It’s creepy but true. Many women inadvertently date men who are just like their dads. It isn’t always immediately obvious. It could be the same hobbies, their values about life and love, their distinctive personality traits or just quirky little details. It may take years of discovery before the horrifying cliché of it all hits you. One day, your eyes are drilling holes into his back as your beloved husband, once again, absent-mindedly stands between you and The Bachelorette on TV. A feeling of déjà vu washes over you. OMG. He IS your DAD. And dammit, you love him too.
Why, Why, Tell me Why?
Theories abound to explain the mysterious nature of this vaguely incestuous attraction. One common idea is that your dad is the first man you have ever truly and unconditionally loved. No other man has been in such a unique position to teach you about the purity of love, a love so powerful it overcomes all flaws and mistakes (like the time Daddy ate up all the ice cream without replacing them, leading to a traumatic moment of discovery for you). That feeling of Love at First Sight when you meet a man who later turns out to be just like Daddy? Very possibly the product of the comforting familiarity you bred living for years under the same roof with him.
The Crux of the Matter – Is it Good or Bad?
Let’s not beat about the bush. Is this something funny to be laughed at over Chinese New Year pineapple tarts or is it time to rush to your therapist for an extra hour of counselling? Well, it depends. (NNOOOO…!) If Daddy is the kind of man who gets nominated for Father of the Year, then certainly dating a similar man is like striking the 12 Million Dollar Hong Bao Draw. What is on the other hand should be obvious. If your dad was perpetually drunk, abusive, angry, unfaithful, absent, stealing your ice cream, and ultimately drove you to spend all your salary on therapy, and YET, you find yourself dating a man like your dad? Then it’s time to find a new therapist.
Is there No Hope then?
Hope springs eternal or so people say. I say, knowledge is power, or at least a good start. This is as good a time as any to begin your journey of meditative reflection. Take out your yoga mat, sit down and ponder upon your relationships with these two men in your life.
- How much of your love for the new man in your life is positive for you?
- How much is negative but mirrored in the relationship you had with your dad?
If 1 is greater than 2, continue to nurture and treasure this wonderful relationship. Buy him ice cream. If 2 is greater than 1, recognise that you need to separate the two relationships and break up with your “dad”. No one wants to break up with their “first love”, but if it isn’t working for you, then it’s time to break the vicious cycle and date someone who is Different and Good for you. This is a Happy Thing. Buy yourself ice cream.
~ Li Ching (Who Buys Herself Ice Cream Anyway)