I married my mother...
I married my mother...A male pal, Paul, recently confessed that his new wife has turned out to be just like his mother. He's felt conflict about this, wondering if he has some sort of Oedipus complex. Yet on the other hand he feels so comfortable with his wife. I reassured Paul he wasn't hankering after his mother.
I find a repeated pattern when it comes to discovering a partner is like a parent. It's often two or three years into a relationship when the penny drops that the person you're with is similar to your parent.
By that point the haze of passion and romance has worn off revealing a more down-to-earth picture of your partner. That underlying knowledge has probably always been there subconsciously, but has been over-ridden by the intensity of those other emotions.
Also significantly by that time you’ve made some major decisions together - where to live, whether to get married, and so on. That's when crucial personality traits tumble out of your partner and suddenly it's like deja-vu. Inwardly you think, e.g., "That's what my mum/dad used to feel about making a big investment." It all falls into place and hopefully that's a happy place!
But with a client, Lucy, it wasn't that simple. The love-hate relationship she’d had with her father was playing itself out in the love-hate relationship with her boyfriend. She resented the fact that he reminded her of her father and their difficult relationship.
We discussed how people may be drawn to someone for this very reason: unfinished business. With realising you try to work through an unfinished parent-child issue in a romantic relationship.
A little bit of insight can go a long way. Lucy started to let go of the way she’d been relating with her boyfriend and dug deep to find a new way involving less conflict. The pay-off? Not only was she now relating to him more positively but also to her dear old dad.
A similar article was published in The Times