Do We Tend to Choose a Partner Who Is Similar to Our Parents?

What factors come into play when we choose a partner? It's clear that our tastes and preferences play a big role. But some studies suggest that our choices also have a lot to do with the example our parents have given us.
Do We Tend to Choose a Partner Who Is Similar to Our Parents?

Last update: 03 September, 2018

Youth spend a good part of their lives with their parents. This is especially true during the stage of growth and development. As children, the biggest influence they have in regards to romantic relationships are their parents.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many of them, when they get older, choose a partner similar to their parents.

But, where does the idea of choosing a partner similar to our parents come from?

The evolution of the emotional environment

Adults guide their emotions and feelings based on their learning and upbringing. This explains the predisposition of youth when it comes to looking for a partner. They often choose to spend their lives with someone who has physical and personality traits that are similar to their parents.

Of course, individuals make these choices unconsciously and without even noticing. Just the same, many youth fall in love with partners that act like their parents in some way. When they realize it, they are often surprised, and their first reaction tends to be denial.

They convince themselves that this is impossible. But the fact of the matter is that it’s been scientifically proven.

This doesn’t mean that children have fantasies or feel attracted to their parents. Rather, it has to do with customs and upbringing.

When children see an adult performing a certain task, they imitate it because they think it’s the way things are done. It’s a question of following the example of their parents and repeating familiar patterns.

Do We Tend to Choose a Partner That's Similar to Our Parents?

Lasting relationships as an example 

This is the reason why the example that parents give their children is so important. Growing up in the presence of a healthy relationship that involves mutual love and respect propels children to look for a similar relationship.

When children are very young, the idea of romance is often displeasing to them. Once they grow up, they understand that in order to find happiness and love, they can use their parents’ example as a guide.

Just the same, it’s very important that children not grow up watching their parents fight and argue. Any negative example during childhood will also influence a child’s future personal decisions.

As adults, they will tend to look to heal thee pain and wounds they experienced due to their parents’ unhealthy relationship. It’s very likely they themselves end up in conflictive relationships as well.

Why do we choose a partner that has characteristics similar to our parents?

According to scientific studies, it’s statistically likely that one’s ideal partner is based on characteristics he or she has with one’s parents.

Scientists in the U.S. affirm that there is a connection between the genetic material among couples.

But beyond possible scientific causes, we must also analyze and understand child raising factors. This is one of the causes behind the way we choose a partner – according to the characteristics that our parents have in common.

A life based on love and respect

There’s basically one reason why adults choose a partner who is similar to their parents. If we have always seen our parents growing old happily together, and the parents have given them love and affection, they will seek the same for themselves.

If a person receives love and tenderness from their parents from a small age, it’s understandable why they feel a strong bond with them.

If, furthermore, parents provide a caring home and cover basic needs, it’s logical for them to become an example to follow. Unconsciously, when children grow up and fall in love, they will look for someone who will fulfill the same role.

Why is this? They sense that this person won’t hurt them, because they base their decision on their emotions and experience. If they have always been happy with someone like this, then they will want to spend the rest of their lives the same way.

The ideal mate

One’s ideal mate doesn’t necessarily have to look like his or her parents physically. What’s true is that the partner we seek to spend the rest of our lives with will have similar attitudes and behaviors.

“Individuals often choose to spend their lives with someone who has physical and personality traits that are similar to their parents”

In this sense, the attraction they experience may be based on psychological similarities between partners and parents.

This may be hard to understand. However, it’s important that we choose a mate who fits with out personality and style, even if this choice is unconscious.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.