How our father's influence our choice of romantic partners

Monday, 23 June 2014 - 6:04am IST | Agency: dna

Most guys dread meeting their potential in-laws, especially the pa-in-law to-be because they are afraid of being judged and rejected. However, it's something they have to deal with at some point in time. And while they may feel meeting pa-in-law's high exacting standards can be a tough task, is it really? For if experts are to be believed, the quality of relationship that women share with their father's actually influences their choice of partners. So potential partners may actually share similar qualities with their partner's father. We got experts to give their take.

Understanding electra complex
Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria, says, "Carl Jung the famous psychiatrist and psychotherapist proposed the term - Electra complex, which refers to a girl's psycho sexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. The complex occurs in the third stage known as the phallic stage between the age of three to six of the five psycho sexual development stages." Chabbria reveals that according to psychoanalytic theory, the child's identification with the same-sex parent leads to successful resolution of this complex but women who remain fixated in electra stages of their psycho sexual development might be considered as "father-fixated". In adult life this can lead to a choice of a sexual partner who resembles their own father.

How our fathers influence our choice in romantic partners
Chhabria adds, "The above theory definitely has proven to be true in my experience. If the father is a girl's first hero, a man who has loved her unconditionally, pampered her and protected her throughout life, this is what her image is of what a man is. And this is what she will expect from all the men she meets in her life and especially the partner she wants to spend her life with. And if she has seen neglect, rejection, dominance, aggression from her father, this is what she expects from all the men. This is how she expects herself to be treated from the man she chooses to be with. Her personality may be more dependent, submissive, less confident which makes her choose a man who is like her father. This is specially seen in cases where daughters find abusive husbands just like their abusive fathers as they believe that they are victims and accept it as a part of their fate. It often becomes difficult for most women to perceive other men differently from their father as he is the first male figure they have looked upon from the time of birth. Most women are unaware and unintentionally looking for partners who resemble their fathers."

Not everyone who is abused will be trapped in the circle
Not everyone who has shared a distant relationship with their fathers is destined to be with someone similar. There are many women who consciously could choose someone completely different to break the cycle of abuse. Clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany, adds, "While there are cases where women end up in an abusive relationship because of feeling and playing the victim, there are girls who have had no emotional contact with their fathers, but actually want and desire partner with opposite traits, like the one who is loving and caring. So, while some women may gravitate towards a partner who is has similar qualities like the father, there are exceptions and it could go either way depending on the choices we eventually choose to make."

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