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Getting The Love You Want Summary

Did you know that your childhood has a big impact on who you end up in a relationship with? And the funny thing is, it's usually not a good impact. We all have some childhood wounds, but we often don't take the time to heal them before getting into a relationship. Instead what we do is that we try to fix our wounds through our partners. We are like children seeking to heal our wounds, wanting to get the love we couldn’t get from our parents. Sigmund Freud said, “Even as adults, we’re just crying babies looking for parental love.”

When you think you have found the one, you might feel butterflies in your stomach when your new lover holds your hand. But this never lasts long. If you are lucky, it may last a few years but more often than not it will end in just a few months. That’s when couples experience their first conflicts. Things you loved before about your partner, now become annoying. But is there any way to keep the love and passion alive? Turns out there's a lot you can do, and in the book "Getting the Love You Want," Harville Hendrix gives some great tips on how to maintain a loving relationship for the long haul. But first, we need to understand why we're attracted to certain types of people and not so much to others.

Childhood wounds affect whom we will be attracted to.

Have you noticed that people are usually attracted to certain types of people? Like, you might be attracted to people who ignore you but on the other hand, if someone is nice to you and really cares about you, you don’t even see them. When you see that special type of person that you are attracted to, it’s like you already know them, even though you just met them. It sounds familiar. And that is the point. It is familiar because it reminds you of your parents and how they treated you. So, if you had parents that didn’t care about your needs that much, when you see someone that doesn’t care much about you, you feel attraction toward them. Research shows that people often end up with partners who are similar to their parents. Most of us, however, would deny this when it comes to our own relationships.

For example, it’s common for children who grow up in an abusive home to end up in an abusive relationship. Or children raised by alcoholic parents will often find themselves married to someone with an addiction. And by the way, this is all unconscious. Your old brain believes that you have finally found the ideal partner that will help you heal the psychological damage of your childhood. So, you basically find what is familiar and try to change the ending. In this case, you find someone that doesn’t care about you much and try to make them care about you. But this will result in disaster. For example, the book talks about Kathryn and Bernard, who came for therapy. Kathryn's dad used to get really sad and stay quiet for long periods, and not surprisingly, Bernard had the same tendency to retreat into silence. This similarity to her dad made Kathryn pick Bernard as her partner. But as you might imagine, the same traits that made you attracted to your partner, make you fall out of love with them. Even though Kathryn was previously attracted to Bernard's quiet demeanor, when they started arguing over little things, his silence began to drive her crazy.

But you know what? There's another desire that also affects who we choose as our partner. It's kind of weird, but sometimes we're actually attracted to people who are the opposite of us. Like, one person is super loud and outgoing, while the other is quiet and introverted. Or maybe one person is super organized and the other is a total mess. It might seem like these relationships wouldn't work, but actually, they can be really great. That's because each person is looking for something that they feel like they've lost as they've grown up and left childhood behind. They're looking for a sense of wholeness and completeness, and sometimes having an "opposite" in your life can help you feel that way again.

So, in summary, we’re all trying to unconsciously recreate our childhood environment. And this is more obvious in the early days of the relationship and whom we choose as a partner. By becoming aware of our unconscious tendencies and hidden childhood wounds, we can choose a better partner and not rely on our partner to heal our wounds.

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