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What Your Parents Can Teach You About Love

You may not often think of it this way, but we are all an outcome of attraction, formed by the relationships we have encountered. I’m an outcome of two people who thought that what they had was love and felt it right to have children. The first relationship I had was with my parents. The first relationship I ever witnessed was my parents’ marriage. From their situations, struggles, and outcomes, I was able to see their version of love. Our lessons of love come from our parents. We all have different situations, some the “child of divorce”, some the “child of parents who stayed together”, some who were abandoned at a certain age or even since birth. Some of us saw our biological parents’ relationships, some of us saw new relationships form.

Whatever it is, it made us interpret love differently. As we get older, we witness more relationships and have some of our own. One of these will always stay with us somehow. We either admire it, hate it, or imagine a version for ourselves. I used to wish for so long that my parents would get a divorce so that I didn’t have to hear them fight, but it wasn’t a huge improvement when they separated anyway. Regardless, their relationship was awful. From there, I learned that I didn’t have to follow their definition of love and that relationships and love are not all the same. We should thank these relationships for teaching us some things about love:


You can avoid what you don’t like

I was always terrified that I would fall into the same situations my parents did. When I really     started to think about it, it was really only me who could prevent this from happening. We get to be better versions of anything we know, therefore, when we have a certain model of love, we can choose what is best for us. We can observe and determine warning signs. We can have better relationships because we’ve already seen the failure.


You do not have to commit

A common argument of why people are single is that they developed commitment issues from seeing their parents’ bad marriage. Others can call you out on it, but only you know if you can actually have a successful relationship. Fear of commitment is reasonable, and you have every right to leave when you can’t handle a relationship anymore. Sometimes this means that you need room to grow or it could be a sign that the relationship wasn’t right in the first place. Forcing a relationship can have a bigger strain than not trying.


Learn from the past, but don’t let it define you

Real forgiveness is a freeing act. It’s when we finally let go of something that we’ve been carrying because it hurts so much. We must be capable of letting things go and moving on, but having it teach us something. If things got messy once, they can get messy again. If you have ever witnessed your parents hold a grudge after a fight, then you know how the dynamic changes and affects the relationship.


Hold your own

Do not depend on your partner for everything you think you can not accomplish. Never forget who you were before you met them, because there is always potential that you will need to be that person again. Being able to act independently but also collaboratively is a major key. Create your own happiness before trying to get it from someone else.

Do not settle

Do not ever let yourself be stuck in something that is not working. If you feel uncomfortable enough that you spend more time being unhappy, leave. Do not settle for something that will make you feel awful at unexpected times. By settling, you will be in a relationship that will prevent you from a wonderful family and happy life. Do not become a person that is afraid to be alone.


Do not try to “fix” people

It is a waste of energy and time. If you recognize it early, you can prevent the damage from not having people be exactly how you desire them to be. You end up disappointed when you can’t fix what you don’t like. You will become miserable when you go out of your way to change something about someone’s personality.


Love is work

It’s terrifying but it can also be completely worth the work. Do not dedicate your whole life to finding someone that fits your specifications. They will come along the way and you will know when it is right. It will not be perfect, but it can be exactly what you want. There’s compromise and understanding, and the willingness to do so. When you are willing to put forth your part, you will gain the reward of having a partner that compliments you and creates something wonderful.


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A Californian pursuing a degree in Project and Supply Chain Management. I enjoy finding new places, surf culture, and service.
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