Do Long-Term Couples *Actually* Start to Look Alike?

Do Long-Term Couples *Actually* Start to Look Alike?

You know how they say owners look like their dogs? It can happen with your husband, too. 

By Marianne Garvey

According to Kandi Burruss, she and her husband Todd Tucker are starting to look alike.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta mom and her man, married since 2014, took to Instagram with a family photo, and Kandi couldn’t help but notice her husband is looking more like her brother these days.

"I feel like [Todd] & I are starting to look like sister & brother," Kandi wrote, adding a laughing-crying emoji. "They say that happens when you’ve been together so long."

According to Live Science, humans are initially drawn to people who resemble themselves — and how much two people in a relationship look alike increases the longer the two stay together.

How is that even possible?

Former University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc years ago conducted an experiment to test exactly why (and if) this was actually happening. He sat and analyzed photographs of couples taken right after they married, then compared them to pictures of the same couples taken 25 years later — and he said, there’s no mistaking it, the couples had “grown to look more like each other over time.” In fact, the happier the couple, the more they showed physical similarity years later.

It’s not just hair color, similar skin coloring, and body type though, although that tends to happen too. He found that people in close contact for extended periods of time start to mimic each other’s facial expressions and don’t even realize it. After some time, they make the exact same facial expressions. 

Back in 1987, The New York Times researched the topic and found that even couples who “originally bore no particular resemblance to each other” when first married had, after 25 years of marriage, also come to look alike, even if it was subtle.

The report says that the increase in facial similarity over the years results from “decades of shared emotions,” such as laugh lines similar to your partners created from laughing. How sweet is that?

Also adding to the similarities later on was the fact that many couples share similar diets, and unconsciously copied the facial expressions of their spouses leading to later shift in facial shapes, causing them to look similar. Since facial muscles grow or atrophy according to the amount of use, facial muscle activity stimulates growth in facial bones, giving older couples the same wrinkle patterns.

Scientists have labeled the phenomenon “convergence of appearance,” and includes couples who have even started to dress alike.

A study done in 2017 suggested that couples who look alike may even share genetics — don't worry they go way back.

PLOS Genetics suggests that many pairs of lookalike spouses have the same ancestry, especially in with Northern and Western European, Southern European, and Ashkenazi ancestry. But cultures moving further from home and spreading across the world instead of staying near everyone who looks like you has helped lessen this. 

One thing that’s all yours though is personality. A study done in 2010 study concluded that couples married for 40 years had as different personalities as they came into the marriage with — and even still held different ideas on religion, money, and personal beliefs.

Credit: Kandi Burruss/Instagram

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