Firstly my apologies if this isn't the correct se sight to ask this.


I had a psychology professor some years ago (now that I think of it probably more like many years ago...) who proclaimed that a lot of the problems individuals experience in their relationships will be (we'll say persistent but it may not be the best terminology(?)) persistent across most of their relationships.

His actual quote was "You'll find that whatever issues you're having in your relationships now, you'll find persist across all your relationships, despite your partner, so do your best to make the one you have work"

Several years after him saying this, I started to notice this in my relationships, that no matter the person, we would always end up having some form of issues I had with relationship partner n-1. But probably this would be best if I left myself out of this and spoke more generally.


[1] I am curious if there is any validity to my professors statement, I currently only have two data points in my sample space (my professor and myself). I do understand the notion that individuals to in fact bring baggage to relationships that will cause said issues, and I'm not sure how to reconcile this without bringing myself into said question which is what I'd like to avoid so not to come off in the wrong way.

Previous Research

I have tried googlingduck duck go'ing to not much avail, My searches have been problems persisting throughout relationships, relationship patterns, relationship cognition but I didn't really find much pertaining to the question at hand. Also I'm not sure if it is in any way related, but when studying at university I did a decent amount of research into mathematical dynamics of relationships similar to http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pubs/paper277.pdf

EDIT: It may be possible I didn't present the question in an intelligble way. So along with [1], based on my own experiences and the testimony of said professor coupled with the research I did into the dynamics of relationships, it would seem that outside of initial attraction, the "who" of the relationship doesn't really matter so much. Meaning that most relationships work not because of some fundamental fact of nature, but more because each individual understands that the problems are an amalgamation of themselves and manifest in some form or another in all their relationships.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if need be, it would seem our "in house translator" may have oversold his skills :shrug:

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    $\begingroup$ My totally personal not scientifically validated opinion on this: whatheco.de/2015/05/27/core-values-theory-hacking-emotions 🙂 I would expect the problem is likely you (your core values) do not change, the relationship not working well is only a symptom. Learn to discover what you want in life and you might jump in less relationships which are bound to fail. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Mar 15 '19 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris Interesting read thanks :) However as I said without bringing myself to much into the quesiton (so not to turn this into a therapy or self-help quesiton :'D) I wasn't sure how to reconcile the notion that people certainly do bring their own values into relationships which could cause this, however I think maybe either I misunderstood something or I didn't present the question in an intelligible way, speaking to my in house translator, I will update the original post hopefully clarifying things! $\endgroup$ – j-money Mar 15 '19 at 9:09

Psychology in my opinion is (just like any other science) a science based on loads of observations, which have eventually been formed to create some framework or model that seems to fit real life, but still always evolving.

Loads of very observant people had loads of overlapping and non overlapping observations, and opinions.

There is absolutely no one to tell, if what we think is going on "in someone", is really what is going on. Observations and our instinct are all there is to create the model, that makes us think that we understand the "problems" more. (they are not problems)

You could take any famous characters of psychology (e.g.. Sigmund Freud), who has surely contributed a lot to science, so we think we understand more how our psyche works, but for sure no one will ever know. All we know is the model we apply to understand people, seem to work for a mass of people, but it will never work for everyone every-time.

I believe it is false to say that: "You'll find that whatever issues you're having in your relationships now, you'll find persist across all your relationships, despite your partner, so do your best to make the one you have work"

People are all sorts. People change by self observation, and change even more by observing others. If they ever notice despite how different we are, how much the "same" we all are at the same time. If they ever notice, that our "so unique" ways of behaving and living life have such a strong template like nature.

Some people will surely suffer from what the above statement says.

Some will not, because the more intelligent and openhearted someone becomes with time, the more wisdom it will develop inside. The more wise someone becomes, the more it will understand about him or herself, the more it will accept him or herself.

That is all that matters, not to go against of who we are. We do that by slowly learning what the "Baggage" means in our case (this time around, in this life of ours).

From that era in ones life, life can be like anything, even very different from what it has been before.

When one comes to embrace the true self, how ever (f..d up) it may have seemed before (when we still thought the "Baggage" was part of the definition of the self), that "newborn" will have a different presence, it will attract a very different audience.

That "new shape" of attraction is what will define our later relationships.

So to say that: "I am curious if there is any validity to my professors statement..."

I am not sure you'll ever truly find any validity... it is surely valid from your professors point of view, but does it have to be valid from your point of view???

You surely cannot expect someone else to tell you whether your professors opinion should be your opinion too?

Few lines above I was saying the opposite of your professors opinion, because that is what I think of life.

Both yours professors and my contributions (and even Sigmund Freud's), are at the and of the day just opinions, based on how we individually perceive life (including others').

The only thing that matters is how YOU perceive life, and perceiving others living their life.

If your perception of life (relationships, ....) is not good enough according to someone at University, or wherever you get in life, that is not your problem.

Referring to your relationships, that is all there is to you first hand, so how could you not look at life generally through those experiences?

(again this is my opinion) If you are curious enough to keep digging and thinking about what recurring problems you have had in any of your relationships, then once you may compile a short list of these things. You may find, that no matter how many types of conflicts, misalignment you have ever had with your partners, they will always be about 1 or 2 MAJOR things in life.

Any of the conflicts, or what ever you don't like about others or yourself, you'll be able to break down into very basic personal feature of YOURS. The "problem" (it is not really a problem, rather cause in you) is usually so simple you don't even suspect it to cause certain things.

All those problems will come down to 1 or 2 of basic things, like low self-esteem is one of the most common one.

I am sure it is obvious to you, that whatever it is, it is part of your "Baggage"...

The fact that you are still experiencing those recurring problems means you haven't adequately figured out your baggage, and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Life is giving these opportunities and time to you to find the answer, and then once you know what it is, to make friends with it.

The rest of your life is still ahead of you to achieve that, it may or may not take that long.

At the end of the day, I believe we are here on Planet Earth to watch the "show". Whenever we see something we need to react to, we do so, because it is in our nature, whether we want to react or not.

We cannot "screw up"... we just live life, and get experienced that way. Or if we become numb and indecisive, then life will live us, and get experienced that way. (it gets rather bitter that way...)

Either way we get what we are here for, even if we forgot what we came here for.

I am sorry, this turned into a "What are we here for???". I shut up now.

I wish you the best... (the easiest is often not be the best, just listen to your heart)

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Please visit our site tour. We work differently to most SE sites, where we have a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references so that the answer can be independently verified, regardless of the reader's/answerer's background. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center or Psychology & Neuroscience Meta. Unreferenced claims can lead to answers being deleted. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 17 '19 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Also, whilst I am a defender of Freudian and Neo-Freudian psychology, please be aware that this answer covers areas of psychology considered by some here to be pseudoscientific, so that gives even more reason for providing references to back claims. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 17 '19 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. My point is exactly what you are questioning... Whether there is anything to back up. Everything I have said or what you will ever say, or what Freud has ever said. No one is ever going to prove anything. Yes people could come along and say they agree with what I think about life, or the opposite, but even that wouldn't make my point any more or less valid. Whatever, whoever will say is their opinion. There is no such thing as SCIENCE really. What I said is not just not pseudo-scientific. It is not scientific at all, because there is no such thing as SCIENCE. $\endgroup$ – Andras Mar 17 '19 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ The community is divided on the question of what is pseudoscience with regard to Freud, Jung, etc. For the arguments for and against, I would suggest reading the meta post I linked in my previous comment. Maybe you can add to the debate with another answer in the meta post :-) $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 17 '19 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Downvoted as merely unscientific opinion. $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Mar 17 '19 at 18:06

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