The ‘Barbenheimer Effect' dating trend explained

The ‘Barbenheimer Effect' dating trend explained
Issa Rae On What She First Thought When Asked To Join 'Barbie' …

With two of the most highly anticipated film releases happening on the same day, film lovers are gearing up for a trip to the cinema to see the double feature of Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer.

When people found out that the two movies were both to be released on July 21, the internet had a field day creating plenty of memes about how they are opposite to one another, with Barbie's hot pink aesthetic, compared to Oppenheimer's dark black look in the marketing and posters.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Now there's a new dating term that has been coined from all this, called the Barbenheimer effect'.

So what is the Barbenheimer Effect?

Well, apparently it's a modern dating approach favouring partnerships with polar opposites, according to the dating app Seeking.

Instead of going after your usual ‘type’, you value how contrasting personality traits and lifestyles can create a stronger coupling promoting growth and self-discovery.

Dating expert from Seeking, Emma Hathorn has shared some of the positives of dating your opposite.

“Whilst dating outside your usual type can be new or intimidating to some, it can connect you to someone who pushes you to become the best possible version of yourself.

By sharing experiences and introducing each other to new concepts and views, you’ll build a relationship on a deeper, emotional level.

She added: "On a physical level, the spark is unlikely to fizzle - it’s a dynamic coupling that fosters a continuous honeymoon period due to the allure of exploring unknown territories.

However, here are some potential challenges of dating someone who is completely different to you, as Hathorn notes.

"Whilst the thrill of entering each other’s worlds can reap many benefits, contrary views and beliefs are likely to arise at some point leading to some potential confrontation," she explained.

"These are not easy to parse in a relationship, but they are the greatest route to evolving your own maturity, and how you view others who are different from yourself.”

Celebrity examples of the Barbenheimer Effect

Some examples of unexpected celebrity couples that have attracted public interest over the years, according to Hathorn include Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker to Elon Musk and Grimes, and even more recently the rumours of Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet.

(From left) Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, Elon Musk and Grimes, and Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly.Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for GQ, Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images, and Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

"One of the most notable pairings is Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly; the two are intrinsically different, and people just can’t get enough," Hathorn said.

"Megan loves an early morning hike and meditation, whereas MGK isn’t a stranger to calling it a night at 5 am - but this doesn’t get in the way of their relationship.

She added: "With her Barbicore red carpet serves juxtaposed against his gothic getups - they’re the perfect example of how opposites can attract, elevate each other, and sometimes cause on-again, off-again dynamics."

Key pillars of the Barbenheimer Effect:

Opposites Attract

The 'Barbenheimer effect' highlights the captivating magnetism that occurs when two individuals with contrasting personalities, interests, or backgrounds connect.

It celebrates the idea that diverse traits can complement and enrich a relationship.

Empowerment and Self-Discovery

The 'Barbenheimer effect' encourages individuals to embrace their uniqueness and explore relationships outside their comfort zones.

It promotes personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of genuine connections that transcend societal expectations.

Power Couples

The 'Barbenheimer effect' redefines the concept of 'power couples', emphasising that power is not solely derived from professional achievements or financial success.

Instead, the power lies in the mutual exploration and education of one another’s life experiences, hobbies, and cultures to elevate your identity and become more versatile.

Bye to Barbie & Ken

While the idealised Barbie and Ken relationship aesthetic may seem desirable at first glance, many individuals yearn for something more authentic and fulfilling.

The 'Barbenheimer' trend offers a refreshing alternative, celebrating the beauty found in the diversity of human connection.

Barbenheimer dating advice:


  • Enjoy yourself: Dating your opposite is a really exciting time to learn more about yourself and experience the world through a different lens. Diversify your palette and music taste, engage in new cultural activities, and experience new cultures and perspectives.
  • Stay Open-Minded: Whilst there’s never a dull day within “Barbenheimer” couples, they do require open-minded personalities for the relationship to thrive. You need to be willing to challenge your beliefs, attitudes, and previous relationship expectations, otherwise, there could be potential conflict and discord that emerges.
  • Communicate: Communication is the key to having a happy and healthy relationship with your opposite. By nature, you will have different ways of thinking and doing things – and you need to be open to compromising and standing your ground depending on the situation.


  • Try to change your partner: Everyone has their own unique personality, and you sign up to that when choosing to date that individual – so don’t try to mould them into what you want them to be. This coupling is about elevating each other's experiences and embracing your differences.
  • Pay attention to judgement: When you date outside your type, people can be quick to judge. Remember that you are dating for yourself and only you can decide what is best for you. If your partner uplifts you and inspires you through different experiences and perspectives, then you’re growing— that’s no one’s business but your own.
  • Be sad if things don’t work out: Even if things don’t work in the long run and you break up, you’ll still have gained valuable life experiences from your time together. You’ll have supported your individual journey and self-development by jumping outside of your comfort zone, and you’ll likely be more mature when entering your next relationship as a result.

Overall, the release of the two films on the same day created this "Barbenheimer" meme and "the craze has transpired into real-life plans with many fans arranging dates to see the two films back-to-back in one day," Hathorn noted.

"The films offer hugely different experiences, contrasting a tense biopic thriller against a nostalgic pink dreamworld.

"People are thrilled to dig into an experience which evokes a range of different emotions and gives you a taste of multiple worlds - and this is the excitement people are pining for in their dating lives today”.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)