Why Did I Like You?

Maybe you’re at a café, or talking a walk in the park, enjoying the sun or maybe you’re aimlessly scrolling through your favorite social media accounts, and then wham! It happens; your ex appears out of nowhere.

Like a fat, grey cloud about to unleash rain on your sunshiny day, he/ she pops up in your field of vision ominous and carefree. And whether you have an interaction or not, as you take in his/ her features, you honestly begin to wonder, ‘Why did I like you?’

This is a question that on its own may seem petty or even angry, but it’s a very good question. What was it about your exes that appealed to you?

Now we all know that we have a checklist of qualities and attributes that we are looking for in our partners, yet most still site incompatible personalities and morals as the major reasons the relationships dissolve.

What is even more interesting is the realization that most of us have a ‘ dating type’ and according to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, people  despite their best  intentions  to date outside of that type, some can’t help but to gravitate to similar partners.  

Lead author Yoobin Park, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science at U of T says, “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”.

Co-author Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the Department of Psychology at U of T, concurs, noting “The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a ‘type’. 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.”

So then why do you have this dating type?

 James Green, a certified love coach and author tells Bustle that life is all about patterns, including what we eat, the way we dress and even the side of the bed we sleep on and dating is no exception.

“When you begin your ‘dating career’ it’s a lot like a record that has yet to be recorded. Still smooth. As you begin to have romantic relationships, ridges begin to form. Depending on the length of time you spend in these relationships and the impact (positive or negative) they have on you, that will determine how deep these ridges become,” says Green.

It may seem quite crazy to think that after a series of bad relationships that you wouldn’t start trying to stay away from those who are ‘wrong for you’ and in truth, consciously that is exactly what you begin to do, the problem however is that “subconsciously, an imprint has been left by them that we may not be fully aware of,” Green says.  And that is one of the reasons you will find yourself subconsciously being attracted to people who are similar.

So how do we stop this pattern of unhappiness?

There are a few psychology based theories that may help you to move from your past dating type and move to a new, more compatible one.

Unsurprisingly, it all starts with inner work, self awareness and empathetic healing.  Humans choose things that feel comfortable and normal, regardless of if it’s toxic or unfulfilling and this is especially the case when you are seeking healthy relationships, but unhealthy ones are all you know.

While it may seem easy in theory to accept the person who is willing to enter into a healthy relationship with you, the actual truth is that the reality of it is scary, and leads to fear and insecurities raising their heads which leads to self sabotage and reverting to situation that feel more familiar.

To avoid a return trip to the relationship bad lands licensed professional clinical counselor who specializes in trauma-focused therapy, ” Maryann W. Mathai, suggests, “Ask yourself whether this feels familiar or uncomfortable,” she says. “Explore who else in your life makes you feel this way and whether you get your needs met in those relationships.” If not, it’s best to leave that situation alone”.

As you have guessed, the key to unlocking your new relationship ‘dating type’ is to move through your past to the real root of why you look for what you do in your romantic and even platonic relationships.

The past leaves imprints on our body and mind and in order to fully live freely and happily, it is important to learn how to process and learn from these experiences.

“Romantic relationships can serve as surrogate relationships for ones that didn’t turn out so well earlier in our lives,” Erika Martinez, Psy.D., clinical psychologist who specializes in helping people get unstuck in love, work, and life, tells Bustle.

Usually something about the type of people you date reminds you in some way of someone you’ve had a difficult relationship with in your past, including parents, siblings, deep yet turbulent friendships to name a few and since the brain is always looking for ways to resolve drama, you could find yourself in these relationships, as a way for you to subconsciously resolve the past drama with that person in your new relationship.

“By being in a relationship with someone similar, you’re making an effort to psychologically heal the wounds of that past relationship,” Martinez says. “The issue is you’re likely to get hurt again, which only re-wounds you.”

Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, licensed psychologist who specializes in individual and couples therapy, adds, “We recreate the past in current relationships by ‘picking, provoking, or projecting.’ That is, we might pick someone similar to our ex or early caregiver, provoke them to act in ways similar, or project.”

This is where introspection comes in and saves the day, especially since you cannot change the past but you can heal it by taking the time to become aware of your patterns and making the conscious decision to resolve those wounds, thus allowing yourself to set new, healthier dating patterns, from a much healthier and safer mental state.



Good On Paper Won’t Cut It Anymore

Has this ever happened to you?

You meet a person and they are amazing as they check off just about 80% of the things on your Potential Partner Must Haves checklist, but for some reason, you just can’t seem to fully fancy them?


You meet a person and they are not at all what you would have wanted on paper, but man, you simply cannot quit them?


It’s like the world has gone topsy-turvy, but what could this mean?

According to the dating experts it’s time to update your checklist and throw out the old one.

Here’s why.

