How Your Parents' Relationship Determines Your Own

What role does your family history play in your current relationship? Sometimes, behavior patterns are obvious. However, our relationships can look very different from those of our parents, while still being influenced by them. Consider the following scenarios.

If your parents divorced...

You too are worried about divorce.
or
You are very loyal to your partner, and vow to stick things out even if that route is clearly unhealthy.

If your parents had the "ideal" marriage...

You have a relationship that looks ideal on the surface, but that has deeper problems hidden underneath.
or
You feel dissatisfied and believe that your relationship isn't good enough. You constantly find fault with your partner.

If your parents fought a lot...

You and your partner argue a lot too.
or
You avoid conflict with your partner and suffer from lack of communication.

If your mother or father was overbearing or too authoritarian...

You act the same way, or you've chosen a partner who does.
or
You are obsessed with fairness, or your partner is a pushover.

If your mother or father didn't spend time at home...

Your partner is a workaholic, lives far away, or avoids intimacy.
or
You get too clingy.

To examine how this phenomenon works in your own life, first make a list of traits in your parents' marriage. For each trait, think about your own relationship and ask whether you're completing a pattern or fighting against it. Once you're aware of how the problems in your relationship are caused by your family, you can begin to examine the underlying beliefs you hold that got you into your current situation. Understanding this can help you choose to forge your own path. History doesn't have to be destiny.

Elsewhere on the Web

Your Parents and Your Relationships
How Parents Affect Your Love Life
On the Parents

Books

Adult Children of Divorce
Actually, It IS Your Parents' Fault
Beyond Blame: A New Way of Resolving Conflicts in Relationships