When you were young, you depended on your caregivers for the sense of being loved and you learned from your caregivers how to process your feelings. But, of course, many of us didn't get all of the things we needed to progress emotionally. When there are vital things missing from the parenting we received, we tend to look to our romantic partners to make up these losses.
A reader writes, "Like my mom, he’s so much fun to hang out with and so easy to laugh with. But, also like my mom, he can’t function as an adult – he can’t take care of himself financially, can’t keep a job, and he is forever talking about how his big break is coming and everything in the future is going to be so excellent for him. The problem with the last part is he does nothing to pursue a big break, let alone actually get one. Just like my mom."
What partners do you pick? Do you choose partners who are cold and distant? Angry and difficult? Refuse to grow up? Unfaithful? Now take your understanding one step further. Instead of just noticing patterns in the partners you choose, look for patterns in the ways your relationships unfold.
A woman’s early relationship with dad or another first male caregiver shapes her conscious and unconscious perceptions of what she can expect and what is acceptable in a romantic partner.