Updated: Nov 20
Have you ever wondered how one person comes to exhibit love explicitly while another is hardly any expressive about his feelings and emotions? Maybe you are an, “I’m a grenade and at some point, I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties.” person. While somebody else can be a hopelessly romantic person, who believes, the best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds”.
From personality type, love language, to hormonal reactions, there are a lot of other components to define love and what we mean when we say, ‘I love you’. It feels different to all of us. And this difference is known to root from our childhood. That is, it is based on childhood experiences, cultural background, or even past experiences.
“The family relationship is the first intimate relationship of your life, and you apply what you learn to later relationships,” Xia, researcher, Penn State, says. The childhood foundations become a part of who we are, how we communicate, and how we manage to filter our emotions.
There is so much of what parents do that can influence their children’s present and future relationships. Healthier the parent-child relationship, the healthier the child’s future relationships.
The love styles
Children who have a healthy relationship with their parents are more likely to develop positive relationships with other people around them. They can establish secure bonds and friendships with peers. A secure attachment with parents helps promote a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. It also helps kids exhibit positive social behaviors.
Therefore, when observed closely, we can see a fixed set of inclinations and tendencies of how we associate and relate to our romantic partner. This is what defines an individual love style. According to Milan and Kay, the majority of people fall into one of the five categories.
The categories are:
People here are known to have grown up with parents who were either hotheads and critical or overly protective. Growing up the pleaser is usually being the ‘good kid’.
They tend to do everything within their abilities to be on their best behavior. Children here are the ones who give comfort to their reactive parents, rather than receiving comfort from their parents. They are usually very nice, have a giving nature, and are very committed. This is what the spouses of pleasers get attracted to.
The people who fall under this love style usually grew up in very chaotic homes, with one or both parents being very angry and violent. Children often build an imaginary world inside their minds because of the trauma of growing with an angry and violent parent. This is so that they can escape when the reality within the home becomes too unbearable.
The spouses of victims are initially attracted to them due to the victim’s compliance and non-resistance. However, much later in the relationship, the spouse might start seeing them as a kid and start despising them. This could be due to their weakness. Ironically, victims may end up in relationships with controllers who have the same behaviors the victim had to deal with when growing up.
People who exhibit the controller love style grew up without much attention or any sense of protection. These children learned that the only way to survive is to toughen up and learn how to take care of themselves. Controllers don’t have much empathy towards others, and will often demand compliance from others, even when the compliance may result in the other person getting hurt.
The spouses of controllers are initially attracted to them because they like the controller’s decisiveness and their ability to take charge. Deeper into the relationship, however, the spouse might start feeling afraid or abused.
Kids who grow up to become vacillators are often brought up by very unpredictable parents. The parent gives the kid just enough attention to make them desire more, though more is never forthcoming. From a young age, these children learn that they are nowhere near their parent’s priorities.
When they get to adulthood, vacillators get on a quest to find the consistent love and connection that were deprived of during their childhood. The result is that they tend to idealize new relationships. When they get into a new relationship, they feel like they have found their soul mate. They dedicate lots of time and attention. They feel that they will finally get the love and attention that they so much crave. Unfortunately, it is impossible for their partner to live to the idealized image. Eventually, the vacillator becomes disappointed and starts blaming the partner because they feel the partner does not love them.
People who exhibit this love style grew up where affection and expression of feelings were either minimized or discouraged. They grew up in performance-based homes where independence and self-reliance were the only values encouraged.
During the early stages of a relationship, the spouse of an avoider is attracted by the sense of stability, responsibility, and predictability in the avoider’s life. With time, the spouse might feel they are not needed, and that they are left out in decision-making. The spouse can also feel like the avoider is indifferent or emotionally detached.
What is the right style?
We all are unique. We all have our own needs and desires when it comes to relationships, handling stress, and living a healthy, meaningful life. If you’re the type of person who enjoys being alone, that’s okay too, but attempting to make a couple of close relationships could mean noticeable benefits to mental and physical health.
We mostly tend to idealize our relationships and our partner in our minds. This doesn’t happen by chance. Rather it is a direct result of our experiences as we grew up. They form the roots – a written script of who we grow to be and our basic reactions to situations. It is hence possible to have traits of different love styles and display them in different scenarios.
Regardless of the kind of love style one currently exhibits, it is recommended to aspire to be a secure connector. A secure connector is a person who is comfortable with giving and receiving love. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of both oneself and others is most essential. Such secure connectors have no problem communicating their feelings and needs and maintain healthy personal boundaries. Here is a list of things given that the couple needs to bear in mind to take their relationship to a higher level.
Knowing our lifestyle and that of our lovers is crucial since it helps us to understand some of our tendencies and inclinations. Or those of our lovers’ that might be affecting our relationship.