This post is a Father’s Day reflection exploring the healing lessons and impacts of absent fathers on our romantic relationships.
How do you heal from a relationship you never had?
I never made the connection between my dad and my romantic relationships until well after I got divorced. A father’s relationship or lack of relationship with you serves as the foundation from which you build your identity. He is significant in a woman’s development of self confidence, how she views herself, and influences how she trusts and loves. As for me, I didn’t grow up with my dad. My parents got a divorce when I was 6, we moved, and I have pretty much made up my own dating survival playbook when it comes to relationships ever since.
On one end, growing up without my dad and a strong mother is what helped me to become fiercely independent with a determined spirit and experience success in both my work and public-facing life. I’ve always been extremely loyal to friends and simply just wanted to love and be loved. But when it comes to my romantic life, I have struggled. It’s always been difficult for me to have engaged, connected relationships that I felt good and secure in. In most cases I always had a fear of abandonment or that I’d lose the relationship. Even when I tried dating after my divorce, I found myself having little success and back in familiar dating patterns from years prior being attracted to distant, emotionally unavailable guys who were too out of reach and difficult to understand – much like my father.
It was the only type of guy that seemed to make me feel “comfortable”. The ones I was always exhausting myself over trying to establish the close connection and intimacy I craved that wasn’t always being reciprocated. As cliche as it sounds, looking for love in all the wrong places could have really been the soundtrack of my romantic life up until I realized I had real work to do if I was ever going to have the long-lasting love and relationship I wanted. I’ve come to learn that a lot of what I saw in my past partners wasn’t really them. It was the projection of what I wanted that I didn’t get from my dad growing up that felt familiar to me that I always gravitated to. So I always found myself in similar situations that left me feeling neglected, questioning my worth, my value and accepting less than I should have.
Loving someone else starts with loving yourself first.@iamsandyfreddy
I’m glad that along my journey, I have been able to crack the code and start understanding my relationship patterns and behaviors that I’ve struggled with my whole life. Through this process of truly being myself and honoring myself, I’m also learning to feel more secure in myself rather than fearing that someone is going to leave me. I know who I am and I know my value. And I know that is a major key to achieving the lasting love that I desire.
Today, I am still learning what love looks like to me and growing more and more confident in the woman that I am becoming and the type of love that I want, need, deserve and want to give. I have learned a few lessons over the years that’s applicable to any woman learning to love without their fathers.
- Forgive any shortcomings of your father. It’s the first step in being able to heal and make space for the love you want to flow in.
- Get real with yourself about your own history. Your patterns in behavior can be very telling about your personal relationship challenges that you need to dig into.
- Take the time to acknowledge and deal with your fears of abandonment, rejection, resentment and insecurities. If you don’t, these feelings will manifest and sabotage your chances at the intimate relationship you crave.
- You don’t have to try to appease and please anybody in order to feel accepted and loved.
- Your worth and value is not dependent on your relationship with a man (or woman).
- Loving someone else starts with loving yourself first.
Did you grow up without your father? How did it impact your romantic relationships? Drop a comment and share below.