According to a recent relationship study published online by the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you’re very likely to keep dating the same man or woman—just in a different body. Researchers found that each participant in the exercise had a clear “type” and repeatedly connected with individuals who had similar qualities both physically and personality-wise. The reasons abound. Some of it is due to personal thoughts on what is physically attractive (for example certain men may like women with short hair and long legs), which naturally leads to resemblances among exes. Other variables, like meeting folks who have the same level of education, religion or interests, are social and due to where you reside and how you spend your free time.
So, what’s the big takeaway?
Well, if you’re single, dating and feel like you keep meeting the same guy or gal, and the same issues keep coming up, you’re not crazy—you probably just need to change where and how you hunt. Here are some tips:
Go to therapy. Didn’t expect that one, right? Okay, everybody isn’t in dire need of a long-term talk therapy but if you feel like you’re in a dating rut, enlisting an expert for lets say three sessions of solutions-based coaching may help you identify some underlying issues and craft a way to address. Consider what you need to change.
Identify the traits you lust after v. the ones you love. It’s often said that people grow to loathe the qualities in their mates that they initially adored. One of the reasons is because our personalities are typically aligned across the board. For example, you may initially be attracted to a person’s boisterous and carefree nature because of spontaneous sex or travel, but later frustrated when your free-spirit refuses to get a 9-5 because he or she doesn’t want to be bogged down by the constraints of clocking in. The goal is to do some mining for the traits you know suit your personality long-term (ex. you may value respecting nature and want to live clean with your partner) and not just while you’re in the honeymoon phase (ex. calling in work sick every other week to enjoy summer Fridays).
Create new routines based on who you want to meet. Yes, a gal pal or buddy may have run into the love of their life—who is a complete departure from “the others“— without venturing outside of their stomping grounds but most folks won’t be that lucky. You can’t go to the same places, do the same things and expect something new. Once you decide the type of person you want to connect with, brainstorm about the places he or she will be—that pique your interest—and add those spots/events/meet-ups into your rotation.
Don’t send a representative. Be authentic. You can’t just decide you want to meet a doctor, hang out at medical conventions feigning interest and expect to have a happily ever after. At some point this person has to get to know the real you, your interests and temperament. Be the best version of yourself and base your pursuits on true or complementary interests and habits.
Be enjoyable. You want to connect with people who you look forward to being around, and vice versa. Life should work like this: love yourself, determine the things you like, add the people you adore and go be happy. But usually folks mess up the order. If you do the work—even if it means taking a break from dating—you will genuinely be fun because you are being your best self. You will naturally attract others who vibe with your energy.
S. Tia Brown is the lifestyle director at EBONY magazine and a licensed therapist. She also happens to believe in love and the promise that it gives. Follow her @tiabrowntalks.