When we are kids, we look at our parents as a model for virtually everything. Our parents are our first teachers. But even after we are all grown up, with our own taste buds, our parents and our upbringing continue to have a tremendous influence on who we become. The way we view the world is magnified by the way our parents view it.
When it comes to our own love life, our parents have an incredible impact towards how we see romance and relationships. Of course, many different factors shape the way we all view love. However, the example we are given by our parents plays a massive part in how we end up conducting our own love lives as adults. Whether we realize it or not, the relationship (or lack thereof) between our parents subconsciously familiarizes us with how we navigate dating and relationships as adults. Here are a few ways that our own relationship habits can be influenced by those of our parents.
Our Willingness To Accept Abusive Behavior
Growing up in a toxic or abusive home affects you in a myriad of ways! As awful as it may seem, being a victim or bystander to abuse between your parents can cause you to normalize this type of violence in your own relationships. It can be hard for children who grew up in an abusive or toxic household to understand that this behavior isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be accepted.
How Comfortable We Are With Intimacy
Maybe you grew up with parents who were extremely affectionate with one another. If so, then it might be second nature for you to shower your partner with tons of affection as well. On the other hand, if your parents were cold or distance to one another, it might make you a lot less open to receiving physical affection from your partner. It’s no doubt that our parents’ relationships shape how we are in our own love lives. We observed their communication styles and took that into our personal relationships.
The Way We Handle Resolving A Conflict
A critical component of a successful relationship is the ability to resolve conflict healthily. But if the example of conflict resolution in your home as a child was a lot of yelling, then you might be prone to following in your parents’ footsteps without even knowing it. Our parents serve as the primary role models of how to conduct a relationship. Whether it was a healthy one or not, as children we just see how a romantic relationship is, and assume that this is an example of how it is supposed to be! If you had a parent who would run away from the first sign of a problem, you might become an unreliable partner in your relationships as well, running when things get rough.
How We Express Our Emotions
Being able to communicate how we feel effectively is a crucial part of having a healthy romantic relationship. There is no way to work through a potential problem if you can’t fully articulate how you feel. If our parents didn’t express their emotions, then we may have difficulty learning how to recognize and express our own feelings.
Whether Or Not We Exhibit Controlling Behaviors
While jealousy can be a healthy component to any romantic relationship, it can turn toxic very quickly. When jealousy turns into controlling behavior, your relationship and emotional health can suffer significantly. As a result, if you grew up with a parent who exhibited controlling behaviors, you might assume that this is normal. And then, you either become the controlling person in your own relationship or allow your partner to control you, without thinking anything of it. If we witnessed our parents treating each other disrespectfully or being treated poorly, we might come to learn that this type of behavior is acceptable and allow it to happen in our own romantic relationships.
The Amount Of Independence We Crave
Having a loving partner to experience life with is incredible, but being able to enjoy activities alone is the real test of a healthy romantic relationship. However, too much independence can be detrimental as well. Depending on how your parents were with one another you may cling to your partner or be extremely distant. Having a balance is the ultimate goal of any successful romantic relationship.
How Trusting We Are
Being able to trust your partner is crucial to building a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Unfortunately, not everyone grows up with the stellar example of trust. Maybe you had a parent who would overpromise and underdeliver. This could lead you to have trust issues in your own romantic relationships. A loving and supportive parent encourages an open view of others. When you grow up with your parents’ distrusting one another, it can significantly affect the way you approach your own romantic relationships.
In the end, whether we actually realize it or not, the relationship between our parents impacts us. Maybe your parents have a fantastic relationship and have been together for a few decades, or perhaps you grew up with parents who made some mistakes with their relationship. There are ways you can start to notice the types of ideas they have affected the way you view your own romantic relationships and begin to change your perspective towards romance. While you aren’t doomed to turn out exactly like your deadbeat dad, it’s worth taking some time to examine your own relationships and see where there may be some similarities with how your parents.
Featured Image via NBC’s This Is Us