“Women who are unable to sustain romantic relationships almost always had fathers who could not be counted on, or who were emotionally or physically unavailable when they were growing up. A loving mother is not enough to offset those difficulties. A missing father can mean a lifetime search for daddy figures in every romantic endeavor. Too many girls grow up not being affirmed by a man, not knowing what it’s like to be nurtured, protected or acknowledged by a paternal figure. As women, they often seek love and closeness in dysfunctional relationships, tolerating distant, non-nurturing men who exhibit behaviors similar to those in their absent or fantasized fathers.”
That quote is not mine and in fact I can’t even remember where I got it from. .. but I can say with certainty that I support the theory that it speaks of.
I posted this quote as my Facebook status a few years ago around Father’s Day and when it resurfaced in my “Memories To Look Back On” I couldn’t help but write about it.
Do you agree with it? Disagree with it?
I mean… we all know our fair share of women who didn’t grow up with present, consistently active fathers in their lives… and as a result some turned out just fine, while others never recovered from the absence.
There is a very discouraging coincidence that the majority of the women many of us will know, love and come in contact with will have a childhood, adolescence and adulthood that is void of their biological father… physically. BUT does physical presence matter as much as emotional presence? And does this have an effect on their dating interactions with men?
What about the women who saw their fathers every night at the dinner table, every morning before work, every weekend, holiday and birthday but still felt that he wasn’t there emotionally?
If any of these women struggle with dating and find themselves “unable to keep a man” could it be because they never truly had the emotional foundation of how to give and receive love from a man?
In the quote above the author states that too many girls grow up not being affirmed, nurtured and protected by a man and that it directly effects how they interact with men in dating scenarios.
I find this to be very true… from my own perspective of course. Unfortunately I am one of those women who did not have an “ideal” father/daughter relationship to grow me in that area.
I’ve found myself angry with my own father and the cards life chose to deal me concerning him. I felt cheated out of many benefits that I feel could have improved my life…especially in reference to dating. There are experiences that I wish he could have protected me from, warned me about or redirected me away from through nurturing me and giving me a healthy “Princess/Queen” state of mind. I wonder just how many losers I would have avoided if my dad had set the bar high for what I saw as desirable. What I saw as a MAN. And not to mention… how a man should treat me.
Out of all of the relationships and romantic encounters that I’ve experienced I revealed the presence of possible Daddy Issues in the way I interacted with these men…
What I tolerated. ..
What made me panic…
What made me question my own worth…
Even deny my own worth. ..
The crazy thing is that the only relationship that I’ve had where there were no games or “emotional tug of war” antics was the very relationship that frightened me to my core.
I can remember an experience where I had a man who was honest about his intentions, expressive, thoughtful, respectful to me and the list goes on BUT I broke up with him! It’s now several years later and I’m still trying to understand why. It seems that I ended that relationship prematurely purely out of fear. I didn’t know how to receive the kind of love that that man was trying to give me. It felt foreign and although I truly desired that type of relationship and could verbalize that desire, when I got it it made me uncomfortable.
It wasn’t until I had gotten older… and experienced a few dysfunctional dating experiences that I realized how damaging my actions were.
Why was I afraid of a secure, positively effortless relationship with a man who only wanted to love me and make me happy? I told that guy that I felt like things were moving too fast and I broke up with him! I still can’t believe how immature I was.
I also can’t help but to wonder why I ran from that emotional encounter. .. which was consistent, positive and full of love and certainty only to gravitate towards unhealthy, dishonest and inconsistent relationships with men whom I literally fought for. Cried for. Had to have.
Do you see the irony? Do you see yourself in these scenarios?
How many women out there harbor hurt or resentment towards the fact that they were robbed of the father/daughter dynamic that they desired?
Many of us, I’m sure, but the question is are we willing and ready to accept that misfortune and move on?
I sympathize with women who, like myself, either don’t know how to receive or seek the appropriate emotional interactions with men that doesn’t involve mixed signals, unkept promises and occasional distant behavior. Maybe that’s what we’ve grown accustomed to since that’s the same type of relationship many of us have had with the first men we were supposed to fall in love with. The blueprint for manhood. Our fathers.
Do we subconsciously look for fathers in the men we date? Do we place unrealistic expectations on them to heal us and fill the void of an absentee or inconsistent father… then turn right around and accept the same let downs from them because it’s what we’ve grown to expect from men?
Do we tolerate bad treatment from men because we don’t want them to leave us and shine an “emotional flashlight” on our deep rooted abandonment issues?
I believe these are questions that we should ask ourselves ladies. Most importantly I think we need to be honest with ourselves about this issue but also understand that we must take responsibility as well.
Yes our “Daddy Issues” are relevant and real but how long are we going to allow them to control us and the outcome of our romantic relationships with men?
We must embark on a journey of healing and forgiveness but most importantly on self improvement.
Use your past experiences to foster your future ones. Now you know what you DO NOT want in a romantic partner. You know how to identify those sketchy behaviors so now you can avoid the people who exhibit them.
And now you know what scenario you need to work your a** off in ensuring that your own daughters (future daughters) don’t have to deal with.
We have to start analyzing the men we encounter and making educated decisions about which roles you will allow them to play in your life based on the fruit he bears today… not what you believe he has the potential to be.
I’m sure many of our mothers thought our dads were really cool guys with cool interests and an acceptable level of potential. BUT did they have the kind of characters that honored responsibility and maturity. Were they able to commit to something outside of themselves? Did they make decisions based on selfishness or morality?
As we date and explore relationships we must ask ourselves these same questions about the men we encounter. Don’t assume that you have to do a “Husband Checklist” on every guy you date but don’t be so naive to think that your actions with these guys can’t have lasting effects.
I said all of that to say… the journey to overcoming any Daddy Issues that you may have can be daunting and time consuming but it’s necessary in order to free yourself.
Identify the things that you allow to be influenced by these “issues” and make the necessary changes in your life. Your dad left you, hurt you, lied to you… so of course you have a right to be angry and want answers BUT just like apologies sometimes those answers never come.
So you’re left with the decision to continue to let it control your life or to move on in peace and renewed understanding.
The power you walk away with is much greater than the ways in which your father failed you.
And remember. .. in most cases if he was the kind of man to walk away from his responsibilities like he did, you’re probably much better off with his absence than his presence. Trust that.