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Although Houston's and Wobschall's marriages couldn't have been more different, both women chose partners who resembled a parent.

"Ideally you should date for a couple of years before engagement -- and not just long distance," she says.Comfort in familiarity Berkeley, California, psychotherapist Elayne Savage says familiarity is a big reason people may choose someone like Mom or Dad as a 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," says Savage, author of "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.'" Anecdotal evidence also suggests that a parent's physical or intellectual traits may have some influence.Alison Wobschall also married a man like her father, but with much better results."I have a great relationship with my dad, so I suppose I looked for a partner who shares some of his good qualities," says Wobschall, 22, head of marketing and public relations for a Minneapolis nonprofit.

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