When I look back at my dating experiences with older men, I have to shake my head. Why didn't I see the signs? Why didn't someone tell me that I was trying to keep myself from having to think about what was really hurting me on the inside? It was an absent emotional bond with Dad. He was often too tired to talk, too busy to visit, too angry to be good company, too this or too that!
I took my frustration out on others. I became angry, had moments in the past where I drank too much, shook my behind in the club (clothes on--thank God), made stupid decisions, etc. I argued with my older dates about things they couldn't do for me; at times I hated them for not knowing how I felt. Some days I wished to be with men my own age while I tried to bottle up my tears and act mature, happy...what was going on back then? A need to want to feel accepted by Dad I suppose. I wanted to hear that I was okay, appreciated, wasn't ugly, and was going places in life without a "...but you need to...you better..."coming from Dad.
You see, some of you dads might be wanting that connection to your daughters, but you just aren't getting it because you have no clue what to do and some of you daughters might want the same. Dad might have thought he did his part when his daughter was younger, but can I tell you, it doesn't stop! Communication is key to having quality relationships. A runaway daughter sees her runaway mid-life father pre-occupied with someone, possibly younger than her, who makes him temporarily feel good. Instead of working to heal a broken bond with his kin, he ignores her and vice versa. The daughter might be grown, but she wants to know that Daddy loves her. However, we have to face the truth that some men are incapable of love. They aren't interested in loving anyone. They are self-absorbed and see people as servants. They use and abuse. These toxic dads we have to grieve and let them go.
So if there is one thing I wanted to leave some of you readers with, is if you have a bond with a daughter maintain it and if you are a daughter stay cool with dad if you can. Fathers can establish a healthy bond with their daughters by making a phone call sometimes, sending a card in the mail or flowers, or share a message via a loved one (if she isn't speaking to you) "Dad cares."
Nicholl McGuire is the author of the upcoming book, Say Goodbye to Dad.