Here’s how contra-dating can transform your love life  

Say yes to keeping an open mind!

26 April, 2024
Here’s how contra-dating can transform your love life  

In an age where situationships, ghosting, and breadcrumbing define the dating game, finding a genuine connection is nearly impossible. More so when we date the same kind of people, not learning from our mistakes and ending up heartbroken. So, would it do us good to broaden our horizons?

Picture this: You’re a creative business owner who loves to be spontaneous. You enjoy taking risks and love cooking up exciting new ideas. You will naturally want to date someone who is just like that; someone who also loves the high of the unknown. But what if you go out with someone meticulous who loves planning and is risk-averse—basically, not your type—and find out that they are your true love? You might have contra-dating to thank! 

Want to know more about this term that has been making the rounds of the internet lately? Read to find out. 

What is contra-dating?

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A wordplay on contradicting, contra-dating means intentionally dating outside your type, or contradicting your usual type. The term, coined by Canadian online dating site Plenty of Fish, prompts us to shake up our love life by dating someone we wouldn’t normally go out with or whom we wouldn’t view as compatible.

It could mean going out with someone who has a boring desk job even though you imagined dating someone from a creative field like you. It could also mean choosing to give someone who doesn’t read a chance, even if you’re a voracious reader yourself and generally gravitate towards avid readers. 

Contra-dating asserts that the perfect partner can be someone whose tastes, traits, and characteristics might be different from our own. 

How can it help to break a sad dating pattern?

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All of us have certain expectations from our potential partner; it could be the way they look, their lifestyle, or their interests. As soon as someone doesn’t meet a single one of these criteria, we immediately rule them out as a possible partner, even if they may share a few important similarities, like their core ideologies. If you restrict yourself to only dating people who tick all the boxes, albeit superficially, you might be missing out on forming a real connection with someone you might have overlooked!

Stepping out of your usual dating pool means meeting new people, which is an excellent way to learn more about yourself and your expectations from a relationship and a partner. Contra-dating will surely make you more self-aware and open you up to new opportunities. 

How do you meet people outside your type?

Image: Pexels

Okay, we’ve established that meeting people out of your social circle is good, but where does one start? The easiest way is to be more mindful when swiping left and right on dating apps. Is a preconceived notion of your ideal type stopping you from matching with someone even if they don’t tick all the boxes? What if you gave yourself a wider, more diverse dating pool to choose from? 

If you’d rather have a meet-cute, a lá every romantic movie ever, than rely on dating apps, then sign up for activities or hobbies that you’re interested in but never tried. It could be yoga, hiking, or pottery, and you might end up meeting someone completely different from you, but this common interest might bring you together!

Are there any cons to the trend?

While there aren’t any specific negatives to the concept of contra-dating, there are some points to keep in mind. Even though the whole point of the trend is to wade into uncharted dating territory, you shouldn’t give up on your dealbreakers or non-negotiables. It’s not exactly a case of ‘opposites attract’. For instance, if your potential partner has differing political or cultural views, thoughts on having children, work-life balance, or sobriety, which are a big deal for you, then you shouldn’t be willing to bend over backward and overlook these aspects. 

It’s still important to be with someone who can see eye to eye on things that matter to you. If they’re not as much into Taylor Swift as you? Probably fine. If they want to have kids and you don’t? You should probably rethink this match. After all, being poles apart on priorities and core beliefs could create problems and lead to disappointment on both ends in the long term. 

You should also mentally prepare yourself because the exercise is bound to make you step out of your comfort zone and will require some compromise on your end. 

Finally, as with dating in general, it could also end up being a failure, where you go out with someone completely different and not end up clicking with them. Even then, there’s so much for you to learn and grow from that experience; so it’s not a total loss. Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know, right?

Lead image: Still from Never Have I Ever, courtesy Netflix

Also read: How to build emotional intimacy with your partner

Also read: Signs that you’re walking on eggshells in your relationship