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Why do couples begin to look alike in a marriage after decades of living together?

Ever been shocked when a couple that you thought were siblings were actually a married couple? Here's why couples start looking like each other over a period of time.
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Couples, who stay together, look alike

Take a look at our grandparents, our parents or a close uncle and aunt. They do not look like each other literally, yet they look alike in their appearance, dressing styles even their habits. Just look at their way of communication, the way they dress or their habits in general, they have such striking similarities!

We are talking couples who have been living together for decades not just few months or years. So don’t compare yourself with your ex of 2 years. After being together for that long, they kind of imprint on each other and begin to look alike. No. Not mirror image alike. But enough for them to remind us of each other. As per an experiment conducted by psychologist Robert Zajonc from University of Michigan, couples had grown to look like each other over a period of time. He analysed 25 couple photos and made a comparison between the way they looked on their wedding day and the way they looked 25 years later. Infact, happier the couple, the more similar they looked!

Did these partners resemble each other when they first met?

There is a research done by psychologist R. Chris Fraley at the University of Illinois which suggests that ‘like attracts like’. Simply put, people tend to find their soul mates who are very similar to themselves. People tend to find similarity in not just their thoughts or beliefs but also dressing style, eating habits and other lifestyle habits like exercising. Even if we stay in the most luxurious hotel of the world, there is a warm, comfortable feeling in one’s own home. This is exactly what people do, unknowingly, when they look for a soul mate. They tend to get attracted to people who remind them, of themselves or their families.
Here are a few reasons why:

1. The DNA effect

People generally tend to marry within their religion and specifically in their castes. This may be one of the reasons why couples look alike.

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Read more: When a good marriage is about being a strong support system to each other
Read more: There’s no such thing as a love marriage or an arranged marriage

2. Two peas in a pod

Living together for decades, couples tend to follow a routine lifestyle, making them very familiar with each other’s habits, likes and dislikes. Couples often change or modify themselves as per their better halves’ habits or requirements to make life smoother. This, in many cases, also starts reflecting on people’s body language making them look or behave similarly in situations.

3. The good times and the bad

30 or 40 years is a long time and any two individuals who have been through this period together have faced life together; which means they have been happy during the graduations and birthday parties and sad during the funerals. These result in to couples developing similar face lines, making them, believe it or not, look alike. Next time you meet your grandparents, really study their faces and you will know it’s true.

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4. Food habits matter

Eating habits is another factor which contributes to this phenomenon. People under the same roof tend to eat certain type of meals – too oily, too healthy or too spicy. Human body reacts to food in a similar way for a man or a woman. But more than physical attributes, it creates the same effect on behaviour. For example, it is believed that people who eat a lot of spicy food are very hot headed. Naturally these factors contribute in one’s facial expressions, tonal modulations and the overall thought process.

happy couple eating together
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5. Shopping

Couples shop together and while it may seem like a mundane thing, there is an exchange of thoughts and opinions that happens here. Over the years, couples start understanding their partner’s tastes in clothing and adapt themselves to dress in a particular way.

6. Mind readers

This is especially true for people who have a 9-5 lifestyle. To run a successful household, there are tons of adjustments and give and take that happens on a daily basis to make it work. Naturally, couples get to know each other inside out and can literally predict each other’s thoughts. So the next time if that old couple in your neighbourhood finishes each other’s sentences, don’t be annoyed, they can’t help it.

7. Daddy’s girl

Several studies across the globe have concluded that women find a man attractive who bears similar qualities like that of their fathers. All the men reading this, you know you have got big shoes to fill in.

8. Picture Perfect

Symmetrical features are often considered while selecting a life partner. People tend to go for someone who matches and compliments their physical personality.

So, no wonder then, that most couples resemble each other after decades of living together!

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