Do You Look Like Your Partner?
Studies show that couples start to look like one another after a while.
A common observation often reported by many is that married couples start to look like one another after a while of being together.
Is that even possible? Here’s the evidence:
In research conducted by Yetta Kwailing Wong in January 2018, 51 university students were selected to judge pictures of 60 different married couples. Photos of non-married couples are also included as a control.
It was found, that facial resemblance was greater for the married couples as compared to the strangers.
This could mean two things:
- Either, individuals are attracted to others who look like them.
- Or, they start to look like each other after years of living together.
1) Selection on the basis of Attraction.
According to research published by Walster et al. in 1966, it was concluded that people choose their mates, who are similar in attractiveness to them. Assortative Mating can explain this.
Assortative Mating is a phenomenon where individual select their mates from phenotypic similarities.
This means that people chose people who are like them, concerning appearance, behavior, and personalities.
The general psyche is that we chose to be with someone who we can be comfortable around. And what better way to achieve this than to be around someone that looks like you.
We want to be with someone who we can relate to, to be able to be on the same page with.
In another study that was published in the Personality and Psychology Bulletin, people were asked to rate the level of attractiveness.
They were showed pictures of themselves merged with a random stranger, and another image of two strangers merged.
Guess what they chose? The former.
However, there is another aspect to this theory.
2) Couples start to look alike after living together for a long time.
There are many theories regarding this observation as well including some popular ones like similar diets and a shared environment.
Couples who live together, share the same food. And after a while, their taste buds align, and they start to eat the same kind of food.
- Couples who eat high fatty foods regularly will have more fatty deposits on their face.
- While those who maintain a controlled diet, like salads, will have a leaner face with well-defined cheekbones, making them look alike.
The most common reported similarity between couples is their smiles.
The teeth are the major contributing factor to one’s smile, particularly it's color.
Tooth staining is a common phenomenon which can largely depend on an individual’s habits.
For example, if one’s partner is a habitual tea and coffee drinker, after a while, the other partner joins in as well. This is called Mirroring.
3. Common Life Experiences
- Couples who have had a stressful life or have shared common traumas can have a similar facial appearance. This is represented by early wrinkles around their eyes or on their forehead.
- On the other hand, couples with fun personalities and a good sense of humor often have prominent smile lines.
4. Geographical Locations
Spouses often have the same appearance of their facial skin. This largely depends on their geographic location.
- If they live in a sunny area, they tend to have tanned skin, for example, Australians.
- If they live in a colder area, with less exposure to the sun, they have comparatively paler skin for example Canada.
If one partner is a smoker, research has shown that the other partner becomes a smoker as well, either willingly or non-willingly.
- Willingly — If they join in the habit of smoking.
- Non-willingly — As a passive smoker.
Smokers have a characteristic facial appearance, which includes dull skin, dark lips, and excess wrinkling.
After living with each other for years, couples often start to mirror each other’s expressions, postures, gestures and even the style of talking.
Mirroring is a predictor of a stable relationship, where both the partners are in sync and are tuned. They understand each other’s body language more clearly, and there is generally a high degree of trust and comfort between them.
Attraction, in general, is all the working of the brain. Whether you believe the First theory or the Second, these are after all theories.
Our brain has a complicated way of working, and no one has understood it fully, yet.