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7 Ways Your Parents’ Relationship Can Affect Yours

Family is the first society that children are exposed to. Even though this society is limited to just a couple of people, there are still some rules and patterns, and most definitely there are defined roles that every member of that micro-society has.

The first example of relationships every kid sees in their lives is that of their mum and dad. And what they see leaves a big print on their mentality. Children look up to their parents as they expect them to teach them things about the world. Some things are being taught explicitly, such as how to talk and how to read. The others, however, leave prints on the child’s character on the subconscious level.

That being said, it is a proven fact that children look up to their parents and absorb everything they are being shown. Therefore, the relationship their parents have affected the relationship the kid is going to have themselves as an adult when they grow up. 

Even though the forms in which it can happen are often very subtle, it is true and accumulates into a behavioural model in the future. Here is how…

#1 Whether We Trust Other People Easily

One of the first things that need to be established and solidified in concrete before you even attempt to build a romantic (or, for that matter, any sort of) relationship with another person is trust. It is an irreplaceable part of any healthy connection as it lays in the very foundation of it. Without it, even the happiest union will not last long and eventually be doomed to fail. With trust, however, even the biggest wound can be healed and used as a lesson. 

However, despite the seeming omnipotence of trust, it is extremely fragile if not worked on continuously. Not only should you not give your partner a reason to not question your loyalty, but you should also show them that you will always have your back and vice versa. Some people may need less reassurance of their partner’s reliability and trustworthiness than others, but in order to make your union work, you need to be able to open up to someone and let them see your true self.

Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this is harder than it sounds. Trust issues are a serious psychological problem that is often deeply rooted in our childhood. Without a doubt, our parents’ relationship has a lot to do with the way in which we see our partners and the extent to which they can be trusted.

Your significant other can be the most loyal and kind person ever, the one that never gives you the tiniest bit of reason to doubt their love and devotion for you. However, if you did not learn how to allow yourself to be vulnerable in someone else’s company from your parents, it is unlikely that you will ever fully trust your partner. 

Indeed, trust is all about being able to take your mask off and share everything that you have on your mind with the person by your side without fearing that you will be shamed for that. 

If your parents failed to trust each other and had secrets from each other, especially if they involved you into keeping those secrets and would get you to either lie or even simply withhold the truth from your other parent, you will have troubles opening up to people and viewing their intentions as genuine. For a lot of adults who were exposed to those situations in the past, social anxiety is something they can relate to due to their alleviated levels of suspiciousness. 

#2 How We Show Affection

Another way in which our parents’ relationship can significantly affect our own one is by setting the bar for what can be considered an acceptable way for expressing our love and affection for someone. This is not surprising at all since our parents’ relationship is the first behavioural model that we see. Subsequently, we subconsciously emulate that and draw a line between what is okay to do and what is not.

In fact, there is plenty of research and statistics to prove that people who were raised in households where kissing and hugging each other regularly and routinely was normalized, tend to be closer to their current partners and be more enthusiastic about tactile experiences. Those whose parents were more cold and distant with each other and rarely would do those things raise kids who follow the same patterns. 

This, in turn, can be extremely detrimental for your relationship with your partner, especially if their childhood was different. Those brought up surrounded in love and demonstration of affection find it unnatural to hide kisses and be distant. On the contrary, they want to be physically close to you and think there is a problem between the two of you if you do not reciprocate. 

In addition to that, sex as a part of physical intimacy is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. Therefore, the way the topic of sex was handled at your household when you were a child will have a significant effect on your relationship.

A lot of people who would never hear their parents talk about sex and were taught that it is a taboo topic, are likely to be less initiative in bed and even treat sexual intercourse as something shameful and inappropriate. At the same time, those kids who were exposed to overly sexual behaviour between their parents could have underlying childhood trauma, too! After all, everything is good in moderation. 

#3 Establishing the Ways in Which We Tackle Conflicts and Problems

It is normal that married couples argue from time to time. This is inevitable, especially if they live with each other for a long while and have to deal with the routine together on the regular. Both small and big conflicts can occur over practically anything and are not something out of the ordinary. 

What is important, however, is that people handle those conflicts in a civil way and approach them wisely. This is particularly vital if they have kids since it is their parents’ way of dealing with conflicts that they are most likely to inherit. 

One of the best ways in which a conflict can be resolved in a couple is by talking it out by having a mature conversation where both sides are heard out and can contribute to the discussion with their arguments. In the ideal world, the result of the aforementioned discussion is a consensus. Everything is tackled with grace and peace.

