A Rose by Any Other Name: The Arguments for Dating Someone with the Same Name as You

Two weeks ago, we convened here to discuss the phenomenon of dating someone with the same name as you, something which I find abhorrent down to my bones but which, I have learned, many of you do not. In the lively and enervating discussion which followed that piece, for which I thank you all, many people agreed with me that this is an alarming and untenable practice. Others felt neutral or had never considered the question, which I suppose is also defensible. Today, however, we are here to discuss a third group of people: those of you who have dated someone with the same name as you or are actively interested in doing so! Lovingly, what is your deal! Let us investigate.

Who are you people?

Completely reasonably, in my anecdotal research, the people most vocal about having a neutral to positive opinion on the subject were people with extremely common millennial/mid to late 80s names — your Laurens, your Amandas, Sarahs, Ashleys, and so ons and so forths. This I can understand from a logistical viewpoint; you’re cutting out a really significant portion of your dating pool if you cut out everyone with your name. (For what it’s worth, I am also in this demographic and standing strong, but whatever.)

There was an interesting outlier to this trend, which is people with less-common or downright rare names who were so pumped at the prospect of meeting someone else with their name that it made dating them sound desirable.


Thanks to commenter Jess, I was alerted to the fact that buried in an article kind of misleadingly called “What Our Love For Swedish Furniture Says About Narcissism,” there is a clue to why the abovementioned people may feel this way. It explains that “researchers have long observed a tendency for people to be drawn to others who are like them in some way,” and that small details (or bigger ones) can make us feel not only connected to someone but like it might be fate. From the piece:

When I meet another Janetta, there’s an automatic like, oh, my gosh, I can’t believe we have the same name. And then if it happens to be that we have the same spelling – and I’ll tell you, I’ve only met two people who have the same spelling as me, but I can tell you who they are and I felt an automatic kinship.

Although only a small percentage of people are invested enough in this feeling of automatic kinship to make decisions based on it, mapped over the larger population that’s a lot of potential same-name daters. Longtime friend of the website Julia, a veteran of a previous relationship with a Julie, reported almost this exact sensation when asked about her intra-Julia dating:

“I think my name was just unusual enough that when someone else on the roster had my name I felt an immediate kinship. She and I grew up hearing the same set of syllables, we had the same adjectives that were supposed to define our personalities, maybe we were both born in July or our parents both loved the Beatles. I always felt an immediate draw towards the other Julias, luckily differing sexualities kept us from running into the same-name couple issue.”

When she met “a cute girl on a dating app with a handle that included Jules in it,” the rest was Julia history.

Reports from the Field

Upon polling Autostraddle readers and commenters who had been or currently are in same-name relationships, these observations ring pretty true. Lauren, who was married to another Lauren, reports that “It gave this air of destiny and meant-to-be-ness that was painfully untrue, in the end,” adding that unexpectedly the experience gave her “a bit of disdain for my own name, in a weird way.”

Reader Amanda, wife also named Amanda, shared some of the same experiences with the sense of same-ness: “When we met (in high school!) we were introduced to each other by mutual friends who insisted that we were the EXACT same person — we both had super good grades, we played musical instruments really well, we were both snarky, and, of course, we were both named Amanda.”

Both Lauren and Amanda reiterated a point which unfortunately flies in the face of my bizarre knee-jerk reaction to the concept: it just isn’t that big a deal! It is just like, fine. Amanda noted that she didn’t identify strongly with her name, and that “It never felt weird to me at all, because I knew I had feelings for this girl and I wasn’t going to let anything so silly as our first names stand in the way of that.” Her wife, also Amanda, shared that “being an Amanda married to another Amanda has almost no impact on my daily life other than people (usually straight, although some blunt queer folks have also meddled in this territory) being shocked and confused. Why should I change my whole life around to make some random people feel more comfortable with my queerness?” Lauren had a similar take, saying that ultimately she still keeps a sense of humor about it, and that “It was just a silly shrug your shoulders experience, more than anything else.”

The Vanessas Weigh In

Still, we have not really honed in on the experience I’m most interested in, which is being actively pumped about dating someone with the same name as you. For this I reached out to Vanessa, who had indicated to me previously that she felt neutral to positive about dating another Vanessa. On the subject of why this was appealing to her, she told me:

“Honestly I love myself, and I think I’m super hot, so the name “Vanessa” has great connotations for me! Kind of like how the name [redacted] reminds me of a receiving a very skilled fisting, and the name [redacted] reminds me of that very annoying man in my one class who thinks he’s a genius but really just has a beard. Anyway what I’m trying to say it names get lodged in your brain and influence a first impression! And my first impression of Vanessa is fucking amazing, so I’d definitely be excited to see if another Vanessa lived up to the hype.”

At least one other person is on the same wavelength as Vanessa, pretty literally: Vanessa Shen, a previous A-Camp camper of our own Vanessa Friedman’s, has taken this idea and run with it to create vanessa.dating, the world’s only dedicated dating site for Vanessas. Inclusive of a variety of spelling variations of Vanessa, the site itself puts forth a number of strong arguments for intra-Vanessa-community dating.

"Never forget your date's name again!" "Don't be afraid to get that tattoo - if you break up, it's still a symbol of self-love." "No last name dilemmas here; just name your kids Vanessa too."

Vanessa Shen explained “It started out as a joke on Twitter that went way too far,” dating (lol) back to 2014, when “ICANN released hundreds of new TLDs like .coffee, .engineer, and .cool. I scooped up a bunch of Vanessa domains, including vanessa.dating.” Unfortunately, no dates have been reported as materializing through the site, although now that you know about it there’s still time.

