People *do* have a 'type' when it comes to relationships
When the ‘Love Island’ contestants claim that each new arrival is ‘totally their type on paper’ turns out they might have a point.
Because new research has revealed that when it comes to dating people really do have ‘types’.
Yep according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal people often look for love with the same type of person again and again.
So if you’ve got a string of identikit exes, chances are you’re not alone.
For the research social psychologists at the University of Toronto used data from an ongoing German study on families and romantic relationships and then compared the personalities of current and past partners of 332 people.
Everyone answered questions about their personality traits related to agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience and how they behaved in relationships, allowing the researchers to assess how similar a participant’s current partner was to their ex.
The results revealed "a significant degree of distinctive partner similarity, suggesting that there may indeed be a unique type of person each individual ends up with."
Seeming to suggest that we really don’t tend to stray far from the ‘type’ box when it comes to seeking out a new partner.
Either that, or we really don’t learn our lesson.
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"The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a 'type'," explains study co-author Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto.
"And though our data do not make clear why people's partners exhibit similar personalities, it is noteworthy that we found partner similarity above and beyond similarity to oneself."
Why do we go for the same type of person again and again?
Though the findings couldn't specifically pinpoint an explanation for why we do this, researchers did have a couple of theories.
For a start, they point out that previous research has revealed we tend to gravitate towards people who are like us.
So it would seem to make sense that our partners are all pretty similar, because they are similar to us.
But having accounted for this in their research, the results revealed a person's current and past partner were similar to each other in other ways than the similarities to themselves.
Another possible explanation could be that we can only really date the people who are physically around us, so it follows that those people will likely have some similarities in terms of potentially coming from a similar area etc..
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But before you write-off you’re entire future dating self thanks for your tendency to go to the same type of person again and again, researchers believe their findings could actually offer ways to keep relationships healthy and couples happy.
"In every relationship, people learn strategies for working with their partner's personality," says Park.
"If your new partner's personality resembles your ex-partner's personality, transferring the skills you learned might be an effective way to start a new relationship on a good footing."
On the other hand, you might pick up negative ways to manage your partner’s personality which could be transferred to your next samey relationship.
Researchers therefore believe more research is needed to find out how much dating someone similar to an ex is a pro and how much it could be a con.
"So, if you find you're having the same issues in relationship after relationship you may want to think about how gravitating toward the same personality traits in a partner is contributing to the consistency in your problems," says lead author Yoobin Park.