The Repulsion Theory: Why You Often Date People Who Irritate You

by Karim Rahman

It’s 10 pm on a Saturday night. You only decided to climb out of your burrito-blankets and leave your Netflix marathon behind because your friend promised you “a night out with this amazing friend of mine who I know you’ll hit it off with perfectly.”

Begrudgingly, you agree to shower. You f*cking put effort into choosing a knock-out outfit from your “almost-never-worn” section of the closet (Netflix has obviously preceded your social life on your priorities list.) Against all odds, you actually start getting your hopes up

Against all odds, you actually start getting your hopes up about the night; maybe that “friend” will be the one. Maybe (just MAYBE) things could work out for the better this time.

The reality? You think that “friend” is obnoxious, loud, self-entitled and too pretty (yes, that’s a thing), all before you even finish your first round of drinks. Come midnight, you’re almost about ready to kill yourself because you can’t stand the person.

The truth? You’ll probably end up dating him or her sometime down the line.

This may seem a bit far-fetched; how on earth would you be able to stand dating someone you couldn't stomach for a night out, let alone end up with for an unknown period of time? The answer, my gentle readers, is in the twisting alleyways of science. Okay, so it’s not exactly science, but it should be.

Back in high school (which was a while back), my best friend and I came up with a theory that has irrevocably changed my views on dating (for the better or worse still remains to be seen).

Fresh off another disastrous blind date, I met up with my best friend to give him the low-down on the date where no one “got down.” My date was arrogant, self-centered, aloof, picked an incessantly insufferable place (almost as insufferable as the person) and didn't even let me get one word in throughout the entire night.

Needless to say, I wouldn't even entertain the thought of going out with the person ever again. So, you can imagine my surprise (and everyone else's), when I agreed to go out on a second date, followed by a third one, closely entangled with a fourth.

This was baffling; this was someone to whom I was certainly physically attracted who I could not stand on a deeper, personal level.

Our personalities completely clashed, we got on each other’s nerves 70 percent of the time and the nights usually ended up with us ripping each other a new one.

The sex, however, was fantastic.

Thus, my best friend and I birthed the dating theory that would end ALL dating theories. This was the beginning of a revolutionary step in the science of dating. This was the birth of the “Repulsion Theory.”

The repulsion theory states, “the more you dislike a person upon your first meeting, the higher the chance you will end up dating him or her in the future.” In layman’s terms, it makes for perfect angry sex.

We've all grown up hearing all those myths that surround dating: that you’ll get cooties from kissing a girl (the first cardinal rule of juvenile dating) and that if a boy is mean to you, he must surely be into you because opposites attract.

The repulsion theory is kind of like that last one; the more opposed you are to a person’s initial impression, the higher the likelihood that that person is perfect for you.

This is not to say that it’s a foolproof theory. More often than not, a repulsion-based relationship ends up going down in glorious, crimson-colored flames (my repulsion date is now firmly my ex).

However, that theory is redeemed with the age-old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and in truth, that saying couldn't be more correct.

We (as barely-there adults) tend to place too much importance on first impressions. We discredit so many factors that could play into how a person can initially rub off on you, whether in a good or bad way.

The repulsion theory has taken effect in my dating life enough times for me to completely discredit it as the frustrated musings of two 16-year-old high school best friends.

More often than not, I find myself eventually drawn to people to whom I would've never initially given the time of day. Because, at the end of the day, you learn not to make hasty, impulsive decisions.

As I left my early teen years behind and blindly leaped into my 20s, I realized that first impressions don’t always mean that much, and they could be just as misleading as they are informative.

Eventually, I learned that dating is complicated enough without me discrediting someone immediately based on some lightning-fast, preconceived judgment.

So, the next time you meet someone who rubs you the completely wrong way, take a second and think about the repulsion theory.

Major character flaws aside, take a moment to realize that judging someone’s personality based on how he or she acts in a loud, noisy, packed bar isn't necessarily how he or she would act in any other life-based situation.

And, if that doesn't work out, well, at least you’ll have great angry sex to fall back on.