Carl Jung called it the Electra complex – a latent desire to kill our mothers and possess our fathers – declaring it a stage of development every girl goes through between three and six years old.
But while that might sound like a slightly creepy cliché, for many of us, a quick tally of our exes will bring up some uncomfortable similarities with the first man in our lives – whether you were aware of it at the time or not.
A little while ago, my father called me from the opposite side of the world to tell me he had a new girlfriend. " he said, giddy on the other end of the phone, sounding like a teenage girl riding the waves of a new crush.
"I haven't felt like this in, oh god, I can't even remember."She was 30 years his junior—she was almost exactly my age. He has friends all over the globe and from all sorts of places. That sounds kind of crazy, even for you." He reasoned that he was craving something tropical. They had incredible chemistry and could talk about almost anything.
Comparing pictures of Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie’s dad Jon Voight, Norman Cook with Zoë Ball’s dad, Johnny, or Nigella Lawson’s ex Charles Saatchi with her father Nigel, it’s easy to spot this phenomenon at work.
Previous studies have shown that women use their primary father figure as a template for picking a mate even if they are adopted, suggesting that sexual imprinting is led by experience and not simply genetic.* While I can’t say that any of my boyfriends have physically resembled my dad – balding and bifocals?
Relationship therapist Dr Judith Wright says it’s quite straightforward.
Basically, the interactions we have with our fathers as young girls are our earliest opportunity to practise communication with the opposite sex.
‘It’s called pre-sexual programming,’ she explains. ‘As infants, we develop an unconscious schema of what love is, based on the way we are treated by our primary caregivers.
Then, as adults, we’re attracted to people who stimulate us in the same way.
"I'm playing table tennis with the Under-30s Champion of Beijing," he'll say when I call him on a Friday night. "These characteristics make him lovably unique and very funny. "I'm exhausted," he admitted, "but I haven't felt so alive in years! He was still in love with her when they separated, but the problems in their relationship had ultimately worn my mother down. He was unable (or rather unwilling) to start a new serious relationship.
But at times, his exciting, spur-of-the-moment life can be tiring to keep up with. He confided in me that he wasn't the least bit interested in falling in love again. He was no longer interested in long-term commitment.
He's tall, he has an artsy-yet-stable career, he's well-read and — maybe best of all — he states clearly in his profile that he's looking for someone who wants to be in a serious relationship. But I do love little people and I think it could be fun to hang around with one or a few of them.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating