Monday, November 21, 2011

Are You Two Too Alike?

By Devin Tomb
We all know one of those couples: same shaggy haircut, same black-framed glasses, always finishing each other's sentences in a way that's, OK, a little annoying, but they do seem to be happy. Recent studies show that it's common to gravitate toward others who look and talk like we do. And we're doing it now more than ever, says dating coach DeAnne Lorraine.
"People are getting married later, and we're becoming pickier," she says. "We want someone who's similar to us, the perfect fit." But can dating your doppelgänger ever become too much of a good thing?
Sometimes being alike is a plus …
"When we're repeatedly exposed to something, we find it to be more enticing, and there's nothing we see more than ourselves," says Jeremy Bailenson, Ph.D., who studies facial recognition at Stanford University. And Bailenson says it's not a bad thing to choose a mate who reminds you of, well, you. Same goes for talking alike. By testing how similar a couple's conversational style is — even while texting — James Pennebaker, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, says he can tell almost immediately how well they're getting along.
Shares commenter shortstuff, "My boyfriend and I often say the same thing at the same time!" All those jinxes bode well, says Pennebaker. "It means two people really hear what the other person is saying."
…but sometimes it's not!
Shared looks and phrases might start the relationship off well, but Lorraine makes an important distinction when it comes to personality. "A woman needs to keep her own identity and not change just to fit her partner's needs," she says.
Take Victoria, 29. "With my last boyfriend, I thought that if I read all the same books he did and listened to the same music, he'd like me more," she says. Her friends finally set her straight. "They were like, 'This isn't you!' I realized I had changed just to please him." They broke up soon after. Says Pennebaker, "It's all about finding someone who interests you and enjoying him or her." It is not about turning into each other.


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