Opinion – Have We Failed Our Daughters?

Your father is your first male role model, whether good or bad, and your relationship with him often shapes how you view men, which can in turn affect your romantic relationships. This, however, isn’t the case for everyone...
Art illustration by Oresegun Olumide/Morena, an art print by Kevinci Baquero

Unfathered (Evera) author Dr Disa Mogashana says to Destiny Connect that the dynamics between you and your father will always play their part in your romantic relationships. In

Your father is your first male role model, whether good or bad, and your relationship with him often shapes how you view men, which can in turn affect your romantic relationships. This, however, isn’t the case for everyone, says Mogashana.

She says if you have an absentee father, you may tend to attract older men when dating. She explains that the attraction often stems from the unfulfilled emotional needs that were never met by the father. “Some are not even aware that they’re looking for their fathers in their romantic partner,” she says.

The second result, she says, is staying in unhealthy or abusive relationships. “It’s almost like you end up attracting men who are likely to reject you – a character similar to that of your father,” she says.

Clinical psychologist Dr Sherry Blake, cited in Essence agrees with Mogashana: “You may have fear of abandonment or rejection, stay in unhealthy relationships or bounce from person to person because of the fear of being without a man. You may also be co-dependent, try hard to please the men you date and could be constantly checking his phone or social media.”

Mogashana further explains the reason why some women stay in these unhealthy relationships is because they seek acceptance and love – from a male figure in particular – although that person may not want, love or appreciate you. She, however, points out that this doesn’t mean that every single unfathered woman will settle.

Your father should be the first man to show you your worth and how you need to be loved. He should be the one to maintain a spirit of positive affirmation

Blake adds that if your father is mean or abusive, you could have” difficulty trusting others, problems committing, and expect the worst so you sabotage relationships first.” She say you may be angry with men in generaland therefore create conflict.

“Your father should be the first man to show you your worth and how you need to be loved. He should be the one to maintain a spirit of positive affirmation,” says Mogashana.

Mogashana believes that fundamentally, what makes a difference is your awareness – which can happen through coaching or counselling. “If you’re aware of the emotional needs that weren’t met – you’re able to  deal with that. That will allow put you in a better emotional state and you’re likely to attract the right people,” she says.

If you have a present, loving and supportive father, you will be assured of your worth. Mogashana says she finds that women who’ve had present dads are able to move on from romantic relationships which no longer serve them. “They can bounce back quicker and don’t hang on because they know the issue most of the time isn’t them, but the partner,” she says.

She explains that this could be a result of you being affirmed from a young age.

She adds that, the danger is that these ladies may be difficult to please. If the partner isn’t like your dad, your partner may struggle to match up, because you end comparing all men to him and having high expectations.

Mogashana ends by saying that relationships with parents are complex, whether the father is there or not, and they don’t have to determine the course of your romantic relationships.  “You need to get a deeper or better understanding of how your relationship with her father plays a role in your romantic relationships – then you’ll be able to move forward,” she ends.

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  • Lizzie
    26 September 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I agree with this my dad has affected my love life cos I can’t seem to see my self in any relationship cos I don’t want any man or guy to order me around Pls any one with ideas of Wat I can do cos any guy dat asks me out I just can’t seem to trust dem Pls advice me

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