General Question

molly's avatar

Are people attracted to other people that look like them?

Asked by molly (259points) September 18th, 2008

i heard this somewhere, though i can’t remember if it was from a credible source. apparently the explanation for this is that by picking a potential mate based on how similarly they resemble you, the better chance you have of passing on your defining genes, or something. i was wondering if there was any truth to this, especially because lately i’ve realized that many of the people i’m attracted to have similar general traits to myself (pale, light colored eyes, brown hair, etc). i have also been told that my ex and i looked like brother and sister, which is creepy but regardless. on the other hand, i am also attracted to a fair amount of people that look nothing like me, so what’s the deal?

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46 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I just saw a couple who looked like the male and female of the same person. I think people are attracted to those who look just like them or the total opposite, like you said. They also say, however, that after living with someone for awhile, you begin to resemble that person.

tia29's avatar

I am a black female and my husbands white, he’s a big redneck kid and I’m serious and a stickler for the rules. So I can’t agree. I have always been attracted to white men and he to black women.

marinelife's avatar

I would say that there is virtually no truth in this based on the vast number of couples. I suspect it could happen by chance, just as you say that you are sometimes attracted to people of your general type and sometimes not.

Judi's avatar

Both my daughters married guys that looked like them. The red head’s husband looks like he could be her brother. I am just happy to have those cute red headed grand babies!

tWrex's avatar

Don’t tell my sister, but if you cover up her hair she looks just like her soon-to-be husband (he’s bald). Like exactly alike. Freeeeeakyyyyy.

Judi's avatar

My daughter says that the reason her and her husband were attracted to each other is because they are both closet narcissist’s

cheebdragon's avatar

I have blonde hair (well right now it’s hot pink/fire engine red, but my natural color is blonde) and I have never been into blonde guys.

tWrex's avatar

Yeah my wife is a dark skinned italian with brown eyes and dark hair and I’m a very light skinned italian with blue eyes and supa blonde hair.

(my favorite question ever… Do you dye your hair? Yup. My eyebrows, facial hair and my arm hairs too! I’m dedicated to being blonde. dumbass)

cheebdragon's avatar

I have dyed my eyebrows, once or twice, just because my hair was midnight blue/black and the dark brown eyebrows were not pulling off the look.

cheebdragon's avatar

and then I realized that most people don’t have jet black facial hair….LOL

generalspecific's avatar

i have had people tell me that i resembled some exboyfriends but i dunno. i would say that generally it’s probably true.. i’ve heard it as well and have seen many couples that look alike.. it’s sort of weird

bodyhead's avatar

Yea I’d totally do me so I can buy into this easy.

Nimis's avatar

Alright, y’alls. Don’t be offended. I don’t necessarily agree with this statement.
The following was just something thrown out (in response to a similar discussion).

People who date people who look like them are narcissistic.

charliecompany34's avatar

they say my wife and i look like brother and sister. we’re both the same complexion, have dark hair and dark eyes. yet my wife does not look much like my sister because body structure is different. nonetheless, our children have really been blessed with attractive looks and genes. one is a model for catalogs and text books.

but i’ve also noticed “there’s somebody for everyone” couples and the children are quite attractive with what seems to be exotic features. weird.

Sloane2024's avatar

I’m a fair-skinned, blonde and my boyfriend is and Indian American. I’ve never been attracted to light haired, fair-skinned, and pale-eyed people like myself…. I don’t know if there is a sure answer to this one….

Comedian's avatar

Well my eyes, mouth and nose are like Keith Allens and I love him….so…yes?

lifeflame's avatar

Still, even when couples are of different races, I’ve often noticed certain similarities with facial features. How big their eyes are, the bone structure of their face and so on.

Here’s a study (not sure how credible it is…)

loser's avatar

I’ve noticed that lesbian couples often look like bookends. I think it’s cute!

stratman37's avatar

this, too, is a Seinfeld episode!

Comedian's avatar

you say that a lot stratman

stratman37's avatar

Well, it APPLIES a lot, don’t ya think?

Comedian's avatar

honestly I haven’t seen seinfeld in like sooooo long, and from what I remember….it doesn’t really…at least not for this

Nimis's avatar

In a roundabout way it does!

Comedian's avatar

Oh well. I guess I have to go watch seinfeld again then

Nimis's avatar

You know. That one episode where George starts dating a girl.
Then he realizes that she looks exactly like Jerry.
Then everyone starts teasing him that he’s secretly in love with Jerry. Har.

Comedian's avatar

I don’t nimis

MissAnthrope's avatar

I guess sometimes it can happen.. but I think there are plenty of folks that go for someone who looks really different.

My last girlfriend, both of us are attracted to our complete opposite body types. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and think my body type is heinous, she’s struggled with being too thin her whole life and feels the same about hers. As a consequence, we’ve come to like the opposite body type. We also didn’t look alike in features.. she’s got dark brown hair, I have light brown/blondish hair, I’m fair, she’s darker, I have light eyes, she has brown eyes.

