Have you ever looked back at a failed relationship and wondered what could have been? You dissect the past relentlessly, convincing yourself that if you could just do this one thing differently, the outcome would have changed.
I certainly have.
When my self-esteem was low, I even thought that everything that had gone wrong in my past relationships was all my fault as though the other person was absolutely perfect and, if I could make them love me, they would’ve treated me better.
When I’m more mature and emotionally healthy, I understand that a relationship takes two. And the proclamation of love doesn’t simply equate to better treatments — loving and treating someone well are actions and choices. It certainly isn’t my fault if someone abuses me — it’s on them.
Based on this mindset, I have concluded that all the people you meet romantically can be categorised into these four types.
The four types are:
Type 1: “The incapable tourist” — They lack qualities to make a good partner and they don’t choose you.
Type 2: “The devoted tryhard” — They lack qualities to make a good partner and they choose you.
Type 3: “The almost fantasy” — They make a good partner and they don’t choose you.
Type 4: “The worthy heart”— They make a good partner and they choose you.
NOTE: “They choose you” means they love you, they invest in you, and they’re committed to you.
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Type 1: “The incapable tourist”
They lack qualities to make a good partner and they don’t choose you.
This person is the one you often have really fun first few dates with but, as the relationship progresses, you start to notice red flags.
They cancel dates at short notice, they talk about their exes too much, they downplay your achievements, they don’t have enough time for you, they’re selfish in bed, they leave your texts on read, and so on.
It’s a mixture of “they’re just not that into you” and “you wouldn’t want to be friends with them.”
It’s evident that you should immediately cut them off. But…
What usually happens:
You get emotionally attached before you could make sense of those red flags. You overvalue the initial connection and attribute high value to them based on superficial values.
Your gut tells you it’s a losing battle but you keep trying because your ego is hurt. You don’t want to accept reality; you want the beginning full of potentials back.
Meanwhile, they treat you worse and worse, making you think it’s something you do.
Stay away from this type as far as possible. In fact, block them now — trust me, their feelings won’t be hurt because, well, they have none.
If you dated this one and it went nowhere, I can reassure you that there was absolutely nothing you could’ve done that would’ve changed the outcome. They weren’t capable of loving you the way you want anyway.
And admit it — you didn’t actually like them that much as a person.
Type 2: “The devoted tryhard”
They lack qualities to make a good partner and they choose you.
This person is someone who shows a clear interest in you and sticks around with you, but something about them or the relationship with them is not quite right.
Maybe they’re emotionally closed off, they don’t live in the same country as you, they have a lot of baggage, they’re an alcoholic, you’re not that physically attracted to them, and so on.
They’re open to progressing the relationship and you might even be married, but they don’t meet a few of your important needs and a relationship with them feels unfulfilling.
What usually happens:
You think you could do better but, at the same time, you wonder what if you couldn’t do better.
The relationship is not the best, but it isn’t too bad that you have to break up with them immediately.
You value the fact that they’re so committed to you — almost over everything else. You believe no one has it all, compromising is normal, and relationships take hard work.
Sometimes you dream about a better relationship, but the single life scares you and you feel guilty for even thinking about breaking up.
Tread carefully with this one. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to staying together. After all, it’s your life — if you’re okay with it, it’s okay.
But remember that you can’t change people and you can’t love people into the partner you want them to be. So make a decision for yourself based on the assumption that things might never change.
If you’re not okay with it, be honest with yourself and communicate with them. It’s better for both of you in the long run.
Type 3: “The almost fantasy”
They make a good partner and they don’t choose you.
This one is the classic “the one who got away.”
They are so good for you and you have such good times together, but they can’t commit to you. Your relationship might be happy and, naturally, you want to move it to the next stage, but they keep making excuses why they can’t do it yet. They might not even be able to explain why.
Or you might have been friends for a long time and you’ve observed how great of a partner they were in their past relationships so you know they’re a total catch, but they make no moves on you.
What usually happens:
If this person is a crush and you’re not officially dating, you tend to put them on a pedestal. You carry a torch for them and keep comparing other people you date to them.
If you’re in a relationship with each other, you think you could love them into committing to you. You might even talk yourself out of wanting what you want just so you can fit with their timeline and don’t have to lose them now.
Then, for some reason, they break up with you and you see them getting married to the next person they meet.
First and foremost, someone choosing you is a non-negotiable requirement. If they don’t choose you, it doesn’t matter if they’re good looking and successful and have amazing qualities — it doesn’t concern you.
If you happen to be in a relationship with someone like this and you want more, appreciate the times spent together, the life experiences, the growth, and get rid of them as fast as you can.
This type is the most dangerous type of them all because they’re so nice, so hard to find fault with, they treat you so well you don’t want to admit they’re massive time-wasters. You deserve better than an “almost”.
Type 4: “The worthy heart”
They make a good partner and they choose you.
This one is the one you should look for and deserve to be with: They meet your needs in a relationship and they’re committed to you.
Sure, like everyone else, they have flaws and you will have differences but, overall, the relationship adds value to your life and they have many fundamental qualities that are compatible with yours.
They see you and love you for who you are. They’re sure about you and they want to build a future with you. Being with them, you feel inspired to be more of yourself.
What usually happens:
A happy scenario is that you get with them and build a happy life together.
A not-so-happy scenario is that it’s actually you who are not ready for someone like this because you still have unresolved baggage or you have low-self-esteem or the timing isn’t right.
A healthy, long-lasting relationship would only happen when you can bring the same to the table: You’d make a great partner and you choose them too.
Go for this one if you can and don’t settle for less. But before you even go out and look for them, invest in yourself first. Level up until someone like this would be lucky to have you. Make yourself ready for them.
I hope that these categories can help you make sense of your dating situation and make effective decisions for yourself.
Here’s a recap:
Type 1 — They lack qualities to make a good partner and they don’t choose you — It’s a BIG NO.
Type 2 — They lack qualities to make a good partner and they choose you — Tread carefully.
Type 3 — They make a good partner and they don’t choose you — It’s also a NO, you’re wasting your time.
Type 4 — They make a good partner and they choose you — YES, YES, YES!
Keep in mind that people can change. They might be one type but become another type later. There might also be challenges that go beyond these types. That’s why it’s important that you know what you want and need and you prioritise your well-being and happiness in any situation.