You’ve likely heard the saying, “Men marry their mother, and girls marry their father.” This is just too simplistic when taking into account how complex human beings are. The reality is that both parents and your entire family of origin play a role in Your Love Imprint ® and how you are hard-wired for love.
Whether you know your biological parents or not, whether you were raised by one parent or both, we all learn about intimate relationship in our family of origin.
So if you want to spend the rest of your life with your soulmate, you’re not looking to date more. Your desire is to spend your life with that one special person who really gets you and loves you warts and all.
We don’t call ourselves “Dating Coaches” because dating is not the goal. You want to meet your soulmate so that you can spend the rest of your life with the love of your life!
We call ourselves Soulmate Coaches because we know that is your goal: To mate for life.
If finding your soulmate is the goal, then it is important to know your biggest obstacle to achieving it. Here’s the deal, you have a subconscious program that is driving your choices and your behavior in your relationships. It determines who you find attractive and who you have chemistry with.
It’s the key to understanding why you’ve been struggling to make love last.
This subconscious program is Your Love Imprint®.
What is Your Love Imprint?
Your Love Imprint is the system in your subconscious mind that is your personal GPS setting for love. It was created in your family of origin when you were a small child, usually between 0-8 years of age.
Your Love Imprint consists of three parts: your limiting beliefs, mental/emotional patterns, and behavioral strategies for giving and receiving love.
That’s the simple explanation for a complex system, one that has many layers.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what created Your Love Imprint®, how it works and how it affects your behavior.
When you pop out of the womb you need to feel loved and safe in order to survive.
When we are born, we are physically incapable of taking care of ourselves. We are unable to walk or communicate. We have zero motor skills. We are helpless. So we need someone to take care of our physical needs in order to survive.
What most people don’t think about is that we also have two emotional needs that must be fulfilled in order to survive. We need to feel loved and safe.
And we will do anything in order to feel loved and safe. We will take on any belief or behavior in order to get these needs met. That is how important they are to our survival.
Psychologist Harry Harlow ran a series of famous experiments with baby Rhesus Monkeys in the 1950s in which he replaced their mothers with different types of dolls replicating the adult mother monkey.
One of the dolls was made of wire, another was covered with a cloth, and there was one doll that was metal and had spikes on it that would strike the baby monkey when it came close.
This third doll was the most illustrative of how important it is to feel loved and safe. What Harlow discovered was that the spikes did not dissuade the baby monkey from seeking love from its surrogate mother. In fact, what happened was that the baby monkey would try different strategies of approaching the mother in an attempt to not be hit.
The baby monkey would act playfully, or it would approach slowly and cautiously, or it would be flirtatious, or even be bold in its approach. The baby monkey never gave up its quest to get love from its surrogate mother.
You could think of yourself as a baby in much the same way.
You will take on any belief, any behavior, or any strategy to feel loved and safe in your family of origin.
It is so important for you to feel loved and safe that you will take on any belief system to ensure that you fit in your family of origin and that they will continue to provide for you – even if it means thinking less of yourself.
Children have a unique way of taking responsibility for their circumstances. When a child is not getting what he or she needs from a parent, the child doesn’t say some version of, “Gee Mom, that isn’t very helpful. What I really need is to be told that you believe in me and that everything will be alright.”
No child has that level of self-awareness, nor would it even be safe in many families to speak that way to a parent.
Instead, children ask themselves, “What is wrong with me that my parent is behaving this way?”
As children, we take full responsibility for the fact that our parents didn’t have the best strategies for raising us. We each take on a core wound, something that says we are not loveable exactly as we are, and that wound births all kinds of limiting beliefs, behaviors, strategies, and emotional reactions.
How does Your Love Imprint ® affect your choices and your behavior?
To simplify a complex system we’ve broken it down into three categories:
- Your limiting beliefs.
- Your mental and emotional patterns.
- Your behavioral strategies
All three of these parts work together in a system to block you from the love you desire (like the way there are three parts that make up an egg: yolk, white, and shell).
Let’s say you believe that all men are cheaters. Your subconscious mind will highlight any information that could mean that the man you are with is untrustworthy. You’ll likely be triggered easily into feeling jealous or insecure whenever he is speaking with another woman. And you could put too much emphasis on dating a trustworthy man, even when there is no spark of attraction.
Maybe you have a strategy of trying to prove you are loveable or that you have to earn love. This strategy leads women to being in their masculine and doing a lot of the pursuing in the dating process only to find that the men they want a relationship with never step up to claim them.
If this is one of your strategies for love, it can cause you to choose men who reject you because if you have to prove you are loveable in order to feel loved then you will always need that challenge to exist so you can attempt to overcome it. It feels familiar to what you experienced in your family of origin about love.
Knowing how your subconscious system is wired for love and transforming it is the shortcut to having the soul-satisfying, long-lasting love you desire.
The main job of the subconscious mind is to keep you alive. It does this by highlighting the familiar.
As human beings, we have a physical homeostasis that is required for us to exist. If your body’s temperature, heart rate, or blood pressure fall outside of a very narrow range, you will die.
