Your “Family of Origin” in Relationship

Your “Family of Origin” in Relationship

Your “family of origin” is the family in which you were raised, and it can have a significant influence on your romantic relationships. Researchers have found that the way a person is raised by their parents can affect everything from the type of partner they choose, the way they communicate with their partner, to the level of satisfaction they have in their romantic relationships.

Studies have found that people raised by parents who had a positive and supportive relationship were more likely to:

  • choose partners who also had positive and supportive relationships
  • use constructive communication patterns, such as compromise and problem-solving
  • report higher levels of satisfaction in future relationships

On the other hand, people whose parents had a negative and conflict-ridden relationship were more likely to:

  • choose partners who also had negative and conflict-ridden relationships
  • use destructive communication patterns, such as withdrawal and verbal aggression
  • report lower levels of satisfaction in future relationships

Understanding Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

While it’s helpful to understand how your family of origin impacts your current romantic relationships, it doesn’t mean your doomed to follow the same path. With understanding, education, and a commitment to creating a healthy relationship, couples can shed the unhealthy patterns of the past and build a strong, healthy relationship.

If you and your partners are stuck in unhealthy patterns influenced by how you grew up, counseling or group therapy can be a helpful way to learn new tools for creating a positive, supportive relationship.

Helpful tips for building healthy relationships:

Reach Out for Help to Get Your Relationship on Track

Sometimes, we do all that we know how to do, and we still struggle in our relationship. There is no shame in reaching out for help. You deserve to feel that you are number one in your special person’s life. We all want that level of intimacy in our relationship. If you are located in northern Washington state, we are here for you and your partner. We want to help you make your love work.

Request an Appointment with Marianne Today


  • Johnson, J. R., & Rusbult, C. E. (1989). Resisting temptation: Devaluation of alternative partners as a means of maintaining commitment in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 967-980.
  • Doss, B. D., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2009). The impact of family of origin communication patterns on communication during the transition to marriage. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(5), 1214-1229.
  • Halford, W. K., Markman, H. J., Kline, G. H., & Stanley, S. M. (2004). Assessing the impact of family of origin functioning on couple relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(4), 929-943.