My Dad died a few years ago. I loved him dearly, though he was a bit of a curmudgeonly old man at times, and that both irritated and saddened me. But I will be forever grateful to him for being a good example of a loving Dad and husband.
My mother and he didn’t meet and marry until they were in their late thirties, so I guess they were both set in their ways by that time. They still got on like a house on fire – with a bit give and take along with love on both sides for each other and their kids.
No matter what kind of Dad yours is or was, he has given you a living example of male behavior as a yard stick to measure all potential mates against. How does your Dad measure up?
If your Dad loved you, then you will feel worthy of love and respect from potential partners. Look for similar qualities to your Dad in a partner.
It’s not always obvious what qualities a person possesses up front, but you may feel a kind of gut instinct that a guy feels right, and that will often be because he reminds you of a loving father. And if your gut says no, it may mean he’s nothing like your Dad in important ways. Move on.
A Dad who does not love you in ways he is able to show (or at all) can leave you feeling unworthy of love, needy and vulnerable – not the best state to be in when looking for a partner. Recognize the flaws in your Dad. Hankering after something, he is or was not able to give for complicated reasons of his own, won’t help you in the future.
Everyone is worthy of love, including you, and you don’t need to seek love from someone like your Dad to feel good. The guys that are like your Dad are likely to be detached and cool with you – and it could be that you automatically gravitate to these kinds of guys, following the pattern of your youth, looking for love and approval in the wrong place.
If you can detect a pattern like that, half the battle is won. Deliberately look for guys who are the opposite of your Dad. Instead of cool and detached, you want a guy who is warm and giving. Use your Dad as an example of what not to look for. Even if cool detachment is familiar, it isn’t fun.
You may have a low opinion of men as potential mates who stick around. And you may also be fiercely independent just like your mother had to be to get through life, at least for a time.
Successful romantic relationships involve being open and vulnerable, and you may find this difficult with the thought in the back of your mind that men are never around for long.
To get over this, look for a guy who treats you well, particularly one who phones when he says he will, shows up when he says he will and is generally “there” for you. Open up gradually over time, while he continues to show he can be trusted. Allow him to prove that he is a partner who is present rather than absent.
HOW ABOUT YOUR DAD? Was or is he loving, unloving or absent? How has that affected your relationships? PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW