The term ‘Daddy Issues’ is a blanket phrase used usually in a derogatory way to refer to women who have intricate, unclear, or dysfunctional relationships with men.
It is usually used to describe women who project subconscious desires toward the (mostly older) male friends or partners in their lives.
Worthy of note is that not only do women suffer from daddy issues, but more often than not, the focus is usually on them because of the bond they share with their fathers.
Most women who suffer from these issues rarely had a bond with their fathers growing up. It could be due to several reasons, which include: the death of their fathers, total absence of their fathers from their lives (even though he is alive, this could be because of separation or divorce), and then we have those who grew up with their fathers under the same roof, but had no father-daughter relationship, as he was present but not ‘available’, as well as those who had abusive fathers.
Do I have daddy issues?
Essentially, one of the significant signs that a woman has daddy issues is that she is attracted to men way older than she is. These men are usually old enough to be her father.
It is not your classic or typical sugar-daddy, sugar-baby relationship. Most times, she has no interest in having a relationship with them. Do not forget she is looking for a father.
However, you can see such a woman getting married to her older friend once in a while. She may feel that is how they would meet her yearnings for fatherly love.
These women seek emotional compensation for what they feel they have lost and perhaps are still missing in their lives.
They are seeking a father figure to help them navigate life’s challenges. They seem incomplete living without a father, and they feel they could make up for it if they could find or create the ‘perfect father’.
Most times, these women do not care about what the men own; they wish that the men would extend a hand of fatherliness to them. Because of their expectations of men, they sometimes have challenges dating men within their age group.
Some marry older men because they prefer being fathered to being in a partnership-driven relationship, to live in the father-child scenario playing in their heads.
Other signs of daddy issues are troubled attachments and trust concerns with younger men. Most times, they settle for unfitting partners. They might also need help setting boundaries with men.
If you worry excessively about what your partner thinks about you and are constantly concerned about not disappointing them, check for other pointers to know if you have daddy issues.
The bottom line is that you idealise your partners because you are hungry for an idealised father that you never had.
The father-daughter bond
A young girl’s relationship and connection with her dad are incredibly profound, significant and sensitive. If this is missing, she’ll likely seek partners in her life who can offer to meet her an expectation.
Growing up, an unhealthy or non-existent relationship between a girl and her dad would often affect her relationships because the father-daughter relationship informs and is the foundation of a girl’s beliefs about men, love, and romantic relationships.
Search for a daddy
The following and more are some reasons a young girl would feel the absence of a father and seek to fill the void.
A woman with daddy issues can go to any length in search of the opinion of an older male on a matter, even if it means stopping and talking to random men on the street, in a social or religious gathering or on the internet.
There are decisions she feels she cannot make alone, from the course of study in school, the school of choice, a career choice, a place to work, who to date, and marriage. Sometimes, she already knows what her female family members and friends would say on an issue, so she just really sees herself desperately wanting to know what an older man would think of a situation.
Safety and Security
Another reason these women seek older men is for safety and security – physical, emotional, spiritual and financial.
They seek safety and security in older friends because they feel these older friends have been through life more than they have and have more experience, friends, circle connections, knowledge, and so on.
Typically, an older person, in which category their fathers would have belonged if he was alive or available, is usually more established and has more money, power, influence, and resources than a younger person.
One more reason is companionship. Some women would have been their daddy’s girls if they had one. They would have created their world around him. It does not help that they see young girls like themselves relating with their fathers on and off the internet and figure out which of their older male friends they can mould to fill in the gap.
What you get
Some perks come with being friends with older people.
They are excellent listeners.
What more does a girl need than the listening ears of her dad? Well, older friends have the charm of listening to your wins, lows, challenges and moves without interrupting. Not only will they hear, but they will also help with ideas on how you can improve on what you are doing or get better results in your endeavours. They could be your greatest cheerleader, and this would further endear you to them.
They are subtly manipulative
There is every tendency that you could reveal too much too soon. It could be because you feel they are older and more mature. Or, in your usual imagination, you already think you are talking to your father.
These older friends have a way of subtly edging you on, with a bit of pressure here and there, till you say or do what you would not ordinarily have said or done.
Hence, you need to be cautious whenever you feel any sense of hesitation in words or actions.
They are highly opinionated
This should not be a surprise, as it is, more often than not, the case with older folks. It is the age difference, and they feel they have seen and know more than you have. Be prepared because your older friends would most likely be highly opinionated on many issues and would hardly be open to your thoughts or opinion on matters, even though they may keep saying they are available to them.
With the women, it may be better, as you have a lot of things in common, but with the men, once they decide on an issue or have an opinion, just know that you can hardly change that in most cases. Be prepared because they need corrections or agree with your ideas.
They would ask you out
Now, there goes the big one. The father you have created in your head may ask you out. Yes, you read that right. Nine out of ten times, they would ask you out. It is the highlight, no matter how long the friendship has gone on.
Not like this is taboo because he is not your father. It might just be somewhat disappointing. So, you should not blame them when they do so. You are the one who sees him as one.
This point is usually the climax of the friendship. Things can go on a downward spiral from here. At this point, some women compromise because they do not want to let go of what they have created in their heads.
If you decide to reject the offer, you should know that men usually do not know how to deal with rejection, especially older men.
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If you would want to accept the offer but with more commitment, such as marriage, which most times, they cannot offer you, then you have also rejected them as well, and you should brace up for the supposed ‘consequences’.
What could that be? Well, older male friends are not likely to remain cosy with you once; for whatever reason, they cannot get what they want, which is why you need to heal as an individual, so you do not hang the wheels of your existence on another person.
Steps to healing
First, accept you do not have a father
The first thing you need to know on your path to healing is to accept that you do not have a father. It is the case, especially if your father is late. If your father is alive but absent, then it will be – you do not have a father at the moment. Until you come to this moment of realisation, your spirit will keep searching, and you will keep being vulnerable and getting your heart broken.
… And you cannot create him in another
Now that you have accepted that you do not have a father, the following path to healing assumes that you will not find your father in another man, old or young. Your father is your father, and you cannot create him in another. That is another fact that you need to accept. If you are still nursing the hope that you can make a father in another man, more often than not, be prepared for disappointment.
Love and believe in yourself
Self-love may sound like it’s a cliché, but we cannot overestimate it. Take your time to love yourself. You will not settle for less in a relationship when you love yourself.
Let your friends be who they are – friends.
No matter what, let your older male friends remain who they are – friends. Do not create imagery of fatherhood in someone who has extended a hand of friendship. It would help you manage your expectation of them.
There is trust a child is expected to have in a father. If you put it in your friends, such confidence would put pressure on what would otherwise have been a beautiful friendship. You would keep being disappointed.
Even if he says – see me as your father, uncle, brother and so on – just smile and insist on friendship. You can seek advice from them with no father-daughter strings attached. After all, what are friends for?
Speak to a therapist
If you are still having trouble living an everyday life and are always seeking how to make a father of any man you meet, it is time to speak to a therapist. Talk to a therapist if you feel trapped and compromise your values and standards to be with the man you have idealised as your father.
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