the first place? He should have been down on his knees thanking God he even got me!” (For the record, I’ve never let her live that down, but I understand the sentiment.)
In a perfect world, you will find a person that does “it” for you, and hopefully those feelings are reciprocated. You will feel it like the wind on your face, and instead of making excuses for your choice, you’ll want to openly share it with the world.
And if the relationship ends, you might be hurt, but you’ll have fond memories of your mutual attraction and you’ll hopefully feel good about your decision to have dated them.
As for me, my experimental days are behind me and I’ve settled comfortably back into my type. Aahhh!
Have you done any experimental dating? Leave us comment and let us know.