People change as they grow older and go through many different life experiences. Yet the crucial childhood years of development between the ages of 0 to 18 leave behind a major impression that affects us in adulthood. During these foundational years, your parents and other authority figures shape your way of thinking, behaving, and speaking as you learn by emulation. As you watched your parents and looked to them for guidance on a daily basis, you inevitably noted the cues and mannerisms they adopted not only through their relationship with you and others, but especially between themselves as a couple. Drawing from these observations, you construct an idea of what a typical relationship looks like from your own life experience and though these ideas undoubtedly shift as you mature, there is no doubt that they have both influenced and molded your perception of relationships in general. Here are some ways these early life lessons may affect your love life today:
You Embrace or Reject Communication
While everyone possesses individual traits that influence their behavior, communication is a crucial human skill that is necessary for most relationships to flourish. This basic act may pose a problem for those who never learned to communicate effectively, causing significant issues with the open discussion of feelings and problems. The type of relationship embodied by your parents and the level of communication between them impacts your own ability to deal with potential issues head-on. If your parents kept lines of communication open and honest, especially as they ran into issues then you’re more likely to feel comfortable speaking your mind and coming to a collaborative solution with your own partner. On the other hand, the complete shut-down of communication and negotiation during the course of an argument between your parents may have affected your ability to successfully navigate uncomfortable and difficult situations.
You Tend To Normalize Toxic Behaviors
Did you witness any form of abuse between your parents such as physical violence, name-calling, or controlling and manipulative behavior? Unfortunately, these toxic behavior patterns negatively affect your mentality surrounding relationships from a very young age. Children in the 5-16 age range are especially impressionable and may begin to regard this as a completely normal part of an adult relationship. As an adult, you may potentially mimic these same behaviors you internalized with your own partner or accept them from the receiving end.
You’re Affectionate or Prefer Your Personal Space
If your household was rife with hugs, kisses, and intimacy, you may naturally be inclined to showcase your affection for your partner in the same way. But if your parents were more reserved and chose to refrain from most forms of affection, you may unconsciously emulate this in your romantic relationship by being more hesitant to embrace your partner. While this isn’t exactly a negative result of your childhood observations since many people prefer to maintain personal space, it may require a sit-down conversation with a partner who is more open with their affection.