Why do couples look alike?

+10 votes
asked Jun 23, 2015 in Science by Debra (730 points)
There’s that old saying that opposites attract, but I’ve noticed that a lot of couples actually look very similar to each other. Sometimes I’ve met couples that I actually mistook for family members at first, which you can imagine was really awkward. Why is it common for couples to look alike?

3 Answers

+15 votes
answered Jun 24, 2015 by Claire (770 points)
First, you should know we tend to be more physically attracted at first to people that look similar to us. It’s our biological way of choosing a mate that has similar genes, at least on a surface level. There was a study done where heterosexual participants were asked to rate how attractive a set of faces were. Without their knowledge, one of the photos they were given was actually an image of their own face that was manipulated to look like the opposite sex. Most of the participants ended up ranking their own manipulated face as the most attractive out of the whole set. Try looking at the people you find the most attractive and see if you can find similarities in them to your own face! You might be surprised at what you find. The most likely explanation for why do couples look alike is that we’re designed to strengthen our own gene pool as a species.
+8 votes
answered Jun 25, 2015 by Leigh (810 points)
When my brother first married my sister-in-law I was surprised by their resemblance. They looked more like brother and sister than he and I did. That aroused my curiosity about this subject and I did a little research on why couples look alike. I found most of the couples look alike because they often share the same facial expressions. You know every time we make a facial expression it involves exercising muscles that eventually influence the shape of the face, so I guess they must care so much for each other and are in tune with each other’s emotions, their faces often reflect the same expressions.

So if my spouse and I begin to look alike as we age, I’ll know we’ve been doing something right.
+1 vote
answered Jun 26, 2015 by Darren (450 points)
Couples tend to look more alike the longer they are together. Studies have been done to analyze the appearance of couples from pictures of them as newlyweds to them decades later, and the results were pretty conclusive that the couples looked more and more alike as the years went on. Also, the happier the couples said they were, the more they tended to look alike. One of the reasons suggested for this is that people in close contact often start to mimic the other’s facial expressions and reactions. So if your partner is a joking and laughing kind of person, then they’ll most likely develop laugh lines around their mouth, and according to the research so will you!
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