Dating The Same Type Of Person: Why You're In A Romantic Relationship With Your Ex's Doppelganger

We've all heard the saying "love is blind," but whether we'd like to admit it or not — we have a physical type. If we look through photos of our exes, chances are they share similar facial features, body type, and even the same education and religious background. Researchers at the University of California suggest we do date our ex's doppelganger, but not for the reasons we think.

So, do we have a type? Yes. "But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live" said Paul Eastwick, study author and associate professor of psychology, in a statement.

Read More: Why Couples Start To Look And Act Alike

In a series of three studies, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Eastwick and his colleagues examined the dating patterns of more than 1,000 heterosexual couples to gain insight on how people determined their romantic types. The participants voluntarily provided data via social media sites and live interviews. The researchers would soon realize we all have a type, but it's driven by either our desirability or our location.

Physical attraction relies on the belief "like attracts like." In other words, attractive people will seduce other attractive people, which allows similarity to emerge. Previous research has found we're more likely to be attracted to those who share our own facial features. In the study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers morphed images of participants' faces to create faces of strangers. Inevitably, the participants saw the morphed faces of "strangers" as a better, more trustworthy person they'd like to date.

Eastwick and his colleagues found we usually go for people who we see at our level in terms of looks. In the first study, people's exes had similar physical qualities, independent of the type of relationship, and its duration.  

" ..during the partner selection process, people may have difficulty differentiating between partners that prove to be casual and short-term versus committed and long-term," wrote the study authors.

Couple We all have a romantic type when it comes to dating, but not for the reasons we think. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

Outside of attractiveness, the researchers noted other characteristics, such as intelligence and religion, have less to do with a type, and more to do with where people live. The second study examined ex-partners of several hundred young adults from schools across the U.S. Exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on traits like education, religiosity, and intelligence, due to the school that people attended. In other words, people were dating those types of people, because that's what they were primarily exposed to.

Read More: The 16 Personality Types And Dating For The Perfect Match

"Within their local school context, people were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners," Eastwick said.

Our choice in romantic partners has to do with both physical compatibility and also where we are physically. Inherently, we're attracted to people who are just like us, hence why all our exes look alike. Call it dating our ex’s doppelganger, or just doppelganger dating, but we do have a type that’s similar to ourselves.

Source: Eastwick PW, Harden KP,  Shukusky JA et al. Consistency and Inconsistency Among Romantic Partners Over Time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2017.

See Also:

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Are Dating Mind Games In Our DNA (And Do They Work)?

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