Dating After Divorce: When You’re A Chameleon, How Do You Know What ‘Type’ You Like?

Posted by Delaine - October 13, 2009 - Dating & Sex, From the Dating Trenches, Internet Dating, Longing...and Learning - 12 Comments

chameleon woman divorcedAs I continue to wade through the vast sea of online dating, I find myself feeling impatient with myself.  Not because I want a man pronto, but because I’m STILL not sure what ‘type’ of man I like.  And I wonder, Did I get a chameleon chromosone at birth?  Or do I simply have no idea what I’m attracted to in a man?

Over the past week, I’ve briefly chatted with three men online, all of whom I found intriguing on some level.  First, there was the older, hot shot executive from New York who wanted to wine and dine me.  He appealed to the ‘glamourous’ businessman woman side of Delaine.  Then there was the masters student a decade younger than me; I could totally picture myself curling up with him on his stained, secondhand couch drinking a slurpee and chatting about life.  Then there was the long-haired photographer dude who drives a Harley to yoga class.  What can I say? I’m drawn to creative, deep types who break conventional social molds, too!

Sometimes I wonder, is it just me? Do most women HAVE a type of man they like?  Or does every woman have so many colors to her soul that trying to find a match in today’s sea seems overwhelming?

A part of me thinks that at this stage of my life, I should KNOW what I want in a man; or at least, I should be much clearer.  After all, it’s been over two years since my marriage ended, and believe me, I’ve explored the sea a fair amount already (wink).

Instead I find myself clicking on men’s profiles who are seemingly opposites; it’s like looking at a broad display of decadent chocolate knowing that no matter wonderful each morsel might be, tomorrow I’ll probably wake up wanting toffee!

Is anyone else in the same position as me?  Anyone been there and moved beyond it?

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12 comments

  • BLW says:

    I don’t think we need “types” at all! Not in the traditional sense (i>(I’d like a professional, I like a jock, etc…).

    I believe we’re physically attracted to certain body types (some of us more than others), and certain personality traits (smart, funny, shy or bold, and so on). But that leaves PLENTY of territory for a broad range of men of all sorts. What fun!

    Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t look at it as “not knowing what I want.” I look at it as knowing the essential qualities that I need, and as for everything else, being wonderfully open to exploring and enjoying.

  • Barry says:

    Oy vey Delaine. RELAX!!! Perfection is only what our mind and romance novels creates. 2 years is not as long as you think. Most of the problem is the fear of picking Mr. Wrong again. We all have different personalities within us. One though usually is a bit stronger. If you feel a tug for all three, go ahead and check out the water. I think the pitter patter in your heart will give away which you prefer. Of course if one happens to be a stud, that probably will weigh in . Forget the brain. Do it for you not what you think others think you should be with and you will be fine.

    Now go get’um tiger and just be you and one might surprise you. Or none, which means you will just have to slink down in the grass and wait patiently for your next prey

  • Delaine says:

    Barry, what the heck is “oy vey”? *grin. I know I sound uptight and overanalytical and really, truly I’m NOT. I’m just trying to figure things out as consciously as possible. Yes, I AM afraid of attracting the wrong kind of mem and thus, I look hard at what DOES attract me. I note which aspects of myself come out around different kinds of men, and how those aspects feel. Our dynamics can very different – it’s cool in a way…but it’s so all over the map!

    Yeah, I have a few ‘essential’ qualities I look for too Little Big Wolf. There are still quite a few though that I’m wishy washy about – those are the ones that concern me. Again, I don’t want to chose the wrong man; in many ways, I think I’m still learning what love, respect, and healthy relationships truly look like.

  • DanaLK says:

    I think this is pretty normal especially for creative, imaginative people. People with a rich inner world often picture themselves in different scenes, as different characters, with differing supporting actors. I know that I do the same thing all the time. I tend to take a scene or situation in my mind and plop myself nicely into the middle of it. Granted, reality usually isn’t the same thing as imagination and you figure out pretty quickly what is and is not authentic for you.

    It’s interesting that you took a positive view of each of these guys instead of trying to label how they could be no-good loosers. So you have a good view of the male species.

    Give things a whirl. Have fun. Experiment. You’ll quickly delete the guys or situations that don’t work for you!

