The Weird Science of Why Couples Start to Look Alike
Sat, April 17, 2021

The Weird Science of Why Couples Start to Look Alike

While it is true that opposites attract, so does similarity. Some couples resemble each other so much, they are mistakenly believed to be brother and sister / Photo by: Maxim Lupascu via 123RF

 

While it is true that opposites attract, so does similarity. Some couples resemble each other so much, they are mistakenly believed to be brother and sister. Several studies show that the longer couples stay together, the more they resemble each other. Amazingly, even partners who do not share similarities at the start, over a period of time, somehow end up looking similar. This phenomenon is called ‘convergence of appearance,’ the result of cultural adaptations to similar environmental conditions.

Enlightenment From Science

Scientists have offered a number of reasons why couples resemble each other over time. Psychologist Robert Zajonc from the University of Michigan, after experimentation and analyses, suggests that couples look more similar because people in close relationships imitate each other. Couples unconsciously mimic and mirror each other’s style, voice, and habits to bond and show affection. If done over the years, features and mannerisms will uncannily match.

Scientists further explained that the person’s gut and immune system have a say in choosing the partner he or she wants to be with. Couples who have been married for a long time have very similar immune systems, often sharing their habits and lifestyle in general.

Incredibly mind-blowing were shreds of evidence that showed that husband and wife, who exhibited no facial similarities at the start of a marriage, looked very alike 25 years later. And the coolest of all, the happier the couple is, the greater the facial and physical resemblance.

Scientists have offered a number of reasons why couples resemble each other over time / Photo by: iakovenko via 123RF

 

Another scientific reason why couples start to resemble each other is the experiences shared with a partner. Over the years of their relationship, the couple lives through a lot of happy and sad moments that do not only affect them physically but emotionally as well. Their history together is manifested in their looks, so that even the lines and creases form in the same places.

In another study, it was found that people are attracted to others with similar facial similarities. In science jargon, this is called assortative mating, a theory that suggests that similar phenotype individuals mate or pair off more often with one another. Couples who look alike will likely reproduce children who look like both parents. Scientists believe this is how individuals attempt to hand over their genes to the next generation.

Lastly, when younger, facial tissues are sprightly and vivacious. Defined compartments holding the skin and other tissues are in the right places. However, with age, the law of gravity slowly seeps in, and features begin to melt like hot wax downwards. The signs of aging make the couple look alike.

Couples Who Look Alike Stay Together

It has been suggested by research that the chances of a couple staying together can be enhanced by their likeness and connection with one another. In a study of a cross-sample population by Anthony Little, a lecturer at the University of Stirling in Scotland, United Kingdom, it was found that the length of the relationship between couples was enormously associated with similarity. The findings suggest that dissimilar couples are less likely to stick together as compared to similar couples.

This was, however, questioned by some experts who said that it is not viable to tell apart one characteristic that could guarantee a couple can stay together, not even their similarities. According to them, attraction is an intricate episode affected by numerous factors. Justin Lehmiller, an American social psychologist, states that on the outset, similarity might lead to attraction but may not result in a happy relationship. Attraction is something difficult to foresee.

Soulmates

It seems absurd to say that couples that look alike are soulmates. Science, however, appears to support this outrageous statement. In the world of the rich and the famous, celebrities who have been together for a long time portray similar facial makeup. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds is one particular example.

It seems that people with similar facial makeup find comfort in each other that they feel protected. In a sense, people are inclined to be accepting of people like them. Why is this so?

The likeness towards someone with the same attributes grows in the person. Science says that similar facial features influence the continuing relationship. A recent study by R. B. Zajonc, Pamela K. Adelmann, Sheila T. Murphy, and Paula M. Niedenthal titled ‘Convergence in the physical appearance of spouses’ determined whether couples who stayed together for an extended time had physical similarities. The results of the study revealed that couples after 25 years of living together started to exhibit strange and eerie resemblances to each other. Perhaps there is some truth that couples who look alike are indeed soulmates.

It seems absurd to say that couples that look alike are soulmates. Science, however, appears to support this outrageous statement / Photo by: Aleksandr Davydov via 123RF

 

Romantic or Strange?

Partners morph slowly into their partners. Even the creases, the lines, and the wrinkles begin to match those of the spouse. Gradually, even their facial structures resemble each other. Looking similar is closely correlated with a happy marriage. Isn’t it marvelous to think your spouse loves you very much?

Is this unconscious mimicry romantic or strange? Let you be the judge of that!