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With Father’s Day coming up this week, there are a lot of questions floating around the web about what makes a good or bad father. I was recently asked if a woman’s relationship with her father factors into whether a man will date/marry her. Like most relationship-based questions, it’s complicated. While a woman’s relationship with her father might or might not have any impact on romantic relationships, generally speaking, women have three types of relationships with their fathers.

The Cosby Show

As the name suggests, some women are fortunate enough to be blessed with the “Cosby Show” (or Fresh Prince or *insert other TV show of your generation here*) lifestyle. These women are usually the product of a two-parent home, where their family engaged in made-for-TV like experiences where everyone always seemed to be laughing, and life-lessons came in the form of memorable, heartfelt episodes that ended with far more smiles than tears. When you ask a woman like this to name a “bad experience” she had with her father, she has to get back to you later. This isn’t a bad thing. I wish all women (and men) had this type of relationship with their fathers, but unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Present but Absent

Other women know their father, but for whatever reason, a good relationship between them never developed. I refer to these types of fathers as “present but absent.” They’re present in a woman’s life but they do the bare minimum. Maybe he was present in the home but he never bothered to develop any type of meaningful relationship with his daughter (this happens more often than you would think). Other times, the father is known, but the only thing of merit that he contributed to his daughters upbringing is a few child support checks or some inconsistent phone calls on random birthdays/holidays.

Absent and Absent

There’s no need to sugarcoat the fact that far too many men are comfortable being absentee fathers. This doesn’t just affect women; they just happen to be the focus of today’s post. A woman told me once, “you’ll never understand what it feels like to have your first rejection come from your father.” She’s right. I’ll never know how that feels, but I do know what rejection feels like and I know no one likes it. An absent father will affect a woman’s life, but his absence doesn’t have to define that woman’s life.

Unless a woman believes all men should pay for the sins of her father, knowing the type of relationship a woman has with her father does not have to dictate her dating life. While there is always the possibility that a woman may have issues with men if she never knew a man who was man enough to play the fatherly role in her life, no one can definitely predict how a father’s presence or absence will affect a woman’s romantic relationships. Whether her father chose to depart or be a part of her life, when it comes to dating most men are simply interested in getting to know a woman for whom she is today and seeing if he can see a place for himself in her life in the future.

How does a woman’s relationship with her father influence her dating life?  Have you ever had a relationship negatively impacted due to someone’s poor relationship with his or her biological parent(s)?

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