If You’ve Been Dating Long Enough, You and Your Partner Could Have This One Thing in Common

If-You’ve-Been-Dating-Long-Enough,-You-and-Your-Partner-Could-Have-This-One-Thing-in-Common_489313423_Nemanja-NovakovicNemanja Novakovic/Shutterstock

Opposites attract, right? Well, not so fast. New research might call that age-old cliché into serious question.

A recent study says it’s actually more likely that a couple has similar taste and smell preferences—particularly if they’ve been together for a long time. To gather their data, researchers from Poland and Germany recruited 100 heterosexual couples ages 18 to 68. While some couples had been together for just three months, others’ relationships had lasted for up to 45 years. Each subject sniffed a set of scented felt-tip pens with fragrances like cinnamon, coffee, lavender, Coca-Cola, peach, and leather. Then they rated each scent on a scale of one to five. Participants repeated the process with spray bottles filled with one of five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Afterward, the researchers compared each person’s responses with their partner’s.

According to the final results—which will soon appear in the journal Appetite—a couple’s smell and taste preferences were more likely to be similar the longer they had been together. This was especially true for taste. (Science just explained why couples look alike, too.)

Why? Researchers believe that a shared environment can encourage a couple’s preferences to converge. For example, a couple may develop a habit of drinking coffee together every morning, or they may live in a neighborhood that smells like grass. Over time, “they may grow to like those stimuli more than they did at the start of the relationship,” Mental Floss explains. Here are 28 little things you can do right now to make your relationship happier.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that sharing a taste for certain foods and aromas equates to a happy relationship, though. The data revealed that although partners liked the same foods, they weren’t any more likely to be satisfied in their relationships. In fact, those that shared smell preferences were actually less satisfied overall. So if you’re looking for more satisfaction in your relationship, you might want to memorize the surprising secrets of happily married couples, instead.

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