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If your romantic relationship isn't working out, could your mom be to blame?

According to a new study from the University of Minnesota, people's ability to love, trust and resolve conflict is developed during infancy and can affect their romantic partnerships later in life.

"Your interpersonal experiences with your mother during the first 12 to 18 months of life predict your behaviour in romantic relationships 20 years later," author and psychologist Jeffry Simpson said in a press release.

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One's attitudes can change with new relationships, introspection and therapy, the researchers said, but they went to explain that people often fall back on old patterns in times of stress. So, infants who were mistreated apparently become defensive arguers, while those whose mothers were attentive and supportive work through their problems later on.

The researchers came up with these conclusions by studying 75 children of low-income mothers, starting from birth into their 30s. As children, the subjects were observed in situations that tested how they bonded with their mothers. Over the years, they have returned regularly to be assessed on their emotional and social development and how they manage conflicts with others.

The results of the study reportedly support the idea that what happens to people as babies affects who they become as adults. But Prof. Simpson noted their findings indicated "a weak but important thread" between the relationships of infant-and-mother and adult-and-lover.

Do the researchers' conclusions ring true for you? How much do you think your own relationship with your mother has affected your love life?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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