Sarah Elizabeth Malinak of Creating Ideal Relationships wrote an interesting post about how healthy attachment to and identification with our same-sex parents early in life help us approach grown-up love relationships in a healthier, more satisfying way.
Her book, Getting Back to Love, co-written with her husband Joseph, focuses on what they call the mama's boy/daddy's girl dynamic, in which a child feels he or she has to work hard to win daddy's or mommy's approval. When they grow up, daddy's girls may be overly flirtatious or seductive; or, she may constantly look for men she can take care of.
A mama's boydidn't get the opportunity to shift from his mother's sphere of influence into his father's, nor to develop a firm male identity. He may be irresponsible, a pleaser, or angry at women.
In her blog post, she writes about the book For Seven Lifetimes: An East-West Journey to a Spiritually Fulfilling and Sustainable Marriage by Vatsala Sperling and Ehud Sperling [Inner Traditions, 2011]. It's the story of an arranged marriage between and Indian woman (Vatsala) and an American man (Ehud).
Sarah Elizabeth says,
... there was a revealing moment when Vatsala needed Ehud to come to her rescue. She handled the situation by clearly stating her desire that he help. She didn’t cajole or manipulate. ... In return, Ehud simply acted and came to her aid. He did not resist her or judge her. She needed his help, he could freely give it, he acted, and they both came out stronger for it.
Do read the whole post for a very interesting analysis of how early mothering and fathering affects our grownup love.