We also have a behavioral homeostasis. Our subconscious mind strives to keep our behavior consistent within a narrow range. Because we are all wired for survival (and not necessarily to thrive) our subconscious mind directs us toward similar circumstances again and again and again.
The subconscious mind cannot judge – that occurs only in the big pre-frontal cortex part of the brain. You can think of the subconscious as having two buckets – Known and Unknown. What is known is considered safe and everything else is considered unsafe. This is because whatever age you are right now – you’ve made it this far.
Your subconscious wants to bring you more of the same experiences because it assumes you will continue to survive through whatever you’ve already experienced. Because the subconscious cannot judge, it has no clue if you are alive and blissfully happy, or if you are miserable and suicidal. It only knows that you’re alive and you’ve lived through all of your experiences.
Your Love Imprint® is the program for intimate relationship – LOVE. It has a homeostasis for what love feels like to you and how it functions. So if you’ve never experienced the kind of love you desire there is a disconnect between what is highlighted out in the world, and what you truly want.
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
We had a client “D” whose father wasn’t physically present during her childhood. He traveled for work and felt resentment for the family he had at home. Her mother was domineering and controlling and didn’t validate her or her siblings.
As a girl, she often felt like a caretaker for her mother, and “D” felt loved when she was being responsible and a helper. Her mother taught her that men were untrustworthy and less evolved than women.
As an adult, she struggled to find a relationship that was fulfilling on all levels. She was either married to the responsible and supportive man where there was no chemistry, or she would have passionate affairs with men who were very irresponsible and unable to take care of themselves.
We determined her love imprint to be “Loves means I can’t be satisfied.”
Another one of our clients “H” grew up an only child in a house where her parents never had a fight. They were married 56 years and in all that time no one was ever upset. To make matters worse, her parents expected perfection from her.
She was sick as a child with an immune deficiency and so she spent a lot of time in the hospital. Even after the threat of her illness was over, her parents worried a lot about her and were concerned she would not be able to thrive in life.
“H” married the first guy to show interest in her. He cheated on her twice and she always felt that it was her fault. If only she were more accepting of him it would have worked out differently. She only blamed herself for the marriage not lasting.
We determined her love imprint to be “It’s not safe for me to get the love I want.”
A third client of ours “S” grew up being told that her father really wanted a son instead of her. He couldn’t handle her being emotional and would always manipulate her by turning her words against her. Her mother was not a warm or affectionate person; instead, she expressed love through her actions.
She married and ultimately divorced a man who she felt she could never please. Her biggest fear was that she was never going to be enough – good enough, smart enough, thin enough, or pretty enough.
We determined her love imprint to be “I’m not worthy of love.”
Sharing these specific examples allows you to see how the underlying limiting belief system comes from the circumstances within the family of origin, and then carries forward later in life to be played out via intimate relationships.
Have you been frustrated with “New Face Same Situation Syndrome?”
You meet someone and have all the good feelings, you’re certain this time it will be different, only to discover it’s all the same… again. It’s enough to have you swear off dating altogether.
There is nothing wrong with you – as a matter of fact, your survival mechanism is 100% intact. You simply have a mismatch because you haven’t yet experienced the kind of love you desire.
We bet you’ve had the experience of walking into a room of a few hundred people, most of whom you’ve never met. Your eyes connect with some people, you smile, and you begin to have a conversation with someone. Have you then discovered that you have all these things in common that you couldn’t have known ahead of time? It seems like kismet. (This occurs with the gender you’re attracted to and also with those who are simply platonic friends.)
You don’t DECIDE in your conscious mind who you find attractive. It just happens. Just like the scenario above. You simply speak to the people who stand out – who are highlighted for you.
The part of you that is highlighting those people and placing them as co-stars in your own personal movie (as opposed to extras in the background) is your subconscious. It draws you toward the familiar and this is the only directive it was given.
We realized this system very early in our work when we had a client who had trauma in her childhood. As an adult, she always seemed to find a similar situation – a match to what she knew she did NOT want.
When it comes to love – you are always in reaction to the past.
If the last guy cheated, you want to make sure he is faithful. If the ex is an alcoholic then all your focus goes toward finding someone sober, etc.
Truthfully, what you really want is not the opposite of what you do not want. Yet this is how you stumble into love simply by accident.
Accidental love leads to a similar dysfunction like the one you grew up with because you learned how to “do” love in your family of origin. If you desire something you’ve never experienced before, then you will never find it looking outside of you. The solution you seek is actually inside.
As a child, you assigned meaning to the events that occurred. The plot points of your past are not changeable, however, the meaning you assigned to those events is malleable. Having a new experience of love changes the identification of what love is to the subconscious mind. Just like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it, you cannot unlearn it.
You can change your dating strategies all you like, but Your Love Imprint will still keep you stuck in the same patterns blocking you from your soulmate.
If you’re interested in discovering the language of Your Love Imprint and how you can transform it, join us for Your Love Imprint® Session. During this private session, we will diagnose your unique pattern blocking you from long-lasting love and share with you our approach for transforming your heartache and open the door to a new type of love – one where you can count on your partner as sure as you know the sun will rise tomorrow.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.