Growing up, I always remembering hearing that women marry men like their fathers. It was never really clear if it was by choice, or just what happened. And, of course, no one ever said “date” or “have relationships with”. It was always about marriage.
When I started dating, I didn’t think too much about it.
Sure, I noticed that I seemed to be more attracted to African American guys. And I assumed that was because the father who raised me is African American, and we are comfortable with what we know.
Along the way I figured out that I like men who are smart, educated, funny, and generous. But I didn’t actually think about how those are all qualities that describe my dad.
Yes, I’ve dated my fair share of men who were wrong for me, but I’ve never dated “bad” guys. No jerks, no abusive guys, and nobody controlling. I remember seeing some of my friends in relationships like that and wondering how it happened.
I never wondered why I wasn’t attracted to guys like that in the first place.
Then, one day I was watching TV with my dad. One of his favorite shows used to be Two and 1/2 Men, before Charlie Sheen had his breakdown. Yes, I know it may not be the most politically correct show ever, but it was funny.
There was an episode where Charlie was in a bar (like usual) and he went to hit on a young woman (also like usual). But this girl wasn’t having it. She turned to him and said, “I’m sorry sir, but I don’t have Daddy issues.”
It was a funny line that got a lot of laughs. It also got me thinking.
That girl was on to something.
We may not consciously seek out men like our fathers, but when we have a good relationship with our dad, we don’t need to look for acceptance or affection from other men.
I talked to one of my friends, who happens to be a counselor. She explained to me that there is a big connection between our relationships with our fathers and the kind of romantic relationships we end up in.
If we don’t have a strong, healthy relationship with our dads, we may end up turning to other men. We think we just want a boyfriend, but we’re really trying to fill a deeper hole. It explains why smart, beautiful women would get involved with jerks or use sex to try and get love.
If we just stop there, it seems hopeless. Our relationships with our dad, or whether we have one in our lives at all, is out of our control. If it weren’t for my dad making the choice to become my father when I was four years old, who knows where my life would be now.
I know how lucky I am.
But, I think in most things in life, just knowing is power. If we all know why we are going into relationships and why we keep ending up with the same type of guy, we can take a step back. Once we know what we are dealing with, then we can actually deal with it.
We can’t create a relationship with a father where there isn’t one. But, we can look around at the people in our lives who love and accept us, and see that we are getting those needs met already.
Then, hopefully, we can see the jerk coming and walk away. We can go into relationships because we want to be with the guy, not because we need him.
And those of us who have great relationships with our dads can take a minute and thank them.
We really are lucky to have them.
Now I know it’s a good thing to end up with a guy like Dad.
Have you ever noticed if you date guys like your dad? Or do you try and go for the complete opposite?