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Do Tell: How Has Your Relationship With Your Dad Affected Your Love Life?

Whether you have an amazing relationship with your father or a lousy/nonexistent one, Father's Day is a time to reflect on how this important figure in your life shaped your relationship to other men. (It can even impact desire/identification for gay women.)

Psychologists have argued that if you had a loving and healthy relationship with your father, you will most likely seek out men with his qualities. For women with unbalanced or dysfunctional relationships — either an overdoting, overprotective father or an absent one — they can become, in the former case, "princesses" who expect men who bend over backward for them, or, in the latter case, women with "daddy issues," who look for the same unavailable or unsatisfactory men who remind them of their disappointing fathers.

Do you look for the kind of man your father is — or the complete opposite? How has your relationship with your dad affected your love life?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dani17731 dani17731 7 years
My Dad is a great guy, but very traditional (Dad gets the final say-so, Mom takes care of the house and kids). Fine for him, but not the way I want to live my life. So I guess I'll be looking for a man who wants to be my partner instead of the head of the house. Also, I hate it when these studies (not this one specifically) consider all children in single parent households to have an absent father. No, my parents weren't married. Yes, they split up when I was very young. So technically I grew up in a single parent household, but my dad was still in my life! They really need to consider that.
MzBoss MzBoss 8 years
I tend to date those who have the good and even the bad qualities of my dad. I don't know why but i notice later on that a lot are common between the two. I'm 20 and I found out I had a little sister when I was 17 or 18. My dad cheated with his ex wife in 96 when i was 8 and they conceived a child. I put two and two together and confrotned my parents, it was true. I was heartbroken because I wasn't the baby anymore and when he would run into people he would tell them I was the baby when he knew i wasn't. Since finding that out it has put a strain on our relationship and has lead to me believing that the wool is being pulled over my eyes in relationships. So I expect to get hurt in relationships and I hate having those feelings. I am expected to be treated like a princess and when Im not, I feel mad and tend to ruin things for myself.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
I have a wonderful father, and I've noticed that I've been drawn to men that have the same qualities that he has. A good mediator, a peacekeeper in the eye of a storm, and calm and easygoing, but is tough only when the situation calls for it to be. Also someone who has a silly, 5 year old's sense of humor. My dad is all of that, and my ideal man would have those qualities too.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
I know for sure fathers place an important role in our confidence level. Mom's can do a lot, but not quite all. Seems like many girls are not even conscious of it unless it's taken away. My dad died suddenly when I was ten. I remember quite a lot of him. Mostly good things. He used to watch over me. He was pretty horrible to my mother though. I won't get into details. A year later my mother remarried. He was great for her, but could care less about children. What's worse is he was detrimental to our entire youth. I never heard once, that I had done good in anything. Not a hug. Not a high five. No glad to see you's or how are you's. No bragging to friends about our grades or sports. No. I remember cut downs, critism, snide remarks, comments, rules, insensitive jokes. I spent five years making sure I had an A+ average in school so I could get the heck out of there. Into college I went ASAP. As far as my husband? Boyfriends? I chose wisely from these experiences. No one would be similar to either my dad or step father. They would be someone completely different.
missy1632 missy1632 8 years
I did. Been together for a year on the 11th of July... *sigh
musicluvr345 musicluvr345 8 years
I feel like the relationship I have with my Dad has influenced how I see men. He isn't abusive, but has his moments where I just don't like him. I've found that now when I like a guy, I tend to push him away, and I think it's because of him. Not that he is half as bad as some of the fathers that other commentors described.
