Whether it's tall, dark, and handsome or deeply damaged, everyone has a type…or do you? "A lot of women have this misconception that the 'type' they fall in love with is out of their hands," says Andrea Syrtash, author of He's Just Not Your Type (and That's a Good Thing).
Spoiler: Not true! Behold: a breakdown of four classic man ruts everyone falls into, and how to break out of them like a triumphant rom-com heroine.
About The Asshole: This is the guy who talks his way backstage at a Kanye concert, makes out with you in front of Yeezus himself, doesn't text you again for two months, then wants to go out again like your first date was yesterday (womp). He's totally full of himself yet weirdly charismatic—all at once. "Everyone's attracted to confidence, so it's easy to fall for these guys," says Chiara Atik, author of Modern Dating: A Field Guide. Hook up with enough a-holes and you'll find yourself addicted to the challenge. "I've dated nice guys, but I get sick of them in, like, two weeks," says Marisa F., 26. "I guess somehow emotional unavailability came to equal masculinity to me."
How to Break Out: Throw a bottle of fancy cologne his way, and when he looks the other way, run! Seriously though, delete the dude from your phone, and the next time he texts you at 2 a.m., write back that you have a boyfriend now—whether or not that's actually true.
Who to Break Out With: The-take-charge-outdoorsy-always-taking-you-on- adventures-type. He packs the excitement of an a-hole, except he actually has hobbies other than trying to get into your pants, then ignoring you.
About the Man-Boy: Peter Pans are just fun. I dated one once, and we spent so much time singing "Sublime" in my car that I almost forgot he didn't have a license and lived with his mom. Man-children are so spontaneous, they make you feel like you just pounded three Red Bulls. It's not until you wake up at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday with a throbbing hangover that his devil-may-care-ness loses its charm. Claire M. (not her real name), 32, rebounded from a breakup with a string of Peters, saying they "felt so laid-back" that it seemed they wouldn't hurt her.
How to Break Out: Start hanging out where more mature guys do. "Go to events that have to do with your hobbies," says Atik. Ask friends who have their shit together to set you up with proper, functioning adults.
Who to Break Out With: The Adventurer. This guy's fun like a Peter Pan, but he has the job and the paid vacation days to back it up.
THE MEH BOYFRIEND
About the Meh Boyfriend: This male equivalent of an easy-listening station can be tempting. He's super sweet (like vanilla ice cream). You have a date to bring to weddings! He's nice to your mom! He even sends you flowers for no reason (even if they're never the ones you told him you like). But there's no fire in your loins (he's big on missionary, and that's about it).
How to Break Out: Consider that "long-term relationships are always going to be a little less exhilarating than a new boyfriend," says Atik. But when you're staying with him only because you're afraid of the alternative (#ForeverAlone), it's time to stop settling for just anyone and get comfortable being solo. Translation: Dump him now.
Who to Break Out With: No one! Girl, do you. Go to the movies alone. Go out to dinner alone. It's amazing. Sit at the bar, get a meal, and make friends with someone else there. I seriously still hang out with a girl I met this way. She's super fun, and she has a cool name: Souad. I digress, but the advice stands. It's better to be alone than to settle. Just being out in the world and leaving your comfort zone opens you up to attracting a guy for whom you might actually feel a spark....
THE BAGGAGE MAN
About the Baggage Man: There's something weird lurking in his closet—perhaps a Breaking Bad-style secret meth lab? It's all so torturous and passionate—especially in bed—that you resolve to "fix" him. "Women like to think of themselves as the magic key that unlocks the perfect guy inside," Atik explains. Elie S., 25, has been stuck in a rut of emotionally unavailable men for years. "It always seems so exciting," she says. Until his ex pops out of a bush in prison orange...
How to Break Out: A more constructive way to tap into your nurturing side? Start volunteering. It'll feel a lot better than dating dudes with rap sheets.
Who to Break Out With: The Culture Buff. He's experienced and deep, minus the secret family across state lines.
Last Word: The best way to break out of your man rut? Ask yourself why you keep falling for the same duds. Then tell yourself: You deserve better!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.