Rejoice – you can potentially justify every mother-in-law joke you’ve ever uttered.
Or, if you flip it around, there’s now a reason why the atmosphere is uncomfortably thick and strained whenever your partner and family are in the same room.
Yes, they can’t stand them (and likewise, your in-laws feel much the same towards you).
But don’t worry, it’s not because they’re necessarily a bad person , or because they’re overly-judgmental.
It’s simply down to the science of evolution.
‘The Juliet Effect’
According to a study titled, ‘The Juliet Effect: Real reason why your mum and your sister don’t like your ‘hunky’ boyfriend’ it’s all down to our opposing interests – and genetics.
And as the Metro reported, Professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair and Associate Professor Robert Biegler from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Psychology use one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays to demonstrate their findings.
“Juliet’s mother hates Romeo
“Juliet’s mother would rather have Juliet marry Paris, who is from a good family. Juliet has set her sights on the heartthrob Romeo from the archenemy’s family.”
And as mentioned in the title of the study, it’s not just your partner’s mum who is predisposed towards disapproval.
If there’s a sister in the mix, chances are she’s not going to be a fan either.
Biegler and Kennair asked participants to rank 133 different characteristics describing the perfect partner for themselves or their sister.
The researchers point out, “For their own partners, women focus on an attractive appearance that suggests good health and an ability to pass on their genes.
“At the same time, they prioritize qualities in their sister’s partner that can provide direct benefits for the whole family.”
Fortunately, the disparity is not absolute.
Mostly, the women taking part chose the same characteristics for themselves as for their sister.
But there were some stark differences which became apparent.
Biegler adds, “The women perceived characteristics like being understanding, empathetic, responsible, helpful, sensible and kind as more important for their sister’s partner than for their own.”
Read more: This is why you should definitely never stay friends with your ex
However, women ranked sincerity, humor, charm, sexual satisfaction and fun as being less important for their sister than it was for them – charming!
Sharing is caring
There’s essentially a mis-match between how we view our other halves, and how our families do.
Without wanting to sound too ‘Game of Thrones’ our families are invested in bloodline and carrying on their genes (via you).
This is why they have a certain characteristic criteria – and don’t want them to be “a drain on your resources.”
So while you see your partner as someone you’re attracted to and see a future with, they’re assessing the genetic footprint you’ll leave for generations to come.
Like we said, it’s not personal.