Parenting and marriage meet in a sort of bizarre way: sometimes we assume that our mate is going to be like our parent. And sometimes our mate ends up being like our parent.
A few people commented the other day that they felt their partners really thought they were marrying someone just like their Mother. What does that mean? It means that perhaps a man thought that because his Mom did things a certain way, for example, took complete control of all child rearing duties, that his new wife would take on the exact same responsibilities. So when the couple had children, the man was shocked to find out that his wife wanted to share parental responsibilities.
What do you mean? the guy thinks. The wife is supposed to do the kid stuff. My Father didn’t change diapers and I’m certainly not changing diapers…
And then the trouble starts.
Why do we often think that all relationships are the same? Why do we assume the power dynamic will be exactly how our parent’s was?
Then you have the other side of the coin; people who marry someone without realizing how many traits they share with their parent. And it isn’t always the good traits. I know this first hand.
It took me years after my divorce to realize that I had married someone with some of the same bad traits as my Mother. I’m guessing my rationale was that if your parent is supposed to love you the most, you need to find someone who treats you the same way. And while that theory is somewhat sound, the reality is that even parents with the best intentions don’t always do the right things. As we know from yesterday, the parent child relationship is often a rocky path, and sometimes only maturity will make you see how things really were.
Why do we often do this? I have no idea. But it sure makes me wish I studied more psychology. I’m hoping Deb jumps in here with some sociological explanation as to we unconsciously seek out people like our parents.
Today I am battling a bit of a cold- I think the stress of Saturday manifested itself deep in my sinus cavities. So this is all you get from me today.
But, as always, think about your relationships: Did you seek out a partner like one (or a combo) of your parents? Were they good traits or bad traits?
Did you expect that your partner would act just like for parent did?
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