Nimis's avatar

Alena: That was the second runner up theory in our discussion…attraction to opposites because of struggles with our own. Though both kind of amount to the same…attraction to what we want for ourselves.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yeah, that makes sense. I actually felt kind of bad and hypocritical about it for a while, but I finally came to realize what you said.

Response moderated
generalspecific's avatar

@Nimis: that is not always the case. people don’t realize that they look like them, they’re just subconsciously attracted. it’s not like, oh hey that boy looks just like me and oh man he is fine!
people probably just are used to those sort of familiar facial features. or something.
just sayin.

and y’all doesn’t have to be plural. ya’ll = you all. and you wouldn’t say “you alls” would you?
sorry.. it’s a pet peeve

Nimis's avatar

Gen: It’s not any really substantial theory. That was just mostly stuff that people threw out (in a similar discussion). I don’t think there’s any one blanket statement that would explain why people choose the partners that they do (body type or otherwise).

Sorry. I have a bad habit of adding an s to many a word that doesn’t need it. Like: I likes.
Started as a joke. But is becoming more of a habit.

cheebdragon's avatar

Comedian was a little too young to watch seinfeld when it was still on

jdegrazia's avatar

If I remember correctly, according to The Third Chimpanzee, a Jared Diamond book about the evolution of humans, there are a handful of well documented human-mate-look-alike patterns. One involves earlobes, maybe earlobe length. Another has to do with the distance between our eyes. This is definitely something of a tentative answer, for I haven’t read the book in a while, but I think the point Diamond made is that the look-alike patterns that are most consistent involve traits that our conscious minds have a hard time noticing. Look alike attraction is mostly subconscious, and some of it is pretty difficult to explain evolutionarily.

aprilsimnel's avatar

My last bf was tall, pale and blue-eyed. I’m none of those things. I have a picture of him somewhere, and when I showed it to one of my friends, she told me that she thought we had similar looks, as if perhaps we shared one parent. I had never noticed. Other bf’s haven’t resembled me in the least.

Isn’t there some other theory about smell, though? That we have a thing about how the other person smells and that’s a big influence due to nature wanting good genes to mix it up? I know I went ga-ga over the way Last Ex-BF smelled.

molly's avatar

i have read something about how biologists proved that scent is very powerful in determining who we are attracted to, but i’m not sure if they mean artificial smells or the actual, natural scent of a person, which may be harder to pick up/just ignored at this stage of our evolution and is actually subconcious.

MissAnthrope's avatar

molly, it’s the person’s natural scent. Apparently, how much you like that natural scent indicates how genetically compatible you are to that person.

molly's avatar

isn’t that crazy?

Adagio's avatar

@Judi Isn’t closet narcissist an oxymoron?

I’ve never heard of this theory but I have heard the one that suggests people are attracted to those who are similarly attractive. I think I would agree with that theory.
EDIT: actually I think that should be, people end up with someone who is similarly attractive huge difference really I suppose

Judi's avatar

I love oxymorons

Adagio's avatar

@Judi I love the word oxymoron!

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar


I think women are attracted to men who look like their dads…and men are attracted to women that look like their mothers. I have thought this a long time and recently saw an article in a London newspaper that showed celebs with their husbands/wives and then a pic of their parents. Can’t remember them all…but I remember Gwyneth’s Chris looks like her dad Bruce Paltrow who is now deceased.

One striking resemblance that no many have picked up on…but I did was Princess Diana’s lover, James Hewitt. People often say that Harry is his son because he does have the ginger-red hair, etc. But when I was reading a book on her many years back, I did a double-take when I saw a wedding photo of Lord Spencer and his bride Frances (Diana’s mother.) He is the SPITTING IMAGE of James Hewitt! I mean, I was gobsmacked at the similarity. So that would account for the resemblance of Harry to James Hewitt. James looks so much like Diana’s father.

Try this out….and if they don’t resemble them physically….who was it that you loved that DID? :)

ngage74's avatar

This is very true. And for those interacial people. It could also be how you were raised as in you’ve seen alot of people who prefer other races or just you’ve grown to like them, like an acquired taste. Its not true for everyone but it is a fact of natural its in our genetics. You dont really have a choice. :P and for that men attracted to girls who look like there mothers and girls to dads well your just saying the same thing. you are getting theyre features even if you dont directly see them you still have some. And all of this attraction isnt conscious. youll have no idea that you look like your partner and you wouldnt believe it if it was super noticable only other people can tell. hope this explains stuff because its all true lol its proven.

ngage74's avatar

oh and hair color eye color and so on do not fit this its your facial structure. not even skin color matters

nowayjoseee's avatar

it seems to me that if a person is happy with the way they look, they generally are attracted to people with similar traits, but if they are highly self-concious of their looks or are constantly changing their looks (dying their hair, wearing lots of makeup, using colored contacts) they are attracted to those that have traits to the ones they would personally like to have.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@nowayjoseee – I happen to agree. Good observation. :)

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