We have all learned how to do relationships from our parents – the good aspects and the not-so-good. Being conscious of what you learned allows you to decide what aspects of your training you want to continue and what aspects you want to change. In relationships this knowledge brings freedom – freedom to make your own style of relationship – based on a whole set of life experiences, on a far greater level of self awareness, as well as on what style of relationship have been taught.
For years I have taught that various personality styles tend to be drawn to each other. These attractions are based on your past, on what you grew up with and consequently on what you know how to do. For example, more needy people tend to marry more rigid folk who will help them see how much “need” is appropriate and who will withhold the “excess.” This style of couple has one partner who can become very lonely and feel neglected, while the other partner can feel very frustrated at the lack of order and feel isolated. Another style of relationship can have one person who sees him or herself as powerless and who marries someone who sees themselves as powerful and “special.” Ironically, when you stubbornly believe that you are doing your style dramatically different from that of your parents’ that is when it is most important to be open to seeing that perhaps that is not the case at all. Making a few logistical changes does not mean that the tone and expectations are different.