Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Like Father, Like Spouse?

Published:Monday | September 26, 2016 | 9:00 AMKimberly Goodall

You have likely heard the theory before that women end up marrying men who are like their fathers. But is it true? A father is the first man a girl gets to know on intimate terms, and there is no doubt that though women may love their fathers dearly, they are more likely to look for a man who represents the best qualities of their father, and avoid men who have the undesirable qualities their dad might have had.

Kemisha Grant* shared with Flair that she never imagined dating someone like her father, but to her surprise, the man she now loves and want to spend the rest of her life with has more in common with her father than she would like.

"I never thought I would end up with someone like my father. I mean, I love him but his type would not be my cup of tea as far as I'm concerned. But as I got older, I had a new appreciation for the 'drive-and-hustle' mentality. Luckily for me, those nice attributes are evident in my boyfriend. It got a little crazy when I realised they are both workaholics. There are other characteristics that I didn't see matching, until I began living with him, like the fact that they both enjoy their own company, which is great in spurts. The adventurer in me likes to explore the great outdoors as well as enjoy the nightlife every now and then. He would prefer staying home, like my father," Grant said.

BAD COMBINATION

She continued, "They both don't have many friends, hence staying to themselves. And as far as conflict resolution goes, bring on the lectures, from both parties. I had to put up with it as a daughter out of respect, but then jump out of frying pan and jump into fire with a boyfriend

who thinks he is always right? Bad combination."

There are, however, features that they do not share, which balance things off: "My boyfriend, to me, is more persistent than my father, but he knows when to pull back in order to avoid serious confrontation: my father fuels his own fire. My boyfriend is more open to change than my father, who sticks to the evil he knows until the very end. He is also more understanding and forgiving; my father can hold a grudge for a lifetime. My boyfriend has a hard time making it through the night without coming to an agreement."

According to relationship psychologist Dr Sidney McGill, "Fathers have a profound impact on the formation of women's personalities. He influences their outlook on life and even the choice they make in selecting their lifelong partner.

"If your relationship with your father was generally good, then you'll consciously or unconsciously seek out a mate with a tidy sum of your father's traits. It could be his sincerity, his great sense of humour, or his generosity.

"But if your relationship with your father was significantly bad, then you'll unconsciously seek out some of your father's bad traits in your potential partner that you may be consciously trying to avoid."

He points out that it is important that you get to know a person

you are dating before moving into something serious.

"You have to be vigilant in ensuring that you do not become emotionally entangled with a man that is another version of your father. Get your mother or a close family friend to weigh in on your choice. Answer the question: what are the specific things about him that draw me to him? Which significant person in my life displays some of these same traits?" McGill advises.

reader feedback

Well, a few of our readers decided to share how they feel about dating men with attributes like their fathers.

I was a 'daddy's girl' growing up, and though I love my father, our relationship died as I got older. I would want to see my father's protective attributes in my significant other but would prefer that my guy to have his own bad and good attributes. I had to grow up being confined to my father's personality, and it would kill me if I had to live with his type of personality for the rest of my life.

- T.W- 25

Funny enough, I would date and marry someone like my father. He is hard-working and determined and he is funny but serious when he needs to be. There are things that I would want differently in my partner but would love if he was like my father.

- D.T- 28

While I love my father, I make it my point of duty to not date someone like him. He is a man that loves his children but his 'don't care' attitude is one that might have had me on an episode of 'snapped'. To constantly be telling the person to do the same thing over and over again would drive me crazy. Then compassion and understanding of one's partner is vital. He is oblivious. I am your partner, not your babysitter and maid. I will not be picking up after you and telling you how to make steps. No, no, no. Just no.

- V.H- 30

My dad is the first man I ever loved and who I know loves me unconditionally, so I think I subconsciously chose the same type of man to love. I don't think I chose it, it chose me because I associate my father with a good feeling.

- S.F- 34

Name changed*