10 Signs You're In Love With A Carbon Dater

A carbon dater is someone who dates the same type of person over and over again.

couple talking on date eating dinner Nataliya Dmytrenko / Shutterstock

Once upon a time, I dated a guy who seemed totally normal... until he wasn’t. Everything seemed fine until he showed me a photo of the ex-fiancée he occasionally brought up in conversation. It got me thinking, "He still loves his ex, doesn't he?"

She looked nearly identical to me, and that freaked me out. Soon after seeing that picture, he would start comparing me to her. It got uncomfortable — really uncomfortable. 


Soon enough, I started to get the vibe that I was a replacement for his ex. That inkling stopped being a floating theory when he called out her name in bed, and that was precisely the moment I dumped him. Looking back, I realized what he wanted was his ex, and that he was a serious Carbon Dater.

What is a Carbon Dater? This is a person who tends to date people who resemble carbon copies of their exes. They are looking to date someone who is like their ex as a way to live out the past and try to make the future they wanted with their ex happen.

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The problem with this, aside from it being really creepy, is that they tend to dump the person they’re dating once they get over their ex.

In the past, I’ve been a Carbon Dater and also dated people like this. I know it’s not healthy, which is why I’m warning you to stay away from a potential Carbon Dater.

Not sure if you’re a replacement for his ex? Here are the quickest signs you might be dealing with someone who wants a replica of their ex.

Here are 10 signs you're in love with a carbon dater (someone who dates women just like his ex):

1. People tell you that you look a lot like their ex

This is one of the more obvious signs that something may be wrong. Sure, it could be that he has a type, but it also could be one of the signs he still loves his ex and is willing to “settle” for someone who just looks like them.


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2. He keeps bringing up his ex and mentions how much like her you happen to be

Looks tend to be a reason to suspect a Carbon Dater, but if you notice that symptom paired with regular mentions of the ex, it’s a surefire thing. At this point, it’s clear that he’s not over his ex, so any relationship he has with you will not turn out well.

3. You get the sincere feeling that he’s not over her, even though he swears he is

This goes hand in hand with sign number two. You can usually get a feeling that something isn’t quite right, even if a guy doesn’t outright mention the ex. Maybe it’s the fact that he keeps her photo around, or the fact that he didn’t get rid of her sweater, but Carbon Daters never quite seem like they’re over the ex.

4. You’re getting evidence that he’s trying to recreate certain moments he had with his ex, with you

Did he tell you about the time his ex went on a cruise trip with him in the Caribbean, then buy you tickets after a bit? Have people regularly mentioned things his ex used to do, that he now tries to get you to do? If so, you’re probably dating a Carbon Dater.


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5. You’ve seen the ex, and you two have a little too much in common

Sometimes, what you two have in common are looks. Other times, it could literally be your attitudes and similar hobbies. Regardless, Carbon Daters will typically only date people who have a striking similarity to one another in at least one way.

6. It feels like he’s trying to resume a long-term relationship, even though you two just started dating

Some Carbon Daters are so deeply broken by their breakups, they actually will start to act like you’re their ex. When they do this, they’ll often ask to move in almost immediately, press to get that label, and also flaunt you to their friends quickly.

This may seem cute, but it’s not. It’s creepy and a sign of instability.


7. He uses his dating status as a weapon against his ex

To a point, we’ve all been there and rubbed our dating successes in an ex’s face — or at least, wanted to do so. It’s almost human nature to do it.

However, if he does this a lot, you need to ask yourself if he’s dating you out of revenge as a way to show his ex that she’s replaceable, or out of genuine interest.

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8. Your relationship doesn’t feel like it’s actually yours

If you’re in this position, you know what I mean. It’s that feeling that you’re in a relationship that’s choreographed, where you’re expected to play a role that isn’t quite you. If you feel that way, it could be because you’re low-key picking up on the signs he still loves his ex or is hoping you’ll turn into his ex.


9. He keeps trying to get you to act more like his ex

This one is touchy because it is so hard to figure out it’s happening on most occasions. Make no mistake about it — if he’s getting pushy about certain foods, clothing items, or activities, it could be because he’s a Carbon Dater.

10. He’s accidentally called you by her name

Stop, and do not pass “Go.” This is what we call an instant dealbreaker and a sign that you’re going to have a really bad time, mmkay?

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.