Father-Daughter Relationship: 15 Daddy Issues It Can Lead To

If you want to know how emotionally stable a girl is, ask about her dad. A father-daughter relationship is the key to a woman’s happiness.

Father-Daughter Relationship

Who doesn’t want to be Daddy’s girl? Daddy is supposed to be the man who stands up for you, protects you, and looks at you like he’s created a masterpiece. Unfortunately, not all of us end up with the fairytale father we wish for, nor do we have a perfect father-daughter relationship to remember fondly.

The relationship that boys have with their fathers is complex too, but it is different with girls. The way that a girl sees her value, and the way that men should treat her, all stem from the notions that she got in her father-daughter relationship. Just as important as the way that her parents’ relationship will forever taint her future ones, the way that her dad made her feel is likely to be transferred to every guy that she meets.

[Read: Toxic family members: 15 signs and reasons to cut them off for good]

Importance of father-daughter relationship

To learn more about father-daughter relationship, first, we must look at why daughters need a father figure, especially during the formative years.

1. Infant to toddler

Fathers provide a positive male role model for their daughters and help promote and reinforce their good behaviors. This is the stage of life where the child needs more attention and influence from their parents. So little girls with involved fathers are less likely to have behavioral and impulse control issues. They have longer attention spans and a higher level of sociability.

2. Tween to teen

This is the period of confusion, change, and chaos. Girls in their adolescent years require a father figure to guide them through this turbulent phase and help them progress into strong and confident young women. They don’t need perfect dads, but dads who will show unconditional love, acceptance, and encouragement that they can rely on.

[Read: Insecure attachment: What it is, types, 23 signs & how it affects your life]

3. Young adult to adult

Daughters with healthy father-daughter relationships throughout their childhood are more likely to graduate from college and enter higher-paying and more demanding jobs traditionally held by men. Undoubtedly, girls who have a secure and supportive relationship with their fathers are less likely to get pregnant as teenagers and become sexually active during their early teenage years.

During their college years, well-fathered girls are less likely to be talked into having sex, whereas poorly-fathered girls turn to their boyfriends for emotional comfort, and therefore, are more easily manipulated. As a result, well-fathered girls will have long-lasting and more secure marriages.

Benefits of father-daughter relationships

Now that we understand why father-daughter relationships are so important. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of father-daughter relationships.

1. Mental health benefits

Recent research shows that a father-daughter relationship shapes the daughter’s life by influencing her self-esteem, confidence, and ideas about men when she becomes an adult. Scholars have discovered a link between how the daughter deals with stress as an adult and her relationship with her father growing up. Poorly fathered women tend to have a lower cortisol level, which results in them being overly sensitive and overly reactive when confronted with stress.

They are more dissatisfied with their appearance and body weight, and therefore, more likely to develop clinical depression and eating disorders.

[Read: Healthy relationship: 27 signs, qualities & what it looks like in real life]

2. Relational benefits

A girl’s relationship with her father determines her ability to trust others and herself, and it can further affect her romantic relationships. Women who grow up with a healthy bond with their fathers tend to make better choices when it comes to who to be friends with, date, marry, or sleep with. Those who have never experienced true father love grow up insecure, clingy, and always looking for reassurance and validation from their male partners.

Not only does the father-daughter relationship helps lay the foundation for the daughter’s future relationships, but a father’s presence will also save the daughter from sexual vulnerabilities. A girl’s father is her protector. He should set the standards for a good spouse and help her sustain a positive self-image.

[Read: Mommy issues in men: What it is & the signs to look for in a guy]

Effects of the lack of a father-daughter relationship

Having a non-caring, violent, or drunkard dad may increase the chances of the daughter leading poor romantic relationships. When a girl is denied the chance of a fatherly love, she will seek it in her spouse. This can be a major reason that many female victims stay in long-term relationships with their male abusers.

The poorly-fathered daughter doesn’t have a healthy relationship to gauge. So they are easily influenced and taken advantage of by bad people, mostly men. This is why these daddy issues need to be worked through before it’s too late.

[Read: Sexually abusive relationship: 8 subtle signs you’re being abused]

Signs of daddy issues

Do you suspect that you may have daddy issues? Let’s see if you say yes to any of these signs.

1. You’re only attracted to older men

If this describes you perfectly, it’s possible that you may have daddy issues. Think about these older men that you’re attracted to. Do you want anything from them to fulfil what you lack in your relationship with your father?

Be careful because these types of relationships don’t usually end well if there’s a big age gap due to the power imbalance in the relationship.

[Read: 5 “creepy” myths about older guys dating younger women]

2. You are clingy, jealous, or overprotective

If you are clingy, jealous, or overprotective of the man you’re dating, you may have daddy issues. You never experienced love or received attention and support from your father. So when you finally receive it from another male figure, you want it all for yourself.

