Skip to content

    It's Not Just Dogs: People Tend to Look Like Their Partners, Too

    connected soulmates - heart shape of love

    Hemera

    While “opposites attract” may be true in some ways, a recent study showed people may be ‘hard-wired’ to be attracted to others who have similar DNA. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that people tend to pick partners with similar genes. They also found that the spouses of ‘identical’ twins tend have more similar genes than the spouses of ‘non-identical’ twins.

    This also holds true on a psychological level; people like being with those who they can really relate to. If you meet someone who is extremely different from you, there might be an initial thrill from the novelty of your differences. However, over time you may find it hard to relate to each other. To really feel connected, people need to understand and be comfortable with each other.

    Psychologist Robert Zajonc, who is affiliated with the University of Michigan, conducted an experiment that took this idea one step further and supported the idea that people grow to be more similar over time. He had subjects look at the photos of couples that were taken when they were newlyweds and other photos taken of them 25 years later. The study found that not only did couples look more alike with time, but they looked even more similar when they were happier together. Zajonc hypothesized that this occurs because the spouses mimic each other. For instance, if a woman is fun to be with and laughs a lot, then she will probably develop laugh lines around her mouth… and so will her husband.

    This level of similarity makes me think of couples who are so in tune that they finish each other’s sentences. Or, better yet, they don’t even need to complete their thoughts — they just know what they are talking about. If you are in a relationship like this, you may not be surprised by Zajonc’s findings. You instinctively know that it feels good to be similar to your partner in important ways — and might expect that this similarity would show in physical ways, too. (By the way, this does not mean you have to own matching sweat suits or do everything together. In fact, it’s better if you have your own interests and clearly separate identities.)

    If you are not in a relationship but want that kind of deep connection, then you might do well to look for someone who you feel like you ‘get;’ someone who seems to be ‘wired’ like you. This might not be as exciting as that mysterious, intriguing guy or girl who sometimes catches your attention, but it has a better chance of working out well.

    f you would like to join a general discussion about this topic, visit the Relationships and Coping Community.

    (Based on Livescience.com article: “Why Do Couples Start to Look Like Each Other?”)

    Important:

    The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand

    Newsletters

    Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

    • WebMD Daily

      WebMD Daily

      Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

    • Men's Health

      Men's Health

      Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

    • Women's Health

      Women's Health

      Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

    By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.

    URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe Privacy Certification TAG seal HONcode Seal AdChoices