The Father Factor: How Absentee Fathers Affect The Relationships Of Young Women

Every so often the root of failed or dysfunctional relationships, poor decision making in men or self esteem issues plants itself as “Daddy issuesamongst women. Halle Berry most recently attributed her “I’m not the marrying type” confession to her long standing issues with her father.  According to some interesting findings, the relationship with your dad while growing up is one of the most powerful forces in your life as an adult. The state of that relationship guides your choices in love, work and how you treat yourself.

The roles of fathers in the lives of little girls have been topics of debate and discussions for years. Studies have shown that girls who grew up with a father in the home were more likely to get better grades, go to college and get married. Of course other factors can play a role such as economic stability but there is something to be said about a positive male figure in the early years of a young girl’s life.

To use myself as an example being born into a a two-parent home with a father, I didn’t grow up with an expectation and notion that men are suppose to provide for their family. Both my parents worked and when they divorced my mother my sister and I were raised by her and understood the importance of an education and independence. My father lived in another country and my mother held us together. I wasn’t easily swayed by the antics and false promises made by boys who were trying to get only one thing, because I lacked for nothing. Unfortunately many of my friends who didn’t have their fathers around fell prey to the “game” and ended up a baby mother or just plain ole bitter all before the age of twenty-five.

Father’s are the first men a young girl knows thus setting the stage for all the other men in her life. When this relationship never occurs, we have trouble navigating our “man map” and often end up on roads we rather have not discovered. Even as grown women there are “little girls” walking around inside of us with pain and yearnings for our fathers. Such manifestation comes through promiscuity, numerous failed relationships, poor decision when dating, lack of self worth, and insecurity to name a few. I’ve even been told by some women who knew their father but never had a meaningful relationship with them that they tend to choose men with the same qualities as their father even if those qualities are poor. Women are also prone to fall victim to the “if I give him all of me, he will love me forever” syndrome stemming from the underlining feeling of wanting approval and unconditional love from their dads.

If we put aside the statistics, studies and other analytical thoughts surrounding the importance of father’s in women lives and just focus on the common sense fundamental aspects of it like – how else would a young girl learn what the role of a father/husband  is if she never had or saw one? ; How would she know what love looks like from a man, if she never received loved from the first man in her life?; or how does she determine a future life partner if she never saw a successful one; maybe we can start paying closer attention to the choices we make and vow to break the cycle so our children can have better experiences. We can’t turn back the hands of time and rewrite our childhoods but what we can do is make better decisions as adults by being honest with our issues and making an effort to better our situations.


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