What do you remember from your life as a teenager? For most people, it can be an exciting but confusing time. Steering through middle school and high school, trying to expand social ties with friends, dating, and transitioning into adulthood make for an interesting period. Besides the social life of a teen, the role at home and in your family is important as well. Plenty of past research has shown what effects these formative years can have on a person’s adult life. But what kinds of things can affect our romantic relationships?
Research has shown that parental divorce can drastically alter the attachment style of a child, where they may be less likely to create a fully trusting relationship, and afraid to commit or open up to a partner. However, recent research by Robert Ackerman and colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas focused on how positive family interactions in the teenage years can affect romantic relationships in adulthood.
The researchers found that individuals who came from families which expressed more positive engagement with one another were less likely to act hostile towards their partners as adults, and were more likely to have higher satisfaction with their relationships. Their partners were also found to be less hostile and have higher relationship satisfaction.
These results could be showing that the dynamics within a family can influence a teenager to form better methods of interacting with loved ones, which could be influencing their eventual partner in adulthood as well. It could also be that these individuals from positive families are seeking out partners who are similar to themselves and have had that same warm and nurturing environment growing up. The researchers believe it could be a combination of the two theories.
How can we use this information for our adult dating lives?
The next time you’re meeting somebody new, you might want to ask them a little more about the relationship with their family during their teen years. It could tell you quite a bit about how they form relationships and how likely they are to be warm and supportive with their own family later in life.