I recently watched a video by the School Of Life https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel /featured which discussed why most people will end up in unhappy marriages and was surprised to learn something so basic yet so valuable at the same time.
For most people, the first exchanges of a loving relationships are with our parents. As children, our parents are always there for us, tending to our every need. They see us in our worst states and still love us unconditionally. They comfort us when we are sad and praise us when we succeed. Even if we argue with them they will come back to us and resolve things – always wanting to make sure we are happy and loved.
As we move from childhood to adulthood we take those ideals and expectations that we have learnt over the first two decades of our life and apply them to relationships we have with others.
We expect our partner to love us unconditionally even if we don’t behave well. We expect them to be there for us no matter what, to make us their priority and put our happiness before theirs. We expect them to compromise on anything that doesn’t fit with the ideals we hold.
These expectations we have stem from our childhood experience. Our child parent interactions. As such, many fall short of this unrealistic ideal and relationships then break down due to this misguidance of how a person should behave in a relationship.
The reason behind this?
We expect to be treated in the same vein we were in the child-parent relationship when in actual fact an adult relationship is more reflective on a parent- child interaction. The parent has to deal with a child that throws tantrums on a daily basis and learn to grit their teeth and help calm them down. They have to reason with them when they are often unruly and ridiculous in their demands, they have to learn the art of patience and to never stoop to the level of their child. They have to accept the fact that even if they do something incredible for their child, more often than not the child won’t be grateful for what they have done or even thank them. Above all, they learn that the level of love is never equal and the majority of things they do for their children won’t be reciprocated.
P.S. This has also been featured in the Huffington Post! http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../giulia-smith/are-londoners-heartless_b_13515648.html
I think that’s quite true! My ex husband and I went to counseling and the counselor asked what we learned about conflict in marriage from our parents…. it was eye opening!
Really? That’s very interesting! I feel like this notion should be conveyed to people when they are younger to kind of set their expectations.
Absolutely! I said I learned that you scream and yell until you get your way. He said his parents never fought. So the counselor said you learned marriage doesn’t have conflict and that’s simply untrue. I guarantee your parents fought,m just not in front of you. As a result, he didn’t know how to accept conflict without anger.
That is so interesting! Thank you for providing a real life example to back up my point 🙂
Congrats girl! You made it to huffington post 🙂
I think what you’ve posted is actually true. I once read something that said women marry their “dads” ie men with similar characteristics to their dads and men marry their “mums” ie women with similar nurturing characteristics to their mums.
As for those who came from dysfunctional homes and sadly witnessed cheating, domestic violence, chauvinism, alcoholism, they tend to gravitate toward the familiar ie dysfunctional relationships.
However, once a person identifies the fact that they deserve better and not what they are familiar with, it is possible to get married to someone who’s not similar to a violent dad or mum.
I hadn’t really thought of the parent-child dynamic but I think its the main reason we sometimes place unrealistic expectations for someone else to fulfill in a relationship or marriage. When they fail we want to break up or divorce.
And that is the main reason we need to have that distinction that a boyfriend or hubby is not your dad and a girlfriend or wifey is not your mum. He/she cannot put up with everything you throw at him/her.
I think it would really help things if we considered our spouses and people we are dating as companions and friends. That way many of our expectations from them will be replaced by a desire to work on ourselves to attain personal fulfillment, contentment and success. That way, we’ll radiate a positive vibe to the other person who will equally work on him/herself to be able to radiate the same.
thank you very much 🙂 and couldn’t agree more – we definitely need to start considering them in that way. It’s an eye opening way to look at relationships isnt it?
Wow! What a wonderful piece.
Thank you very much 🙂
The pleasure is mine 😉
What about a soul deprived of parental love; would that person make an incredible spouse?
Just out of curiosity.
That totally depends on the person and whether they have internalised their parents lack of love and applied it to others or whether they have decided to rebel against it (my parents are an example of this!). This is all a generalisation however and there are lots of examples that are exceptions to this 🙂
Makes me think of transactional analysis. Relationship roles in that speak of multiple roles. Parent-child adult-child, adult-adult, etc. Check it out. Really enjoyed the share
Reblogged this on The Single Man's Blog and commented:
Very insightful take on lessons learned early in life
Thank you very much for reblogging this 🙂 glad you liked it!
Anytime! This was an insightful post that gives some serious food-for-thought when it comes to our relationship habits. Keep up the good work!!
I love this😍. Thanks for the love !!
Thank you very much 🙂
So true!! People do have unrealistic expectations of relationships from their upbringing. Great read!
thank you 🙂 I’m glad you agree!!
I think this is sooo true ! Most people think their partner is suppose to take everything thrown at them ! Beautiful piece 🙂
Thank you very much Anna 🙂
Totally makes sense! It’s even harder in an employee/manager situations as you want it to be adult-adult but often it slips adult-child!
I hadn’t thought about it in that context, but it definitely makes sense in the workplace too!
While I agree that much of what we know about love and relationships we learn from our parents, I think that the presupposition of this theory is that everyone has good relationships with their parents and everyone’s parents have good relationships with each other – which is an oversimplification. I think we observe how our fathers treat our mothers (and vice versa) and come to believe that the relationship between our parents is how relationships are supposed to look (regardless of whether or not our parents’ relationship is actually healthy).
For example, I have a close friend who has endured multiple long relationships with man-children and has babied them and tried to help them get their lives together to no avail. Her relationships turn into parenting rather than anything egalitarian (similar to what you said above). Her dad isn’t a reliable or positive figure in her life or her mother’s, so to her, this is what a normal relationship is.
I don’t believe that any relationships have a finish line/happily ever after. It’s something that you have to work on every day and complacency is the creeping disease that does most relationships in. Understanding that and being reflective and flexible is the only way to stay happy with one person until death do you part.
Very insightful post – a fantastic conversation starter.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I completely agree, it’s applicable to the relationships that you first experienced with your parents – good or bad – a close friend of mine has a terrible relationship with her father who left when she was a child and as such she struggles to trust men and hold down relationships with them. I think other factors definitely come into play but I think childhood experiences with parents definitely play a role.
Wow. Shed whole new light on my relationship.thank you!
You’re welcome, glad I could be of help!
You write for the Huffington Post? Wow! Beauty and brains!
I do indeed – thank you very much 🙂