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10 Signs You Might Be “Groundhogging” and How to Stop

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Woman covering her ears and looking away from man pointing and shouting
Do you ever get that feeling of déjà vu in relationships, where your current partner has the same personality, look, and issues as your last partner? If you can relate to having a certain "type" and repeatedly dating people that fit the mold—you are not alone! Read on to discover why this happens, what it means for your relationship success, and what you can do to break the cycle.

If you find yourself swiping left on dating apps to everyone except those who have specific traits, you may be guilty of groundhogging. The term is taken from the movie Groundhog Day, where the protagonist wakes up every day and realizes that it's February 2nd—the same day as before.

In the dating world, groundhogging refers to the pattern of finding partners who are similar in many ways, but expecting each new relationship to have a better outcome.

Here are common signs you could be engaging in groundhogging and some tips to assess these situations and start behaving differently.

1. The People You Date All Look the Same

Many of us have a specific type of partner we are looking for, but in reality, chemistry rarely adheres to a type! There's no need to date people you aren't attracted to, but if you get to know someone outside your usual type before making a snap judgment, you might be surprised at who you are attracted to.

2. You Have Highly Specific Dealbreakers

It's fine to have dealbreakers, such as not wanting to date someone who is rude to other people or whose relationship goals are incompatible with yours. But if your dealbreakers are specific things like what kind of music someone listens to or what profession they're in, broadening the scope of what you're looking for could help bring more great people into your life.

3. Your Relationships Tend to End for Similar Reasons

The same way we date people with similar traits, we also tend to date people with similar problems. Consequently, relationships end for similar reasons.

For example, if you like people who have a lot of money, but they don't have time for you because their work is their top priority, changing this standard could allow you to meet people who have more time to devote to the relationship.

4. Your Partners All Come From the Same Background as You

A lot of us feel most comfortable with people who grew up in the same place as us, share our religion or ethnic background, or were raised with similar values.

But dating people from totally different backgrounds can open our eyes to new perspectives and teach us much more about the world. Explore black dating sites, get coffee with someone younger than you, or chat with someone who speaks English as a second language.

If nothing else, that date alone will probably help widen your comfort zone.

5. You Play Out Patterns in Your Relationships That Existed With Your Parents

People sometimes repeatedly end up in the same position because they choose partners similar to their parents and replay situations from their childhood.

Perhaps, for instance, you had a mother or father who was overly affectionate. In your adult years, you're now drawn to partners who shower you with attention—but you also end up being needy.

Talking to a therapist can help you identify these patterns and prevent your past from shaping your future.

6. You and Your Partners Tend to Have the Same Interests

Another axis along which people tend to connect is through hobbies and interests. Maybe you want a partner who can play tennis with you or talk to you about computer software.

Once you're in a relationship, though, too many shared interests can be a stumbling block. It's essential to each have your own lives and separate identities.

Sharing values is more important than sharing passions, and you can always teach each other about your interests.

7. You Rush Into Relationships

Jumping into relationships head first doesn't give you time to assess whether the other person is truly right for you or if they simply feel comfortable and familiar.

If groundhogging is a pattern for you, try taking your time to get to know people. Think hard about whether they're right for you or if they just match your usual type.

One rule of thumb is to date for at least a few months before closing off your other options or committing to a serious relationship.

8. You Find Comfort in the Familiar

If you like routines and familiarity puts you at ease, you may be extra susceptible to groundhogging. If you're always ordering the same meals at restaurants, be mindful of your dating choices and make sure you're not doing the same thing with partners.

You might want to download a dating app, such as Zoosk or OurTime, to expose yourself to a new pool of options. Even when you're in a relationship, you should move out of your comfort zone. There are exciting relationship apps for couples to keep things fresh and re-energized.

9. You Try to Recreate Situations From Past Relationships

Some people want to recreate relationships they've had with exes because they're not entirely over that person or think that if they can find someone similar, they'll be as happy as they were.

Unfortunately, no relationship can be replicated. If you're trying to reproduce a previous partnership, there is a strong possibility that you want to get back together with that person. If not, appreciate that others can bring different—but equally valuable—things to the table.

10. You Underestimate Your Own Value

Interestingly, we sometimes date people we aren't strongly attracted to or interested in because we don't know our own worth and don't think we can find someone better.

Research in relationship psychology has shown that your self-esteem directly impacts the quality of your relationships.

This is why we encourage you to aim higher! Take that risk and ask out somebody who seems out of your league, and you may learn that you are more desirable than you realized.

Break the Cycle

Don't get us wrong; it's a good thing to have standards and not settle for someone you aren't totally into. In fact, we encourage using background check dating apps to screen strangers before meeting them.

However, when we're too close-minded about who we date, we miss out on opportunities. It's time to break the cycle of groundhogging and failed relationships. Even if it's just an experiment, try dating people outside your usual type. You might be pleasantly surprised by who you find.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach.