This Unexpected Factor Could Influence Who You End Up With

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Turns out, birds of a feather really do flock together. Romantic comedies may have you believe that opposites attract, but a new study indicates that you're more likely to settle down with someone pretty similar to you — right down to your genetics. The study, published in journal Nature Human Behavior, analyzed data from three other studies with publicly available genetics data from 24,000 heterosexual couples with European ethnicity. (We know, not the most diverse participants.) Researchers discovered that most of the couples were more likely to date someone who was of similar height, body mass index (BMI), and even blood pressure. Researchers also looked at other possible factors of attraction, such as educational level, and found that people tend to date those with similar backgrounds, though such factors could also be determined by life choices and socioeconomic factors. As the study states, the findings suggest that your choice of life partner could “affect the genomic architecture of traits in humans." No pressure, then. The research gives merit to the mere-exposure effect theory, the psychological idea that people tend to be attracted to things that they've become familiar with. But theories of attraction are always open for interpretation and it's important to note that while 24,000 people is a hefty enough sample size, they were all heterosexual couples with a certain ethnic background. That doesn't give a lot of room for differences in the first place. However, it's still interesting to see that your genetic makeup is so influential that it can play a role in who you end up with.

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