Mono-maniac dating and how to escape it
Sienna White explores the dating habits that might be holding you back
Picture the scene: you’re in bed, on tinder, after a long day of ignoring lectures. You swipe left ruthlessly until you come across a profile that appears too good to be true. He seems funny, smart, good looking (and has an adorable dog)! But, wait…he’s not 6ft. Sighing reluctantly, you send him to the mounting internet graveyard of what-ifs and continue the swipe-fest. Sound familiar? Well, you may just be a victim of the ‘mono-maniac dating’ habit.
Most people have what could be described as ‘a type’. Whether it’s tall, dark, and handsome or blonde and beefy, it’s not unusual to identify what you typically find attractive in a potential partner. It’s human nature to follow patterns, and it tends to be no different with romance.
Knowing what you will and won’t accept from a partner is not only healthy, but absolutely necessary. When it starts to become a problem, however, is when you find yourself dating exclusively in and around the more arbitrary biases, refusing to give anyone who doesn’t conform a chance.
It sounds brutal, but think about it. If following the same formula each time was a recipe for success, you probably wouldn’t have to be thinking about the next partner! We instinctively seek comfort in what we know, and if your new significant other has arrived in the same physical and behavioural package as the last, there’s a danger you could end up transferring old feelings in place of establishing new ones.
This is especially relevant in the pandemic, with online dating having peaked and physical meet-ups at an all-time low. Swiping right on someone because you like their muscles is all well and good, but you might see the conversation start to dry up by the third FaceTime date if this is all you have to talk about.
So, understanding mono-maniac dating as a potential for self-destructive behaviour is one thing, but how do we stop it, particularly when it seems so normalised in our society?
Cosmopolitan suggests performing a kind of amateur psychoanalysis on yourself. Rather than simply vowing to go completely the other way and ignore your ‘type’, hone in on your dating prejudices (both positive and negative). Think ‘why do these things make me feel this way about a person?’. Instead of blindly accepting or beating yourself up for having them, try and evaluate why you’ve formed them in the first place. This will mean you can at least think critically the next time you find yourself attracted to a person based purely on these factors, and perhaps re-evaluate slightly.
Once you have identified your feelings, try and then make the process more abstract by “forming a clear picture of the characters you would like in a partner”. This should mark a shift away from the physical – would you like them to make you laugh, be loyal, be adventurous or slightly more reserved?
Focus on the fundamental aspects that make up a person, rather than just their outward appearance.
This could open up avenues of attraction you hadn’t considered before, like a different gender or age group.
You’re far more likely to form a deeper, long-lasting connection with someone if you’re basing a relationship off compatible personality traits, rather than simply what you’ve been attracted to historically. Focus on how they make you feel, how they deal with the world, their actions towards you. This is a proven way to establish healthy dating patterns and release yourself from the toxic chains of comfort in repetition.
Mono-maniac dating can undoubtedly be a hard habit to break, but it’s worth it. Who knows what’s waiting on the other side?