Science Says We Are Attracted To People Who Look Like Our Parents

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Compassionate Eye Foundation:Steven : Getty

I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ was talking about how his partner looked like his father did when he was younger. He wasn’t sure how he felt about this and wanted to know if anyone else had partnered someone who looked like their mother or father, or was he alone in this uncomfortable situation?

Of course, it got me thinking about my love life and the partners I’ve chosen.

Well shit, the man I married (then divorced) is over 6 feet tall with dark hair and a beard. And guess who else looks like that? My father.

Whoa, is this really a thing? If so, we’re not sure how we feel about it.

According to Psychology Today it is. A study conducted by Zuzana Štěrbová of Charles University in Prague found that “women who reported a good relationship with their father were more likely to express a preference for male bodies that were similar to their fathers’.”

The study also found that women who grew up with an older father “preferred older men themselves.”


Psychologists describe being attracted to their parent as “imprinting,” which is when an animal or person identifies their parent as someone they can trust and rely on at a young age.

Independent reported on another study by scientists from Glasgow University which “concluded that heterosexual men and gay women looked for women with the same eye color as their mothers.” The same was found for heterosexual women and gay men — they were more attracted to partners who had the same eye color as their father.

Anyone else not sure how to feel about this?

Many people who called into the radio that day realized they too had partners who resembled one of their parents. Some were stunned to realize they had only been with men who were looked like their father, one woman called in and said her dad had red hair and freckles and she’d never dated anyone who didn’t have the same complexion and was shorter like her father was. Another man called in to say his wife had shown him a picture of her father from when he was in his 20s and the resemblance was almost scary.

There were a few callers who were aware all along their mate looked like their mother or father and they were fine with it. One woman called in saying she looked a lot like her mother-in-law and she was really proud of that, saying, “If I can be half the woman she was, that would be a pretty amazing gift to give my family.”

Whether you choose to be with someone who looks like one of your parents or not, it seems to be an unconscious thing for many of us.

No, it doesn’t mean we find our parents attractive or are trying to play it safe. It seems to be more of a comfort or security thing that is embedded in us when we are young. It is normal and natural.

So, take a look at your partner and see if they resemble one of your parents — but don’t be horrified if they do. We all know you didn’t hunt for your mom or dad’s doppelganger while in college, on that dating site, or back in your bar days when you were looking for a mate.

You were simply looking for your person.

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