5 Ways our Parents' Relationship Can Affect our Relationships as Adults

5 Ways our Parents' Relationship Can Affect our Relationships as Adults

Your parents can impact your life in more ways than you might know and your romantic relationships are one of those affected.

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Growing up, your parents were most likely your first role models. You wanted to dress like them, follow them around and essentially just emulate them. Everything in their life interested you but what you might not have realized is that their relationship with each other actually affected you unconsciously in many ways.

Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, told Elite Daily, “How your parents interacted with each other can and does have an impact on your own relationship — consciously and unconsciously." He explains that they become a template for how you saw relationships and what you thought they were supposed to be like. “That, however, does not mean that you are permanently bound to having the same experiences that your parents have," he adds. "You are in charge of your own life and you can decide what good qualities from your parents' marriage you would like to emulate, and the negative aspects of their marriage that you don't want to repeat in your own relationship.” 


But, here are five ways your parents' relationship can impact your own relationships as an adult. It affects:

1. How you communicate with your partner

Every healthy relationship survives because of good communication. But, "If our parents didn't express their emotions, we may have difficulty learning how to identify and express our own emotions," Christene Lozano, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and founder of Meraki Counseling, told Bustle. "Considering that the ability to recognize and express our emotions is essential for a healthy relationship, our parents not modeling this will inevitably affect how we relate to and manage conflict with our own partner."

2. How you handle conflict 

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The way your parents handled difficult disagreements and resolved them certainly paved the way for how you dealt with conflict resolution within your own relationship. "Our parents (or guardians) serve as the main role model of how to conduct a relationship," said Lozano. "For instance, if our parents resolve conflict by having yelling matches, we may learn that yelling is necessary in order to solve conflict." However, if you saw your parents never fight in front of you, it could lead you to believe that one fight with your own partner meant the relationship was over. On the other hand, if you've seen your parents have a sane conversation and resolve conflict in a responsible, you will tend to emulate that.


3. How comfortable you are with intimacy

If your parents were the type who were openly affectionate with each other, then it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for you to be the same with your partner. However, if you grew up with parents who were emotionally distant from each other, you might be less receptive to affection from your partner or even giving the same to them.


4. How easy or difficult it is for you to trust your partner

Trust is just as important as communication in a relationship. If your parents would constantly overpromise and underdeliver or you found that they constantly lied to each other, it could lead you to have trust issues in your own romantic relationships. Growing up with parents who were distrusting of each other, makes trusting your partner difficult and this could result in conflict between the two of you.

5. How much independence you require in a relationship

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If your parents were either extremely distant or extremely clingy with one another, it could lead you to follow the same with your own partner. "If your parents were very independent and did most things separately you may want the same for your relationship," Kimberly Hershenson, Licensed Master Social Worker told Bustle. "On the flip side, many people tend to want the complete opposite of what they observed growing up. Having independent parents may lead to a person being extra clingy. Having parents who spoke down to each other may lead to an individual being extra cautious with how they say things and expect the same in return."


It can be tough to break the cycle you were brought up in, especially if you don't have a reference for otherwise. But when you find or are with someone who truly matters, making it work is worth the effort. You deserve to be happy with your partner and your parents' relationship shouldn't hinder that.