Going through my Tinder matches, you never know what type of person you’ll find. I’m a big advocate of giving people a shot, going with your gut, and Liking people whose profiles speak to you in some way. And that philosophy has led to dating many people who are very different than me.

I, a 27-year-old cisgender, non-disabled, woman who grew up in Massachusetts, have dated a 41-year-old Polish man who grew up in Warsaw, a man who uses a wheelchair (he made me laugh by writing he was 7 feet tall in his profile), and a trans man who was receiving unemployment.

These are all people some may encourage me not to date, yet I’ve learned a lot by dating them. And I don’t regret Liking them one bit. It’s this openness that makes online dating so exciting and valuable. It’s also why I’m a big advocate of shattering your comfort zone and embracing a variety of dating scenarios. 

If you want to open up your options, consider giving the following a shot. You may be surprised who you click with.

Dating Someone Who Is Unemployed

One of the first questions many people ask is, “What do you do for work?” But many of us have lost jobs or struggled to find work. It hardly means someone isn’t deserving of pursuing romantic relationships. 

“The only difference [in dating someone who was unemployed] was that I had to be solid emotional support because he was so stressed with, Am I going to get a job? Am I a failure?,” Alison, 27, says. “Once he started applying to jobs and they responded, he would feel better.”

If a person has a rocky professional life, chances are they are spending a great deal of time working toward finding a job. Don’t let a period of professional flux discourage you from booking a date with someone you click with. Chances are their employment status isn’t a reflection of their work ethic or personality, but rather is an unfortunate circumstance.

Dating Someone You Hated In The Past

We all have enemies — but we can all also be wrong about people’s personalities and intentions. It’s quite possible for passionate dislike to turn into passionate desire. Don’t let that freak you out.

Dating someone you once disliked can lead to a successful relationship — as long as you both are willing to leave the past behind. After all, relationships are about communication and compromise. If you’ve mended your rapport with someone, chances are you are both good at finding common ground and have what it takes to make it through tough times together.

Dating Someone Who Is Considerably Older Or Younger 

Many people date within a few years of their age — the average couple is only 2.3 years apart. Given compatible life stages and common interests are a big part of any successful relationship, it makes sense. But that doesn’t mean dating someone considerably older or younger than you can’t work out.

When I asked my current partner — the previously mentioned 41-year-old Polish man — whether he had any hesitation about being with me due to my age, he had a simple word: “Nah.” For me, the concern was minimal. I only worried if we would have things in common, and we do. But I knew people would judge me for being with a man 14 years older than me — and they have.

It goes without saying that any age gap should be a lawful one. But age doesn’t have to be a be-all-end-all factor. Consider widening your age range on Tinder. Take it from me: You may be surprised who you connect with.

Dating Someone Who Is Divorced

Many, if not all, people you date will have been through a breakup. When a person decides to end a relationship, sometimes it means ending a marriage. But having been through a divorce shouldn’t be a red flag.

Around 2.3% of people under the age of 34 who have been married are divorced. These people tend to have a good sense of what they want their next serious relationship to look like, experience with commitment, and knowledge of what things they can and can’t work through with a partner. Consider a previous failed marriage an example of growth, especially if your partner is open about what they learned along the way.

Dating Someone Who Has A Child

One in four U.S. parents are unmarried, and many of those people are single and dating. But single parents often have a hard time in the dating scene, because others are afraid they are tied down or come with too much baggage.

A good parent is loving, committed, selfless, and well-versed in communication, flexibility, determination, and compassion. And that’s only the beginning of the list of positive qualities parenthood can instill in a person. These characteristics are also ones that make a strong partner. Plus, if you adore a person, chances are you’ll adore their child or children.

“My family, friends, and even strangers are often confused by my decision to date men with children. They are shocked when they find out it is a preference of mine,” Lindsey, 29, says. “In my experience, men who are active fathers show up for their partner and in relationships differently. Fathers are often supportive, more patient, understanding and willing to commit.”

Dating Someone A Friend Dated

We’ve all seen movies of best-friend betrayal and have been encouraged to side with the friend “left behind.” But if you find yourself attracted to a friend’s ex and the conversation turns to dating, communication with your friend is key. Be sensitive and sincere while also staying true to your wants and needs.

Use your friend’s experience as a data point. If things turned sour due to bad behavior on the ex’s part, history could repeat itself. But if things naturally fizzled out, you’re more likely to find relationship success — and that your friend will be OK with you dating their ex.

Dating Your Friend’s Sibling

Every teen romance movie ever warns about dating your friend’s sibling, while also simultaneously making it quite alluring. But attraction is attraction, and sometimes you end up falling for them.

Given they were raised in the same household, your friend’s sibling may hold similar values to your friend, so some level of compatibility isn’t shocking. If you decide to go for it, just be open with your pal. They deserve it — and a strong friendship will make it through any potential awkwardness. But be sure the risk of dealing with any potential road bumps with your friend is worth the reward.

Dating Your Coworker

We spend so much time at work that it’s no wonder feelings sometimes arise between colleagues. According to Forbes, 58% of us have engaged in a romantic relationship with a coworker. Depending on your professional relationship and company’s policies, it’s not an unreasonable thing to consider — but it should be something you approach mindfully.

It’s never a good idea to date someone who supervises you — or vice versa — because of the power dynamics involved. But in other cases, chances are you have a lot in common if you are in the same professional field, and shared experiences can be a strong foundation for a partnership.

“We definitely had hesitations,” says Sara, 25, of starting to date her boyfriend of three years. “At the time we started seeing each other, the rule was no dating among team members — and we were on the same team. In retrospect, we were definitely way more affectionate than one would consider professional, but we were head over heels for each other. We were fortunate that pretty much everyone we worked with was extremely happy for us — and fine with the PDA.”

It’s never a good idea to date someone who supervises you — or vice versa — because of the power dynamics involved. But in other cases, chances are you have a lot in common if you are in the same professional field, and shared experiences can be a strong foundation for a partnership.

Dating Your Ex

Our dating culture often suggests you have to cut all ties with your past partners. Anything else is considered unhealthy — and that especially includes giving your ex another shot. But according to one small study, 44% of those ages 17 to 24 report breaking up and getting back together again with an ex. 

If you find yourself reconsidering a former flame, don’t let social pressure discourage you. If things naturally fizzled out, a now-resolved disagreement got in the way, or timing was off, it’s understandable that you may want to give dating another shot. After all, you once liked that person for a reason. Just make sure it’s a truly healthy relationship to get back in to. No one likes a vicious cycle.

Dating Someone With A Radically Different Experience Than You 

Dating someone from a similar background may be easy and comfortable, but the opposite can be exciting and new. Being open-minded while dating is exactly what allows you to meet people who you normally wouldn’t cross paths with.

Maybe you’ll match with someone who is blind though you are seeing. Maybe you’ll fall for someone who is transgender when you are cisgender. Maybe you’ll hit it off with someone who is nonmonogomous even though you’ve never considered giving nonmonogamy a try. Go with your gut, and give people a chance.