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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Upbringing affects romantic relationships

Illustration by J.Q. Hammer

I am at the age where I’m noticing more than ever that people are a direct product of their environment. The way we think, the way we communicate, our beliefs and our morals all stem from our influences.

Although complex and rather subconscious, a child’s individuality is a direct reflection of their parent’s character, or lack thereof.

When creating connections and forming relationships, our parents’ influence plays a huge role in how we communicate and interact within romantic partnerships.

They teach us how to express and receive love, solve disagreements and deal with emotions.

I’ve noticed more and more that my parents play a huge role in how I view and approach relationships.

My father has demonstrated what it looks like to be respectful, receptive and patient in a marriage, and his loyalty and integrity have helped shape my standards of men.

My mother is not only selfless and compassionate, but she is also strong-minded, intelligent and driven.

She has shown me what it looks like to maintain independence within a relationship, but most importantly, she has taught me the meaning of value.

Their marriage has provided me an amazing example of what a healthy and successful relationship looks like.

Although I have grown up with two outstanding role models, not everyone is blessed with healthy and supportive examples in their life.

This creates a diverse set of values and relationship approaches. Jeraldine Phneah suggests that these habits form as early as birth and offers a number of behavioral categories for people to fall in to.

1) Secure

This includes individuals who are given plenty of love and affection from birth and as a result have little to no problem creating and maintaining healthy relationships.

Not only is this type comfortably able to display affection and create connections, they also have no problem being single and independent.

2) Needy

This group is the result of unpredictable and inconsistent love from birth. In return, this creates individuals who constantly feel the need for affection and reassurance.

Generally, this leads to overdramatic, unpredictable and irrational behavior.

3) Distant

Distant individuals are the product of a mildly neglectful environment in which physical needs are attended to but emotional needs are relatively ignored.

This creates an overly independent, emotionally detached and relatively selfish individual.

4) Avoidant

This is the result of an abusive or extremely neglectful environment. This results in a fearful individual who has difficulty creating healthy connections and building trust.

Generally, these individuals find themselves in unhealthy and overly dramatic relationships and also have a tendency to hurt the ones they love in order to feel secure.

It is important to remember that nobody is at fault. We are all flawed human beings with room for constant improvement.

Rather than using past experiences as an excuse for your downfalls, take control of your happiness by recognizing your weaknesses and working toward becoming a better version of yourself.

Although I believe my parents have brought me up to be a secure and strong-minded individual, I am constantly learning and growing from my experiences with others.

The world is diverse with character and recognizing your significant other as a learning opportunity is a great way to broaden your perspectives.

Regardless of which category you may fall into, there will always be room for improvement. Understanding yourself before attempting to understand others is a key factor in any successful relationship.

Sophia Xepoleas can be reached at [email protected] or @soph_mxx on Twitter.

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