It’s a story that’s been told for generations – a young woman falls in love with a handsome man, while her family urges her to marry a rich, respected suitor.
And sisters are particularly wary of their siblings’ potential partners – but it isn’t for entirely selfless reasons, research shows.
Scientists based in Norway claim women are most interested in their sister’s partner benefiting the whole family.
The team asked 133 pairs of sisters to describe their perfect other-half, and who they would choose for their sibling.
Women generally chose the same ideal partner characteristics for themselves as their sister, preferring the qualities of faithfulness, loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness and reliability.
But they perceived characteristics such as being understanding, empathetic and responsible as more important for their sister’s partners than for their own.
They went on to say being humorous, charming and sexually satisfying was more important for their own partner than their sister’s.
Dr Robert Biegler, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said: “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 prioritise qualities in their sister’s partner that can provide direct benefits for the whole family.”
Professor Leif Kennair added: “The underlying truth remains: passing on your own genes is the priority. The primary consideration is to find a partner who can give you attractive children who survive.”