Date your type – just don't marry them.

"Oh, I never liked Jack. He was boring. He wasn't right for you," my brutally honest, good friend Anna said to me earlier this year. 

I shock-laughed, a little taken aback. This was news to me, even though my English ex-boyfriend and I had broken up a good seven years earlier. I was surprised because, although we didn't work out in the end for very important reasons, I didn't look back on our three-and-a-half year relationship with any particularly negative feelings, nor did I feel ill will towards him. 

Also, when we were together, I had obviously thought that Jack and I were pretty suited to each other – softly spoken, grounded, 'nice' people, with good senses of humour and good heads on our shoulders. We barely fought or had any drama in our relationship. I had assumed he was 'my type'. Did that make me boring too?

Video: Mamamia Out Loud Dating Apps. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

A fair few months later, the topic of our past lives in London came up again with our other good friend, Bre, and I relayed the Jack revelation that Anna had dropped on me. Level-headed Bre nodded, and said, "Jack was a nice guy but he didn't bring out the best in you. Luke does."

Luke is my husband. He was the first significant relationship I had after breaking up with my ex, and we knew pretty quickly that this was it. We had an instant attraction but I wouldn't say he was my usual type. Actually, he couldn't have been more different to my introverted, bookish ex – an boy from Sydney's Eastern suburbs, born and bred, a well-travelled surfer, down-to-earth tradie who didn't mind a party and had a million friends and a very healthy social life.

Though I never really thought about it (or the reasons), I agreed with Bre that Luke brought out the best in me – I wouldn't have married him otherwise! And that's when I had an epiphany about the people you date and the one you eventually end up marrying.


Past studies have shown that most people don't end up marrying their type. Okay, I'm thinking of one study by the University of Western Ontario, but it still counts. There's no scientific reason for this, and everyone's experiences vary, but to me, dating your type generally means dating someone who's similar to you in personality. And that's where the danger lies.

When I was with South-London boy Jack, life was easy and pleasant. We just cruised along, not really planning a future together or questioning reasons not to be together. I've always seen myself as a homebody but I've definitely been the life of the party when the occasion calls – yet because Jack wasn't a 'social butterfly', I found myself going out less and less and not really making the most of the excitement that living in London and working in the magazine world could bring.

Image: Supplied.

Because we had a 'nice' relationship, it took years for me to realise that being with Jack had dulled my light, and I had locked the brighter parts of myself away and left the... shall we say, 'beige' parts of my personality on display, that meshed well with his.

When I met my husband back in Australia, it was like a switch flicked on and all the old parts of Niki that I thought were just my younger, more carefree self came back. I loved meeting all his friends, loved going to a new restaurant or bar every weekend, loved unlocking this other side that had stayed dormant for too long without me even noticing. I felt the most 'me' that I ever had, and I believe this is what Bre meant when she said Luke was the right guy for me.

I read about a concept called "revisionist history" when I was looking into the theory that people tend to date their type, but not marry them. This concept occurs when people start dating somebody they like and their preferences change to match the traits of the person they're dating.

I would agree with this to an extent. My husband became my type, because he gave me all the things that had been lacking in every other serious relationship I'd had in the past. And if I had to be really analytical about it, I saw him as an amalgamation of all the ex-boyfriends I'd had, but the best parts. That's what made him 'husband' material.

It's also natural that as we grow, so too do our needs in another person, therefore changing – and confirming – what our type actually is.

Luke and I are very different in our fundamental personalities, but while that has its challenges, it's ultimately what makes him the right type for me – because what I need most is someone to balance me out and keep me feeling alive, not someone to blend into.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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