When you enter into a committed relationship with someone, you make a lot of unspoken agreements. You agree to date nights at restaurants that might not be your favorite, simply because your S.O. loves them. You agree to put your best foot forward in resolving conflicts whenever possible. You agree to meet and (hopefully) get along with your partner’s parents. You agree to make gradual changes to your routine and lifestyle to accommodate the other person. This all sounds doable, right? But did you know that when you begin to ease yourself into what feels like a forever relationship, you might also be agreeing to have your taste and smell preferences merge with your partner’s too? Apparently, this is a thing.
According to a study in the journal Appetite, couples who are together for longer periods of time are more likely to prefer the same tastes and smells than those who are together for shorter periods of time. To some extent, this might not come as a total surprise — and the study’s authors admit it. It seems only logical that couples who are committed for many years and are sharing a home would get used to eating the same foods and smelling the same smells. The team behind this study confirms in their report that the development of these senses is based, at least in part, on environment and behavior. Still, they took one more step (as all good scientists do) to prove it.
In the study, 100 heterosexual couples were asked to rate their preferences for a variety of taste and smell stimuli on a simple scale from one to five. The couples, who ranged in age from 18 to 68 and had been together for anywhere from three months to 45 years, were exposed to all five basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami) and to many smells, including peach, cloves, turpentine, mushrooms, and melon.
The study authors write, “Relationship duration significantly predicted the difference in smell preferences and taste preferences.” To put it more simply, the longer a couple had been together, the easier it would be to anticipate one partner’s favorite taste and smells based on the other’s. This was true, independent of whether or not the couple reported being happy in their relationship, although relationship satisfaction had a marginally negative correlation to similar smell preferences.
While it’s possible that this connection may be rooted in biology — as in, people naturally seeking out significant others who share their preferences — the study notes that there is not yet enough information to prove this. Instead, the scientists attribute the pattern largely to behavioral and environmental factors.
Do you and your S.O. share the same favorite foods? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)