Is Your Parents' Marriage Ruining Your Love Life?

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Refinery29

Are you recreating your parent's marriage in your own?

My parents have been married for 40 years and I have never seen them fight. For all I know, my parents have never been in a SINGLE fight. My family never really talked about emotions and if there was ever any conflict in the house it manifested itself as a five minute volcanic eruption and then was never talked about again. And that was between us kids.

My parents- from the outside and to this day- appear to have the perfect marriage. If anything is going on behind closed doors I'm not privy to it. No one is. They laugh together, they kiss, they joke around.

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Because of that, I have no idea how to fight. I've never learned anything about conflict resolution. Any time there's ever been any kind of road bump in any of my relationships, I just break up with my partner instead of trying to talk things out. For me, any kind of hiccup means that the relationship isn't right. A fight means a breakup.

Is it possible that my parent's happy marriage actually ruined my life?

It's different for everyone. Maybe you grew up in a household where there was divorce or infidelity. Psychologist Judith Wallerstein says that once you're grown up and in your own relationship, this can “affect personality, the ability to trust, expectations and the ability to cope with change." You could even be prone to affairs as an adult.

Ugh. Looks like no matter what, we're fucked.

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We tend to recreate our parent's patterns. My mom and dad were incredibly codependent. And I've noticed, as an adult, that I have incredible attachment issues when it comes to my significant others. I expect them to be everything to me, play every role in my life, be constantly available. It's the kind of relationship my parent's had, and it was my model for love.

If you grew up around substance abuse or infidelity, you might seek partners who do the same. Whatever we grew up with is essentially what we think love should look like. But that's not necessarily true. That's what someone else's love looked like.

How can we break those stereotypes and create a love of our own as adults?

  • Don't lose faith in love

  • Keep the good from their relationship, chuck out the bad

  • Learn from their mistakes

  • Notice if you're recreating their patterns

  • Try therapy

  • Know that their fate isn't yours

Remember: your parent's marriage isn't your marriage. Their relationship does't define yours. So whether their relationship was perfect and now you're looking for the fairytale of your own, or they got divorced and now you have trust issues-- throw all that baggage away. You are your own person.

Isn't it time to write your own story?


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