Have You Tried Dating Outside Your Pool?

Most of us have a type. Dating is a challenging exercise in itself no matter the age bracket. The pool of good men seems to shrink as we get older. Options are further narrowed when we start to consider the kinds of people we want to date. Do you keep a handy checklist in your back pocket? Physical attributes, financial or social status, educational background, and many other characteristics create the ideal man or woman.

You may have friends checking the “Single” box complaining about their love life. Understandable gripe since options diminishes over time depending on age, social circles, or geographical location. Is this true because we get older or learn to be more selective? Does knowing what you want in a partner limit you?

In a recent taping of The Real daytime talk show, the hosts discuss dating with guest, Tisha Campbell. In the interview, Campbell shares reservations about dating outside her race. She expressed details of the guilt she experiences while pondering the possibility of dating someone that is not African-American. Some readers may relate to similar thoughts or pressure when choosing partners in their own life. If raised to believe that birds of a feather flock together then this will sound familiar. Chances are you won’t venture outside the comfort zone because it’s all you know, maybe it feels wrong or forbidden.

My first real dating experience was with a Greek man. As the oldest of three girls in a Dominican family of four, I was the one who broke ground. Decades ago, interracial dating was not as prevalent as it is today. The likelihood of stepping out of your comfortable range was unlikely due to an old-world mindset. Unwarranted comments like “you should stick to your own kind” were not unheard of.

The naysayers did not discourage me from dating outside my race or nationality. Instead, it provided an opportunity to learn and appreciate various cultures. It has also shown me that love’s periscope is less critical. It’s important when contemplating a love interest to evaluate the essence of the person. The core values and feelings the person brings to your relationship is what will matter most.

If you are struggling with the topic, shifting your perspective is valuable. Allow me to offer some color on the subject that may provide new insight, encouraging another way of thinking.

Stay open to the possibilities, dipping your feet into a different dating pool can raise the following positives:

1. Increased respect for other cultures. Sometimes, we unknowingly make judgments that lead to misconceptions about others. Dating outside your pool can help improve awareness and sensitivity for those outside your culture. You may acquire a newfound appreciation for different foods, traditions, and people that you may not have had prior to the experience. Learning about other people makes you more worldly, creates empathy and lends a hand to see other points of view.

2. Opens new options. Getting too specific narrows down choices for you. I suggest leaving options open enough to give room to try new things. Think about the most important qualities you seek in a partner. Prioritize needs vs wants while asking yourself what is most essential for you to get the best possible results for success in a relationship? The broadening of horizons can offer delightful surprises in more ways than one.

3. Love is Love. People are people, regardless of the color of their skin, nationality or background. Falling in love with the person creates a much stronger foundation to build on a relationship. Stripping a potential love interest down to their physical appearance is limiting. You deserve better and can have, if open to receive it.

Everyone has a preference that appeals to the eyes or senses. In no way, am I saying to ignore that which makes your heart chirp. However, keep an open mind to the endless choices across the spectrum. Restricting yourself to a single type may cause you to lose out on a great opportunity gifting you the greatest love affair imagined.

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