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Family Background and the Break Up


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Hello guys,


I've been thinking a lot about this current topic. How exactly does a person's upbringing influence their behavior towards a relationship?


When my current ex was breaking up with me with by the book GIGS reasons she specifically said to me "I don't want to end up like my parents!". Never hurt her, never even thought about leaving her. No relationship is perfect but there was no specific reason for the end of our relationship, but I was her first love. If anything I guess that was the catalyst for our breakup, when I look at it that way maybe we were always doomed to fail.


My ex's parents divorced when she was 12. She despises her father, he had cheated on her mom for a majority of their marriage. Often she would have talks on the phone with her father where she would hang up crying. When I came to comfort her about it she just wanted me to leave her alone. My parents have been together for 35 years. In her mind there was no way I could comfort her since my family background was quite different form hers. She also mentioned how we had different "family values" and cited that as another reason for leaving me. She never exactly explained what that meant. Her mother is a strong woman but is sick constantly, my ex knew that she would have to take care of her eventually since she doesn't see her getting remarried. Her brother is lazy and is probably going nowhere in life. My family and I are very close, I can confide my problems with them. I've always been a kind of romantic, I wonder if it's because my parents have this great story behind them?


When we spoke about her rebound I asked about him. She said that they shared "family values". Once again, I had no idea what this meant. So I asked her "are his parents divorced too?". She said "yes, but that's not what I mean.".


Well. I think she is lying and the fact that his parents were separated sparked a kind of bond with him that she never felt with me. I think it's ridiculous but if there is one thing we are stuck with in this life is it our family.


But how does someone's family background affect their thoughts on love and relationships? Do you guys think it has a lot to do whether or not someone gets GIGS or not? Does it make them more afraid to stay committed with someone if their parents didn't work out?

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When something really bad like divorce happens early in a child's development, it traumatizes them. How it traumatizes and effects them specifically can't always be determined.


She may fear that going out with you, the person who has a happy childhood and parents married for 35 years, that may stir up strange feelings for her. She also may not want to hurt you because you have such a good life. Her life was screwed up by her parents divorcing and hating her father. Seeing this new rebound guy, I seem to think that she feels more comfortable around him than you due to the fact that his parents are divorced as well.


Being with a guy whose parents has divorced, makes her feel like he is on the same level as her. However, you seem to be on a much higher, more sophisticated level. She is below you, let her go. But if she does somehow come to the realization that she is acting immature, and that what happened to her parents is not what's going to happen to her if she doesn't allow it to, then you can talk to her. Be adamant.

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I strongly agree with the fact that a person's upbringing and family situations plays a huge part in a relationship. I have/had been with my ex for fourteen years this coming New Years Eve...we were happy for a long time, but throughout our relationship I found myself needing more from him. More affection, more quality time, more reassurance. My parents were happily married for 25 years before my father passed away. I remember knowing in my heart that they were truly in love. Never saw them fight, they were seriously soul mates. My ex's parents on the other hand were not this way. Your ex's parents issues sounds almost exactly like my ex's parents situation. He hates his father who cheated multiple times on his mother and in the end tried to destroy her financially. He was and always has been a horrible father. My ex never saw his parents hug, kiss or have fun together. Just saw a lot of ugliness. My ex claims to not know how to show his love as he didn't grow up with a blueprint on how to do this. Just 3 months ago, he told me he was no longer in love with me and had feelings for a coworker. We have been trying to work in out for the last 3 months, but he always ended it because of her. So now we are living in the same house. It is so cold and sad there, and I can't wait to get out, but I will have to deal with him for the rest of my life as we have a beautiful daughter together. He blames everything on his upbringing because he claims he doesn't know how to give me what I deserve since his whole life the bottom has always fallen out for him. I wish you nothing but happiness in this horrible time you're going through...believe me I know what you're going through and how it feels...The pain can actually be physical sometimes...

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Freebird, I am sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds very difficult. I feel that your ex is making excuses for his behavior, at his age I would assume that he should very well know how love and to not blame his upbringing for his neglecting behavior. My ex and I are still young and I hope for her sake she learns how to understand love because I know in my heart that I loved her completely.

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MarnDark, I suspect the thought process used in your response to Freebird is exactly what your ex meant by differences in family values.


Someone who has grown up in a close, loving family has little idea how much knowledge they've picked up by seeing how to love. And so they tend to think that another person's difficulty in knowing what's appropriate or right and instead chalk it up to some kind of failing in that person's personality.


I grew up in a very dysfunctional family in many ways. Although my parents didn't divorce, they couldn't stand one another. As parents, they weren't abusive, but the neglect was pretty bad. My husband, OTOH, grew up in nearly an Ozzie and Harriet family. When we first started dating, his stories of the perfect childhood were very intimidating to me. I wasn't certain anyone's childhood could be so pleasant and wondered whether he was creating some storybook family. It made me hesitant to be open about mine. I was concerned about whether he'd believe me, whether he'd start wondering whether I might be damaged as a result, etc. Over the years, I lost that concern, but it took a long time. It might well be that, without realizing it, you made her question her ability to be part of a "perfect" family when she didn't get the basic training for it while growing up like you did.


There's a level of comfort in the known vs the unknown, even when you know the unknown will be miserable. That's why so many people tend to follow the patterns of the parents even while they hate it. You know to expect and how to act and you feel accepted. For those that grew up in miserable homes, the idea of being happy is really quite scary because you don't know how to deal with it, you have no idea whether it will last and you're terrified how miserable you'll be when it ends, etc.


I hope both you and your ex find the person you need.

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Over the years, I lost that concern, but it took a long time. It might well be that, without realizing it, you made her question her ability to be part of a "perfect" family when she didn't get the basic training for it while growing up like you did.


Great post. Thank you for it. My ex was right in the way she handled her parental problems in some ways. It truly bothered me that she couldn't share them with me but she was correct in believing that I could not say much to comfort her issues. I was offering a ear though, and it did hurt me when she didn't want it.


You quote is quite right. The catalyst was a trip she took with my family. A month before she broke up with me she took a week long trip with my family. The last day we were there we too a walk together on a beach. What should have been romantic felt wrong, in my heart I already knew it was over. I was too afraid to accept it. The last time I spoke with her she said that it was the trip that made her realize that she did not want to be with me. My dad recently uploaded the pictures from the trip. Her smiles were empty, I could tell from the pictures that she wasn't happy. It was so sad to look at those. My "family values" it seems were too much for her to handle and compare to.


I am still not quite sure what kind of companion I need in life, these things are not very visible at the start of a relationship.

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