While it may be one of people’s favorite clichés, science has shown that when it comes to physical attraction, opposites, in fact, do not attract.

A recent study by the University of Colorado Boulder looked at 825 heterosexual couples and found that many of the partners shared similar DNA to one another. Most notably, the couples shared one specific feature more than any other: The shape of their faces.

Face Shape

It turns out that most of us do have a specific type of partner we tend to go for: one that shares the same face shape. The shape of one’s face is such a determining factor that some dating sites now use pictures of exes to help find new partners.

There have been multiple studies where an individual’s face has been super-imposed into the faces of potential partners. Those partners always rank higher on attractiveness and are more likely to be considered for relationships.

Why Face Shape?

While science isn’t 100 percent certain why we are attracted to people who are more similar to us than different (which shouldn’t be the case, as the more diverse the genes are, the healthier the potential offspring would be), there are a couple of different theories as to why.

  • Same is safe. Way back when, similarities in appearance were safe. We were always surrounded by people who looked like us. When people looked different, they were often strangers, or even worse, enemies. Therefore, it seems appropriate that it became natural to be attracted to those who are like us.
  • We’re naturally narcissistic. Another theory is that by pairing with someone who resembles ourselves, we are self-affirming our own attractiveness. Sort of like we are justifying our own looks by being attracted to someone who looks like us.

Birds of a Feather

While these studies have shown that there are many cases of similar face shape among couples, it seems that face shape is not the only distinguishing factor that is alike. Other factors that couples often share include:

  • Bone structure
  • Physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color
  • Life goals
  • Demographics such as age, income level, etc.
  • Level of education
  • Personality traits

Certain aspects of similarities, such as level of education, actually had a stronger correlation to compatibility than face shape. But for initial attraction, face shape seemed to take the lead.

Are You Dating Your Twin?

People often comment about how the longer a couple is together the more they look-alike, and with the recent movement in boyfriend twins (gay couples where both men look similar); perhaps there is something behind this idea.


What are your thoughts on opposites not attracting? Have you ever dated someone who looks a lot like you? We want to know, so tell us in the comments.

 Additional Images: Flickr



Molly Carter
Molly Carter
Molly is a freelance writer who talks about everything and anything from addiction, to sex. to skinning a deer. You can find her at MollyCarterWriter.com, or Facebook.