Are you dating your dad? Figuratively speaking, many women (and gay men) find themselves drawn to men who remind them of their fathers. And no wonder. Our fathers form our first impressions of men – for better or worse. The trouble is, even if your dear old dad was the world’s greatest guy (and a fantastic father), when you’re trying to work out your issues with the one who gave you life – instead of the one who’s in your life – things are bound to get hairy. Especially when you don’t even realize you’re doing it!
Here are a three father/daughter models that translate to trouble in romantic love – and how you can avoid them.
Daddy’s Little Girl
As the girl who got whatever she wanted from her father – whether material things or undying affection – you’ll often seek out the same in your lover. Unchecked, however, this is a recipe for inequality that can lead to feeling belittled, dependent and at the mercy of the man who is supposed to be your mate. Why? For starters, the responsibilities of a father-daughter relationship are very different from those of a couple. While it was your father’s job to make sure your needs were met and your grounding was firm, if you expect your partner to bear your burdens, advise you and cater to you instead of lovingly supporting you and turning to you for support, too, you’re asking for a one-sided relationship. Unlike a father, a lover is going to expect something in return, and wouldn’t you rather them expect a capable woman than an incapable little girl?
To avoid this paradigm, check yourself before you wreck yourself! Even if you’re with the world’s most generous man, make sure you’re giving as much as you receive, even if it’s in different currency. You need to show you’re an independent woman if you don’t want to be treated like a child.
Raised by a Single Mom
If your father wasn’t around – or worse, he actually abandoned you – you’ll innately have a hard time trusting men. This plays itself out when you choose mates who won’t stick around. Whether they’re bad boys or simply free spirits who don’t want to be tied down, you drive yourself crazy wondering why-oh-why you never land the good guy. Or, conversely, you seek out the overly doting type to try and make up for what your dad lacked – then you resent him because you assume he can only have negative intentions or motivations.
To avoid this paradigm, you’ll need to do some work in order to accept that your father’s treatment of you was not reflective of your worth. You deserved his love then, and you deserve love now… the key is not to push it away… or be so desperate for it that you choose indiscriminately.
Your dad might not have been abusive, but he was dictatorial in his approach to ruling the roost. You hated this and rebelled – or you were the dutiful daughter and did as you were told. Either way, you now find yourself with men who have a tendency to overstep their bounds. Or you find a partner you can walk all over, and then realize you don’t see him as a man. The catch is, you can’t have a do-over of life with your dad, and even if you could – your dude is not your dad. A balanced, healthy relationship cannot be born of an unbalanced coupling. You don’t have to put up with anyone ruling your grown-up roost. But on the other hand, if you become a dictator yourself, you’re mistreating your man.
To avoid recreating a situation where you’re always acting out for attention or actively seeking approval, it’s important that you learn that compromise is the key to any successful relationship. And if you (or your man) are always the one doing the compromising, that doesn’t count!
What do you think – what’s the best way to stop dating your dad?
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