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Our parents have a substantial influence on the romantic partners we eventually choose, said Freud, and according to the latest findings from eHarmony, Australians are not exempt. The third phase of the online dating site’s Relationship Study explores family impact on our romantic relationships – particularly parental and sibling influence, and the effect of our upbringing on our choice of partner.     

The research reveals that the overwhelming majority (91 per cent) of Aussies want their partner to share qualities their parents have; three quarters would be romantically interested in someone with comparable values to their parents; and over half would be attracted to someone with similar personality traits to their mother or father.

The top qualities we look for in a partner to have in common with our parents are respect (65 per cent), honesty and kindness (63 per cent), and compassion (53 per cent)

eHarmony’s dating and relationship expert Melanie Schilling says parental influence plays a crucial role in our relationships.

“People tend to be naturally attracted to qualities they find familiar and comfortable, so it makes sense that we look for partners who exhibit similar characteristics to those who have played such pivotal roles in our lives,” she said.

But values aren’t the only influence that our families have over our relationships. The lifestyle we experienced in our upbringing also plays an important part when it comes to finding a mate.

The study shows 83 per cent of Aussie singles look for a partner who has had a similar or better lifestyle than they had growing up, while over three-quarters would like their partner to be as financially successful (or more) as their parents.

Interestingly, despite seeking out a partner with similar values and personality traits to their parents’, the study shows that when it comes to attraction, mum and dad have very little influence. 62 per cent of respondents say they would be attracted to someone who is nothing like their parents.

Likewise, while the relationship we have with our siblings is one of the most powerful and unique, 45 per cent wouldn’t date someone with a personality similar to a brother or sister, and 60 per cent wouldn’t date someone who looks like one of their siblings.

“While we cannot underestimate the power of ‘the familiar’ when it comes to our relationships, dating today has come a long way since the days of Freud.

“eHarmony has found that happy, long-lasting relationships are based on compatibility, so it’s great to see that Australians are setting themselves up for success by gravitating towards partners with qualities that are fundamentally important to them, whether inherited from their parents or not,” Melanie said.