  • Delaine says:

    @ DANALK – I certainly try to have a positive view on men. But I have to be honest – just last night, a close friend of mine accused me of ‘expecting men to fail.’ OUCH. But she’s right. I knock them a lot still too. Kind of like having an evil twin.:)

  • Jane says:

    i’m TOTALLY in the same boat. I think the key (although i’m still single, so i’m not sure) is finidng out which parts of you you can live without in a man (and maybe get from other areas of your life, or from friends) and which parts you can’t live without in a man. I recently discovered i can’t date another guy who i can’t have a deep intellectual conversation with. That’s what I can’t live without. That and a few other personality and lifestyle things (you know, he’s not into strippers and doesn’t drink till he falls over 7 days a week…stuff like that). As for the rest, the looks, the clothes, the harley, the glamour…that can all be found elsewhere in my life if needed. Although, finidng a chameleon man would be ideal

  • Pegasus says:

    Delaine, been there…done that dastardly deed myself. After rewinding and repeatedly reviewing the playback of my last two relationships/marriages I have seen a pattern of very significant assimilation. That stops here and now for me and I challenge all others who happen upon this thread to embrace the idea that being in a loving, passionate, committed relationship does not mean turning your back on your individual identity. I will love an amazing woman in hopefully the not too distant future and she may or may not have similar interests to mine and I will not expect her to metamporphisize on my behalf nor will I for her. She will be loved for the individual that she is with all her quirks and intricacies that may befuddle me to the end of time.

    Jane: I love the heck out of you but I have to completely disagree with you. I wish for you a man who knows who he is, what his strengths are, what his failings are, and has the humility and convicition to turn his failings into personal victories. For him, not for you. That makes him a great man which is exactly what you deserve.

  • Skip says:

    You simply take them for test drives till you find one that fits, some people might have traits you didn’t really realize that you liked or disliked. Just be open and see what develops. If you narrow yourself to one ‘type’ you just might miss a good one that comes along.

  • Jane says:

    pegasus, i think you and i read the word “chameleon” two different ways. By the sounds of it, you think she meant she changes who she is depending on the man, whereas i understood that each man brought out a different part of her personality. when i said “finding a chameleon man would be nice” i meant “finding a man who has all the various parts that i do and can change with the mood along with me”…not that i want a man who will change FOR me.

    I have a side that likes to dress up and go to fancy parties, but i also have a side that likes jeans and t-shirts and harleys and karaoke night at the local bar. I have a side that loves deep intellectual conversation, and a side that likes cheezy horror movies and not talking at all. It’s hard to find a guy who has all the same “sides” i have…so i weed out the things i can live without or find elsewhere (i have girlfriends who like horror movies, they fill that gap…etc.) but i CANNOT live without the conversation ability. I cannot live with a guy who is bad with his finances (debt up to his eyeballs), i WILL NOT live with another addict or stripper chaser…i have some others that i WON”T tolerate, and some others that i NEED…but everything else is negotiable. I will no longer compromise who i am for any man, but 1 man shouldn’t bear the burden of being my everything.

  • Pegasus says:

    Delaine, as usual you’ve got us all thinking here – well done!

    Jane: Thank you for clarifying. What you said immediately above to me says versatile or multifaceted which is still a true representation of the person. I guess I’m choking on the word chameleon a bit because to me that says one that assumes different roles according to their surroundings, including the characteristics of their romantic partner, rather than showing different aspects of their true self. I guess we’re really just splitting hairs. The reality is that in a loving relationship we so much admire our partner that we innately pattern some of the things about that person that make them so amazing to us. Nothing wrong with that provided that we don’t abandon our core self in the process. The rest is all just part of change and personal growth.

    I interpreted Delaine’s dilema to be that she was in fact taking on the role of the chameleon to the point that it clouded the issue of what she was really looking for. I think its great that we learn and grow from our partner as long as we don’t try to become our partner. Delaine, please clarify if I’m misinterpreting the issue. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  • Delainem says:

    You’re both right. I meant it in how Jane interpreted it in that I have so many different kinds of interests and qualties (and moods, hehe) that men often don’t ‘get’ that. At the same time, the danger of having a chameleon-like nature is the overtendency to overblend, overcompensate, to fit into my surroundings and into a man’s life. That usually involves supression of other aspects of me, which translates into supression of my true colors, Make sense, or more confusing???? lol

  • Jane says:

    makes perfect sense, and brings me back to my original answer. Instead of suppressing yourself, just express yourself outside the relationship. But find the parts of you that must be expressed most of the time, and insist the relationship allows for the expression of those parts. The rest can be filled in elsewhere. Ideally, a partner will share SOME aspects of you and feel comfortable allowing you to explore the other aspects with or without him/her. If harley/yoga guy can spiff up now and then and hit an art show without whining the whole time, GREAT…if not, does harley/yoga guy have enough in common with you that you can live with him on those levels and hit the art show with your friends instead? And if so, does Harley/yoga guy bitch and moan about you going out without him? or is he supportive of your “other selves”? Those are the key questions i think.

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