I drive a Ford Edge. It's safe and I like the size of it when I'm on a highway with eighteen wheelers zooming past me. My Edge is a comfort vehicle. But oh the thrill, the excitement when I drove a brand-new, racy red Jaguar on the California freeway. It was out of my highway-trucks-zooming-by-me comfort zone but I loved it! Comfort is nice but stepping outside it is amazing!

Ah the magic and safe images brought on by the word comfort! You crave comfort food when you're stressed, gravitate to familiar vacation spots when you need to feel safe and comfortable, and enjoy the comfort of a best-buddies long-term friendship. We don't have to challenge ourselves with these life comforts, we can just kick back and relax. What about comfort dating? Oh yes, there is such a term; it's when we tend to date only those who make us feel 'relationship secure.' The relationship doesn't even have to be an especially good one but it's there and we are familiar with it and the person in it.

We all have a physical dating ‘type’ There's a common look and certain physical characteristics among the people we have dated. But unfortunately, we also seem to gravitate towards people who have the same negative characteristics as those we've had in previous relationships. If you're in a rut with the same-old, same-old, if you find yourself meeting the same type of people who have the same negative effect on you, then it may be time to consider dating outside Your Comfort Zone. There is something inside all of us that attracts us to potential dating partners. They all have a 'certain something' that we find charming or attractive. We like to stay within a certain comfort zone when dating because, like anything else that makes us feel safe, it is familiar. We date within a certain age group, professional group, or only those with like interests.

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Some of us are at risk of spending a lifetime avoiding anything we don't like or simply avoiding any unpleasant issues in order to live a stress-free sheltered life. We develop routines and stay in relationships that become god-awful dreary but are safe. This causes us to create a bubble that becomes our comfort zone and God forbid we step outside of it. It's scary out there! Admittedly stepping outside your dating comfort zone can seem frightening or challenging but there are times when it becomes essential to your growth as a person. Challenging your sense of comfort actually makes you see the reality of an unproductive relationship.

The man or woman you're with may meet your visual criteria, (eye and hair color, height, build, etc.), but may not really be a good fit for who you are or trying to become. Emotionally and intellectually you really aren't good as a couple. The path through unsatisfactory relationships towards a happy and fulfilling one may seem uncomfortable and scary but it needs to be done. Otherwise you will never find what else is available, likeable, and very good for you. Love is a great emotion, powerful and strong but when you're looking for a potential partner the best advice is to use your head. Maybe the guy who is chatting you up at a party isn't your 'type'. You may prefer tall men and this guy is only a few inches taller than your 5'4". Don't automatically turn him off. See what he may have to offer to you even in the way of friendship. He might be someone with whom you can actually have a positive, healthy relationship.

The girl your friends introduced you to may be a bit thinner than the women you usually date but give her a chance. She may unexpectedly 'click' with you on certain subjects and may also introduce you to areas of life and interests you may never have considered. Don’t automatically rule people out simply because you see them as a different type; you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by someone when you least expect it.

Break all the rules and don’t rule people out simply because you see them as a ‘type’ which you think won't work for you; go for a new type and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised, just when you least expect it. Expand your comfort zone and give yourself positive options when it comes to dating. You have a choice of living the status quo of comfort or having the excitement of challenging your dating habits. Go for the challenge.

© 2014 copyright Kristen Houghton

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