Twining with your Partner? You’re Not Weird
According to scientific studies, there are at least two reasons we look like our partners.
We seem to choose partners who look like us in the first place, and the longer we’re with a partner, the more we come to look like them.
Subconsciously, we are attracted to people who look similar to us because we are attracted to their genes. We want to mate with others who have similar genes to our own. We know that our genes are “good,” and have been passed down without issues, so we want to continue that pattern.
Studies have shown that the longer a couple is together, the more they look alike.
Why? There are a couple (get it) of theories.
One theory is empathy; couples who are together for long periods of time, obviously, spend a lot of time together and share emotions. Because sharing and empathizing often results in mirrored facial expressions which can lead to similar patterns of wrinkles and creases.
Another theory is the relationship’s environment. Couples are doing the same activities, eating the same foods, getting the same amount of sleep, ect. Each of these shared activities affects the body and, in turn, the appearance!
This 2017 study done at UC Davis found physical and personality-based similarities between one’s past partners.
People usually dated people who were about as attractive as themselves confirming the model of assortative mating and producing a history of exes with similar attractiveness. There is also a tendency to match with your partners’ levels of masculinity, femininity, and dominance.
IQ, educational aspirations, and religious preferences are more dependent on the social context. However, this similarity was attributed to the reasoning that most people dated those that they went to school with or lived near, not because they actively sought out and selected educated or religious people.
Rushton, J., & Bons, T. (2005). Mate choice and friendship in twins: Evidence for genetic similarity. Psychological Science, 16, 555-559. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01574.x
Penton-Voak, I. S., Perrett, D. I., & Peirce, J. W. (1999). Computer graphic studies of the role of facial similarity in judgements of attractiveness. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 18, 104-117. doi:10.1007/s12144-999-1020-4
Zajonc, R. B., Adelmann, P. K., Murphy, S. T., & Niedenthal, P. M. (1987). Convergence in the physical appearance of spouses. Motivation and Emotion, 11, 335-346. doi:10.1007/BF00992848
Eastwick, P. W., Harden, K. P., Shukusky, J. A., Morgan, T. A., & Joel, S. (2017, March 2). Consistency and Inconsistency Among Romantic Partners Over Time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000087