That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, either.
Four words, when uttered, have the potential to start something incredible—or something anything but: “They’re just your type.”
As much as you might insist that you don’t have a type, the truth is that many of us do. The thing is, types aren’t always so literal. Some people do always try to find guys with a vague air of unkemptness à la Robert Pattinson or women with a slightly aloof cool-girl vibe like Zoë Kravitz. Or they tend to get crushes on people with the same, specifically a sardonic sense of humor, or they fall in love with people who know their way around a kitchen. The thing about types is that they can be physically obvious—but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, too.
There’s science behind why we tend to go for people that remind us of our exes. Research even confirms that types are, in fact, a thing—according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019.
Basically, for nine years, researchers in Germany compared individuals’ current and former partners by looking for similarities between their self-reported personality profiles. What they found was that “there may indeed be a unique type of person each individual ends up with.” But not everyone is equally likely to only date within a specific type; individuals who tended to show more signs of extroversion and willingness to try new things within their own personality profiles were less likely to have partners that followed a clear “type” pattern.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that people are fated to repeat mistakes when it comes to dating. While a person might have one—or a handful—of “toxic” exes, they can still date within their type if they’re careful to analyze what they really liked about that toxic ex, and think of that trait in a broader sense. (Maybe it wasn’t so much that you loved your toxic ex’s dedication to their vinyl collection, but that you find yourself attracted to people who invest in their personal interests).
Dating within a type can also help you to better recognize issues when they arise in a relationship—and how to better address them. Relationships, after all, are a learning experience for all parties involved. And when you’re better at recognizing patterns, you can get better at breaking the patterns that aren’t so helpful to you, after all.