My parents are divorced. After sixteen years they called it quits, unable to make it work. They gave it the ol’ college try, though—went to counseling and made a few attempts to patching things up. But in the end, they just couldn’t hold it together.

But here’s the funny thing, despite the fact that their marriage came crashing down amid a slew of arguments, in my memory bank, the good times far out weighed the bad.

As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of my childhood memories are positive—vacations, family pizza nights, trips to the beach, my dad telling my mom she still looked gooood. It all seemed to be going well, until the end. Maybe my parents were just great at hiding their problems, but as far as their relationship went, they did a pretty good job of showing us (at least on the surface) what a good marriage looks like.

I began to think about what kind of relationship role models my parents were when I tuned into the latest episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass. Although Sunday’s show focused on why women have such trouble getting along with one another, one incident involving a woman in the audience made me wonder about the effects our parents have on how we relate to others.

During the show, one audience member was in tears about an unresolved issue with a friend. When she realized she never learned to set the proper boundaries to protect herself, spiritual guru Iyanla Vanzant asked her who taught her to allow others to infringe on her boundaries. After the woman admitted that her mother was the one who modeled questionable relationship boundaries, she cried inconsolably, finally admitting her parents had failed to teach her how to properly love.

How do you find the peace to move on after a betrayal? Watch as an audience member unexpectedly breaks down—and relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant helps her break through the pain caused by another woman.</p>

Her meltdown made me think back to Rihanna’s confession that her relationship with her father affected her how she related to men, particularly Chris Brown. During her Next Chapter chat with Oprah, Rihanna admitted that in order to forgive Brown and let go of her anger, she needed to heal her relationship with her father. Although she said that her dad was a great father, according Rihanna her father was a horrible husband, which shaped how she related to others.

It seems intuitive that our parents’ relationships may affect how we deal with others, but it’s not always the case.

So let’s talk about it. In your experience, Clutchettes, have your parents served as good relationship role models?

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