How Your Relationship With Your Parents Affects Your Dating Life

You may not realize this, but on a subconscious level, the way we are loved by our parents writes an internal “script.” This is what dictates how we understand love, but also how we receive it and give it.

What we learn about love as children—from the way our parents interacted with each other and with us—becomes how we navigate love in adulthood.

If Your Parents Didn’t Hug You Often

woman hugs man by the water
Photo Credit: Chermiti Mohamed / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Chermiti Mohamed / Unsplash

If your parents were not very affectionate and hardly ever hugged or kissed you, you might tend to avoid affection as an adult.

We often model the way our parents expressed loved and affection, not only towards each other, but towards ourselves too.

If Your Parents Were Attentive

mom and kids on bench on cliff
Photo Credit: Benjamin Manley / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Benjamin Manley / Unsplash

If your parents took the time to actually listen to your needs and encouraged open and honest conversation, they likely raised an adult who is comfortable talking about issues.

These people feel secure in expressing themselves and tend to be open-minded. They’re not the kind to act passive-aggressively to avoid confrontation.

If You Had Neglectful Parents

Young Girl Sits On Grass looking to the side
Photo Credit: Janko Ferlic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Janko Ferlic / Unsplash

A child who grew up craving their parents’ time and attention will only carry that desire further in their adulthood.

These people tend to feel unwanted and unimportant to their parents, so they will try to get that attention elsewhere. They can come off as needy when they demand it from their partner.

If Your Parents Were Overly Dramatic

Woman holding sunflower in her mouth while crying
Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

Not only does that increase the odds of you being equally dramatic, but also inattentive. This is because emotionally dramatic parents put the focus on the wrong issues.

These kids grow up to feel like everything is a big deal and deserves to be argued about. They might even pick fights with their partner over nothing without knowing why.

If Your Parents Abandoned You

Woman Letting Go of the wind on a rooftop
Photo Credit: Logan Fisher / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Logan Fisher / Unsplash

If one or both of your parents left you at a young age, you could have developed abandonment issues. This is the fear that those you love most are bound to leave you.

This creates a lot of insecurity and gives you a hard time trusting your partner and their love for you. It’s like you’re waiting for the moment they leave too.

If Your Parents Are Divorced

Divorced Couple On Couch taking off their rings
Photo Credit: Cotton Bro / Pexels
Photo Credit: Cotton Bro / Pexels

Divorce parents often cause fear of commitment in their children. This is because the kids grow up having lost faith in marriage and long-term commitment, so they don’t see the point of getting into it in the first place.

These adults are very cautious and slow with their relationships. They fear that if they’re careless, their relationship will end as fast as it started.

If Your Parents Resorted To Yelling

kid getting yelled at by hands
Photo Credit: Gabby K / Pexels
Photo Credit: Gabby K / Pexels

As a kid, you might start to believe that turning up the volume is the only way to get attention and be heard. As an adult, this can remain your main means of emotional expression.

Even though you’re only trying to communicate and make your partner understand, all that’s coming across is aggression and yelling.

If A Parent Was Never In The Picture

Pictures Hung Up On Wall with string lights
Photo Credit: Hamann / Pexels
Photo Credit: Hamann / Pexels

Missing and feeling the absence of a parent can create a void that desperately tries to get filled. These are the people who are always vying for the wrong people’s attention and feeling stuck in unrequited love situations.

It’s like they’re trying to go for the person who doesn’t initially want them, hoping that they will in time.

If You Were Raised In A Broken Home

woman hides her face with her hands
Photo Credit: Dev Asangbam / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Dev Asangbam / Unsplash

Growing up in a broken home can lead you to stop feeling altogether, as a way to protect yourself from being overwhelmed. This creates adults with no emotional attachment in relationships.

This is the kind of partner that checks out because it’s easier to avoid things and feel numb than to risk dealing with an unbearable amount of pain.

If Your Parents Were In A Toxic Relationship

Couple argues in the living room
Photo Credit: Duva Plavalaguna / Pexels
Photo Credit: Duva Plavalaguna / Pexels

Witnessing a toxic relationship close up can lead a child to misunderstand the point of relationships. This often leads to manipulative adults who take advantage of those who love them to fulfill their needs.

They see love as a means to an end. They can even grow up to be con artists who learn how to give just enough to trick someone into a relationship.

If Your Parents Stayed In An Unhappy Marriage

Married Couple looks back at the moutains
Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba / Pexels
Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba / Pexels

Seeing your parents be unhappy and still together can be detrimental in defining what love is. The child then normalizes the bare minimum as “okay” in a relationship.

As adults, these are the kinds of people who fight for and stay in relationships long after they should be over, and even when it’s harmful to them. They think it’s still better than being alone.

Men Treat Their Wives Like Their Mothers

man holds mother's hand by town houses
Photo Credit: William Fortunato / Pexels
Photo Credit: William Fortunato / Pexels

Usually, when a man grows up having a secure and affectionate relationship with his mother, he loves his wife the same way.

This is because in a way their wives remind them of their mothers. They call this transference, and it’s a man’s way of “transferring” his closest relationship with a woman.

If Your Relationship With Your Parents Is Healthy

woman with elderly woman sitting on bench
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If you’re sitting here thinking that none of these apply to you, you’re one of the lucky ones. Having a parent who listens and gives good advice is not only beneficial to you but also to your partner.

You trust your parents and will likely seek their wisdom in smoothing out the rough spots and challenges of your relationship.

If Your Parent Cheated

man looking back at sitting sad woman as he goes up to the steps
Photo Credit: Rodnae Productions / Pexels
Photo Credit: Rodnae Productions / Pexels

Unfortunately, a parent cheating deeply impacts their child’s attachment style. Some studies show that men especially are more likely to cheat if their fathers did.

However, both men and women can be drawn to those with characteristics of a cheater. Not to mention, both are bound to deal with trust issues, because if their parents could do it, then who couldn’t?

If Your Parents’ Relationship Was Unsuccessful

broken glass on the frame of a couple's picture
Photo Credit: Rodnae Productions / Pexels
Photo Credit: Rodnae Productions / Pexels

If your parents’ relationship was unsuccessful, the odds of yours being the same may be higher, but it’s not set in stone. In fact, the children of toxic relationships often turn out to be resilient and strong adults.

This can even push some to work harder on their own relationships to avoid the consequences of their parent’s mistakes.

Past Relationships Don’t Have To Determine Future Ones

woman laying on picnic blanket with pedals and rose in her mouth
Photo Credit: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels
Photo Credit: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels

If you associate with one or more of these types of parents and attachment styles, don’t worry, you’re not bound to them forever.

The first step is being aware of how your parents affect your behavior and personality. Then, it’s up to you whether you let that define you, or if you break the cycle.