General Question

aviona's avatar

Why, when you're in love with someone, does everyone begin looking like them?

Asked by aviona (3240 points ) April 20th, 2009

You begin to see them in everyone. You seek out similarities (even if they do not actually exist). This seems to be especially true when the love is unrequited.

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17 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Interesting. That’s never been my experience, though.

Judi's avatar

It’s not just in relationships and love.
We were trying to design new signs for our apartments. Suddenly, everywhere we looked we saw unique and interesting design styles we had never noticed before. When you spend time pondering something you notice the similarities around you that always existed, but your mind usually filters out in order to focus on the things that are important at the time.

fundevogel's avatar

I haven’t experienced that, but after he dumped me I’d notice any man that smelled like him.

unused_bagels's avatar

Anytime something is on your mind often, your brain starts to recognize similarities. Your brain lurves to find patterns, to tie new knowledge and information to old knowledge, so it won’t rattle around too much.
Ergo, you’re in lurve, thinking about said person constantly, and you think you see them everywhere.
@fundevogel: scent is actually a very strong identifier with humans, and believed to be one of the factors in attraction. However, this is very subtle and subliminal, as our brains aren’t very developed in the olfactory areas ;)

fundevogel's avatar

@unused_bagels – come on, sure you’re not consciously aware of pheromones but you have to know what you mate smells like.

qualitycontrol's avatar

It’s like when you drive a certain car all you notice is how many other of the same car you pass on the road and compare the “condition” of the car to yours. The other ones are less important, but maybe seeing a car you used to own pass by will remind you of the time in your life at which you owned that car.
I know in my current relationship every girl I see with similar features looks like my gf or I compare them to my gf. I also find myself being attracted to girls that look like her. My gf and I don’t see each other a lot. If a week goes by and we haven’t spent time together I think I begin to “see” her in other people just because I want to see her so bad and makes me sort of happy that for a split second she might be close by…but then it fades.

aviona's avatar

Thanks for sympathizing @qualitycontrol :)

eponymoushipster's avatar

i’m flattered that you see bits of me in others, aviona, but really – who compares?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I like that sentiment, but the opposite happens to me personally.

wundayatta's avatar

@aviona: are you referring to the guy who broke up with you recently? Or someone new?

wundayatta's avatar

I think it’s a form of perceptual vigilance. Perceptual vigilance is when you are attuned to something visual, and so a lot of what you see out there reminds you of it. Often it happens when you learn about something new—say a car you are interested in. Suddenly you see them everywhere, whereas you never noticed them before. In this case, it’s your old boyfriend, whom you still love, and wish to see, and so, you do see him everywhere.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I’ve never had this problem, but I do notice that when I have a certain model of automobile, pretty soon I see them everywhere. My usual response is “Oh look, parts!”

Randy's avatar

I tend to never notice until after the break-up.

owemehguh's avatar

@qualitycontrol Hah, I see my car everywhere I go. I just figured it was me being my quirky self. I think this may be a little off the topic, but I totally forgive myself.

john65pennington's avatar

Possibly. its strange that you should ask this question. my wife and i were just discussing a similar situation the other day. our conversation was about automobiles. have you ever noticed that you do not pay attention to a certain make and model automobile, until you own one? this has happened to us with cars, so it stands to reason that it also could apply to humans.

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