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with Tarra Bates-Duford, Ph.D., MFT

Dating The Same Type of Person: 13 Types

Dating and relationships can be a little tricky for many of us, specifically, for those that have a “type”. Perhaps you fall for the bad guy type, the intellectual, the comic, the free spirited, or the hot girl. You may even have a physical type, such as, light eyes, dark eyes, red hair, brunette, tanned skin, dark skin, light skinned, or a preference with regards to body type and shaping. After years of dating and relationship experience you probably have some idea what you are looking for in a particular partner, however, why do you have a type? Why do you seem drawn to this particular type of person or people? Choosing the same type of person does not occur simply by chance, often, we seek out our partners unconsciously, without being aware we are even doing so. Interestingly, there are actually several scientific and psychological components that can contribute to you gravitating towards a particular type of person. Although, you may have a “type”, this particular type of person may not be the best fit for you. We often gravitate toward the familiar, fearing what we do not have prior experience with; however, this can lead to continued failed attempts to establish a stable healthy relationship. While you may gravitate toward this type again and again, it may not necessarily be right for you. This brings me to a theory posited by Freud that suggests “repetition compulsion”, exists. According to this theory, “we seek out relationships that remind us of ones that disappointed us in the past, and try for a second chance.” I must say, I am not entirely sold on this theory, as it suggests when it comes to relationships we are in a constant search of second chances or do overs.

According to the second chance theory, if your heart was broken pretty early in your dating life you would be more likely to seek out a future partner that reminds you of the person that broke your heart. Searching for someone that reminds you of an ex is often an attempt to resolve lingering hurt feelings or resolve any unmet needs. The theory of repetition compulsion suggests that, as a result of your “unmet emotional needs,” you’ll subconsciously look for the next person who reminds you of your first love, or the person that broke your heart. For some, having a second bite of the apple can provide them with an opportunity of obtaining a better outcome, right the wrong, or prove they can win. Unfortunately, trying to satisfy the same emotional needs often does not work out the second time around either. Chances are if things didn’t work out with your last partner, and your current partner reminds you of your ex than it most likely you current relationship will not work out as well. Typically when we engage in the same behaviors we can expect the same or similar results. This isn’t to say that a relationship is doomed simply because you are dating a person who resembles your ex. However, it is not a guaranteed recipe for success, which is a hope that may have gotten you into the relationship in the first place.

Personality Traits that usually Yield Negative Relationship Results Include:

  • The bad boy/bad girl
  • The fixer upper
  • The emotionally unavailable
  • Mr. or Ms. Arrogant
  • The manipulator
  • Jelly back
  • Commitment-phobe
  • Chronic attention seeker
  • The aggressor
  • The I don’t compromise
  • It’s complicated
  • I am not really in a relationship, the marriage/relationship is over but I want to wait to tell him/her
  • The sweater monkey

The best way to avoid repeating the same problems in a relationship or selecting the same type of mate is to really get to know yourself. Identify what you have to offer, what you need in a relationship, what you would like in a partner, and what you are not willing to accept in a relationship or mate. Make sure you’re secure with yourself before seeking that security from someone else. The more you can identify and understand the reasons behind your attractions, the more attention you can give to your partner as an individual. By developing an understanding of your own individual needs you can find a partner that will compliment you rather than contributing to a cycle of ongoing do overs.

Dating The Same Type of Person: 13 Types

Bates-Duford, Ph.D., LMFT

My name is Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford PhD, LMFT, CRS, CMFSW, BCPC I have a PhD in forensic Psychology specializing in familial dysfunctions and traumatic experience. I work with individuals and families struggling with familial dysfunctions, trauma, rape, and incest. I also have a masters in Marriage, Couples, & Family therapy. I am a certified relationship specialist with American Psychotherapy Association (#15221). I have more than 15 years in the field of mental health, relationships, and behavioral sciences.

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APA Reference
Bates-Duford, T. (2017). Dating The Same Type of Person: 13 Types. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Aug 2017
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