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Feb 06, 2014 02:19 PM EST

Valentine's Day Advice: Don't Let Rocky Past Relations With Parents Spill Into Romance

Chicago Researchers Reveal Secrets to Happy and Lasting Marriage.
(Photo : Flickr) Chicago Researchers Reveal Secrets to Happy and Lasting Marriage.

People's past relations with their parents may influence or spill over into their current romantic partnerships, according to a new study.

Matt Johnson from the University of Alberta in Canada contends that the love between parents and teens - however stormy or peaceful - may influence whether those children are successful in romance, even up to 15 years later.

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Johns stated there is a "small but important link between parent-adolescent relationship quality and intimate relationships 15 years later," Johnson said in a statement. "The effects can be long-lasting."

For the study, Johnson reviewed survey-based information from 2,970 people interviewed at three stages of life from adolescence to young adulthood. The data was gathered over a span of 15 years.

The findings showed that good parent-teen relationships resulted in slightly higher quality of romantic relationships for those grown children years later. Johnson said the study poses a lesson in self-awareness when nurturing an intimate bond with a partner.

"People tend to compartmentalize their relationships; they tend not to see the connection between one kind, such as family relations, and another, like couple unions," Johnson said. But understanding your contribution to the relationship with your parents would be important to recognizing any tendency to replicate behavior -- positive or negative -- in an intimate relationship."

Johnson emphasized that his findings does not suggest parents should be blamed for what might be wrong in their children's relationships.

 "It is important to recognize everyone has a role to play in creating a healthy relationship, and each person needs to take responsibility for their contribution to that dynamic."

The findings appear in the February issues of Journal of Marriage and Family.

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