Why do we date someone like our parents?

In a study titled, "The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions About Dating, Marriage and Family", Benjamin Le from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Jennifer Harman from Colorado State University, tackled the complexity behind the idea of dating someone that is similar to a parent and cited the frequent study of the type of attachments a parent makes to their child as a determining factor in the outcome of their romantic preferences.

"If the parent was not consistently nurturing or there for the child, the child will have expectations that their partner can't be relied upon," Le was quoted as saying. Both of them pointed out that while often a pairing in which one person is 'avoidant' and the other is 'anxious' is unsatisfying, it can also be 'tremendously stable' and less likely to end in divorce. Those relationships lasted just as long as people who were secure and healthy. "So it depends on how you measure relationship success. Did they stay together, or are they happy?" Le added.

Psychotherapist Elayne Savage pointed out in an interview with a publication that familiarity is a big reason people may choose someone like their parent as their partner. "When you grow up familiar with a certain type of person, you're attracted to that same type of person because it feels comfortable, whether you like it or not," said Savage, who has authored the book "Breathing Room: Creating Space to Be a Couple". "That's what people mean when they meet a potential partner and say, 'It feels like I've known him my whole life.'"

"It's the qualities in the other person that get to the brain and say, 'Oh, yes, this is familiar. I know this,' which then can lead to the physical attraction. It just happens in seconds," adds relationship coach and clinical sexologist Sandra Reishus -- author of the book "OH, NO! He's Just Like My Father".

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