In conclusion, while the thought of having another Rachel in my life makes me feel itchy and weird, I have developed greater understanding and respect for those of you who feel differently through this valuable cultural exchange, and hope to pay the experience forward with this post.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


    • This comment made me click on vanessa.dating and now I am very glad too.

      I have never felt so much like a spam bot before.

    • a really significant factor in deciding to write this follow-up was the opportunity to share vanessa.dating with more people

    • Somewhere out in the world there’s a Venesza writing up an angry email about unfair exclusion

  1. I dearly hope that this investigation continues, ideally with custom images when there is some Science or a particularly excellent bit of sleuthing which, I’ll be honest, is all of it.

  2. haha, this has been quite a journey for us all. Thank you for being a participant-observer-investigator for us, Rachel

  3. Y’know, maybe it’s a Rachel thing to not want to date someone with the same name. While the thought of dating another Rachel doesn’t make me feel itchy or weird, it does feel entirely too sitcom for my liking.

    • It’s because of that darn movie, isn’t it ? Rachel, Rachel. Not the best association.

  4. See, while as that article says I do feel a certain kinship with other Chandras on the rare occasion that I meet one, I would still feel a bit weird about dating them. I suppose I wouldn’t ultimately let it get in the way of True Love if that happened, but it would probably take a long while for me to stop cringing about it.

    I feel the same way about dating anyone who looks too much like me (despite having read somewhere that people do have a tendency to do this). I wonder if there would be any correlation between the two on a poll?

    • A long while to stop cringing about it? So you’d cringe about it long after you got married (since that takes a short while), right?

      JK love uuuu

  5. Feeling jealous of the vanessa dating site.

    My daughter has an unusual name. In preschool she met another girl with the same name and she still talks about this girl give years later. They definitely bonded over their parents odd choices.

  6. I love this so much and am thrilled that at least one other Vanessa understands the appeal!!

  7. Fascinating theories/explanations, but what about the prospect of just plain fun? I happen to have an unusual name, but even if it was a popular one, I’d still love to date another one, because I’d revel in the possibilities!

  8. Hrmph. I, for one, hope there are an odd number of Amandas, and that the rest are all very happy together without me.

  9. I will open by admitting that, in college, I was in a relationship with a person with a first name that was a slightly different pronunciation of my first name. It was a little novel at first (at least for our friends), but ultimately was really not a big deal.

    Now, the real Anne/Ann pairing question: is Autostraddle recapping Gentleman Jack? Sorry if you already answered this elsewhere. I know they are advertising with you (yay!), and you posted about the series as a whole, but I would love a place here at AS to discuss each episode (because the writers and commentariat here are awesome).

  10. I had a fuck-buddy situation with a friend who has the same name as me, although we spell it differently. We’re still friends.

  11. My coworker named the Android text-to-speech voice Vanessa, as it “sounded like a Vanessa”. So now I always call it that

  12. I’ve never had a situation to explore this personally, my deadname I was given at birth is an EXTREMELY not common male name, To the point where I’ve only ever met one person with that name. Additionally I only ever dated one boy before deciding they weren’t for me.

    Upon transitioning to the real me, I was chosen by the name Diana. (best I can explain it, didn’t labor over it like most trans people. just came to me.)

    Diana isn’t a rare name, but it’s certainly not common, especially in the ~40 year old area that I would be looking to date. So thanks for the explorations into something I’ve never had to put much thought into.

  13. I feel a sense of automatic dislike at the thought of meeting, much less dating, another Lyra. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.

  14. My name is my favorite name and the superior spelling of that name, which is why I chose it and I think that’s why I’d be very down to date another nonbinary or woman Julien/Julian/Julianne. It’s just a good name.

  15. Thank you for digging deeper into this. I strongly identify with the Vanessa with the self-esteem to associate her own name with hotness. While I don’t love my millennial name, my belief in my own hotness was part of why I hooked up with my same-named doppelgänger. The doppelgänger, oddly, is the one who gave our name a positive association for my current partner, who met her before meeting me.

    Trust in your same-named doppelgänger.

  16. How did I miss the first article on this glorious topic??? My partner and I are Emmy Leigh and Emily. And we both call each other Em. We met online and her username seemed to indicate that her name might be Emily or Emmy or something while mine did not so I told her my name upfront so as not to have it be weird later. I was so afraid that would end it, but we both feel very strongly that Emmy and Emily are not the same name. Unfortunately many people believe that Emmy is a nickname for Emily and corrections are needed, but most people (straight people included) find it adorable and rather convenient bc we will both answer to Em so they only have to remember one name. It does mean that we won’t change last names when we marry but that’s so last century anyway. If I’d eliminated her as an option bc of her name I would have missed out on the very best thing in my life. It is really not a big deal y’all. Honestly about the same as figuring out who gets mom or mommy in a two mom situation. As for attractiveness of the name, well, she messaged me first and didn’t even know my first name so probs not a thing in our case.

  17. I have what I’m not sure is a man crush or a crush-crush on a cis guy called Liam. Been my name since I was 7 (yes, I was that much of a ‘tomboy’ that I felt ok telling my friends to call me a boy name and they went with it) but I’m pretty sure people will think I’m just copying his name:(

    It’s my cousin’s boyfriend’s name too.

    Liams are everywhere and nobody wants to change his name to Billy…

  18. Very late to the party but I want to say I appreciate the name of this article. :)

    Just gotta say that despite being a relatively uncommon first name for millennials, a whole lot of the other 20-30-something Roses I’ve met (and other variations, like Rosa, Rosemary, etc.) have turned out to be lesbians. It’s like our parents all knew on some unconscious level when we were born and did this to help us find each other.

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