Why do we get attracted to people who resemble our parents

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How our parents affect us

Why do some people get attracted to the ones who remind them of their parents?
And why the opposite happens with some people?
Why do some people like others , who don't look like their parents, then later realize that those people looked like their parents when their parents were young?

Sounds confusing right?
A man could like a woman so much , who doesn't seem to look like his mom, only to discover that his mom looked like this woman so much when she was young.

There is no doubt that the relationship with the parent strongly affects our mate choice. After all the parent is the first opposite sex member a person deals with with. The first male a female will ever encounter is her father or her primary caregiver and of course the opposite is true for males.

So why do many people go for the ones who resemble their parents?

The first theory is all about familiarity. We humans like familiar things and we tend to avoid unfamiliar ones. This is why you might feel uncomfortable when you see a strange looking food for the first time and this is why we tend to like the people we see often.

Because we have already lived with our parents we became able to predict their behaviour and so we feel comfortable around them. Based on that theory we might be looking for people who resemble our parents because we want to retain that feeling of comfort.

Even if there were things that we didn't like about our parents many of us still prefer to go for the safe and guaranteed option. But what about thrill seeks or risk takers?

Those people might want to go for the new experience. This is an example of a case where a person would be looking for a someone who doesn't resemble his parent. See why you always fall in love with the wrong people.

A second chance

Some people go for the ones who resemble their parents because they want to get a second chance to win the approval of their parents. If a man wasn't treated well by his mother for example then he might go for a woman who resembles her in order to win the approval he didn't win from his mother. See how your past can prevent you from recovering from a relationship.

In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i said that we try to give ourselves second chances because we unconsciously believe that people who look alike are the same.

The subconscious mind can't really differentiate between a blond person who treated you badly and another blond person you just met. For the subconscious mind each person who resembles a certain group can represent the whole group.

But what about people who aren't brave enough to take the second chance?
As you might have already guessed those people will be repelled by the ones who resemble their parents.

Why people make different choices

The mechanism that determines whether a person will go for the ones who resemble his parents or whether he will take the opposite route depends on many factors including the person's past, his beliefs and his personality traits.

This is why a female might find a male who resembles her father attractive while another female might find a similar male less attractive.

As for how a person might fall in love with someone only to discover later that this person resembles his parent it can be attributed to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is very powerful that it can see some signs that the conscious mind can hardly notice.

Your subconscious mind can make you find a person attractive because it discovered that this person resembles your opposite-sexed parent in certain ways that you didn't consciously notice.

This is why some people might realize later that they married people who resembled their parents.

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Want to know more?

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How your attachment style affects your relationships and life

How parenting affects your child's personality

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