The Weird Reason Why Couples Start To Look Alike, According To Research

Do couples start to look like each other or did they start dating because they looked like each other?

man and woman who look slightly alike posing for photo HD92 / Shutterstock

Everyone knows a couple (or two, or three) who seem to eerily resemble one another.

Heck, most of us can think of a handful of celebrity couples who look alike. (Seth Meyers and Alexi Ashe, Jessica Alba and Cash Warren, and Steph and Ayesha Curry are just a few!)

This resemblance could be in an overly spooky sibling kind of way.

You know, how siblings usually look alike, even if they are a different gender or have many years between them. Or — body type, height, and nationality notwithstanding — some couples just kind of look alike.


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What's the reason, you argue with yourself? Well, you just can't seem to put your finger on it.

Is there a reason why couples start to look alike — or is it just an illusion?

For many years, researchers have attempted to dissect the science of attraction. The results have varied widely; some scientists swear opposites attract, while others lay their bets that it's our similarities, not our differences, that cause us to shack up.


Well, a 2010 study from the University of Michigan seems to confirm the latter: we desire what's familiar, and may even mature to look more like our partners the longer we stay together.

Psychologist Robert Zajonc flipped through a series of couple photographs, first as newlyweds and then 25 years later, and found that the older the couples grew, the more they morphed to look like each other.

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The first study, which was published in 1987, "attempted to determine whether people who live with each other for a long period of time grow physically similar in their facial features."


The study used "photographs of couples when they were first married and 25 years later," then judged them for "physical similarity and for the likelihood that they were married."

The results?

After 25 years of marriage and living together, there was a clear similarity in appearance. And the reason was "associated with greater reported marital happiness."

As for the 2010 study, one explanation for the results is that we reflect the facial expressions of our partners, so our visages grow similar patterns based on the muscles we use.

But it's also likely couples sort of looked alike, to begin with.

In a 2006 study, people were asked to assign personality traits to random headshots. Couples were mixed in, but the respondents weren't told who was dating whom.


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The results overwhelmingly suggested that couples were often thought to have the same kind of temperament, just based on split-second judgment.

On a superficial level, of course, this makes sense. God-given genetics aside, more often than not, one's overall look is tampered with by how you choose to style and present yourself.


Perhaps for some couples, keeping up appearances and a svelte figure are priorities. Some like to be flashy, others not so much. So, those who choose to spend time with one another often naturally share a similar taste in aesthetics.

Whether or not you think you look like your partner shouldn't matter, in the end. The most important thing is that you love each other for who you are, and not because you want to be with... yourself.

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Melissa Noble is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about love, relationships, and trending news stories.