Why Are All Your Relationships So Similar? You Might Be Guilty of Déjà Vu-ing

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Welp, you’ve started seeing *that guy* again. You know the one. He makes you feel like you’re the only girl in the world…for about five weeks. Then out of nowhere, he drops the “I’m not looking for anything serious” bomb, and it’s back to the dating grind. And you wonder: Why oh why do I always go for the same guys? Of course, everyone has a type. You can't help but swoon for a scruffy guitar player with a Bernadoodle on his Hinge profile. But how is it that you constantly find yourself in different versions of the same relationship? While the guitar player might change, the scenario is always the same: receiving ‘you up’ snaps at 3 a.m. and hooking up with him in a toilet-paperless apartment.

It all feels very…familiar. And there’s actually a reason for that—it’s called déjà vu-ing

What is déjà vu-ing?

Coined by the dating app Plenty of Fish in its annual list of dating trends, “Déjà vu-ing [is] doing the same things with a new partner that you did with your ex.” And this can be anything from bringing a new beau to your favorite brunch spot to saying ‘it’s fine’ when he bails on date night (when it’s obviously not fine). In other words, if you’re repeating something from a previous relationship, there’s a fair chance you could be déjà vu-ing without even realizing it. 

What are some examples?

There are some obvious signs of déjà vu-ing. For instance, when you’re in a relationship, do the people in your usual orbit also change? Maybe you drop your single friends and hang more with your coupled up friends. Perhaps you go to the same places when you’re in a relationship—like how you love a second date at the Comedy Cellar. Is this the fifth time you’ve brought up “skydiving in Australia” on a first date? If so, you’re most definitely déjà vu-ing. 

Is there anything actually wrong with déjà vu-ing? 

Déjà vu-ing isn’t bad or wrong per say. It’s just healthy to be aware of patterns because some of these behaviors might be indicative of bigger issues that are keeping you from what you want. For instance, you tend to swipe right on people who say outright they’re not looking for anything serious (it’s called hardballing, people) when you, in fact, want something long-term. Maybe you find yourself repeatedly avoiding certain questions because you’re scared to go deeper. Or perhaps you tend to pick noisy bars filled with distractions that don’t condone intimacy. When all signs point toward making the same decisions over and over again that are actually a hinderance to the outcome you want, then it’s time to break your déjà vu-ing habit. 

But what if I just really like the bagels at Sadelle’s? 

There’s no reason to forgo Sunday brunches at Sadelle’s solely because you went a few times with your ex (that bagel tower is too good to give up). But déjà vu-ing can also play a significant role in your communication and commitment style. If your relationships seem to consistently skew towards ‘it’s complicated,’ it might be time to examine some of your behavioral patterns. 

The bottom line

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, it’s best to recognize where—or how—you’re déjà vu-ing and aim to change that behavior for a different outcome. 

‘Hardballing’ Is The Gen Z Dating Trend You Should Know About

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...