Do The Bad Choices Your Father Makes As A Husband Affect The Way You Look At Him As A Parent?

October 25, 2012  |  

My father, like most, isn’t perfect. He’s a very reserved fella for the most part, and even when there’s a packed house full of folks stopping by his home to talk and catch up with him, he will have very little to say. He will say he’s listening, but for the most part, he’s trying to catch up on what the political pundits are talking about. If you have somewhere to go by a certain time, he’ll move at a snail’s pace unintentionally to take you there. He can be extraordinarily blunt about his thoughts and any questions he has for you: “Are you dating anyone yet? No? Well, are you looking in the right places?”

Yes, he can be a mess sometimes. My mother often agrees. While they’ve been together for more than 30 years, that doesn’t mean that their relationship is in its smooth sailing with a side of coasting phase. When they actually get along, they really get along well. But my parents still argue about money issues, about my father being inconsiderate, and a slew of other things that are half the reason I moved out soon after returning from college. And while my father was never vocal about their issues when I used to check in with him over the phone (remember how I said he is reserved?), my mom was the complete opposite when I was younger, and still is to this day. If you’ve got ears, she’s got a story to tell, and many of them have to do with the faults of my father.

“You know that your daddy ___.” From going on random trips and having an alleged affair affair, to being stingy with money, jealous, controlling, easily offended, distant, and straight up evil in her opinion at times, my mom has given me more information about my father over the years than I ever cared to know. And I don’t think she shares it to possibly turn me away from my father, but I think she does it because she gets frustrated, and because we’re close, sometimes she talks to me like I’m her girlfriend and forgets that I’m still her child–and he’s still my dad. As time has passed I’ve let her anecdotes roll off my back, but other times, I’ll be saddened by the information she gives me. Everyone has a specific image of who they think their parent is and how they are, and when someone pokes holes in that image, big holes sometimes, it can be extremely disappointing.

On TV, movies and even in real everyday life, I’ve watched people who were upset by the actions of a parent cut them off cold turkey, even if that parent’s actions didn’t directly affect them at all. I’ve even had co-workers say that if a parent cheats on their spouse, they’re cheating on the whole family. Maybe these parents were already failing in taking care or being there for their children in some way, but many people let the bad choices a father makes in his relationship with his wife have an effect on they view them as a father. To each his own.

But for all the faults that have been exposed about the man I call my father, there have just been too many sacrifices, too much support, too much advice and too much love given to me to look down at my father with anger, resentment or sadness. Maybe that’s why I often have to tune my mom out when she decides to share her latest issue with my dad with me. While I know my father could do better when it comes to fixing the issues within his relationship with my mom, it’s not really my business to get involved. Plus, my mother has decided to stay year after year and take both the good and the bad, so she knows what she’s dealing with. And besides, after years of watching them both bicker and be equally irrational at times, I’m not interested in taking anybody’s side.

While some might stop talking to their fathers because of their marital choices, pops doesn’t have to explain all of his choices to me, he just needs to be my father. And in all honesty, he’s done a pretty great job at that as far back as I can remember. He’s put me through school, kept me safe, helped me with my homework even when he was painfully tired after work, allowed me the opportunity to travel the world, talked me about things I wasn’t sure who to turn to about, encouraged and supported my professional endeavors and cried with me at times when I thought he couldn’t be emotionally open. So no, my dad’s not perfect, and he’s not the perfect husband by any means. He’s even acknowledged that he hopes his daughter’s can find men who can treat them better than he treated my mother in the past. But I never asked my dad to be perfect and I don’t expect him to be. However, he’s been there and that’s all I really can really ask for. The rest? Hey, my nickname is Bennet, and I ain’t trying to be in it.

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  • TeahMonae

    I’m conflicted on this issue because on one hand I see the role as father and husband as two totally completely different roles. However, I also feel that the way that the way the husband treats his wife can serve as an example good or bad for his children, hence, effecting his role as a father. If a son sees his father disrespect, cheat or lie to his mother on a constant basis, he may very well grow up thinking that this is the way men are supposed to treat women. A daugher could also grow up to accept negative behavior from men because she saw her mother being treated that way. I was lucky in that my father served as a daily example of what a good husband should be so that when it was time for me to choose one for myself, I knew exactly what I was looking for.

  • Liliann oHIo

    Thank you for this article! I recently moved home during school and have been having conflicting emotions about something similar between my parents.

  • eestoomuch

    no one is perfect. no not one. great article.

  • Shola

    Wow, this article really relates to the current situation in my life. My father is a great dad but hasn’t always been the best husband to my mother. I love him unconditionally, Seeing him hurt my mother makes me not like him. I know its not all black and white but I do believe that the best thing a father can do for his daughter is love her mother.

    • Miss K

      This article and your response, Shola, are so on point. I’ve been dealing with the exact emotions expressed here – weighing the actions and interactions of both my parents with my own notions of love and respect. I recently had a very long conversation with my dad about the many issues that have impacted my father-daughter relationship with him over the years. As it turned out, it was a very healthy and open discussion. I was afraid of being disrespectful or even hurtful towards my dad, but he took everything I had to say in stride and was proud of me for having the courage to talk so openly with him. I highly recommend this approach to any woman struggling with “daddy issues” who still has a father in their life.

  • Candacey Doris

    I cant say that my father’s choices don’t affect me at all, but I’ll never cut him off or stop loving him because of what he does as a husband.

  • GM_I

    The choices my dad made (i.e. infidelity) as a husband never made me look at my father differently or in a negative way. Husband & father are completely two different things and the relationship my mother had with my father has lil to nothin to do with the relationship I had with him, he’s my father, not my husband lol…I have no complaints about my dad regarding fatherhood, he’s been a great one to me and my brothers. I think my mothers choice to leave him rather than stay in an unfaithful relationship also helped, as well as, never bad mouthing my dad after the fact, nor trying to keep him out of my life or having a relationship with him once they split. Nothing seemed different to me after they divorce, other than living under 2 roofs instead of one from time to time. Now that im older, i dont even want my parents back together, I understand them as individuals and can see how their personalities are too different and would clash, they’re just not a good fit for eachother anymore (glad I was conceived befor they figured that out lol), but as parents their pretty cool in my book and better than a lot of others i’ve seen or heard about on the news.

    • Miss K

      you have a very mature perspective – it’s not easy to separate one from the other.

  • Trae

    I like that article. It was written from a very mature viewpoint. Most women don’t feel that way. Look at how the Braxtons treated their father and his new wife.

  • IllyPhilly

    Of course as well as the good ones. Our parents weigh heavy on our relationship choices.