How Childhood Affects Relationships

Women's Dating

How Childhood Affects Relationships (5 Insights From an Expert)

Lucie Luvidya

Written by: Lucie Luvidya

Lucie Luvidya

Lucie Luvidya is a dating coach and matchmaker, and she has become an expert in getting to know the challenges that men and women face in the dating world. Her clients experience her expertise in human interaction and communication, and she has facilitated numerous lasting, meaningful connections.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Childhood gives us more than just a great memories. It’s also composed of experiences that act as important building blocks for our adulthood. We might not even think that our childhood had an impact on us, but all our experiences and activities from our early stages influence our future relationships and dating styles.

A child’s development influences the skills and behaviors that shape him or her as an individual. Here are few tips regarding childhood experiences and how they influence your dating skills.

1. You Can Lack Certain Social Skills

If you find yourself feeling a little socially awkward, you might look at back to your childhood. You may have been exposed to statements like, “You can’t be part of this game,” and just like that you found yourself playing alone and couldn’t figure out how to be a part of the group again.

The same way 5-year-old you might have obsessed over being accepted by the other kids, you might still be over-analyzing social appearances, situations, or events. This can make you nervous about expressing your own thoughts or worried that people will judge you. Because these feelings of social insecurity were not resolved in childhood, they might be shaping your relationships as an adult.

Photo of a child being left out

If you were often left out as a child, you may stress about being accepted as an adult.

You may have convinced yourself that you do better on your own, which can lead to a life of isolation. Early childhood educators solve social skill issues in children by helping children discover their unique traits and talents, so they feel more confident about themselves. Feeling more confident can help children interact more easily with others and feel more socially included.

As an adult, you can use this technique to enhance your social skills and your relationships. We all are unique individuals with our own strengths and talents, and feeling good about ourselves naturally attracts people and makes our bonds stronger.

2. Communication Issues Sometimes Arise

Do you sometimes have a problem asking for what you want? Would you do anything for your partner, but feel like your needs aren’t being met because you can’t speak up? As children, our communication skills shape how we engage with others. For some kids, it can be hard to just ask, “Can I play, too?”

Shyness can be a factor in early communication issues. Children may feel hesitant. They may be afraid of rejection, or they just might not feeling comfortable or confident jumping into a conversation. Some of these feelings don’t change with adulthood, but overcoming them becomes even more important.

Photo of a shy woman

It’s OK to be shy, but sometimes being too shy can negatively impact the way you communicate with friends, family, and partners.

In adulthood, it’s no longer simply asking to be part of a game at recess; it’s expressing your needs when it comes to dating or while in a relationship, even if it makes you feel vulnerable. It’s important that you allow yourself to communicate your feelings, needs, and desires, as communication is vital to a successful relationship.

3. Problem Solving is Difficult

We run into problems every day, especially with people who are close to us. When it comes to dating, you need to master decision making, negotiation, suggestion, boundary setting, emotional regulation, and communication. Problem solving is a very complex topic not only for children, who learn to tackle obstacles via playground games and interactions, but also for adults in their day-to-day lives and on the dating scene.

Photo of a woman thinking

Problem solving can be just as difficult for adults as it can be for children.

Educators usually use this simple strategy to help children successfully solve problems: name the problem, find a solution, apply the solution, and evaluate the solution. This method can still be applied to problems that arise in your adult life and can give you a big advantage when it comes to resolving arguments or other issues in your relationships

4. You Can Lack Confidence

We’re all born with inner trust in oneself. As young children, we never doubt ourselves at first. Self-doubt is a learned trait that you develop over time — sometimes by not having enough support when you needed it as a child. Unfortunately, lack of emotional support and the subsequent self-doubt it causes can have lifelong effects.

When it comes to dating, self-doubt can strongly influence your love life by making you seek out incompatible partners or by making you sabotage potential relationships. A lack of confidence can make forming lasting connections with other people very difficult, so building confidence in yourself is a necessary step toward finding a meaningful relationship.

Photo of a man making an L on his forehead

People are born with confidence, but that confidence can start waning when others put them down.

Set realistic goals and practice self positive talk; remind yourself every day that you’re a unique, interesting person with a lot to offer. It might feel awkward at first, but stick with it; over time, you’ll feel that self-doubt start to shrink. It’s a learning process, and you have to crawl before you can walk.

5. You May Be Attracted to the Wrong Types of People

Do you always attract the wrong sort people? People who are incompatible with you and your long-term relationship goals? The root of this problem could be from your childhood if you didn’t have healthy role models. Children who are exposed to toxic relationships early on might grow up believing that people are dangerous, unsafe, or untrustworthy. This results in a tendency to seek out emotionally unavailable, narcissistic, or otherwise incompatible partners, feelings of insecurity in relationships, emotional emptiness, or fear of intimacy.

Photo of a woman with a bad boy

When children don’t have healthy role models in their lives, they can end up in unhealthy relationships in the future.

To break out of this pattern, you need to be honest with yourself and acknowledge that something needs to change. As a child, you were powerless to change your situation. However, as an adult, you control your own life and have the power to unlearn these behaviors by loving yourself and realizing that healthy, fulfilling relationships are within your reach.

Childhood Doesn’t Have to Define You

Some things that happen to us when we’re children can’t be avoided, but what you can do is reflect on the past and use that reflection to work toward a successful future. The way you approach and behave in relationships is in your control.

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