Mom, Dad, Meet My Mate: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Introduction of Parents and Mates
Many studies focus on the role of parents in the selection of mates, with most showing that parents have influence, albeit variable, in this process. Within Western societies, individuals often present a potential mate to their parents. This meeting represents a turning point, signifying that one is serious about the potential mate becoming a long-term, committed partner. Although this introduction of parents and possible mate is important, there has been no prior investigation into its timing, or specific reasons (other than signifying commitment) why an individual would want to orchestrate the meeting. Using an evolutionary psychology framework, we hypothesized that individuals are motivated to bring home their mates in order to seek parental feedback and approval, as well as indicate to their mate that they are serious about the relationship. We also hypothesized individuals want to meet their new partner’s parents for insight into how their potential mate will look when older, their future health, and potential familial resources that will be available. Our findings generally supported our predictions. We also examined the influence of attachment style and birth order on the timing of the introduction, but found minimal influence for these factors.
Journal of Family Studies
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