Findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that people will often go for the same type of person over and over again.
"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," says PhD student and lead author Yoobin Park from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science at University of Toronto (U of T).
"Our research suggests there's a strong tendency to nevertheless continue to date a similar personality."
Researchers compared the personalities of present and past partners of 332 people, across several age groups, both couples and families.
The data came from a study conducted by the German Family Panel that begun back in 2008.
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Interestingly, results found that there was a significant consistency in the personalities of the person's past and present romantic partners.
"The effect is more than just a tendency to date someone similar to yourself," he continues.
For the study, participants assessed their own personalities along with both current and past partners. They judged their own levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
However, physical appearance did not play a part, nor sense of humour.
In order to this they, they either agreed or disagreed with a series of statements on a scale of one to five. The statements included, "I am usually modest and reserved," "I am interested in many different kinds of things" and "I make plans and carry them out."
Based on the responses, Park and MacDonald found that the personalities of current partners were similar to past partners.
"The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a 'type'," says co-author Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the Department of Psychology at U of T.
"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."
"Our study was particularly rigorous because we didn't just rely on one person recalling their various partners' personalities," adds Park.
"We had reports from the partners themselves in real time.
"In every relationship, people learn strategies for working with their partner's personality," he explains.
"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."
However, Park also suggests that more research needs to be done on the benefits or disadvantages of going for the same type.
"So, if you find you're having the same issues in relationship after relationship,"Park concludes.
"You may want to think about how gravitating toward the same personality traits in a partner is contributing to the consistency in your problems."