The beginning stages of love, as well as how we pursue and give it throughout our lives, depends a lot on our parents, explains psychologist Dr. Beverly Palmer, author of “Love Demystified: Strategies for a Successful Love Life.” “We are born as helpless infants, dependent on our parent to fulfill our needs. Love, then, becomes need fulfillment and we seek this same love out as adults,” she says in an email interview.
According to Palmer, attachment theory plays a big part in the development of love for our parents, because when children are protected and nurtured by available, responsive parents, they have their need for emotional nurturing satisfied. Therefore, they learn to love the parent.
What children learn about love from their parents determines how they will love others as adults, she says. “If your parents fulfilled your need to be emotionally nurtured by giving you love, you then developed into an adult who has love to give. But if your emotional needs were not nurtured, you did not fully develop and instead became a demanding and anxious adult still seeking the love you missed as a child.”