Dating A Woman with ‘Daddy Issues’
My dad is a man that everyone just has to love. Growing up, I watched him work even when he was tired, sick and/or miserable to provide for our family. Every time love entered my life, I, admittedly, compared them to my father.
The impact of my father in my life greatly affected my behavior in relationships. My father’s love and companionship is the very reason friendship, kindness, and laughter above all things are essential qualities I look for in my future partner. He is an honorable man and even when I have deviated from the right path, I have always in the back of my mind sought to find a mate who shared his more precious attributes.
When we enter adulthood, often the weight of our childhood can feel burdensome. For young girls, the lack of a father’s presence may begin to manifest in how she forms relationships with others.
Whether you are a fatherless woman trying to figure out how to love despite your childhood, the mother of a daughter who’s father is absent, or a person who is trying to love a fatherless woman, it’s essential to understand how she may be affected by her childhood experiences and to support her despite her pain.
She may suffer from diminished self confidence.
At the age of 5, my daughter began struggling with her physical appearance. A young brown girl flooded with images of the European standard of beauty, I often find her longing for features that are not native to her.
Disconnected from the #TeamNatural #MelaninOnFleek and #BlackGirlMagic movements that support adult Black women in affirming their beauty, the majority of young Black girls will still struggle to find love lines in their God-given features.
For young girl’s, a father serves as a strong positive reinforcement of beauty. There is something magical about a little girl being adored as a “princess” and told how divine and worthy she is from the masculine energy in her life. This love and praise uplifts her in an unspeakable way. Without this healthy attention and celebration, young girls may develop a distorted perception of self and low self-esteem.
Advice: She may fixate on being successful or feel inadequate when she does not feel needed in her relationships. Hell bent on proving she is worthy, a woman who is struggling to manage despite the absence of a father may need constant validation. If you are in fact loving this woman, be conscious of her need for validation. Be open to being a source of empowerment for her. Reminding her how remarkable she is will serve her spirit well.
She has a need to be seen.
Shortly after my daughter’s father was incarcerated, I noticed a shift in her behavior. Longing to replace the unconditional care offered by her father, she gravitated to men who were willing to play with her and show her attention.
Less alarming at her current age, I still found myself concerned with what this behavior would look like at the age of 14. Not all women who grow up without a father will seek attention from men, but the reality is that if I did not find a way to reassure my daughter of her value, I ran the risk of her seeking approval from her romantic partners in the future.
As a mother, it is essential for me to acknowledge that the presence of a strong male role model —father or not — is an important component of raising a child. Whether it be your significant other, a grandfather, friend, uncle, etc., having a positive male role model to support your child throughout life can only contribute in a healthy way.
Advice: A woman who yearns for male attention may appear to be overly flirtatious. She may also be devoted to the idea that it is her responsibility to please everyone. Flirting and serving other people gives her the undivided attention she so desires. If you are in a relationship with a woman who requires a great deal of affection and admiration, be patient. Without the opportunity to learn what healthy relationships look like, she will have to learn how to love and be loved.
She suffers from the “trust no man” complex.
You have to imagine what it does to a person’s psyche to feel unwanted or abandoned by the person who brought them into this world. In the mind of a woman who feels neglected, if her father did not care to stick around what would make her believe that a man would? The best defense against being brokenhearted is to never fully let someone in. Some women may avoid putting themselves in situations where they may be left feeling vulnerable.
These women may choose from an array of lifestyles to support their decision to not be emotionally available to a man. They may choose celibacy or a life devoted to their higher power. They may decide that it is best to date men who are emotionally or physically unavailable or devote themselves to their careers. The primary goal is to avoid any relationship that will require them to lend any authentic emotion to another person.
Advice: Prone to expect disappointment from men, you have to be willing to work to earn her trust. She will keep you distant and test your loyalty. This is her way of determining if you are really going to love her properly or if you will be another man to disappoint her. While no relationship should require you to jump through hurdles, loving an emotionally guarded woman will require endurance. Be true to your word at all times and be willing to go the extra mile to prove that you are in her life with the intentions of staying for the long haul.
She seeks out the father figure.
You may be a man who is significantly older than your spouse. While this may simply be a preference or matter of attraction, some women will seek out men who can provide them with the stability, support, and guidance of a father. A woman who missed the opportunity to experience the love of a father may very well look for a man who represents what she imagines a father figure to be.
Advice: If there is a large age gap or you find yourself feeling more like a guardian than a spouse, it’s OK to set appropriate boundaries. It is vital that you do not assume the role of a father in your significant other’s life. You do want to support and offer guidance when you are able, but to prevent resentment from building, avoid creating a dynamic where your partner becomes your responsibility and not your equal.
Fatherless women are not wounded animals in need of a savior. However, they are attempting to love despite the pain of not having the affection and admiration of a male role model. This longing can cause tension or hostility in relationships. Despite having to play the game with the cards they are dealt, they are no different than anyone else and are deserving of love. It should be noted that despite it all, when you earn the heart of a woman who has put every obstacle in place to prevent you from gaining access, you will experience incomparable love. She’s worth it!
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.