And since the man who made you can’t even be there for you, it’s hard to imagine someone else would. This creates trust issues and constant fear that the man you love will eventually give up on you.

3. You give the impression that you only care about sex

Do you only care about sex? Perhaps you don’t have a healthy relationship to look up to. Or you’re afraid since the first love of your life – your father – failed to commit to you.

[Read: Being single vs. in a relationship: 18 pros, cons & things you MUST know]

4. You’re terrified of being alone

Girls who grew up without a father figure hate being alone. Being alone for most of their life, they crave connection, support, and being understood. And once they’ve experienced what it’s like to receive love, they fear losing that person and ending up alone again.

[Read: Alone time: Why you need it, how it helps & how to make the most of it]

5. You know you’ve got a complicated relationship with your dad

If you’re reading this article, maybe you already know that you’ve got a complicated relationship with your dad. So if you think you have daddy issues, it’s very likely that you do.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship between a father and a daughter

Before you go for the girl of your dreams, it is important to see these telltale signs that her relationship with her father is going to cause you drama in the future. It may not be obvious what kind of relationship she has with her father initially. So just keep your eye out for these signs.

1. The father over-spoils his daughter

Girls with fathers who over-spoil them are daddy’s girls. If you are dating one, you aren’t ever going to live up to the standards. Daddy’s girls are brats who get whatever they desire by doing nothing more than smiling.

There is no sense in trying to reign in their vain or selfish nature. It is more ingrained in them than breathing. Getting what they want is as easy as a smile. If they can’t have what they want, they will probably look for someone else to give in to their every whim. [Read: The 11 types of girls you need to avoid falling for at all costs]

2. The daughter is constantly afraid of disappointing her father

If you are dating a girl who has spent her lifetime trying to get the attention and/or approval of a dismissive father, good luck. She is probably a pleaser by nature and wants to do nothing but make you happy.

Often unable to make a decision on her own, she will put your needs before her own. That may seem delightful in the beginning. But when she can’t seem to get enough of your attention, she will revert to the two-year-old who would do anything to get it from her dismissive father.

The more you try to feed into it, the more she craves. Sometimes that can lead to an empty hole. [Read: 20 signs she’s a people pleaser and just doesn’t realize it]

3. The father who compares his daughter to other kids

In this father-daughter relationship, the girls were constantly fighting for their dad’s attention because she had sisters or brothers who were the “golden” child. These are the type of girls who are on a course to prove something to their dads through being the best, making it to number one, and being who and what he wanted them to be.

Constantly chasing the dreams of someone other than the ones she has for herself, at some point she will realize that her life is not as meaningful as she wanted. Never achieving what she really wants – her dad’s approval – she won’t be satisfied with anything.

4. The father doesn’t allow the daughter to become independent

So her father still treats her like a child. He takes her places, pays for her, and attends to her every whim. Her dad is the breadwinner, the emotional supporter, the attention giver…basically Superman to her. Whether he really is or not is not the issue – it is all from her perspective.

The problem with dating the girl who’s dependent on her dad is that she will always act like a child. She expects you to be there for her 24/7 and help her with everything. Sometimes, it makes you wonder if you are her partner or her parent. [Read: Is she taking you for granted? 16 signs you’re not good enough for her]

5. The critical dad with unrealistic expectations

The daughter of a critical man is fearful and anxious all the time. Never being able to do anything right, she will seek to do everything and be hypersensitive to any criticism that anyone puts on her.

She’s constantly trying to win the love of a man who pointed out her downfalls. She will likely have very low self-esteem and never believe that she is good enough. That is not an easy thing for a man to deal with. Your job will be to continually boost her up while she continues to tell you what a failure she is.

[Read: Dating someone with low self-esteem: What it’s like for both of you]

6. The abusive father

The down-right abusive father is one of the worst role models that any woman can have. They typically seek out men who will abuse them, and when someone is nice to them, they will believe the worst anyway.

When you tell her that you love her, she will probably not believe you. Learning very young that love is not real, her endgame is to avoid pain by doing what everyone wants. She feels very little besides the feeling of fear and insecurity, which is hard to override. Obviously, this is a terrible father-daughter relationship. [Read: How to deal with a complicated relationship]

7. The abandoned girl

These are girls who lost their fathers or were abandoned early on. Typically due to divorce or losing a father, the abandoned girl takes it personally. She will have low self-esteem, and very little confidence in herself and YOU.

She’ll look for the first sign that you are going to cut and dash. She’ll do whatever she can to get you to prove that you are going to leave. Often relationship sabotaging, these girls are very hard to love because they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When things are too quiet, they stir up trouble. When feeling comfortable, they will find a reason not to. It’s called the self-fulfilling prophecy – she will be so convinced that you aren’t going to stick around that she may make you want to leave. [Read: Abandonment issues: how it affects your relationship]

8. The girl who never knew her dad

This is a very sad father-daughter relationship. The girl doesn’t even know her father and has had a hard time knowing who she is. Growing up, it was difficult to see her friends spend time with their dads and have a good relationship with them.

