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What Does It Mean To Have Daddy Issues?

What Does It Mean To Have Daddy Issues?

The term “daddy issues” is all over the internet. But what does it mean, exactly? While social media tends to simplify its meaning, daddy issues aren’t as straightforward as they seem! For starters, people often think of it as the idea that women are looking for their “daddy” in their search for romantic and sexual partners, explains Inez Salcido-Kasteiner, a marriage and family therapist. 

But really? Daddy issues are a “mixed bag of problems that plague a lot of us no matter our gender, culture, ethnicity, or age,” and it includes difficulties with attachment, trust, intimacy, and emotional intelligence, says Salcido-Kasteiner. It all comes down to the relationship our father’s have fostered with us over time, shaping the way we behave in our future romantic relationships. 

Depending on what we learned from our first relationship with a significant male (like how we learned to attach ourselves to a man, how safe we were made to feel with him, how much we trusted that he would be there for us consistently, etc.) “daddy issues” can play out in our romantic relationships in several ways. 

For example, “we might assume that our partner is going to leave us and become anxiously attached to them. Or we might find it difficult to trust our partner if our foundational relationship included a lack of trust and consistency,” says Salcido-Kasteiner. But the key is to grow your awareness of these dynamics and learn your “triggers” so that you can overcome them in your romantic relationships with positive coping skills. 

“Addressing these issues often requires deep work, especially if the patterns lead to re-traumatization and significant pain,” explains Magda Kay, Founder of the School of Intimacy. That said, the best way to do so is by working with a trauma-informed therapist who can help you process childhood experiences and separate them from your adult identity, notes Kay. 

So, think you might have daddy issues—or, put more gently, some healing to do regarding the way you were raised? Just remember you’re not alone. We hope this little breakdown helped provide some clarity, and we’re here for you, always!

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