As much as we’d love to believe we have control over who we are attracted to, a new study published in Nature suggests that our relationships may be a lot more primal than we originally thought.
It turns out, your attraction to your partner is highly influenced by their genes (and how they mesh with yours).
Basically, all humans share an important element of their immune system called HLA (which stands for human leukocyte antigens). And while their primary function is to determine whether a cell is friendly or foreign, they can also help decide whether or not you want to be with with another person.
The study showed that people with differing HLAs were more likely to be more sexually attracted to each other and want to procreate.
The scientists studied 254 heterosexual couples by asking them a series of questions about their partner after determining their genetics. Over a period of nine months, they were able to determine not only these results, but also why they’re probably important in our evolution.
If you and your partner have extremely different HLA structures, your offspring are more likely to have “enhanced resilience amongst a variety of pathogens” (aka a super strong immune system).
To be fair, that extra-strong immune system has only so far been determined in animals, not humans, but it’s at least interesting that we seem to follow the same attraction patterns.
The study also addresses the fact that smell be a major factor in your attraction to your partner.
While it’s been pretty common knowledge for a while that people are attracted (or not) by smells, this study seems to indicate that your partner’s addictive smell can ~also~ be an indicator that you’re genetically compatible.
They’re careful, though, to make the point that it’s possible your partner’s smell may be already because you’re in love with them and associate that smell to the lovely feelings they bring up in you. So it’s hard to determine if it’s only because of genetics.
It’ll be interesting to see what this research help uncover in the future and how we can use them to maybe find that certain special someone!