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 8 years
My dad hasn't been perfect or anything, but I'm grateful for him. He always calls to check on me and supports me in all of my major decisions (leaving the country for a year, getting married at 18, changing colleges, etc). The main thing that bothers me about him (and I think almost all dads are this way) is that he thinks he knows everything and can't accept another person's opinion. My husband is the same way. I have to sort of throw a tantrum in order for either one of them to accept what I'm saying, sometimes...but they both love me :)
LOVErickii LOVErickii 8 years
i know my dad's not perfect but i love him just the same. there are aspects that i see in him that i look for in a significant other but there are also qualities he has that I don't want to find. My dad always expects the best from me but at the same time he doesn't want his expectations to pressure me especially if it isn't making me happy or i'm not enjoying it, number one is that I love it. Now that I'm older our relationship is getting to the point where I feel that we've become friends. He is also very protective of me and my sister, just like those stereotypical dads you see on tv and movies with the intimidating front "you touch my daughter..." which is probably why I won't bring a boy home unless he is starting to mean a whole lot for me & i feel that it's going to last... A significant other like my dad has to be a mr fix it and pretty tech savvy which are 2 things my dad is . I get surprised when my friends tell me how completely hopeless their parents are with all the new technologies because that is one thing my dad is not. He works as a computer analyst/software writer so he is the person i go to when i'm having trouble with anything computer related, him & i talk photography alot that's a hobby we both share, we're actually going to a photographic convention on the weekend But sometimes I feel he can be a bit hypocritical where he will police me & my siblings for not doing something but then he'll go on and do it & we point it out to him but he'll twist it around and make it our fault or shrug it off like it was nothing...
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
*sorry I meant balance
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
I had a great father, he died when I was 11 years old, but I have great memories of him. He was not an authority figure of any kind that was my mom's job, but he was a very good friend, and having an overprotective mother he kind of gave me that valence the first 11 years of my life( My mom was very over protective of me growing up, until this day she is very over protective) My dad was funny, kind, and everyone loved him. He thought me so much and for that I'm great full. He wasn't perfect but I do believe he did the best he could to be a good father and he was there emotionally which if very important. And even though my relationship with my mother was better than the one I had with my father he was a good father over all.
CanadianAlissa CanadianAlissa 8 years
my dad wasn't overly involved with myself or my siblings. he never really got asked us questions, knew details of our lives. my parents separated when i graduated high school, due to my dad's infidelity. i was in a relationship for 4 years that my bf was just like my dad. kept to himself, preoccupied, emotionally absent and did not like my friends or family. eventually ended that relationship. i am now with my current bf, who is caring, a good listener, involved in my life and gets along with my friends and family. part of me still thinks since my dad wasn't there for me and because he left my mom, my bf will do the same but i am learning to trust him and its getting easier.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
Thanks for these honest and heartfelt answers! Stay tuned for a follow-up post about how to deal with daddy issues.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Same here - I don't think I solidly fit in either category either. My Dad has both good qualities and bad qualities. I like to think that my husband embodies my Dad's good qualities, and not the bad ones. My husband has other good qualities, too, not just limited by those he shares with my Dad. So yes, my husband resembles my Dad in the good ways, not in the bad ways.
