Why do some married couples look alike?

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It is a known thing that couples oddly appear to look very similar to one another. According to science, the longer you’re with a partner, the more you resemble each other. For the record, long term does not mean months, it means decades.  To get technical, it’s an actual phenomenon called convergence of appearance.

You may have heard that we are more likely to end up with someone who looks similar to ourselves, even if we date people who look different before settling down. And it’s not because opposites attract, since this popular belief is limited to personality.  So what is really going on here?

Well, one of the greatest kept secrets of the dating world is that people actually try to date people similar to them in one way or another, whether it be age, height or education level. It’s assortative mating and explains why similar people end up together, why an educated person will most likely end up with another educated person. However similarity is also determined based on genetics, which includes faces.

People seem to like genetic similarity. If you look at science, opposites do not actually attract all that much. Perhaps things did not work out with your ex because they were not genetically compatible with you.  Subconsciously, we all want to pass our genes down to our children, which can be further ensured by being with someone similar to you.

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Another reason for couples looking alike is that they are going through the same experiences. According to a study on facial likeness conducted in 1987 at the University of Michigan, a long life together means sharing experiences that leave similar lines on faces. Another conclusion of the study was that the rigors of age remove distinct features, and therefore the longer a couple is together, the more they are likely to look alike.

It is also thought that the happier a couple is, the more they look alike.  Based on the theory of emotional face-mirroring, we imitate the people we are around the most and is known as unconscious mimicry. It makes us bond and feel part of a group, however researchers on the similarities between couples thought it meant that if mimic our spouse for long enough, it would reshape our faces.  Evidence shows that having a genetic similarity correlates with a happy marriage. However there might be a mix up with and cause and effect. What is known though is that looking similarly does not mean you will think the same. Marriage appears to be only skin-deep.

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