Don't Let Your Parents Poison Your Romance

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“Feuding parents will only ruin your outlook on love if you let them” – says relationship study 

So your parents argued – get over it! 

University of Alberta relationship researcher Matt Johnson has good news for anyone who had rocky relations with their parents – it is not a cycle that can never be broken.

The love between parents and teens may influence whether those children are successful in romance, even up to 15 years later, according to a new U of A study co-authored by Johnson, whose work explores the complexities of the romantic ties that bind.

If your parents argued or divorced, that doesn’t mean you have to repeat the pattern of their misery. You can if you choose to. But you can learn from their mistakes and choose happiness.

Being aware of that connection may save a lot of heartache down the road, according to Johnson, who reviewed existing data that was gathered in the United States over a span of 15 years.

The findings, which appear in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, uncovered a ‘small but important link between parent-adolescent relationship quality and intimate relationships 15 years later,’ says Johnson, ‘The effects can be long-lasting.’

The analysis did show that good parent-teen relationships resulted in a slightly higher quality of romantic relationships when those children mature.

But the key factor is self-awareness when nurturing an intimate bond with a partner, Johnson says.

Since we all compartmentalise our relationships we miss the connections between one kind, such as family relations, and another, like couple unions. 

Don’t assume you are unfixably broken. Why give up? That is not the spirit of WLTD!

By understanding your contribution to the relationship with your parents you can escape the prison of anger. 

The key is to recognise any tendency to replicate behaviour – positive or negative – in an intimate relationship.

That doesn’t mean parents should be blamed for what might be wrong in a grown child’s relationship, Johnson says. 

‘It’s important to recognize everyone has a role to play in creating a healthy relationship. Each person needs to take responsibility for their contribution to that dynamic,’ says Johnson.

The results were gleaned from survey-based information from 2,970 people who were interviewed at three stages of life from adolescence to young adulthood, spanning ages 12 to 32.

More details here.

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