How much does the relationship with parents influence the choice of partner?

How much does the relationship with parents influence the choice of partner?

For many years, psychologists have been encouraging us to reflect on how much the choice of partner depends on the emotional bond that each individual experienced during childhood.

Serene, conflictual relationships, absences, awe, or even verbal, psychological and physical violence are decisive in the future choice of a partner. Very often this triggers an unconscious pattern of choices of which we are not even aware, but which, all too often unfortunately prevents us from living a happy, balanced and fulfilling emotional life; for the simple and basic fact that, in reality, in these cases we are choosing a person to fill an emotional void or an atavistic wound of which, at times, we are even unaware, but which acts as a real block, a ballast from which we must free ourselves.

Many people come to me and complain about their constant failures in love. Very often if we go to analyse, there is a pattern that somehow repeats itself, the situations in fact, are only apparently different, but there is always that basis that unites them in the choice of a love situation... Underneath, in reality he is a libertine: "Just like my father was, who too often betrayed my mother", or: "He is always absent, like my father was", or again: "She is anaffective... like my mother was" and I could go on...

One of the first questions I ask during the interview is: Tell me about your parents, what is or was their relationship like? And what was your relationship with your father? And with your mother? From this it is possible to understand many hidden dynamics on which it will be necessary - if necessary - to work, changing erroneous convictions, limiting beliefs and strengthening self-esteem. An arduous task, but indispensable if you want to achieve happiness, all the rest almost always comes by itself.

Thus, the choice of partner depends to a large extent on the experiences each individual has had during childhood. Marina told me during an interview: "My relationships all end in the same way, the fear of being abandoned does not make me live the relationship in a serene way, in the end I become suspicious, jealous to the point of exasperation, I start making mental films, during my last relationship I was often nervous, insecure, excessively possessive, and the result was that I was left".

Another example is that of Sara: "When I am happy with a person, I feel a sense of fear... Fear that all this will end, fear of feeling too bad, and for this reason, paradoxically, I decide to break off the relationship before it becomes serious. I have also given up people I cared about because of this fear.

Luca: 'Katia had a different personality from the other girls I met. She had confidence and charm, she was and is very determined, maybe too much so. She was very different from my mother, I liked her for this".

The relationship between mother/father-child is very important in structuring a relationship. Each story is unique and each one tells how the affective relationship was satisfactory or failed. We tend to unconsciously look for someone who reminds us of the same emotional bond (or an ideal emotional bond), attachment style and character of the parent of the opposite sex.

During the phase of falling in love, the choice is guided by the hope of meeting the ideal person, i.e. the one who has the characteristics of our first love object, i.e. the parent of the opposite sex. These choices become the driving force behind a beautiful and rewarding experience or a frustrating and conflicting one in the sentimental field.

In the unconscious mind, a request that partners make of each other needs to satisfy specific choices: the search for a partner who is complementary to the parent, i.e. who satisfies a gratifying affective experience, or completely different and in contrast to the rejected caregiver.

The bond that will be formed will be of an affective dependent type, especially if the individual members of the couple have not resolved their Oedipal problems. The relationship then becomes a way of resolving something that has not yet been addressed.

A relationship can therefore be the manifestation of conflicting parental relationships that can become the container of repressed needs and problems maintained within the couple itself.

The unbalanced relationship that is generated in these cases becomes the therapy of painful experiences, where the partner has the function of integrating those missing parts.

Regaining possession of certain parts of oneself allows one to recover one's own emotional autonomy, free from family conditioning. A gratifying relationship places value on the individual as such, gives security in terms of self-esteem and self-acceptance, and also allows a more concrete personal fulfilment in relational contexts of all kinds, be they sentimental, work-related, etc.

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