While those going through the break-up of a relationship may be tempted to try something different, the research found it seems that most will end up with someone similar to their previous boyfriend or girlfriend.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on June 11, 2019

People looking for love have a particular ‘type’ when it comes to romance, new published research states.

While those going through the break-up of a relationship may be tempted to try something different for their next romance, it seems that most will end up with someone similar to their previous boyfriend or girlfriend.

A study by Yoobin Park and Geoff MacDonald from the University of Toronto, published in the journal PNAS, found people tend to date partners with consistent personalities and suggested it may be possible to predict who an individual will couple up with in the future.

“After experiencing a break-up, people commonly believe that they have better ideas about whom they want as a new partner,” the study authors said.

“However, the present findings provide evidence that people’s new partners tend to have a degree of similarity to their previous partners, suggesting that people consistently engage in relationships with a particular type of person to at least some extent.”

In other words, it might not be a complete surprise that your friend’s new boy- or girlfriend seems just as obnoxious as the last, The Guardian reported.

The researchers, from the University of Toronto in Canada, monitored the relationship status of a group of people in Germany from 2008. Every time the participants entered a new romance, the personality traits of their latest partner were assessed.

By 2017, 332 participants had dated two different partners, who had both agreed to complete a personality test. The researchers found that the current partners of participants described themselves in ways that were similar to their former partners.

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However, people who were extrovert or open to experiences were more likely to date someone a bit different.

“This partner personality consistency can have potential implications for predicting with whom people are likely to couple in the future as well as how they will behave in relationships,’ the study authors said.

Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford, UK, told The Guardian that there had been much debate about whether or not opposites attract in relationships.

“Our own research has shown that friends tend to resemble each other – a phenomenon known as homophily,” he said. “Now it seems we have proof that it also applies to romantic partners, especially in respect of their personalities.”

That might not be too surprising, he said.

“After all, for a relationship to last, whether its a friendship or a romantic relationship, you really need to be interested in the same things and have the same attitudes to life – otherwise you just end up arguing all the time.”