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11th Mar 2022

What the hell is a dopplebanger?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but they might just be looking in the mirror.

Ever noticed a couple who look eerily alike?

Maybe they’ve spent so much time with each other that they’ve started to look the same, or maybe they liked what they saw in the mirror and sought it out in a partner.

Whatever the reason, turns out, it’s a thing. There’s even a term for the phenomenon – dopplebanging.

The term was first coined by the queer community and comes from the German word doppelgänger, meaning a biologically unrelated and uncanny lookalike of a living person.

Essentially, a doppelbanger is a clever play on words that refers to someone who sleeps with or dates another person who looks just like them.

Okay, but is it actually a thing?

During the pandemic, an Instagram page called @siblingsordating blew up, which posts pictures of couples who look alike and asks its followers to guess whether they are related or in a relationship. And, shockingly, when they’re the spit of each other, they’re almost never siblings.

Here are just a few of the many examples of couples dating their doubles.

Then we have the celebrity lookalike couples. Over the years, fans have noticed similarities between Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Courtney Cox and Johnny McDaid, Hailey and Justin Bieber, and more recently, Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn.

And who could forget Brad Pitt, the man who looks like all of his girlfriends?  Although, in this case, I’m not too sure if Brad was choosing his partners based off his current look or simply stealing his girlfriend’s style – but you get the idea.

Why are people dopplebanging?

It’s no surprise that people seek out partners who share certain traits with them, because having similar personalities and common interests can be pretty important. But what about physical traits?

In a 2010 study, researchers showed subjects several images of a stranger. Some images combined the stranger’s face with a photograph of another stranger and one image morphed the face with the subject’s own face.

When asked to rate the attractiveness of each image, participants were more likely to give the image of the stranger morphed with their own face the highest rating.

Some experts believe that humans beings are hard-wired to be drawn to what’s familiar, as the brain processes familiar images more easily. This would explain why someone similar to you may catch your eye as opposed to someone who looks completely opposite – and it kind of makes sense.

Other research in this area has found that humans can sometimes be more attracted to potential partners who come from similar ancestors, and ancestry determines many physical traits.

It’s also been proven that, over time, long-term couples can start to look like one another. According to a study discussed in The Independent, it’s because they occupy the same environments, engage in the same activities, eat the same food, and mimic each other’s emotional expressions” – and all these things can influence physical appearance.

Is being a dopplebanger a bad thing?

According to Cosmopolitan, the term dopplebanger, while usually used in the context of light-hearted fun, can sometimes also be used as a derogatory term to shame people in the LGBTQ+ community, labelling them as narcissistic.

But, evidently, it’s a lot more common than we might think, regardless of sexual orientation – I bet if you think long and hard, you’ve probably done it yourself. So no, it doesn’t make you a narcissistic ego-maniac.

And, as we’ve established, it’s been psychologically proven that people gravitate towards love interests who resemble themselves on a subconscious level.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with dating someone who looks like you. It’s completely harmless.

They say opposites attract but, hey, I guess they were wrong.