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Why you are attracted to people who look like you

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

If you and your partner look alike – this might be why

Have you ever thought you look like your spouse or partner, or have you begun to see physical similarities as time goes on? Take a look at your current partner or spouse and notice if you look anything alike — or if they appear similar to your ex. Do you find you are attracted to a potential love match with facial features similar to yours or that you tend to date the same physical type?

More: How Tinder ignores personal chemistry for instant online attraction

There is an interesting psychological aspect to this, as noted in a January 2014 article in Psychological Science that discusses how you find those who look similar to you as more trustworthy. Researchers found, “Facial similarity has been shown to have an effect on judgments of trustworthiness and on cooperative behavior.” What a fascinating concept to look at in dating and relationships. Let’s keep in mind that this is just one concept to look, and there are many more important areas when considering what is a healthy relationship, but this is an interesting topic to analyze in the world of relationships.

Let’s examine this in some Hollywood star couples. Katy Perry, who formerly dated John Mayer, is currently dating Orlando Bloom. The men definitely look similar to each other and appear to resemble the pop star. The theory would be working here, because the similar facial structure would increase the perceived trust level in the relationship.

Wonderwall had a fun article on look-alike celebrity couples, like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres and Jessica Alba and Cash Warren. Looking at their photos, you can see similar facial structures or features. That the couples look alike might be a coincidence, or maybe they were attracted to each other due to the similarity and this created a perceived increase in trust.

More: Old-school dating tips that will help your love life

The other side to this coin is that the additional trust is just perception — a person may not be trustworthy just because you look similar to them.

There's also another study that looks at a phenomenon wherein long-term couples begin to look like each other. Amber Angelle writes, “The results showed that the couples had grown to look more like each other over time. And the happier the couple said they were, the more likely they were to have increased in their physical similarity.” This occurs, she adds, because “we may be hardwired to fall in love with someone with similar DNA.”

However, I would be careful to assume you have to look like your spouse for a happy marriage. According to John Gottman’s seven principles for love, in a healthy relationship couples should know each other's goals, worries and hopes, as well as nurture fondness, build emotional connection, share decision making and respect, problem solve together, be able to overcome obstacles together and create shared meanings.

Don't worry if you don't look like your spouse or partner. The ingredients for success as listed above do not mention this, but it is quite fun to consider. Remember, just because your partner looks like you or similar to you only implies an increase in trustworthiness, not a guarantee of this trait. Instead of external features, you are better off seeking out a partner with internal qualities of trustworthiness or other traits you find positive. That will guarantee success and possibly a road to a healthy connection.

Superficial things, such as attraction only having to do with physical looks, are not necessarily the most important quality needed for a strong relationship. You should look at what things are important to you and build a relationship with this intent. Finding a match with the potential to grow and develop in a healthy way is a great start to building love.

More: How 'The Bachelor' awards looks over personality

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