We often attract what is familiar, even if it unhealthy for us. The way you currently navigate your relationship is likely influenced by what your parents or role models demonstrated to you growing up. If your parents got along, or fought, or divorced, or remarried, or if one parent abandoned you growing up… all of this has an influence on what you believe about relationships today. As you got older and began dating, you were likely attracted to someone who had similar dynamics to one of your parents or relationship role models. For example, if you watched one parent mistreat or disregard your other parent, it would be likely that you would mistreat or disregard your partner, or they would mistreat or disregard you. The same goes for positive dynamics, if your parents were committed to working through problems together, you would be likely to pick a partner who was willing to work through problems, or you would be the one that was committed to working through problems with him/her.
It is important to be aware of what you came to believe about relationships and how you are supposed to be as a partner, so you can be intentional about creating a healthy relationship, even if one was not role modeled to you.
As a counselor, I have helped thousands of couple’s repair their relationships. So many of them have said. “I feel like I am becoming my mom,” or “I feel like I am becoming my dad.” Not because they want to become their parent, but because they were programed as a child, through what was said, and role modeled to them.
One way to determine if you are recreating unwanted dynamics in your relationship is to ask yourself a few questions.
- What did my mom or female role model teach me about relationships growing up? (Example: Be strong, take care of the house, be independent).
- What did my dad or male remodel teach me about relationships growing up? (Example: Be the provider, be the disciplinarian, don’t show emotions).
Do any of these dynamics play out in my relationships? Do I want a different relationship than what was role modeled to me?
If you are interested in creating a fulfilling relationship, Good Things Emotional Healing Journal for Couples will equip you and your partner with skills to build healthy communication, along with love, commitment, respect, trust, and intimacy, so you can have the relationship you desire with the one you love. Being good at relationships will benefit you your whole life!
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Counselor and author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journals