MissSophia MissSophia 8 years
I do have daddy issues. My father wasnt abusive and provided for us but he was absent emotionally. He expected his firstborn to be a boy and I wasnt so Ive felt my whole life that I was never good enough. Everything I did growing up wasnt good enough and he let me know it. It was never "good on you, you tried your best and Im proud", more "why did you get an A- and not an A+? Cos youre stupid and hopeless". It was horrible to live under that pressure of not being intelligent enough, or thin enough (he was forever telling me to stop eating and lose weight - even though he's bordering on obese himself), or beautiful enough or polite enough. Needless to say, I developed an eating disorder and now have the lowest self-esteem. I can't trust guys and Im just not interested at all in having a relationship. I really hope one day Ill get over this but for the short term I dont really see that happening
Sugarblonde Sugarblonde 8 years
Eh I don't think I solidly fit into either category. I did have a very strict, authoritarian father growing up that all of us kids were desperately scared of. I really wanted to live with my mother for years but she was a divorced stay-at-home mother that couldn't financially support 4 kids. The good thing was that my dad wasn't really around because he was a single father raising us kids. Though, as I'm 24 now I see that his father was like that to him & sometimes people act the only way they know how. He and I still aren't that close, but I understand why he acted like he did. Unfortunately, I find myself so independent because of my father/no parental figure around. I also am a little "too hard" as my dad says for a girl... I don't know if it was because I was raised by a tough dad but I'm not that emotional. This has resonated into relationships, where I'm so independent & committment takes an actual effort. My boyfriend of 4 years has put up with a lot... I think he is like my father in some ways, which is not a bad thing. My dad does have good qualities. But he also has a caring side - which is a perfect mix.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
had an awesome dad, still do. he was my biggest supporter and was always happy for ME. meaning he let me have my own dreams and didn't push off his stuff onto me or try and get me to do something i didn't want to do. his parents were nothing like that, although they loved him, so i'm not sure where he learned how to be a great dad. i love me dad :)
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
Holy crap.... I didn't mean to write a novel! Sorry everybody!
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
Though they look absolutely nothing alike, my boyfriend really does have most of my father's positive character traits. My dad is what my family affectionately calls "the living encyclopedia"; we used to have long philosophical, historical, political, and scientific discussions at the dinner table every night that would last into the early morning sometimes. My boyfriend is very much the same way, though he has more of a tendency to throw BS out there to make himself sound good, and that's when I have to call him out and set him straight! :) My boyfriend and father are both loyal almost to a fault (there are several times I pulled crap anyone else would leave me for, but not him, and ditto for my mother with my dad). They both also take their personal honor very seriously, and through pure dumb freaking luck, both will have careers in the military. However, I definitely do have some issues with abandonment even though my dad never technically "left" my family, because the nature of his job meant that he would often be away for 6 months to a year at a time. I was often almost happy he left because he grew up in an all male household with anger issues where fear was a submission technique, and often carried his dad's parenting techniques into his own family when he had only daughters. The family dynamics would change (often for the better) without him, and then he would come back later and try to force his way back in like nothing had changed and completely upset our new equilibrium. Add on to that my mother suffering from clinical depression a lot when he was gone (and all the negativity the condition brings to the family), and that means that something was always getting chronically screwed up in my family life, whether it was "who is sane today?" or "who is the real authority figure this time?". To make a long story short, I've still got some issues I haven't resolved, though my bf does have most of my dad's better qualities. I'll definitely have to figure it out soon though, because my bf is giving every sign of wanting to move on to the next step and into a military life, and I'm honestly not sure I can handle it. :(
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I was always a daddy's girl when I was growing up, and after my mom passed away when I was 12, he really stepped up and took care of me and my two younger sisters. I really appreciate that he has always loved me and provided for me financially. However, my mom's death also brought out a side in my dad that I didn't like. He began dating again just four months after she passed away, and he has dated many women since (and has been engaged twice). Almost all of the women have been excessively controlling and selfish, always acting as if my father is a single man with no children. Yet my dad stays with these women anyway...to put it simply, I do love my dad and I'm thankful for a lot of sacrifices he's made, but I am not romantically interested in men who are like him.
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
Yes, Karlotta, that was very sweet. Sorry to hear about losing your dad. Especially, with this being Father's day and all. The silver lining is that you realized you have a keeper! :love: My biological dad has many wonderful characteristics & I love him dearly. However, my parents divorced when I was little and my step-dad was an evil man. He was an alcoholic and abusive. Luckily, he was only home about one weekend a month so we learned to tolerate him. My mom was a peacekeeper (too much) and overlooked things that I don't think she should have overlooked. All she had was a HS diploma and certificate from beauty school. I've always vowed I would never be like that. I'm much more independent than her & I know that there are certain things I would not put up with. Men who drink too much frighten me. It seems that I attract men who are noncommital. Perhaps it's because I've never had that in a dad.
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