Love isn't just some magical force that takes over your body when you find that perfect someone. It involves a slew of biological and behavioural processes that play an integral role in determining whether you and another person actually share a genuine chemistry with each other.

READ ALSO: 25 Signs She’s Wifey Material And You Can Finally Stop Looking

Surely, we all have our own list of qualities that we look for in a potential partner. But just because a person possesses all of your desired characteristics, doesn't mean sparks will immediately fly. It's a little more complex than just natural attraction and meeting standards - in fact, several studies have revealed that compatibility (whether for the short- or long-term) is formulaic and predictable to some degree.

Here are 5 surprising things that determine how compatible you and your partner are:


Forget fate - genetics play a larger role in determining physical attraction.

A team at the University of Edinburgh studied the genes of 13,000 heterosexual British couples and found a relationship between the genes that determine various physical traits, and the degree of preference a person has for those traits. For example, in their research they found that 89% of the genes that dictate a person's height also influenced that person's height preference in a partner.

With that in mind, it could be said that people have the tendency to be more attracted to partners who resemble themselves physically. Such is the influential power of one's genetics. Access the study here.


Humans have a heightened sensitivity to odour cues as a result of our evolution by sexual selection. That being said, a person's scent can influence how attractive they are to another person.

Body odour is influenced by a grouping of molecules in the body called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). A famous study conducted in 1995 determined that women preferred the body odours of men whose MHC compositions were different from their own.

Additionally, body odour itself carries important information about an individual, such as his or her gender, reproductive state and genetic make-up. Those who take better care of their bodies with proper exercise and good diet tend to have more "attractive" smelling odours. In an interesting study conducted by Czech scientists, it was found that individuals whose diets were high in garlic, which are antioxidant rich, had better smelling natural scents.

Facial symmetry

As humans, we are innately more attracted to healthy individuals, and one of the biggest indicators of health is the facial shape and symmetry.

Physical features themselves are hormonally-influenced. A study conducted by biologists at the University of New Mexico demonstrates that optimal levels of estrogen produce smaller faces, shorter chins and sharper eye shapes in women, which men generally prefer. Conversely, optimal levels of testosterone produce larger faces, stronger jawlines and more prominent brows in men, which women generally prefer.

Such male and female features indicate better reproductive health, which then imparts a greater degree of attractiveness.

Speech and intonation

What you say and how you say it is very important for compatibility.

Let's start with the "what" - various research shows that individuals that use similar vocabulary in their speech are likely to be good matches for each other. This may have to do with the fact that one's vocabulary is an indicator of one's intelligence and mental prowess - the more similar one's choice of words are to his or her partner, the more they think alike and the more compatible they will appear to be for each other.

In terms of the "how" - this has to do with vocal pitch and intonation. Various studies show that females tend to associate low-pitched voices with more masculine features, which they generally find more attractive. Similarly, males tend to associate high-pitched voices with more feminine features, which they typically prefer.


Sorry fashionistas - all black everything isn't necessarily advantageous in the game of love.

Research shows that red is the most attractive colour for both males and females. That's because it's associated with "attractive" traits - dominance, power, strength and passion, just to name a few. In fact, in a University of Rochester study, it was found that female participants saw the same man as more attractive against a red backdrop.

Seeing shades of red also triggers various physical reactions, such as increased heart rates and sensitivity to smells.

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