Is Your Dad Going to Keep You Single?
According to Gallup, 86% of never-married Americans aged 18 to 34 want to get married someday and yet 73% of 25-34 year-olds are still single. That’s a lot of unmarried folks who want marriage. So even if you’re not one of them, it’s certain you know one.
In a previous post I suggested that maybe it’s your mom’s fault, but this post will reveal the role many dads play in keeping young people single long past the time they could still be considered young. See if you can relate to any of these three questions about your dad.
#1: Is your dad more of a fear-monger than a father?
Is your dad controlling, combative, or even abusive?
This could keep you single in many ways, but here we’ll just cover two. The first is this: we tend to imitate the behavior modeled by our parents. Often without realizing it.
What have you learned from your dad? Have you learned to intimidate others into agreeing with you. Or at least giving into you?
And before you answer, again, think about it. You might not realize just how controlling you’ve learned to be from your dad (or your mom for that matter).
And if this proves to be the case, you will find most potential dating partners – at least all the healthy ones – don’t want a dictator. They just want a date. They aren’t looking for a prospective slave-driver. They’re looking for a prospective spouse. A spouse who can hold their temper consistently, listen empathetically, and compromise willingly.
On the other hand, if you’re the child of a domineering dad, instead of emulating their behavior, their behavior could cause you to be avoidant of close relationships of any kind, but especially dating relationships. Either consciously or subconsciously you may be overly wary of letting what happened to you as a child at home happen to you as an adult in marriage.
Now this kind of discernment can be healthy, but not without first walking through how your upbringing might be impacting your search for a marriage partner (or even discouraging you from that search altogether). Otherwise, you will continue to carry past hurt into every new relationship. And sadly…
Wounded individuals don’t thrive much better in dating relationships (or marriage) than controlling individuals.
So don’t let a domineering dad keep you single. If you have this kind of childhood history, talk it through with wiser friends, mentors, or relatives. Even a counselor if necessary.
On the flip side…
#2: Is your dad more of a fainting goat than a father?
Not everyone’s dad is an oppressor. In fact, far more dads are likely to be passive, abdicating the majority of the authority and decision-making to the mother of their children.
How can this keep you single?
For very different reasons for men and women.
MEN: If you had a father who never actively engaged with your family (and in particular with your mother), you could find yourself emulating his behavior toward your mom. You may be unwilling or even afraid to engage in relationships with women. You might hang out with “friendgirls” all the time, but you dare not ask one of them out on a d-d-d-d-date.
Then again, if you had a father who, beyond merely passivity, allowed your mom to verbally abuse and dishonor him – and maybe even you too – this could inspire you to want to “return the favor” to the women in your life. You consequently, might avoid, take advantage of, or even despise them.
But what a domineering dad won’t do is inspire you to cherish a woman. And that can keep you single. Because…
A healthy woman knows the right man is going to cherish her. Not endure, resent, or abuse her.
Actually, the inability to cherish a woman should keep you single, except for the fact that there are so many young women in the dating pool today who have no idea that they even should be cherished, and wouldn’t know how to recognize cherishing if they knew to look for it.
WOMEN: If you had a passive papa, passivity could be all you expect from the man in your life. Which means, if something has to be done, you’re going to have to be the one to do it. Even if your man should be doing it.
This means you’ll be more likely to be the initiator in romantic relationships, instead of waiting for the right kind of man who would not only see you as worthy of pursuit, but who would have the maturity, confidence, and integrity to actually set out to win your heart.
Then once in a dating relationship you’ll likely feel you have to (or want to) be in the driver’s seat: constantly seeking clarity on your man’s commitment, manipulating him into meeting your expectations, and setting and striving to maintain boundaries on your own.
Worse, the daughter of a docile dad might even find herself intimidated by healthy men who know who they are and what they want.
Even if all of these behaviors don’t keep you single, they will make it very difficult for you to enter a healthy relationship, because…
Healthy men don’t want to be driven by their girlfriends anymore than healthy women want to be driven by their boyfriends. Because healthy relationships involve an intentional give-and-take from both partners.
That said, even a woman raised by an ideal father figure could find herself single into her late 20s (or 30s, or 40s), because of all the men out there raised by detached dads. Young men who are subsequently incapable of even asking a woman out, much less equipped to cherish or honor her.
Regardless of your gender, don’t let a frail father figure keep you single. If you think this might be you, seek the counsel of wiser relatives, more experienced friends, or trusted mentors you look up to.
#1: Is your dad more of a phantom than a father.
Finally, your dad could keep you single by doing nothing at all.
That is to say, by not being in your life at all.
Research cannot be any clearer, a fatherless home correlates to more social ills then you can count. How can it keep you single? Again, allow me to address the genders separately:
Q: Do you know who is supposed to call a boy up into manhood?
A: The older men of his community responsible for teaching, challenging, mentoring, and leading that young man. And who more than anyone should spearhead this effort, but a young man’s father.
But, in the absence of a father, do you know who most boys will look to to call them up into manhood?
Some will look to other boys not much older than themselves (especially prior to the teen years), but ultimately a boy will look to a pretty girl. Indeed…
The trope of almost every “coming of age” movie shows how winning a girl’s heart or handling a girl’s body turns a boy into a man.
Though this may be an effective plot device in movies, it’s a highly ineffective way of building a healthy relationship between a young man and woman, which is to say it establishes relationships unlikely to last.
And that will keep you single!
Q: Do you know who’s supposed to shape a girl’s expectations for how she should be treated by a man?
A: Older men of her community responsible for teaching, cherishing, guarding, and guiding that young woman. And who better to take the lead in this effort, than a little girl’s daddy.
But, without a father present and accountable, do you know where most girls will look to discover their worth as a woman?
In the eyes of a boy.
Of course, feminism has done it’s best to imprint the idea on the soul of almost every female that they do not need a man. Even that they shouldn’t want a man. But “girl-powerism” is still happy for men to want women. To even earnestly desire women. Specifically to sexually desire them. However…
A healthy romance takes place between a woman who already knows her worth (apart from a man) and a man who honors that intrinsic worth.
Many a romance may blossom without this kind of mature connection, but they don’t last.
And there again, in the end, that’s going to keep you single!
So if you grew up in a fatherless home, again, please seek the help of those older and wiser than you to help you process the issues that created for you and heal the wounds that left in you.
Is Your Dad going to Keep You Single?
Did any of these questions resonate with you? Consider discussing this post with a friend you respect. And then prayerfully take the next step from there! There’s no shame in needing help, but there is much shame in refusing to seek the help you need.
And hey, if you’re supposed to be married someday, it’s not just about you! It’s about your future spouse who will need you to love, honor and cherish them with all your heart. And it’s about any children you may have who will need a mom and dad who are present, committed, and self-controlled.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!