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You Asked: Do I Have Daddy Issues?

Dear Sugar,

I have been in relationship after relationship. I have put myself on dating sites, met guys in bars, through friends, blind dates — you name it, I have done it. I've met some really nice guys out there but for some reason, I cannot commit. So many articles, TV shows, and therapists say that if a woman has issues with her father, she is doomed when it comes to relationships. In my case, I never met my father. He left my mother when she was pregnant with me. Since then, my mother has remarried and as a child, her husband adopted me and is now who I consider my "real" dad.

Over the years, my relationship with my father has been rocky but in the end he has always been the one that is there for me. I do have a male figure in my life, so are the unresolved issues of not knowing who my biological father is responsible for my fear of commitment? Is it possible to find security in a relationship with a man without meeting my biological father? — Single Sally

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Single Sally,

Just because you haven't found that special someone you want to settle down with doesn't mean it's because you haven't met your biological father. I think the fact that you're not settling says more about your high standards than anything else. Admitting that you have a hard time committing is a great realization, but I wouldn't place blame on it quite yet.

Though you were raised with a father in the house, it sounds to me like you're curious about meeting your biological father — and with good reason, I'd be curious too. If that's a desire that won't quit, I think you should talk to your mom about him; get answers to any questions you might have about him and his relationship with you mother.

I don't think you're doomed when it comes to relationships, but if you fear that to be the case, talk out your emotions with friends, family, or a therapist. I happen to think you're being a little hard on yourself — some people take longer than others to find the right person to commit to — so keep dating, have fun, and when the right person comes along, I have a feeling your "daddy issues" will be tossed to the side.


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i always wonder who started this whole thought process that you were doomed if you didn't have a good relationship with your father. for myself - i didn't really have a relationship with my father either, yet i found that it made more independent and that was my downfall because i realized that as much as i put myself out there i didn't need someone to take care of me, and that's what a lot of guys want to do.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
I've never understood the whole daddy issue thing. Have no idea what it is. Not sure if I have one or not. Prob do tho.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i'm sure sometimes it has an effect - i had a roomate with a father who has had multiple affairs on multiple wives and was currently having an open affair overseas while her mom waited on her in the was all out in the open....and she had major committment issues even when the guy was amazing to me, it can sometimes have an effect....but not always! in this case, it could be an excuse. this isn't a very drastic situation, and sometimes people have committment issues and don't have an excuse. it's just the way it is.
lauraxtc lauraxtc 8 years
heartbreakerx62x heartbreakerx62x 8 years
There is actually a SEX AND THE CITY episode pertinent to this topic - Carrie basically says it's a crap shoot and that it doesn't really have an effect.
CYL CYL 8 years
No it has nothing to do with it.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
through out my ENTIRE dating life, i was the commitmentphobe... who chose guys who were MORE commitmentphobe than i was (so i could essentially blame it on them) and i didnt realize this until recently.... i happen to have MANY father issues (that i've finally addressed or at least accepted) BUT was able to finally commit to a WONDERFUL guy... but only after i had made all the mistakes that you are currently making... you NEED to make the mistakes, and date the fools, the tough guys, the idiots,... and then you need to be on your OWN to figure it all out & realize you CAN BE ON YOUR OWN.... AND BE HAPPY... and then seriously... you'll find the right one, because you know YOURSELF better than you ever did... it sounds like you're very self aware (and looking for daddy issues as a possible excuse maybe???) i think you need to look at yourself, more than you need to look towards the missing man in your life.... (your birth father OR your future husband)...
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Your non-committance *could* be influenced by psychological issues. I've read a lot of studies that have said that men and women tend to want to stay with and marry people who are like their opposite-sex parent. So, a woman would be more attracted to a man who is something like her father; a man would be be more attracted to someone like his mother. This ISN'T a hard and fast rule (there are LOTS of exceptions), it's just a noticed trend. Not being able to commit may come from not knowing exactly what to look for in a guy b/c the father is supposed to model that. But you HAVE a (what sounds like) wonderful stepfather that you consider your real father, so it can't be primarily father issues that keep you from committing. It might be more of a trust issue (?)... I don't know anything about non-committing issues, so I can't really suggest anything to do. But it's definitely NOT because of unresolved father issues. Like the person above me said, we ALL pretty much have those!
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
oops...*whether they knew him or not..
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Every single human being has a daddy issue whether they had one him or not. Those who had a good father, still whine about him. Those who had a bad one are somewhat or very scarred. Some women idolize their fathers but does that mean they are high maintenance brats to their husbands...not necessarily. And some people just have a middle of the road,mediocre father but that doesn't mean they are indifferent towards relationships. I know my father, we didn't spend much time together. But I get him. He's a musician, a carpenter and a cool person...he just sucks as a father and now grandfather. LOL I don't judge other men by him, but I use him just like my uncles, old drill Sargents, pastor, teachers and any other male role models that were in my life as a guideline. You have to know what you need/want, find a good example of that and look for it. I love Cliff Huxtable and I also have an uncle who's the character personified...that's what I want/need and I won't settle for anything other than that. That's all I need to know, daddy or not.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i think it's more in your head than anything else i am sure the reason you have committment issues has nothing to do with the fact that you don't know your biological father, as you have had a stable father figure in your life who you know is committed to his family, so you know it's possible to meet a good man (let's be honest, your adoptive dad didn't have to be a father...he didn't have to marry a single mom with a young child, bur he did, and he stepped up to the plate and handled the situation in a very honorable way, so obviously you've seen in your life that some men are good people) but i think you're psyching yourself out by thinking it's all about the biological connection, you're blaming that connection, and therefore you put high expectations in relationships and end up ending them because of a fictional unresolved issue meet your biological dad if you want to and if you can, like dear said, but also open your mind to the fact that your "daddy issues" aren't the only barrier to your finding love
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