11/07/2013 20:39 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Seeing Double: What To Do When You're The Spitting Image Of Your Boyfriend's Ex

Dark flowing hair. Figure to-die-for. That old-fashioned Hollywood siren style that never goes out of fashion. Yep, you've got to hand it to Thom Evans - he's definitely got a type.

Because when he and new girlfriend Jessica Lowndes - she of 90210 fame - arrived at a party for Aston Martin Tailoring in London this week, it was hard not to think 1) "by God, she's Kelly Brook's double" and 2) it will be super awkward if Brook and Lowndes actually bump into each other. Awkward in that "wow, Thom really likes girls who look like us" way.

thom evans

And I can sympathise - I really can (in a mortal, not famous star way). I had a boyfriend in my early twenties who went on about my eyes, my hair, my nose - all of it. I thought we were probably soul mates - not even my own mother liked me as much as this guy did.

But then I met a couple of his exes. His lovely, very easy to get on with exes. We would have been great friends had we not looked like a three-woman sister girl band. If we all got together with his now wife, we could basically form a B*Witched tribute act. That aching moment when you realise you're just a preference, rather than individually awesome.

Dating expert Mary Balfour - who is also managing director of dating and introductions agency Drawing Down The Moon - explains men often go for a certain type because they equate it with eventual satisfaction.

thom evans kelly brook

"A man being attracted to similar women again and again isn't necessarily about aesthetics but more about looking for a clone to make a happy ending to their story," she says. "If they were content in their previous relationship, they may identify happiness with that person."

But it's not just men who are guilty of this, Balfour says she sees women returning to type "all the time" too - and it's not always a good thing.

"Women have bad experiences with their exes but are still attracted to that kind of man," she says. "They need to retrain themselves to flirt with decent, relationship men instead."

But how? Personally, I have a very specific type when it comes to who I want to date - tall, a bit creative, infinitely more laid-back than me - and I can trace it back to my first boyfriend. I tried to break away from the usual suspects for a couple of years but always found my head being turned.

It needn't be that way, says Balfour, and here's her three-step plan to breaking the going-for-your-type cycle:

1. Take out a piece of paper and write down 100 times "I will try to date outside of my man type" and then do it. "I'm not suggesting getting intimate with the man, " says Balfour, "and you should never do dinner at first. Anything more than a drink and you'll be running for the fire escape. When it comes to breaking from your type you have to take it one hour at a time."

2. Get into the habit of flirting against your man type. "If you're not flirting with the decent, relationship men, they won't be flirting with you," says Balfour. "In that situation, you'll never find them sexy and won't ever end up dating them."

3. Keep your pants on. "You have to be comfortable with someone outside your man type before committing to a relationship so definitely don't have sex until you've got to know him."

NEED ADVICE? Mary is hosting a webinar on the subject "Are you unconsciously dating your ex?" on May 21st. Click here to register.

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