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My husband and I become the same person



For the second time this week my husband and I left the house and accidentally wore matching outfits. The most recent offense was a striped sweater in exact colors and black Converse sneakers. Other times it was similar plaid shirts and dark jeans. Or maybe we'll wear both our pea coats and stocking hats (though mine have a fluffy ball on it). It is a common habit that is so irritating that one of us reluctantly changes. But I am afraid that one day we will give up and look for suitable sports suits for purchases.

That was not always the case. When I met my today's husband in college, we could not have been more different. We grew up in the same city, but did not cross until I came home from college during my summer vacation. Nate, a fair-skinned redhead with freckles, could not care less about fashion, spinning what he called his "boot of the 90s" with a pair of ragged Tevas. I had dark hair and olive skin and studied clothes and textiles with a craving to prove it. He had a taller and slimmer figure when I was curvier at the university.

Fast forward 20 years and we share dress socks. Our body types seem even more similar these days (maybe because we eat the same foods and sync our workout most of the time). And when I give up my tanning bed habit, it means that my tan is gradually fading to a paleness more akin to my husband's skin tone.

In addition, we tag team storytelling, arrange each other and practically have our own language. It feels like we age together and age each other.

This does not necessarily mean that this is bad only that it is one thing.

In a old study by Robert Zajonc, Ph.D., which is widely cited in discussing this phenomenon, Zajonc (a psychologist at the University of Michigan) examined whether the facial features of couples were each other The longer they were married, the more they resembled each other. He asked the participants to analyze 12 pictures of couples (these were all Caucasian couples aged 50-60 at the time of the study) taken as a newlyweds and again a quarter of a century later.

The results? Participants reported that couples would become more and more similar over time. Some of the couples in the photos also responded to questionnaires for the study, and the couples, who were chosen to have the most physical similarity over time, also reported greater happiness and similar attitudes. ( In more recent more diverse research has shown similar results that support the notion that many couples look and act the same over time.)

Why is that? the case? It is not very clear. Researchers have suggested, however, that factors such as a common diet, a shared environment, or a shared climate can affect a couple's appearance over time. It is also believed that people often unconsciously mimic the facial expressions of their spouses in a silent empathy, and that the same face may resemble the face over the years.

Besides our looks, it's not surprising either. Also, our habits and preferences have fused a bit: Art Markman, a professor of psychology and director of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas, tells me, "It's quite normal for couples who have spent time together to do more. When you communicate with someone, your brain spends a lot of time predicting what it will do next so you can predict what it is going to say.

As a result: "Your language system begins to adjust to the other person that causes you to speak similarly," explains Markman, who also wrote Brain Briefs . "This happens at all levels, from the pitch and tone of the voice to the words and phrases you use." He adds that a similar phenomenon can happen to goals: "There is a phenomenon called 'target attack'. Something causes you to want to do the same thing that you observe. This can lead to similarities in hobbies, movie preferences, books and TV shows, and even clothing styles.

If you had said 20-something, I would currently have Game of Thrones [19659017] I would have laughed. My husband took part in a yoga retreat with me. I went with him to the Super Bowl. We read the same books and trade when we're done. And I can often guess with 95 percent accuracy what my husband will say before he comes out of his mouth. As a couple that has never trained in our younger years, we've just run the first marathon which seems to fit that notion of "gatekeeping" Markman talks about.

That makes sense. As we grew older, we became more similar – we married young and grew up together. Markman notes, "The younger you are, when you enter into a committed relationship, the less time you have to develop your own habits. As a result, you probably have many shared experiences that have shaped language and behavior. "

So, when I'm in a happy and secure marriage, I wonder if a long-term relationship will make me live." I have lost part of my own identity.

Markman tells me that a long-term healthy relationship means that each of us has an independent identity as a person and a combined identity as a member of the couple. And it's common to feel a tension between feeling as if you were your own person and feeling like you're a member of the couple, he adds. "At different times in your life, you'll feel good or bad about emphasizing the couple's identity, in part, how you feel about the relationship right now," says Markman. "You certainly want to feel that you can make your own decisions and that you not only choose activities that please your partner."

In my previous relationship, I felt as if I would always do something my partner liked; But in my marriage, we compromise on things we both like and are mostly the same. Markman emphasizes, "When you're satisfied with the activities you and your partner choose, you do not have to worry about something that works well." In other words, there is no need to fix something that is not. "t broken."

Markman suggests that new experiences, depending on our openness to new things, can help when life feels predictable – and these can be done together or separately, depending on the extent to which we I'm allowed to skip Season 5 of Game of Thrones and I seriously doubt that Nate will ever do a yoga retreat with me again, but I will Enjoy the football Sunday and my book club as a couple.

And if I buy a pair of "Boots of the 90s", please send me help.

Anne Roderique-Jones is a freelance writer and editor whose work she has published in [19659028] Vogue, Marie Claire, Southern Living, Town & Country and Condé Nast Traveler. Twitter: @AnnieMarie_ Instagram: @AnnieMarie_

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