From the time we are born, the very first relationship we have is that of our family. Our world evolves around our mother, father, siblings and other relatives and caregivers who show us love and affection.
As we get older, our relationships develop to a higher level. As part of our human nature, the natural attraction we have with the opposite sex begins to flourish and can eventually lead to a romantic relationship.
Your romantic relationship sets the stage for the evolution of other relationships outside of your family.
It is often said that we marry our mother or our father, whichever is the opposite gender parent. To a certain extent, we do this to make sure that we set ourselves up to resolve the original parental issue from our childhood.
For example, if a child is raised by a very domineering and demanding mother, he may seek out a seemingly similar woman to marry. As a child, he knew that a passive/aggressive strategy would keep peace in the household. Initially in his new marriage, he may find comfort in knowing how to deal with his spouse, just like he dealt with his mother. But unless his new spouse had a similar dynamic in her household (dominant mother with passive/aggressive father) and is fully willing to play the same game, odds are that his strategy will no longer function as well as it did as a child. Or, even if his spouse does have the same game going, he may find that he wants more honesty, intimacy and love from a marriage than his passive/aggressive strategy allows him to have.
We also tend to replicate the dynamics we saw in our parents’ relationship. If our parents were rarely affectionate and seemed to have no life to themselves behind closed doors, we tend to establish a similar relationship with our own spouse. We assume that what we saw as children is the way that the world works. If we’ve never seen a truly affectionate, passionate marriage, how would we even know they really exist outside of Hollywood? So we might even unconsciously inherit the survival strategies of our parents and bring them into our own intimate relationships!
Romantic relationships have a lot of charge to them because they involve sex, survival, creating offspring, family connection – all very basic human needs and desires. But other relationships can be points of access to awareness as well.
Understanding how you relate in your family dynamic tends to be mirrored in your romances, and is therefore the key to flourishing in your romantic relationships.