you can actually have a type on paper, according to science
Love Island contestants vindicated.
Look, I’m not saying he isn’t my type on paper. But if someone else walked into the villa, could my head be turned? Maybe. It is what it is, yeah.
This is me, as you probably know, impersonating a Love Island contestant. But, easy as it is to vilify the tragically beautiful, future reality oligarchs currently dancing for our attention in a Majora villa, perhaps we shouldn’t be so critical of the way they talk and how they revere the romantic “type”.
The Love Islanders might use the hallowed phrase “my type” to mask their own horniness and justify their willingness to jump from one partner to the next in a matter of days, but, as it turns out, the romantic type does have scientific backing. In fact, a scientific study newly published in June this year identified that it could be crucial to avoiding toxic relationship patterns and, crucially, finding true love.
Researchers at the University of Toronto found that, despite our best intentions, people do have a “type” that they continue to date, and that, even after a bad relationship, they’ll continue to gravitate towards. The concisely-named study, Consistency between individuals' past and current romantic partners' own reports of their personalities, followed 332 people over a number of years, finding that there was a significant consistency over many years in terms of personality choice in romantic partners.
Participants were asked to rate their current and past partners on a five point scale listing every aspect of their personality, from neuroticism to extraversion, openness to new experiences to agreeableness. Whether they’re someone you’d want to bring home to mum, in other words.
"The effect is more than just a tendency to date someone similar to yourself," lead author Yoobin Park told Science Daily. "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." What that means, in slightly more depressing terms, is that we’re all looking for love with the same type of person over and over again, basically.
"The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a 'type'," added co-author Geoff 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."
But all hope is not lost (both for the singles of the world generally and, specifically, for poor Amber off Love Island). The new research, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also found that, as long as we’re committed to swiping left on the same ol’ arseholes, we might as well also develop ways to keep ourselves happy with those arseholes. "In every relationship, people learn strategies for working with their partner's personality," says Yoobin. "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."
So, if you're having the same issues over and over, Yoobin adds, "you may want to think about how gravitating toward the same personality traits in a partner is contributing to the consistency in your problems." Duly noted.