The 'Barbenheimer' effect is taking over the dating scene—here's why relationship experts are for it

It offers you the opportunity to expand your horizons,' a dating expert says of Barbenheimer

Margot Robbie in Barbie and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
(Image credit: Universal Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures)

On Friday, July 21, some of us will be heading to the cinema in bright-pink ensembles. Others will be in subdued '40s-era frocks. Then we have the brave souls who will be doing an outfit change smack in the middle of their Barbie/Oppenheimer double feature.

Unsurprisingly, some people are taking things a step further and bringing this opposites-attract mentality into their dating lives, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, according to professionals. Enter "Barbenheimer"—two polar opposites coming together as one. (Not like the Barbie/Ken relationship.) 

"It offers you the opportunity to expand your horizons, dating expert Emma Hathorn tells us. "It builds a stronger, more well-rounded version of each individual in the relationship."

Will it be a match made in heaven, or will these pairings go up in smoke? Allow us to dig a little deeper into the Barbenheimer phenomenon. 

What is the 'Barbenheimer' effect?

Like the memes of the drastically different films, Barbenheimer means going for your opposite match on the dating spectrum. defines the term as "a modern dating approach favoring partnerships with polar opposites."

Plenty of relationship experts insist this is something on the rise, even before the Barbie merch came out and stole the spotlight from the Christopher Nolan film. According to engagement ring specialists Angelic Diamonds and Amber Brooks, editor-in-chief at, research suggests that couples are "untyping" this summer, a.k.a. going after someone who is not their usual type (basically, a synonym for Barbenheimer without the movie references).

"For some people, it actually shows that you’re becoming more self-aware and are willing to challenge your own preconceptions and biases about what you’re looking for in a partner,' Pippa Murphy, the sex and relationship expert at, previously told us.

While it can be a fun experience and point you in an unexpected direction, that doesn't mean Barbenheimer is without its challenges.

What are the pros and cons of the 'Barbenheimer' effect?

Expect new worlds to open up when you start seeing someone who deviates from your usual partner. 

"Dating in an elevated manner connects you with someone that pushes you to achieve the best possible version of yourself and your differences act as a key driver in keeping the spark alive, as well as encouraging personal growth," Hathorn says. 

This all sounds positive, but there are a few hiccups to be mindful of when going after the Robert Oppenheim to your Barbie. 

"Frequently, this means that you will be intellectually challenged, and you will meet with mutual debate," she adds. "Whilst there’s never a dull day within “Barbenheimer” couples, they do require open-minded personalities for the relationship to thrive. You’ll need to be willing to challenge your beliefs, attitudes, and previous relationship expectations, otherwise there could be potential conflict and discord that emerges."

How willing are you to change your boundaries? Are your beliefs strong, or are you willing to listen to another side of the equation? These are all things you might experience when experiencing the Barbenheimer effect. Even if you're a playful, whimsical person dating a rather serious partner, that doesn't mean things can't work. As long as your core beliefs are the same, you can have a successful relationship. 

"You should never date someone who has different values to you, as they are fundamental to a relationship," Murphy further revealed to us. "Compromising too much on these standards can lead to a relationship that is unfulfilling or even harmful."

Regardless of what you choose to do dating-wise, one thing's for certain: the movie crowds are going to be booming on Friday, July 21. (See what we did there?)

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.