With just her mom and her against the world, she has very little trust in men. She probably has been taught to be self-reliant and never “need” a man. And because some degree of dependence is healthy for any relationship, this girl can be difficult to get close to.

She will probably never let her guard down. That can make any man feel unwanted. After all, they have a natural need to protect the woman they love. [Read: Crazy women – 15 signs your girl is totally insane!]

9. There are some unclear boundaries

There are times when a girl and her dad have an excellent friendship. That is a great situation for you because she trusts men and will turn to her dad for advice. But she also realizes that he is not perfect and makes mistakes too.

The biggest problem, if there is one with this type of girl, is going to be the dad in her life. He may not respect her privacy and spend some time making your relationship more difficult or stirring up trouble. You may not have to do much for her mental stability. But you may have to pay a little more attention to reassuring her daddy that you are good enough for his little girl.

10. The father wants to have complete control over his daughter’s life

The girl who had a strict dad is either going to be very sheltered and immature. Or she is going to want to rebel and look for the “bad boy.” She may be on a mission to either find someone to take care of her or to make her dad mad.

If you notice that her dad was overly protective and sheltering, be careful. She may not have a clue how to live in the real world. You may want to stay away from this father-daughter relationship, too. [Read: 15 types of bad girlfriends who’ll make your life a living hell]

11. The father is always included in his daughter’s decision-making processes

This girl doesn’t have a mind of her own. She’s an adult who has to ask for her father’s permission before doing anything. He’s always included in her decision-making processes. It’ll be exhausting to date someone who can’t seem to think for herself.

12. The father uses his daughter as his primary source of emotional support

When your girl is her father’s primary source of emotional support, she will be a great listener and advice giver. However, this girl will find it difficult to open up and share her feelings with you. She’s used to being the therapist and she doesn’t know how to ask for help.

Maybe she grew up thinking that everyone’s problems are bigger than hers. Therefore, she should always just be the shoulder to cry on and never one to cry.

13. The father never accepts the responsibility for his own behavior and blames it all on the daughter

This girl is extremely insecure and shy. She says sorry a lot and always takes the blame for herself. She will let others walk all over her and doesn’t stand up for herself because she according to her own father, she’s never done anything right in her entire life.

[Read: Dating a girl with daddy issues – 15 things you must know]

14. The father doesn’t communicate

If your girlfriend has communication issues, it’s probably because her father was a bad communicator, too. Growing up, she wasn’t taught how to express her thoughts and emotions verbally. She either thinks that voicing your feelings is weak, or she wants to but doesn’t know how.

[Read: How to communicate with your spouse & end the roller coaster ride]

15. The father doesn’t allow the daughter to say her opinion

This is the girl who’s afraid to speak up. She just agrees with everything you say, because her father never allowed her to say her opinion. She’s afraid of being wrong or ridiculed the same way her father did to her.

[Read: What does it mean to love someone? 21 good & bad ways to define it]

How to help a partner who didn’t grow up with a good father-daughter relationship

There is an old saying about how if you want to see how a girl will look in the future, look at her mom. In the same respect, if you want to know how emotionally stable a girl is, the key is to look at the father-daughter relationship she has.

This is how girls learn how to have relationships with men. They are guided by the experiences that she has with the main man in her life, which up until puberty, is typically her father. If he is overbearing, too protective, or abusive, it is likely going to affect the way that she relates to you, the expectations that she has, and the assumptions that she makes about who you are.

[Read: How to help someone with trust issues open up & overcome their fear]

If your partner has daddy issues, you can’t really ‘fix’ them, because they’re not a high school project or a broken piece of furniture. However, it really helps if they have someone who stands by them and shows them love and support while they work on their issues. Use the knowledge you have of their trauma and fears to make sure they are heard and understood.

During arguments, it’s very easy to say the most hurtful things even if you don’t mean them. You have to remind yourself not to use her daddy issues against her, because it’s not something she has control over. The lack of fatherly love has left a life-long scar, so the last thing she needs is for that part of her life to be ridiculed by the one person she loves.

As much as you are willing to do to support your partner, it’s best to encourage her to get professional help. A good therapist can help her understand and control her emotions to work on her issues in the long run.

[Read: Definition of love: The true meaning of love & what it should feel like]

The good news is that no matter what type of father-daughter relationship your woman had, with some patience and persistence, you can overcome most of the damage done. It is possible to find a mature and loving relationship that is not necessarily based on her upbringing and childhood, but on your future.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
Follow Julie on