We all have a Must Have Checklist (don’t even try to lie and say you don’t) that  we expect potential suitors to tick off, as proof that we are compatible in our minds,  but what happens when the Must Have Checklist is actually not YOUR checklist, instead it’s the one your parents, close friends and society have concocted for you?

Can you be happy with that? Would that list actually have on the things that best serve you and that satiate your unique needs?

 Dating is already an endurance game, but how are you to find your actual partner, if your benchmarks are not actually yours to begin with?

Let’s talk about what ‘looking good on paper’ actually means and why it’s totally screwing up your chances of living with Prince(cess) Charming.

Looking good on paper, “typically refers to all the desired boxes being checked: good job, good education, good looks, the works,” says Dating expert and coach Meredith Golden of SpoonmeetSpoon .

And are usually benchmarks that prove this person is someone your parents and close friends will approve off, but are any of these, things you approve of?

Golden explains this is why it is important to identify what ‘good on paper’ qualities you’re actually being drawn to and figure out if these qualities actually create sparks or if they are actually rather boring. 

 You need to be honest for yourself.

“So far, the best dates have not been with the people who seemed “the best” on paper to me. The Harvard Business School alum was perfectly nice, but the best dates I’ve gone on have been with people there has just been undeniable, effortless chemistry with — regardless of what happened to be on their resume” says Annie Foskett, Contributor for Elite daily.

So now that you’re resolving to be more honest about what ‘on paper’ traits you actually like and which are not at all compatible with who you are a person, the next thing to pay attention to, is who they really are and not who you assume they are.

There are many assumptions we make about people because of what we are looking to tick off on the list.

For instance, guy has hiking gear in his home, that must mean he is open minded and loves the environment.

 Reality: they were a gift from a friend and he has used the maybe once.

Person has a great job that must mean he/ she is good with finances and will provide.

Reality: They are stressed out, broke and haven’t the time to really connect with you.

As noted by Tracy Schorn of Chump Lady , you have to not just look at the traits you think they have or the image they are presenting, but actually see them and their actions, in order to ascertain if you two are actually compatible or now.

“Yes, this is just another way of saying, listen to their actions, and not the image they present. The flip side of this is — knows who YOU are and what kind of person you really jive with. Some self knowledge is required to choose well and EDIT well,” she notes.

So here are some questions to ask yourself:

 Do you trust them? 

 Do you feel as if you can talk to this person openly about your feelings, victories and insecurities without being judged or ignored? 

 Is this person supportive and do you actually want to tell them about your day?  

Do you want to hear about theirs?

Pay attention to this, as this is a definite flag in the relationship.

This leads to the next obvious item to tick off on your new check list: Do you have chemistry with the person?

Schorn, in her blog post, notes that there are many people we think we should be compatible with, but in reality, no matter what we do, it’s just not true because there is simply no chemistry.

“There are all sorts of people in this world we think we should be compatible with by virtue of shared history or interests, that we really don’t have jack shit in common with. I think this is a mistake we make especially when we’re younger.” She elaborates in her blog post.

Chemistry goes beyond just physical compatibility, and delves into whether you two ‘get’ each other. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to openly and honestly have great conversations with another person and actually wanting to spend time with each other.

True chemistry is not something that can be forced, so it is a good indicator, as Golden concurs.

“There’s so much more that goes into what makes a connection between two people and a lot of it is intangible,” explains Golden.

“This is why I encourage my clients to be open because you never know which package [they] will show up in. They could be ‘the one’ but just with a different list of ‘stats’ than what you had expected.”

The irony for many is the fact that sometimes the person you have the most chemistry with, is the person that you are not sure fits into the image of the one you wanted to show your friends and family and when that happens, the next new checklist item helps with that dilemma.

Does this person contribute to your happiness?

“Compatibility supersedes checking off the traditional boxes,” says Golden.”A date can meet all your standards on paper but be a jerk, or moody, or a million other undesirable traits.” 

And isn’t that the truth!

We’ve all been there, talking with a person who meets all the standard requirements but no part of you is eager to share anything with them.

They’re great and everyone likes them, infact it seems totally insane that you’re not head over heels, but if you’re being honest, they just don’t add to your happiness.

So ask yourself these questions from Golden and answer them super honestly, afterall it’s your whole heart at stake here!

“Are we comfortable together?” Is this person easy to be around? Loyal? Supportive? Sexually compatible with you?”

 “No matter how great someone looks on paper, if the other stuff isn’t there, there’s no chance of a healthy relationship flourishing,” says Golden.

And lastly, do you respect this person?

It is all well and good to have a checklist for your partner, but the truth is the relationship will not work if you don’t think highly of them or if there are things about them that continually raise red flags to you without any kind of resolution in sight.

Trust, integrity and respect are all mutually important in the mix of having a reliable and wonderful partner.

So there you have it, the new checklist that is about you, your needs and also asks the tough questions, which I hope challenge you into no longer using the old checklist to settle but to live freely and choose the person who is compatible with who you truly are.