My father and I have never had a solid, happy relationship, but instead of feeling down about it, I’ve realized it’s been a blessing in disguise—especially for my dating life. Here’s why.
I know how to set boundaries.
Thanks for that one, Dad. Because I used to try to be a people-pleaser with my dad (and subsequently other men I dated), I realized how damaging it can be not to set healthy boundaries. These days, I make a concerted effort to establish them right away and actually stick to them.
I can spot a toxic man from a mile away.
My father wasn’t always toxic, but he was distant and would put me down sometimes. Those things are not what I want from a romantic partner, but thanks to my daddy issues, I can spot them in a potential partner right away and run away from him.
I’ve learned what it means to be nice.
I used to be a people-pleaser, thinking I had to be super nice all the time and make people like me. That’s thanks to years of trying to get my dad’s approval. But I learned that being a people-pleaser isn’t the same thing as being a nice, genuine person. I can be the latter without doing the former’s stunts, like bending over backward for people. That’s saved me a lot of trouble and heartache.
I don’t depend on men.
Yeah, this fierce need not to be rescued has made some men call me difficult or defensive, but I don’t really care. I’ve learned that it’s best to look out for myself, and I guess that’s my way of turning my daddy issues into something positive.
I don’t put up with bad behavior.
Growing up with a difficult, sometimes temperamental father has put me off moody, unpredictable guys. Seriously, if a guy can’t control his moods then he shouldn’t be dating me. I don’t accept this behavior and it’s made me feel stronger about walking away from unsuitable partners.
I don’t need a relationship to feel worthy.
Although some women with daddy issues have fears of being abandoned by their partners, which causes them to be clingy, my daddy issues have had the opposite effect on me. I know that I don’t need a guy to make me feel better about myself. Whether my dad’s being good to me or becoming toxic, I know who I am—I don’t need him to validate me. The same goes for a romantic partner.
I don’t beg for attention.
When I’ve told guys that I have daddy issues, they immediately think I’m going to be psycho or desperate for attention. Whatever. I’m actually the opposite. I don’t go the extra mile to try to get a guy to like me and I don’t chase anyone. I’m guilty of doing that in the past, but I always ended up getting hurt, so I built up my self-esteem and realized that queens don’t get down on their knees for anyone.
I have some walls up.
Yeah, they’re really high and topped with barbed wire, but don’t call me defensive for having them. I need to know I’m looking out for myself. Only when I realized that I have valuable treasures within me did I realize I needed to amp up my security. Having high walls doesn’t mean that I’m not open to love or that I’m a difficult partner.
A guy has to earn my trust.
I’m not one who trusts easily, and maybe that does originate from my daddy issues. But that’s a good thing, I believe. If I make someone earn my trust then I know they really deserve it. It takes time to build a relationship that’s got healthy qualities, such as trust. I want to know the person I’m dating will take the time to make that happen with me.
I don’t fix guys.
My daddy issues have made me become a fixer in the past with guys I’ve dated. I used to think that if I could sort out a guy’s problems or make him better, he’d see my worth and keep me around. Well, that’s ridiculous. It doesn’t usually happen that way. What happens is that I end up stressing and trying to fix a guy who doesn’t want to be fixed or takes advantage of my need to be loved. It always ends in chaos. I’ve stopped trying to show my worth and fix guys. If I get the idea that a guy is looking for a rescuer, that’s me running out the door.
I know my worth.
I refuse to let a guy take down my self-worth or dent my confidence. Again, this is thanks to my often stressful relationship with my dad. I used to feel so low after being in his presence as a kid, never getting his approval, and as I grew up I started looking for validation from other men by trying to be the perfect girlfriend. Well, I’ve changed and now I know what I’m worth so I won’t knock myself down to size. And, if I’m “too much” for you, well then you’re too little for me.
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