7 Surprising Ways Your Parents Can Affect Your Dating Life

7 Surprising Ways Your Parents Can Affect Your Dating Life


Sure, moving back in with your folks can put a cramp in your dating life. But even if you don’t live in your parents’ home—your parents are living with you. And for better or for worse, aware of it or not, they’re affecting your dating life.

(Or your lack of dating life.)

They birthed you but they also helped birth your foundational skills, beliefs, and habits. You might not live with them, but what dwells in your heart influences who, why, and how you’ll date.

This list is not meant to make your parents your scapegoat. It’s simply meant to help you see which bull you need to take by the horns.

Here are 7 surprising ways your relationship with your parents affects your dating life:

  • 1. Your physical health.

    Multiple studies show that at least 75-80 percent of all physical illness is rooted in emotions or stress. If you’re harboring toxic emotions like bitterness, or there are lingering fears and wounds from abuse or neglect of any kind, you’re less likely to feel well, think well, and live well enough to date to the level you’re worthy of.

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  • 2. Your boundaries.

    If you didn’t or don’t have healthy boundaries with your parents, this could be affecting the boundaries you do or don’t have with your dates or boyfriend. For me, feeling like my voice and needs didn’t matter at home meant I’ve had to learn to value and respectfully assert my voice and needs now. 

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  • 3. Your body image.

    A woman’s body image begins at home. What your parents may—or may not—have communicated about your weight, body, or beauty set the stage for believing or doubting your worthiness. If you’re constantly fishing for compliments from your dates, there’s a good chance it’s rooted in a childhood wound.  

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  • 4. Your view of submission.

    Did you watch your mom become a “doormat” and vowed you would never let a man treat you that way? Maybe your parents were awesome with each other, but culture’s skewed views have you questioning a woman’s submission. It seems we’ve lost sight of true submission—but to see it clearly is to live it powerfully.

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  • 5. Your finances.

    It’s not impossible to date without money—but money matters. What money lessons did you learn from your parents? Are you racking up credit card debt to prove your worth with your purchases? From entitlement and materialism to poverty thinking and fear, your money issues will manifest in your dating life.

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  • 6. Your skill level.

    Did you know there’s actual skill involved with dating? I realize this challenges our Hallmark sensibilities that suggest it all comes down to chemistry, a cute outfit, and an even cuter guy. No matter what your parents’ skill levels were, improving skills like communication will help you with dating-world navigation.

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  • 7. Your curses or blessings.

    Yes, according to the Bible (and echoed by research of God’s design by specialists like Dr. Caroline Leaf), generational curses or blessings are real. Depending on recurring themes in your dating life, there could be an inherited curse or blessing. This doesn’t mean you blame it—it means you break it. 

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  • The good news:

    Like the remodeling of a house with a faulty or worn foundation, it will take time to build better and freer. But time alone won’t heal all wounds or renew old ways. It also takes the right tools and team. Most importantly, it takes the courageous willingness to let God reveal what He wants to heal.

    Rather than a cramp in your dating life, let these relationship revelations be a catalyst. A catalyst that draws you closer to God—and eventually, closer to the healthier, drama-freer dating life you desire.

    Remember, this is a spiritual and practical process. Be kind to yourself along the way, keeping in mind that God is more interested in progression than perfection.

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  • Your turn:

    While you didn’t get a choice of what they created through their parenting styles or skills—you do get a choice of what you’ll continue. What you choose to carry on will carry over to your dating relationships.

    The choice wasn’t yours then.

    But the choice is yours now.

    I didn’t want to believe this at first about my own dating life. I wanted to be the exception. I wanted to be the exception so I could keep making my excuses—and continue avoiding the real issues at heart: my heart.

    For example, I would hear people—from friends to pastors to professional relationship coaches—advise men to watch the way a woman treats her dad. Because how she treats her dad is how she’ll most likely treat her husband.

    Ugh! I balked in my mind.

    But I have goodreason to be disappointed with or resentful towards my dad (and impatient with my mom)! I thought each time I heard that advice to unmarried men. I would still honor and respect my husband, no matter what!

    Now I couldn’t agree more.

    How a woman treats her parents speaks volumes of how she’ll probably treat her spouse. This doesn’t mean always having an active relationship with your parents. But what is your heart’s condition towards them?

    Are you holding a grudge?

    Are you blaming him or her?

    Are you idealizing him or her?

    (Making it hard for anyone else to measure up?)

    Whether you’re actively dating or not, it’s important to discover what fruit in your life is rooted in your past or present relationships with your parents:

    ·      If it’s good fruit, this will help you identify what you want to continue.

    ·      If it’s bad fruit, this will help you identify what you want to cut.

    And when you identify unhealthy fruit to uproot:

    Remember that change takes time. Decades-old thinking rarely changes overnight. That’s because God’s got blessing in the pressing. But be confident in this: God designed you and destined you in Christ for renewal.

    He has literally designed your brain and body to renew itself. He’s even designed Creation like foods for nutrition, exercise, certain essential oils, and more, to work with our bodies and emotions to complement or accelerate that renewal process.

    He’s also designed relationship for renewal. Hurt can come through relationship—but healing can also come through relationship. And building relationships are a skill. And building a skill takes time but also intention and repetition.

    Maybe you already have the abundant (yet drama-free) dating life of your dreams. But if not, a great place to start is by examining your emotional baggage—which tends to be packed with fruits from roots of your relationship with your parents.

    Lighten your load by exchanging your burdensome emotional baggage for the dating freedom & healing you can find in Jesus.


    Rebecca Halton is an author, blogger, budding wellness enthusiast and online entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering other women to be as free and fierce as possible. Rebecca credits these two things with her transformation towards in her own relationships with her own parents.

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