With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s a perfect moment to reflect on Relationship Lessons that Dad Teaches You.
Whether you had a great dad, a dud dad or no dad at all, the father figure remains an important influence in how we act in our own adult relationships.
Let’s hear what men and women from all walks of life have to say about the lessons their dads taught them about love.
Susan describes her Dad as her Hero
“He was strong, kind, and attentive to my mom and to me and my brothers and sisters.” When Susan began dating, she looked for men who had the same qualities that she liked in her father.
“Any guy who was impolite to me, or who didn’t treat me like I deserved to be treated…well, he didn’t get a second date.”
Susan’s dad showed her what a loving and respectful relationship looked like, so it was natural for her to gravitate towards men who demonstrated those personality traits.
She knew what she wanted as she had grown up with a great model for what love looks like.
Judy did not have an Ideal Dad
Relationship Lessons that Dad Teaches You When he was home, he just wanted to be left alone.
“We kids always had to be quiet when he was around. He yelled at us if we made too much noise.
We never felt like we could just be ourselves around him, because he was always ready to explode.” Judy’s lessons from her relationship with her dad were hard ones.
“I had to do a lot of work on myself to make sure I recognized behavior in men I dated that mirrored what I had grown up with.
My dad’s relationship lesson to me was to show me what I did not want.” Relationship lessons that Dad teaches you are not always what you want to learn.
Through therapy and deep work on building her self-esteem and sense of value, Judy eventually met and married a supportive, loving man who is nothing like her father.
Her husband is present, engaged with her and their children, and happy in both his professional and personal life.
“The man I call Dad isn’t my Biological Father”
“My biological dad left my mom shortly after I was born. But Jack, my mom’s second husband, stepped up to the plate and raised me and my sister as if we were his.”
Ryan never felt the absence of a father because for all intents and purposes, Jack was his father.
“He did it all—coached my soccer team, came to parent-teacher conferences, taught me to drive and gave me pointers when I needed dating advice.”
Ryan knows he is lucky. His relationship lesson from the man he calls Dad?
“You don’t need to be the biological father to be a terrific father. You just need to embrace your role as a father figure and lean into it.”
Samantha admired her Dad’s Patience and Sacrifice
“My mom was a troubled person. Her bipolar disorder made it so that we never knew what ‘mom’ we were coming home to.
One day she’d be “up”– baking cookies for us, helping us with our homework.
The next day she’d crash. She’d scream at us, insult us, and hit us. But dad would handle it all. He could make up for all her mood swings.
He doubled up on love and attention so that we weren’t completely broken by our mom’s illness.”
Samantha’s relationship lesson from her dad was one of selflessness.
She watched her father stay in a marriage that was not an easy one in order to provide a stabilizing force for the children.
She knew that her father could have left and found happiness with a mentally healthy person, but he did not.
Samantha felt protected by her dad. In her own relationships, she gravitates towards men who show traits of strength and desire to protect. And for herself?
“I make sure to keep my moods steady and consistent! I don’t want to become my mother.”
Frank’s Dad Raised Him Alone
“My mom died in a car accident when I was five. All of the sudden, my dad was left to raise three kids on his own.
I think many men would have tried to remarry as fast as they could, but my dad didn’t do that.
He rose to the task.
He quit a job that had him traveling two weeks a month, and began a home business so he was around when we came home from school.”
Now that Frank is an adult and married himself, he understands the enormous challenge his dad took on.
He thinks that the lesson he learned from his relationship with his dad was that of strength. “My dad’s life was completely changed overnight.
He could have been crushed by my mom’s death. He could have let our grandparents raise us. But he didn’t.
He is a true role model for me. My dad taught me that we are stronger than we know.”
These are the key relationship lessons that Dad teaches you.
Camille was Raised by not One, but two Dads
“My dads are gay. I grew up in a household that was a little bit different in that sense.
But I was loved, encouraged, and educated just like anyone growing up in a traditional family.”
Camille’s relationship lessons from her two dads? “I learned a lot about tolerance and appreciating diversity.
Because of my two dads, I am attracted to men who are active supporters of human rights and defending those who feel marginalized.”
Camille would not have changed anything about her family structure.
“I was always made to feel like I was a princess. I was the center of their universe.”
On this Father’s Day, take a moment to celebrate all kinds of fathers, and appreciate the relationship lessons they have passed along to you.