Is it true that we’re attracted to people who remind us of our parents? (Or should we be?)
by Adam Gilbert
One of the questions I’m fascinated with is why people date certain people. And I’m pretty convinced that women look to date men like their father and guys look to date women like their mother, whether they realize it or not.
Take for example, the typical “poodle,” as I call her. Her father buys, and has bought, her everything she could ever want. She has no sense of want or desire. Because everything she has ever wanted was given to her, she typically will go for the very wealthy guy who can give her the kind of life her father did.
What about the girl that just can’t get enough of the bad boy? Sadly, the girl’s father probably didn’t pay much attention to her. She’s now attracted to guys that don’t give her the time of day; the guy that treats her like crap.
Don’t confuse this with the “I want it because I can’t have it” conundrum. That’s just basic human psychology.
And if, underneath all of the cat and mouse, the person you’re chasing isn’t at all like your father/mother, you might just be wasting your time!
Now, of course who we “think” we should date and who we “want” to date is very different than who we do date. It’s the old “I wish I liked her/him more!” or “He’s/she’s perfect on paper, but…”
In one of my past relationships, after having a few drinks, I remember saying to the girl, “You remind me of my mom.” She laughed and said, “You remind me so much of my father!” Well, that relationship didn’t last, and it turned out she wasn’t very much like my mother at all. And I’m sure I wasn’t as much like her father as she had hoped.
We all know what we know. Obviously!
“All people cheat!” the guy exclaims. No, actually, all people don’t cheat. He cheats! Therefore, he thinks all people cheat. That’s known as projection.
But I think being aware of this concept can help your love life, too. Since we all know what we know, and we’re used to what we know, maybe you should just try to find a guy or girl who is like your father/mother!
The challenge, though, is when you have a dysfunctional relationship with your mother/father. If you’re a girl and your father isn’t a part of your life and never showed you much attention, you’re probably going to be attracted to guys like that.
That’s when it gets tricky. Because you know you should date “the nice guy,” but you seem to keep dating the same guys over and over.
If you don’t have a great relationship with your parents, why not seek in a man or a woman exactly what it is that you wished your father or mother was? I know this is a lot easier said than done. But if you can learn to look for the qualities in your significant other that you would like in your father/mother, you might save yourself a lot of heartache down the line.
It gets interesting when you start to look at couples and see how close their significant other is to their own father/mother. I wonder if this could be a predictor of how successful a marriage will be?
Just for the record: This is just a theory. And may or may not work. Although I try to help my clients with many of the challenges they face in their lives, I’m not a relationship expert. I don’t play one on TV, either.