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Confessions: Poor relationship with dad got me bad men

 I tend to have bad relationships with men, is that because of him? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I have always had a difficult relationship with my father, partly because he and my mother didn’t get along. So as a result he was in and out of my life during my childhood.

And later, as a moody teenager, I was not easy to get along with either! I was fiercely independent and we would wind each other up a lot. So ultimately, we drifted apart.

But now, years later, I wonder about the effect of our poor relationship while I was growing up. I still tend to have bad relationships with men, and wonder whether that has anything to do with him.

I also wonder whether I should get closer to him now that I have made a life of my own. Do you think that is a good idea?

Bad Dad

Chris says,

Hi Bad Dad!

Fathers get a bad press these days, and until recently even experts tended to downplay fatherhood. But we now know that was a mistake.

Nobody ever disputes a mother’s influence of course, but while most people recognise that fathers are important role models for their sons, it has only recently been realised what an immense influence they have on their daughters.

This means that it is worth thinking about how your father may have affected your life, for better or worse. Because your childhood relationship with your father will have had a huge impact on your later self-confidence; your ability to love, trust and be intimate, and the way you see yourself and your body.

Your father was also almost certainly the first man you formed an attachment with. Because every little girl dotes on her father and unconsciously practises her seduction skills on him. That experience has such a strong impact on a young girl that all her later relationships are affected by it.

For example, you will probably always be unconsciously attracted to men who are similar to your father, even though you did not get along. And you will unconsciously tend to choose men who treat you like your father treated you and your mother. Even if that wasn’t too nice. Because we go for what’s familiar, rather than what is good for us.

It does not help that even though a girl’s father matters so much, she can still find him difficult to talk to. It is only because males and females do not understand each other too well. And that goes just as much for a girl’s father, as for her boyfriend or husband.

But now that you are older, you are wondering whether you should try to be closer to him. That is a good thought, and you should. Because every woman needs her father to love her.

And to be able to love him. Even now, after many years. But above all, you should think about your relationship, both now and in the past. Because understanding it can be the key to unlocking your potential and figuring out why you always seem to get on badly with the men in your life.

All the best,


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