Have you ever dated someone who looks… well… just like you?
Maybe you never noticed the resemblance… until that fateful day your friends mentioned it in passing.
And now you can’t. Stop. Seeing it.
Or even worse, they note that your partner looks quite a bit like your sibling…
I’ve been there—and it’s guaranteed to result in the most significant blunting of your sexual desire imaginable. Because, my friend…
You’re dating your doppelbanger.
But you know what? You’re in good company.
The term—a play, of course, on the German doppelgӓnger, a person who looks spookily like someone else—has been doing the rounds as people notice more and more celebs who seem to fit the pattern.
Kristen Stewart and her fiancée Dylan Meyer. Courteney Cox and Snow Patrol guitarist Johnny McDaid. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter. Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake.
Kourtney Kardashian and the guy from blink-182—well okay, maybe not so much.
The list does go on…
Is there some science behind this?
It seems so.
When it comes to looks, studies show that people are inclined to date those who resemble them. In fact, it’s way more commonplace than you might think.
Is it because we’re unconsciously drawn to a person with similar features to ours?
To someone who resembles a loved one?
It’s not clear—but numerous studies of straight people have shown they often end up with a partner whose face is similar to that of their opposite-sex parent.
Alternatively, in one study more than one third of men were most attracted to images of women whose faces had been digitally manipulated to resemble their own.
Another long-held theory was that, even if partners don’t start out looking like each other, over time their features somehow converge through some intangible process.
In fact, a 1987 study reported ‘a degree of convergence positively correlated with couples’ ratings of marriage quality’—although this was (firmly) debunked once and for all in 2020.
Researchers at Stanford compiled photos of couples from their first two years of marriage and then from anywhere between 20 and 70 years later.
Volunteers examined a photo of an individual and six others, including their spouse, and ranked them by similarity.
Then they did the task again with the aid of facial recognition software. There was no evidence of couples morphing into one another with age; rather, the scientists concluded the partners just looked similar to begin with—nothing more.
‘This brings facial appearance in line with other traits, such as interests, personality, intelligence, attitudes, values, and wellbeing,’ they concluded, ‘which show initial similarity but do not converge over time.’
Ain’t nothing wrong with being a doppelbanger
Being attracted to a digitally sex-swapped version of your face definitely feels weird, but it plays out in real life when we actually go out and choose a partner.
When face swapping was all the rage, I had a lot of fun with a boyfriend: bunny ears, heart eyes, the works.
He laughed at the bunny ears, found the heart eyes pretty cute (or so he said).
But then came the one that I truly believed would show me him in another light: I turned him into the female version of himself—and even years later I can’t quite get over it.
His female self was… his ex-wife. In every single detail. Identical.
“Let me see” went his plaintive cry, as I sat there with the kind of shocked expression that would see me fail miserably in Vegas high-stakes poker. No way.
I can still see that photo today, literally.
That boyfriend of mine had never actually got over his ex, who had instigated the divorce.
So yeah—there was no way I was showing him that picture. I still have it, and when my phone decides to remind me of happy memories, occasionally I’m still confronted by it.
And herein lies the lesson: you may well look alike, but it’s no guarantee of success. And as it happens, he and I didn’t work out, either.
If you do happen to fall into the doppelbanger camp, just remember: it’s natural!
If you like how they look and they like how you look, it doesn’t matter one way or the other if you share certain features.
If anything, it could make you all the more striking a pair, and it’s far more interesting a situation than couples who look totally different, or those that choose to dress alike. We are looking at you denim clad 90’s Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
If you fundamentally connect with someone—your values align, and you can see yourself converging with them in the ways that truly matter over the coming months, years, even decades—it really isn’t important whether you look a bit alike!
Tags: Celebrity Dating, Doppelganger, Relationships, Dating, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Love, Attraction, Chemistry, Science of Attraction