I broke up with my husband. Before the heart palpitations begin, let me allay any fears – this happened before we were, in fact, husband and wife.
It was a month into dating and things were going well. So I did what any reasonable person would do – I broke it off…
By this time, Andrew and I had been hanging out in groups for quite a while and we’d only started to go on real life dates. Dinner. Movies. Cheesecake Factory. Museums. It was all very pleasant. Fun, even. I liked him. There was just one problem… Andrew was not my type.
I remember the night it happened. We were sitting at a small diner in the city and I told him I didn’t see the relationship working out. He took a breath and then…. He said a slew of nice and wonderful things about me. Truly and without hyperbole – the nicest things anyone has ever fixed their lips to say about lil ol me. Who was this dude?? I let him down and then he proceeds to make me feel like I was a wonderful person.
That night I went home and bawled my eyes out. I mean I sobbed and had no idea why. “I was the one who broke it off,” I thought, “isn’t this supposed to be the other way around?”Cut to that Sunday, I saw him at church and instantly – INSTANTLY – regretted my decision in a huge gigantic colossal way. I knew I made a really dumb mistake, but I still couldn’t understand what exactly I was feeling. I went to the person I go to when I need to be told the truth with no filter – my brother.
Now, my brother is a man of few words. But he chooses those words carefully. He tells it like it is, is a good judge of character and does not suffer fools. We met at a coffee shop and I asked him what he thought. He proceeded to inform me with no hesitation that he very much disliked every guy I had ever dated (sorry if you’re one of them and you didn’t know that. I don’t know what to tell ya.) And then said Andrew was a “good dude.” Coming from my brother he may as well have thrown a parade for the kid. This was high praise. It also made me pinpoint where I had gone wrong.
My type, up until this time was tall. Like 6’ 4” tall. Assertive. Extroverted. A people person. Charming. Unapologetically vocal. Flashy. Popular. Now, many of these things are not negative in theory. On their own, they can even be positives. This combination was they guy I typically went for. And, on the surface, it was a really good match. But it was also only a match on the surface. What I discovered was I was actually overcompensating for the areas I perceived to be my weaknesses with other people’s overcompensation. Figure that one out. I was shy – so I got a super extrovert. I didn’t feel like my voice was valid, so I got someone really vocal. I didn’t think people liked me, so I found someone popular.
In addition, what I perceived to be confidence in those situations was not. Much of it was ego. The guys I tended to gravitate towards were quite pleased with themselves. Quite. Really quite. What ended up happening (every time, mind you) was that I didn’t believe I was enough – so I got someone who knew they were enough for the both of us – who also found other girls who thought they were enough and, well, you can figure it out from there.
Andrew wasn’t my type. Thank God I realized that was the best thing about him before it was too late. I still see many of those qualities in him; confidence, charm, assertiveness, handsomeness (that’s important) and maybe not 6’ 4” but certainly taller than me (which, I realize, is not really that difficult to be – but still). The difference with him is that these things do not need to announce themselves. They do not need to suck all of the air out of a room. They are simply a part of the fabric of all that he is. And, instead of making me shrink in the areas I feel a lack of confidence – he challenges me forward in them. Brings out the best in them.
I had built my “type” based on my life up until that point – things I’d witnessed, what culture says is important, my own insecurities and blind spots. My type was a lot of what I thought I wanted and not much of what I needed.
The best relationships are not based on what will make you happy as you are – feeding into the areas you are comfortable or complacent in unproductive behaviors or mindsets. Instead, they will nurture & challenge you into who you could be. Who you want to be. Who you were created to be.
Is your type holding you back? What is it actually built on? Where does it come from? Does it have more to do with your present comforts than your future growth?
If someone is not your “type,” it’s worth looking at what your type is made up of because, perhaps, that’s the best thing about them.