It’s not surprising that you’ve seen couples walking down the street who look very similar to each other. You might raise an eyebrow and wonder- why do couples look alike? Is this normal?
The answer is yes- some couples tend to look like each other, and it’s a perfectly natural occurrence.
There have been various case studies where couples who look nothing like each other look very similar 40 years down the line. So why does this happen, why do couples look alike? There are plenty of psychological and biological reasons for that.
It can be confusing to figure out how couples that look alike exist, but a good way to start thinking about it is to notice the similarity in relationships.
Couples that look alike tend to be in very long-term relationships (more than a few years), spend a lot of time together and share similar traits. So while couples may not look similar initially, they grow and change over the years to look more like each other.
Voice style matching, behavior adaptation, and shared experiences can explain why couples look alike, and we will address this more in the following sections.
While some people may believe that couples that look alike are soulmates, that’s not necessarily true; Looking and acting alike are a result of both psychological and physical changes within a person because of the relationship.
Is it healthy for couples to look alike?
Even though it may seem a little weird for couples to look similar, it is not unhealthy at all. In fact, it is a perfectly natural part of growing together. Couples start to sound alike and look like one another as they spend more and more time with each other.
Some married couples develop similar features as they grow older, which can also be a sign of happy marital relationships! Happy people mimic each other’s way of laughing and develop similar facial features as a couple.
So it’s perfectly okay and normal for couples to look alike.
10 Reasons why couples often start to look and act alike
1. “Opposites attract”— not always true
We’ve all heard the famous saying “opposites attract.” Unfortunately, apart from magnets, it applies to nothing else. In fact, various studies have shown that couples who look like each other are often drawn to each other.
Apart from looks, couples who share similar interests and lifestyles are also attracted to one another. When pairing someone with a partner, it’s common to do so based on similarities rather than differences.
Some people even believe that couples that look alike are meant to be, so they set up their friends with those who resemble them in lifestyle.
While emotional mirroring can be both good and bad, studies show that in relationships where there is already a rapport, mirroring can positively affect the relationship.
It is no wonder that many couples who subconsciously do this tend to have happier relationships with their partners.
But you might be wondering, what does this have to do with why couples look alike?
Emotional mirroring involves sharing the same stress and depressive emotions, which can impact bodily changes, including facial features (like worry lines) and body features (like weight loss due to stress).
Slowly, partners who are experiencing the same emotions start to take on similar appearances.
You might have noticed that some couples have very similar reactions to things- they look alike, talk alike, and gesture alike. This is called behavior mimicry and is a fundamental characteristic of people.
We tend to mimic the behaviors of those we love or admire, like their facial expressions and hand movements. This mimicking can make couples look and sound alike.
But behavior mimicry is not limited to couples- you might also notice that your roommate has developed some of your behavior traits or that you behave very similar to your childhood friend when you’re around them.
4. If you like your partner, you probably talk like your partner
Similar to behavior mimicry, people tend to adopt a lot of vocabulary from their partners. Partners resemble one another due to unconscious voice style matching, like stressing words the same way or dragging out certain sounds.
You might’ve noticed a similar change in your speech patterns if you’ve been hanging out with someone a lot. So, couples start to sound alike when they spend a lot of time together.
This sounds pretty weird- why would we want to date someone who looks like us? However, from a purely biological and psychological standpoint, we are attracted to people who look like us because we want to pass on our genes.
So, if we mate with someone genetically similar to us, there is a higher chance of passing on our genes.
This video explains gene attraction in more detail and explains one of the reasons why couples look alike-
6. Shared experiences lead to shared features
If it’s just people mimicking behavior or voice-style matching their partners, why do couples look alike physically? People underestimate the influence these external behaviors have on the human body.
Many of our behavior patterns can be seen in our features, like smile lines and worry lines on our faces.
Studies show that sharing similar emotions for an extended period can cause vascular changes in one’s face and, therefore, converge the couple’s appearances as time goes on.
Couples who go through highly traumatic events together also develop similar trauma features such as sunken cheeks and eyes, and worry lines. Shared experiences lead to the development of similar facial features as a couple.
People tend to be drawn toward what is familiar, which also applies to partners. People choose those who have similar lifestyles, viewpoints, and habits, and therefore it’s not surprising that we encounter couples looking alike and behaving similarly.
Biologically, familiarity breeds comfort and security. Since most people get into relationships for safety and dependence (consciously or subconsciously), more often than not, people choose those who feel familiar to them.
8. Similar environment and culture
As we’ve said, familiarity breeds comfort. It’s no wonder that people choose their partners who are present in the same environment as them or from the same culture.
Since people in similar environments tend to share similar biological heritage or similar ethnic features, it could be an answer to why do couples look alike.
9. Time plays a role
While we’ve been talking a lot about how couples start to sound alike and look alike, it’s important to think about the time component.
Some couples who look like each other and have only been dating for about a month probably owe their similarities to genes or assortative mating behavior.
However, people who have been dating for more than 8 years could associate their similarities to voice style matching or convergence of appearance. So time plays a big role in how similar people look, although there are always outliers.
10. Lifestyle changes brings you together
One more factor for why couples do look alike could be that they’ve made similar lifestyle choices over the years.
For example, couples who workout together tend to have similar runner’s physique, or couples who go shopping tend to dress similarly since they influence each other’s fashion sense.
Many lifestyle changes happen during a relationship, and many couples make these decisions together. Some couples decide to quit smoking together or try a new form of diet, and even these lifestyle changes can have a big impact on their facial features.
Some couples look absolutely nothing like each other whereas others are the opposite- they look alike, talk alike, and even behave alike!
They share similar facial features as a couple and have very similar lifestyles. All couples are different, just as all relationships are different.
There’s no truth to statements like “couples that look alike are soulmates.” However, people can grow and change over the years to look more like each other in certain situations.
In the end, regardless of whether or not you look like your partner, it has nothing to do with how healthy your relationship is- you’re still the true judge of that!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.