Your past relationships, particularly those with your parents, affect all the relationships you get into. An absent father or a father who set an example so high that no man could ever live up it to may leave you with daddy issues. So let’s explore what daddy issues are.
Difficulty Forming Attachments
Daddy issues refer to people, usually women, who have difficulty forming attachments with men. Although daddy issues usually apply to women, men could have them too. Daddy issues often stem from a bad or non-existent relationship with a father.
If you didn’t form an attachment to your father in childhood, you suffered as a child in all sorts of ways. If you had any of the following thoughts or feelings as a child, you might wonder what daddy issues are and whether you have them.
- You may have had a low self-concept, feeling that your father didn’t love you. This could also have led to self-loathing.
- You displayed behavior problems as a child and had difficulty adjusting socially. You might have been fearful, anxious, unhappy, or resented other kids.
- You didn’t do well in school or skipped school a lot.
- You might have been promiscuous at a young age.
Comes in Two Main Forms
Daddy issues usually come in two forms: Having an abandonment issue because dad left or just wasn’t there emotionally is one type. Comparing a new love relationship to a perfect father who treated you as a “daddy’s girl” can also cause problems.
Abandonment: Not bonding with your father because he was physically or emotionally absent can cause attachment issues in your life. You likely have a hard time trusting people and don’t believe that anyone could care for you. If you feel this way, you will have difficulty forming romantic relationships. You will likely exhibit one extreme or another: You’ll either avoid being close with someone, or you feel as if your life depends on being with someone.
If you choose someone who is emotionally unavailable, it could be because your father was that way.
Daddy’s girl: Being a daddy’s girl could be a good thing. It could mean that you had a close relationship with your father growing up and that you love your father. But being a daddy’s girl could also be negative if it means that your daddy spoiled you and left you with the belief that no man could ever be as good for you as your daddy was or is. If you feel that way, you might be setting the bar so high for men in your life that no one will ever be good enough for you.
It might even be one of the reasons you’re still single.
It’s good to have high self-esteem and to pick a partner that loves and respects you. Just be mindful to give guys a chance to show you whether they might be right for you before you dismiss them too quickly.
May Come From How He Treated His Wife
If you have daddy issues, it could stem from watching how your father treated your mother. If he treated her poorly, you will likely accept poor behavior from men because it’s all you know. Or you might go the opposite extreme and mistreat your partner as your dad mistreated your mom. Neither is acceptable for a healthy relationship. When you’re wondering what daddy issues are, recognize that what happened between your parents affected you but that you don’t have to continue the pattern.
Signs of Daddy Issues
- Dating older men: The reason people with daddy issues may date older men is to fill the void in their lives and to now have the father figure they didn’t have growing up. This type of relationship will always be a father-daughter one, however, and not a balanced relationship. As soon as you feel your older man has satisfied the void in your life, you’ll likely want to leave him for a man more your age. This isn’t always the case, though. More on this.
- Dating only younger men: Some women with daddy issues might date only younger men. That way, they can feel as if they have complete control in the relationship, control they didn’t have as a child. Do you like younger men? Avoid these problems.
- Jealous and clingy: If your father left your family, perhaps for another woman, you may be afraid that all men will eventually leave. You, therefore, might be prone to jealous and clingy behavior in a misguided effort to try to keep him. Discover how to deal with jealousy.
- Insecure: With no father to make you feel special, you often feel insecure, comparing yourself with every other woman your man comes in contact with. You constantly need his reassurance that he really cares for you. If he loves you, he’ll give it to you, but that can get old fast, and your insecurity could drive him away.
- Use sex to feel loved: If you only feel loved during sex, you may have daddy issues. You might believe that you are worthless unless you’re attractive to men through your sexuality. You tend to rush into sex before it’s time. Using sex to connect is pretty unhealthy.
- Can’t be single: People with daddy issues often would rather be in a bad relationship than to be alone. You never take the time to just discover who you are and what you want in a relationship.
- Constantly tests partner: Because you’re afraid your man will leave you if you have daddy issues, you are constantly testing the waters, seeing just how much crap he’ll take from you. The problem with this is that you will probably drive him away by your acting out, making your greatest fear come true.
Makes it Hard to Pick the Right Partner
Having daddy issues make it hard to pick the right partner and be in a happy relationship. The reason is that you’re looking for a romantic partner when you aren’t ready. To have a healthy relationship, you need to be emotionally healthy first. If you have emotional problems because of unresolved daddy issues, you’ll look for men who can meet your needs, making this a need-based relationship.
Good Guys Might Seem Different or Boring
If you grew up with a father who was narcissistic, treated your mother badly, and even cheated on her, you might be drawn to the same type of man. Your mother might have married your father because he was a “bad boy.” Bad boys, when they are around, can be exciting and can ignite passion. But, as you might have found out, they don’t necessarily make good mates or good fathers.
Good guys might seem boring or different to you, but if you don’t want to repeat a dysfunctional pattern, you might want to give a nice guy a chance.
Your Boyfriend Is Not Your Father
It’s not fair to your boyfriend to get with him and to then give him the ‘job’ of being your father. You might not have had a satisfying relationship with your father, but you can’t expect your boyfriend to provide that. You need to resolve your daddy issues, and then enjoy your boyfriend for the person he is, not for what he can do for you.
Daddy Issues Can Drive Men Away
And they can make you miserable. You need to work hard to change so that your daddy issues won’t rule your life. If you have daddy issues, the first step in resolving them is recognizing you have them, and if you’re reading this and see yourself in the descriptions, you probably have taken that step. Now you need to work on yourself to be able to trust the man you’re with and to ditch your baggage.
You Need to Learn to Love Yourself
What your dad did or didn’t do during your childhood does not indicate your worth. It’s only a reflection of his faults. If your father didn’t provide love or make you feel loved, you need to learn to love yourself. Be kind to yourself, and do things that you enjoy.
When you get into a relationship with someone, make sure they treat you well.
Therapy May Help
If your daddy issues come from events that happened in your childhood, they may be so much a part of you that you can’t just change your behavior and suddenly stop feeling and behaving the way you do. If that’s the case, you might wish to consider therapy. Talking with a professional can help you understand what daddy issues are and can help you get over your past so that you can start living your life in a healthy way.
Daddy Issues Frequently Come with Mommy Issues
If you had neglectful or abusive parents, you might have mommy issues too. You might not have had a good relationship with either your mom or your dad. That’s not uncommon in dysfunctional families. It’s tough, but you just need to tell yourself that although you didn’t get what you needed from your parents, you are still a person with value that deserves a man who will love you.
Calling Someone “Daddy” Doesn’t Indicate Daddy Issues
If you like to call your boyfriend “daddy,” that in itself doesn’t mean you have daddy issues. It just means you like to assign him the role of boss, of being in charge, of protecting you. This works sexually when you want to play dominant/submissive. Calling him daddy means he gets to praise you for being good and to punish you for being bad.
Related: Why Calling Him Daddy In Bed Isn’t Weird
Saying Someone Has “Daddy Issues” Can Be an Insult
When someone says a woman has daddy issues, they typically mean it as an insult. And they use the term to refer to a whole host of bad behaviors, such as hating men, being distrustful of men, being spoiled, and so on. Being affected by not forming an attachment with a father is a complex and serious matter. It’s not a good idea to throw the term around as an insult.
Daddy issues are often more easily seen from the outside, and you may not realize that the men you choose and how you interact with them reflects your parents. However, many people beat their daddy issues and have healthy relationships.