Whilst knowing that Sigmund Freud was decidedly sex-obsessed, I can’t deny that there’s often a kernel of truth in many of his concepts. It’s his theories on relationships that have led to the stereotype that girls “marry” (or couple up with) their fathers and boys their mother. If we start from the perspective that it makes good (attachment theory and common) sense that children base their later relationships on their earliest ones – the ones they had with their parents, then this is as likely as any other to be true.
My question to you all is – did you?
My relationship history is – let’s be generous here – chequered. And whilst John Bowlby’s attachment theory would have lots to say on that subject, this little essay is going to stay focused on good old Freud. I’ve had two long-term relationships – my long-term partner which lasted 14 years and my current one which is approaching five. Outside of these two, all my relationships were counted in timespans of months – with oh so many in the lower number range.
Like any single person who’d prefer to be in a relationship but who’s spent more time out of one, I’ve examined the situation over the years from every perspective and via every psychological theory known to man. So I had to get round to Freud … eventually. Cutting to the chase, it seems that I “married” first one (my mother) and then the other (my father). Casting the net a little wider, I’ve realised that the closest of my female friends have been my mother (with one notable exception), whilst my close male friends have been my father. Read into that what you will (and do share your thoughts and opinions in the comments) as I still ponder on the subject from time-to-time (usually when on long boring drives alone).
I’ve always had the better relationship with my father. A tomboy growing up, I was his constant shadow, even on the golf course (I’m rubbish at and hate it now that I’ve tried it myself). I look like him (and my brother) whereas my two sisters look like my mother. In terms of interests, I’m a blend of the two. Hindsight has provided me with the insight that number 1 (the 14 year guy) had my father’s interests and my mother’s personality. Current guy – the bloke or Himself as I tend to refer to him online – shares interests with neither, but is close to my father personality-wise.
Does that mean I’ve finally got it right? Only time will tell.
Crazily, I’ve never thought to look at the whole ‘you marry your mother or your father’ strain of thought before a close friend mentioned – during a discussion about issues in her current relationship – that there were many echoes in it of her parent’s relationship.
So, did you (marry your mother or your father)? Do Freud’s theories have a kernel of truth, or was he just a dirty old man? Do share these and any related thoughts here …
© Debra Carey, 2018