Every girl wants to marry her daddy when she’s little. It’s called the Oedipus syndrome. Passed a certain age (8), no little girl wants to do so. Because a) they have understood they could never have him b) boys are much more interesting. Yet, years later, some of us get hooked with a guy who’s by pure coincidence our father’s replica. For example, one of my friends married an MD, and her dad was an MD. But she swears the comparison with her dad ends there. “They have opposite characters. It’s like day and night” she said.
According to psychiatrists, we always pick our partner according to our father, in a positive, or negative way. In my friend’s case, her husband is just the opposite charachter of her father, in other words, the negative image of her father.
I met once a woman who told me she realized she was repeating the same mistake than her mother with her father. “He was constantly bringing her down, criticizing everything she does in front of me. But he always told her how much he loved her. I swore I wouldn’t pick a partner like my father, but I fell in love with a guy who treated me the same way my father treated my mother. I didn’t realize it at first. I was so in love. But slowly, as passion faded, I could see he wasn’t different at all from my father” K., 34, said. She left him, and has tried ever since to react each time one of her loves shows to her little respect.
By searching our father through another man, we also take the risk to make this relationship unbearable for the one we pick. Psychologically, it’s hard to tell yourself you’re in competition with someone else. Someone you will never be. But some couples work on this principle. There are couple where the guy looks for his mother in every partner he chooses, and where the woman looks for her father in every man she chooses. It’s a comforting situation. But yet, I don’t know if it’s sustainable.
A friend told me that she doesn’t agree. She said people can adapt quickly to every role they’ve been asked. After all, she said, in this society, we keep on fulfilling the roles this society asks for. She doesn’t think we act differently with the one we love.
Yet, there’s a line between playing a role, and pretending to be someone else. It’s called lying.
Besides, we can fall in love with someone who share the same principal qualities we find in our father. “My father was someone who had strong principles, who had a huge heart and very giving. This is what I look in a man. I don’t see why it would be a problem”L.,40, said. “I fell in love with P. because I know I can count on him in every situation, just like I can count on my dad, who was always there for me when I needed him. P. just took his role. Just like my dad, he takes a good care of his kids. He’s the rock of our couple, just like my dad was in my family. I know that when I have a problem, I can always share it with him, and he would help me to find the solution, just like my dad”M.,46, said.
And we, women, we have also the same tendencies to react exactly like our mother would do. How many times haven’t I heard my female friends saying they sounded exactly like their mom, especially when it comes to bring up their children? Maybe we validate our choice of partners because our mother would have picked them too.
So, do you look for your father/mother in your relationship(s)?