Here’s how your ex can still haunt you, even after you’re happy with someone else.
By Michelle Toglia
Last updated on Oct 10, 2023
Photo: fezailc, Drbouz, Dean Drobot | Canva
You packed up or torched his things, tore down the pictures of your first vacation together as a couple in Miami that were hanging above your bed, defriended him on all social networks (even LinkedIn), and when you meet people with the same stupid name as his, you instantly hate them.
Moving on after a breakup is hard enough, but the memories of your ex may linger. And, as it turns out, your ex may actually stick with you long after you end your relationship.
This is why your baby looks like your ex, says research
According to a 2014 study from the University of New South Wales, even after you’ve moved on and found your actual soulmate, your horrible ex may not actually be gone. Turns out, his sperm is still hanging around after all these years.
Yes, that’s right. Your future children may end up looking exactly like the man you never, ever wanted to see again.
What the heck? Thanks to fruit flies, there’s some freaky research showing how exes can continue to haunt you… and your children.
Scientists at the University of New South Wales discovered that, for these buzzing little flies, the physical traits of previous partners are actually passed down to their future children.
In the study, the offspring’s traits matched up to those of the first male the mother had mated with, and not its biological father. This study sounds like a Maury episode just waiting to happen.
Researchers think that the lurking semen from the first partner (AKA the evil ex) might be absorbed by the female’s eggs. Can you say creepy?
So, not even fruit flies can seem to get away from their exes! And now, they have an everyday reminder of them. It kind of makes you feel bad for all those fruit flies you battled in the kitchen this morning.
And as for you and your innocent future kiddies?
The study’s author, Dr. Angela Crean, says, “We know that features that run in families are not just influenced by the genes that are passed down from parents to their children. Various non-genetic inheritance mechanisms make it possible for maternal or paternal environmental factors to influence characteristics of a child.”
“Our new findings take this to a whole new level — showing a male can also transmit some of his acquired features to offspring sired by other males,” she explained. “But we don’t know yet whether this applies to other species.”
Telegony, the notion that a male can leave a mark on his partner’s body and influence her offspring with a different male, is actually nothing new. In fact, it comes from Aristotle but was dismissed as incompatible with genetic science in the early 1900s.
If nothing else, this idea of exes lingering for far too long and leaving their mark is frightening. Add this study to the list of one of the many reasons to always wear a condom.
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Michelle Toglia is the Executive Editor at Elite Daily, overseeing the site’s entertainment, news, style, dating, and experiences coverage.