Confession: I’m a bit of a daddy’s girl. My dad has always made me feel protected and loved, even if he hasn’t always verbalized it the way my mom does. In the back of my mind, I’m always comparing how well the men I date treat me with how well my father treats me.
But Dad also does some confusing stuff, too. When I got dumped over the phone a few months ago, I was at my parents’ house, and when I started crying, my dad yelled at me and told me to stop making such a big deal out of things. I was, like, “Ummm, what? I just got dumped.” Why was the sweet guy who mailed me Snoopy cartoons yelling at me to stop crying when I just got my heart broken?
Then I read Our Fathers, Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers, and the Changing American Family, by Dr. Peggy Drexler. Based on her interviews with 70 women, ages 20 through 40, she explores the relationships of fathers and their adult daughters: why grown women seek their fathers’ approval; why some of us are still a “daddy’s girl” even in adulthood; and whether we date/marry men “just like our fathers,” as the rumor goes. I also learned that my father’s reaction to my post-breakup behavior — hysterical crying, snot everywhere — was not at all uncommon. Fathers understandably feel powerless when their child is in pain (the same goes for mothers, too) and sometimes their knee-jerk reaction is to make the child stop showing how hurt they are. My dad was just being … a dad.
Dr. Drexler — who (unrelated but interesting) is married to the CEO of J.Crew, Mickey Drexler! — very kindly responded to several questions of mine about Our Fathers, Ourselves for The Frisky. Learn more about your relationship with your father after the jump! Keep reading »