Girl meets boy and the magic of love is ignited. Or to quote the Bachelor and Bachelorette “We Have a Connection.”
There’s nothing else like it.
We believe this person complete us.
But grab the shades for a minute. You know, to temporarily blind you from the colors of the rainbow and the sparks flying.
The truth is there is something incomplete within us which makes us believe this person completes us.
In our childhood, we accumulate a history of what will one day define our relationships.
A series of images, experiences and more which make us go out into the big bad world of dating and make some serious life partner choices.
Our family of origin is the foundation upon which we base our relationships. Yet, somehow we dip our toes into the dating pool before we examine ourselves.
Without getting too heavy about it, essentially we attract ourselves to those who are familiar to us.
Makes sense, right? The scary part is we don’t believe this to be true while initially in the throws of new love.
That sexy new guy is nothing like our father. That beautiful girl isn’t remotely like our mother. In fact, it is proven that we do attract ourselves to versions of our parents or a combination of them. In addition, we also model some version of the relationship we witnessed between our parents.
Our childhoods significantly shape our relationships in life.
I know what you are thinking.
You have already identified some of the traits in your parents that are less than favorable. You have promised yourself you won’t be repeating any of them OR attracting yourself to any of them. Perhaps your dad had an affair. Your mother was controlling. You are determined to avoid these pitfalls. And you may but you may also initially appear to have attracted yourself to someone who later will show you that you haven’t.
And of course, you may but likewise, you may not.
For instance, your boyfriend is decidedly laid back. The furthest thing from an overtly controlling individual. However, the longer you are together it becomes evident that he is not in fact, ‘laid back’ but passive-aggressive. The sleeper version of a controller.
The more we understand about ourselves, we can improve our lives and heal any childhood wounds. In turn, we improve our relationships and the chance of choosing a better partner.
A good read to get you started is: “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples“ by Harville Hendrix Ph.D.
No matter how much we love our childhood and the way we grew up it presents us each with unique relationship challenges.
More importantly, our childhood is not our past it remains a part of our present.
Initially, it may be difficult to believe our spouse carries unwanted (and fortunately wanted) qualities of one or both of our parents but it’s worth the self-examination.
And a far better cry than the day you recognize which of the aspects of their parent’s personalities you may actually resemble.
The good, the bad, AND the ugly.