If you think clicking with another person is all a matter of fate, destiny or a fairy godmother, think again! There’s actually some (very) weird science at work... and here’s a list of seven facts that prove it.
1. Being on hormonal birth control can change a woman’s taste in men. Ladies, there’s more than one kind of “goggles” to watch out for — and if you’re on the pill, your attraction to someone may take a turn away from the usual types you date. That’s because birth control pills affect women’s hormone levels and to whom they become attracted. In one study, researcher Tony Little showed women different images of men and asked them to make their picks. His results showed that the women taking birth control pills tended to choose men with more pronounced masculine features than those who weren’t on them. The downside here? These manly traits are linked to high testosterone levels, aggressive behavior, and even higher divorce rates than the average. So if you’re on HBC, don’t turn a blind eye to those red flags… your contraception could cloud your judgment and lead you to fall for a less-than-wonderful partner.
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2. Women want to date men who smell like their fathers. In one study by geneticist Carole Ober, female subjects were asked to sniff shirts of various scents and then state their preferences ranked by smell. Over and over again, subjects chose the odors that closely matched those of their fathers. So, guys, if you make it to a “meet the parents” moment, take a peek in their medicine cabinet and splash on some of her dad’s aftershave to seal the deal.
3. Like go-get-’em types? Look for someone whose hand features a long fourth finger. Here’s why: If your date’s ring finger is longer than his or her index finger, it’s an indication that this person was exposed to higher than average amounts of testosterone in the womb, says Dr. John T. Manning of Rutgers University in his book, Digit Ratio: A Pointer to Fertility, Behavior, and Health. This correlates to having a personality which tends to be logical, decisive and ambitious. If these traits tickle your fancy, stick around.
4. Adrenaline helps you bond with your date quickly. Want to make an instant connection? Do something daring together on your next date. Research by Arthur Aron and Donald Dutton published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that adrenaline ups our interest in a potential mate. Male subjects in the study were asked to cross two kinds of bridges (one shaky, one sturdy) to talk to an attractive female “researcher” who was giving them a questionnaire. Upon completing the task, the woman gave each subject her phone number. Those who met the woman on the shaky bridge were more likely to call and subsequently ask her on a date. The reason? The exhilaration of being in a risky situation rubs off on the person you’re with, so if you’re looking for some instant sparks on a date, try something a little scary (roller coasters, scary movie, or white-water rafting, anyone?).
5. Your married friends have no business weighing in on your love life. Think your hitched pals can help you detect good chemistry with a date? Um, no… because science has shown that your married friends are clueless when it comes to helpful dating advice. In a study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, psychologist Frank Bernieri asked 168 subjects to watch video clips of couples and rate how in love they were. Subjects who were in relationships guessed wrong again and again compared to their single peers. So the next time your married friend waxes poetic on the intricacies of your love life, smile serenely — and then get a second opinion from someone who’s single.
6. The longer you’re in a relationship with someone, the more similar you’ll become. Do you feel the chemistry getting stronger and stronger every day? Are you finishing each other’s sentences? Feeling as if you share a unified personality, perhaps? You two may really be merging, says researcher Cameron Anderson, who interviewed 60 couples and roommates for a study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. By gauging his subjects’ reactions to a film after they had lived together for one year, Anderson found that their personalities tended to converge over time, though the dominant partner changed his or her personality less than the other did.
7. Try something new with your partner to keep your passion fires burning over time. Those heady feelings of new love do fade after you’ve been together a while, but there is an easy way couples in a rut can give themselves a refresher course: by trying novel things together, whether that’s traveling to foreign lands or even just breaking out the Zagat guide to try a totally new restaurant rather than your old standby. That’s because new experiences trigger the same chemical reaction in the body as love, says researcher and social anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love. So get out there and have an adventure, lovebirds, to keep relationship boredom at bay!