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Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Growing up I came from a household with two parents. I had a father that worked hard to provide and a mother that gave us all her time and advice. For a good 13 years I got to experience two loving parents and I have memories that I hold onto dearly til this day.  Although they didn’t stay together, through the years of back and forth bickering (which they still do today) they still remain a unit and the love they have for one another has never vanished. The marriage might have broken up but the family remained. This is why I look to what they had when it comes to relationships, not because it was perfect but it showed me what I wanted, what I would work on and what not to deal with.

A lot of what goes on in the home shapes the way a child will see romantic relationships in the future. As much as parents like to believe their kids don’t know what’s happening in the household, they do. Children listen and observe everything around them, though they might not completely comprehend, it sticks and follows them into adulthood.

As much as I look up to my parent’s bond they had, for a short time I blamed them for how I viewed relationships, especially marriage. Thinking how can I make a relationship work, yet alone get married, when they couldn’t keep their marriage together? I started to think maybe I’m cursed to live a single life; that marriage would never be in my future, but then I got a little older and refused to believe I was destined for a life alone.  The two of them showed me so much when it came to their relationship and how joyous it was, that I still believe in true love. But it also showed me that fighting and disagreements are part of relationships and you either communicate through the problems or you call it quits.

Some people never get the chance to experience a home with two loving parents, or they only experienced living in a household with one parent and it followed them into adulthood, leading to a cycle of toxicity in all of the relationships they found themselves in. For them, showing their love or feeling loved may include dealing with multiple people at once because they always feel like something is missing; one person never seems to be enough. They may constantly lie because that’s something else they may have witnessed. Even a lot of times, children who witness abuse in the home end up bringing it into their relationships because for them that is normal behavior.

Just because you grew up in a toxic environment doesn’t mean you have to take it into adult relationships. Take everything you’ve seen growing up and change the narrative instead of continuing the cycle. Because your parents divorced doesn’t mean you will. Because you watched your mother be disrespected over and over by your father or the men she dated, doesn’t mean you have to accept that from your partner or cause that kind of pain on another.

If we are being honest, those who grew up in more dysfunctional households have a better chance at handling more intense situations (if they choose), such as arguments, than one who comes from a household where they never seen conflict. Coming from a “perfect” household leaves your children with this fairytale idea of relationships and the minute they have a disagreement with their other, they take that as this relationship needs to end, instead of seeing how to work through the problems. There wasn’t a roadmap laid out for them to get through the obstacles.

Some may think I have this fairytale idea of how relationships should be but no, I have realistic ideas. I’ve seen my parents love, fight, argue and hug it out. I’ve listened to my dad’s advice as well as my mother’s. They’ve shaped me into the women I am and as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to handle certain situations. I also know it’s okay to be alone until it’s my time to love another.

How has your parent’s relationship or those around you, shaped your adult ones?