We date similar people because those are the people around us, according to research

Your 'type' has a lot to do with location 

Chelsea Ritschel
in New York
Friday 09 March 2018 20:06
comments

If you always find yourself attracted to the same “type,” it turns out there is actually a scientific reason we continually date the same types of people - but it may not be for the reason you think.

According to a recent study from the University of California, Davis, which analysed the characteristics of more than 1,000 heterosexual couples, the likelihood of past partners possessing similar physical characteristics is quite common.

And the same is true for religious affinity, educational background and intelligence.

However, the reason your ex-boyfriends are all tall, dark-haired doctors actually has nothing to do with this being your “type” at all - rather, the study found that it is actually a matter of circumstance, and “the people with whom we could form relationships might differ from the people with whom we do form relationships.”

The authors of the study wrote: “In principle, heterosexual individuals in most contemporary societies could form romantic relationships with a vast number of peers.

“But they will only ever meet a subset of those peers - a subset that historically has been circumscribed by a demographically specific local context.”

Essentially, the study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that we consistently find ourselves dating partners with similar attributes and characteristics because these are the types of people that surround us at school, work, or home - and not because we are subconsciously seeking them out.

As for the physical similarities between the people we date, that has to do with our own attractiveness, according to the study, which states that we’re attracted to people with similar physical traits, and we look for these qualities in each new mate.

If your exes are all similar, it is likely because these are the people that live around you

But out of the people that we do meet, the study authors believe partner choice is mostly random, although the overall characteristics such as education and background are likely similar.

However, online dating can add some diversity to our dating pool.

One of the study authors, Paul Eastwick, associate professor of psychology, told Rewire: “Online dating in a way gives people more of an active choice over the people they’re going to meet in the first place.”

But unless you are going through an experimental phase, don’t be surprised if you end up on a Tinder date with the same type of person.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments