What Is Groundhogging In Dating, And Why Is It Relatable?

Once upon a time, in a Pennsylvania town named Punxsutawney, a somewhat cranky weatherman and his crew showed up to cover what has become one of the most charming American traditions: to witness if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow on February 2. If the fluffy little darling crawls out of his den, sees his shadow, then heads back underground, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. If Phil doesn't see his shadow, then an early spring can be expected. It's amazing what perfect little weathermen these furballs are!

But what happens to this particular weatherman — who's, of course, named Phil too — is that he gets stuck in a Groundhog Day time loop. Every day that comes his way is exactly the same as the day before; no matter what he does to try to throw the day off course, it all falls into play. Exactly into play. 

If this plot sounds familiar, then you could actually be living it within your dating life right now. Or maybe you've just seen the iconic 1993 film "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray in the role of Phil, the weatherman who can't escape Punxsutawney on February 2 for the life of him. In either case, it's a time loop that must be stopped before someone or everyone goes mad.

What is groundhogging?

When it comes to groundhogging in dating, it's not unlike the 1993 classic. You wake up, swipe on a dating app, swiping on the same type of person every time, go on dates with those carbon copy people who are just versions of each other, then you wonder why nothing is working out, and dating is so hard, or even boring.

"I can't remember the last time I heard of dating a 'type' working out," dating expert Charly Lester tells Glamour. "For most people, when they think about their best dates, it's with someone who surprised them — someone they wouldn't usually go for ... And the reality is, a certain height or hair color shouldn't be a type. These factors don't make for better conversation or a stronger connection. Singles need to scrap this way of thinking and stop groundhogging."

But the problem with groundhogging is that it's comforting, therefore making it relatable to everyone out there trying to navigate the dating world. You know what you're getting into each time, even if it hasn't worked out with that specific type of person the last two dozen times, but there's always the hope that this time will finally be it, this time, you'll finally hit the jackpot, and it will all evolve into happily ever after.

How to stop groundhogging

According to research, people actually do have a type when it comes to dating. But what that type is and what that type is assumed to be by the person claiming to have a type are two different things. Confused yet?

"Yes, [people do have a type]," associate professor of psychology and the study's primary author Paul Eastwick, tells EurekAlert. "But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live... A second study examined the ex-partners... the exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on variables like education, religiosity, and intelligence, but this type of similarity was entirely due to the school that people attended."

So, if your type is based on what you're consistently surrounded by and, ultimately, all you know, then with this realization should come the wake-up call you need so you can put your groundhogging days behind you. Your perceived type is one of location and circumstance — nothing more. It's also why you keep getting the same results over and over again when you date these versions of the same person. Once you can identify this pattern, you can work toward being proactive about avoiding the same person over and over again. It won't be easy at first, and it will take a lot of practice and training, but you'll be able to do it — especially if you're ready for new and better results in dating.