However, often, unfortunately, this is not the case. Even now when mental health is being more and more cared about, a lot of people simply cannot take full control over their emotions and be cool when it comes to dealing with something they do not like. From there, it can take two paths. 

The first model of behaviour is when one or both parents react aggressively and do not want to hear the other one out. This will impose an idea that being selfish in resolving conflicts is normal in the child’s mind and hinder their own relationship from progressing through dealing with conflict successfully.

Another situation is when one of the parents or both parents do not address the problem and go their way without actually bringing it up so that it could be resolved. On the surface level, the problem is gone since it is not visible. However, both parties feel the tension and by bottling up their emotions are sentencing themselves to an outburst of anger later. The aforementioned situation can result in the child who witnesses it being so passive-aggressive they will not be able to communicate their desires to their significant other in the future and be always subconsciously not content with their relationship.

There is also an alternative scenario where all the arguments are carried out behind the closed door and the child does not see it at all. While this sounds like the best option, and a lot of adults do choose such a model of behaviour, it is in fact not healthy. Children brought up in families that had adopted that model will be growing up thinking it is abnormal to disagree, so when they finally get into a relationship themselves they will have an unrealistic idea of what it is and will be unable to maintain their relationship due to falling out with their other half. 

#4 Whether We Become Too Controlling of Our Significant Other 

On top of that, there is another thing that ties in closely with trust issues and lack of effective communication — extreme jealousy.

Needless to say, if you genuinely love someone, you want that feeling to be mutual and you often want to have your person all to yourself. However, there is a fine line between caring about your relationship and wanting your partner to be loyal, and being obsessively controlling.

Unfortunately, those couples in which one or both partners witnessed their parents be overly jealous, tend to be quite controlling and limiting of their significant other. 

#5 Determining How Much Time Together We Need

When we are in a relationship with someone, we want to share every important moment in our lives with them. We want to always be there by their side and expect the same from them. However, the actual amount of time needed to accomplish that varies.

Some people prefer to still have personal independence and sometimes be left alone for a short period of time to recharge, have a moment of calmness to think and reflect on everything. This is normal and healthy and is an important part of any relationship. As much as you need to be together, you need to allow some time to be separate. 

Professionals say that it is best if you do not merge both your lives together to the point you lose your own personality. Even if you are dating someone, you need to have some hobbies and interests, and sometimes even friends that would let you be on your own. 

This is something not a lot of people understand. And the lack of understanding often comes from observing the relationship their parents had. If your parents are inseparable and always spend all their time together, you are likely to have the same close connection to them and subsequently require the same amount of attention from your partner. On a number of occasions, that could come off as being clingy, especially if your partner is of more independent nature. 

#6 Whether We Are Capable of Recognizing Toxic Relationships and Dealing with Them

This way is interconnected with the ability of handling conflicts as being in a toxic relationship is a conflicted situation.

If any of your parents were abusive, either morally or physically, and you witnessed it in your childhood, you are likely to have the same response as your other parent had. Or, to be more precise, you are likely to inherit the same type of behaviour as the parent that you identified more with. 

This means, if you get into a toxic relationship, you might be subjected to either adopt the role of a victim or an abuser. 

In multiple households across the world, manipulative behaviour at different stages of it is widely normalized, which means that children grow up learning those sneaky strategies and later on in their lives try to exploit them in their own relationship. This could be unhealthy and lead to a decay of a connection.

#7 Delineating Our Expectations of Our Partner 

At last but definitely not at least, it is a known theory introduced with Freud that people are looking for a partner that would resemble their parent of the opposite gender. That way, boys would look for a girlfriend who would have the same traits as their mothers, while girls are likely to fall in love with someone who is similar to their dads. 

Therefore, it is extremely important what kind of relationship your parents had. Even if you were not particularly a fan of your parent’s behaviour, you will subconsciously think that this is someone you have to have in your life. Therefore, you will be searching for a person who meets the criteria. 


So, there are plenty of ways in which parents’ relationships can have a huge impact on the way their kids build their own relationships in the future: starting from minor things to big aspects such as focusing on a particular archetype to be attracted to. Therefore, it is important that you as a parent show the best example to your kids so that they had a healthy relationship and a happy life!

About Author

Carola Richter is a professional esports journalist who reviews the esports events and trends in the industry. Recently, she’s decided to create the blog where she could share her passion with the readers interested in the topic.

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