Breakup does not change taste : People search for the traits of Ex-Partner

Latest study report says that people often look for love in the same type of person over and over again.

‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ Journal has published this research.


“It’s common that when a relationship ends, people attribute the breakup to their ex-partner’s personality and decide they need to date a different type of person. Our research suggests there’s a strong tendency to nevertheless continue to date a similar personality.”

The report was based on an ongoing multi-year study on couples and families across several age groups. Park and co-author Geoff MacDonald compared the personalities of current and past partners of 332 people.

Their primary finding was the existence of a significant consistency in the personalities of an individual’s romantic partners.

“The effect is more than just a tendency to date someone similar to yourself,” said Park.

Subjects in the study along with a sample of current and past partners assessed their own personality traits. Traits including agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

The opinions were in the form of a series of statements. “I am usually modest and reserved.” “I am interested in many different kinds of things.” “I make plans and carry them out”. Respondents were asked to rate their disagreement or agreement with each statement on a five-point scale.

The study showed that the current partners of individuals described themselves in ways that were similar to past partners.

“The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a ‘type’,” said MacDonald.

“And though our data do not make clear why people’s partners exhibit similar personalities, it is noteworthy that we found partner similarity above and beyond similarity to oneself.”


The findings offer ways to keep relationships healthy and couples happy.

“In every relationship, people learn strategies for working with their partner’s personality,” says Park.

“If your new partner’s personality resembles your ex-partner’s personality, transferring the skills you learned might be an effective way to start a new relationship on a good footing.”

The strategies people learn to manage their partner’s personality can also be negative. So more research is needed to determine how much meeting someone similar to an ex-partner is a plus, and how much it’s a minus when moving to a new relationship.

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