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How Your Parents’ Appearance Affects Who You Marry


Men are more likely to date women with the same eye color as their mom. Women are more likely to date men with the same eye color as their father.

Via In Your Face: The New Science of Human Attraction:

The single best predictor for partners’ eye colour was the eye colour of the parent of the opposite sex. Thus, if a woman’s mother had blue eyes and if her father had brown eyes, she would be most likely to be partnered to a guy with brown eyes, just like her father. Likewise, if a man’s mum had blue eyes and his dad had brown eyes, then his partner was likely to have blue eyes, just like his mum.

Men are also more likely to date women with the same hair color as their mother.

Similarly, the mother’s hair colour was the single best predictor of a male partner’s hair colour.

Interestingly, women are more likely to be attracted to men who look like dad – only if they had a good relationship with their father.

The male face shapes to which a given woman was attracted bore a geometric similarity to the face shape of her father. What was really interesting was that this was found to be true only for daughters who had had a good relationship with their fathers during early childhood: when a woman got on well with her father, she was drawn to men who looked like him. The relationship quality depended on the leisure time the dad spent with his daughter, how actively involved he was in her upbringing, and the emotional investment she had received from him. The quality of contact was evidently more important than its quantity, since it did not seem to matter if dad was away from home for short or for long periods of time. Here, then, the imprinting of a daughter on her father’s face shape depends on a positive emotional bond between the two.

Looking at photos, research subjects were able to tell (at a rate above chance) who was married to whom by looking for a resemblance between the bride and the groom’s mother, or between the groom and bride’s father.

Of more importance, though, is the similarity between a young guy’s partner and his mother. This resemblance, too, is evident to the naked eye; again observers could spot the matches between the true spouse– mother pairs and could detect false pairings. Reciprocally, in a separate study it was found that a young woman’s father was facially similar to the man she chose as a long-term partner. These results show clearly that young adults form partnerships with individuals who resemble their opposite-sex parents. The guy marries a woman whose face looks like his mum’s, and the gal marries a man whose face looks like her dad’s.

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