If you find love to be a confusing thing and wonder if it’s ever going to happen for you, take this quiz! You may discover the key to your relationship challenges – and find out what to do about it:

  1. Do you have a pattern of dating men who won’t commit or be monogamous?
  2. Do you have a pattern of dating men you don’t respect?
  3. Do you feel you date men who aren’t really your equal (you’re always seeing their potential and working to help them become the man you know they can be)?
  4. When you’re in a relationship do you derive value from “taking care of your man” (e.g., doing thoughtful things for him, making sure his needs are met and that he’s happy)?
  5. Do the men you’re dating act like a child and then become resentful of you for having too much power in the relationship (or you wind up feeling like a nagging mother)?
  6. Are your relationships are often threatened by other women?
  7. Have you ever felt like your mom’s protector?
  8. Do you consider yourself a “Daddy’s Girl”?
  9. Growing up did you feel more comfortable as one of the guys?
  10. Did your father or mother get support from you in ways they should have gotten it from another adult?
  11. When you were young, did you feel more interested in spending time with the adults than with other children?
  12. Do your relationships begin with loads of passion then turn to lots of fights?
  13. Are your breakups exceedingly painful (e.g., you know he’s not good for you but can’t help wanting him back)?
  14. Does it feel more natural for you to give than to receive?

If you answered yes to more than four of these questions, then your relationship to Dad may be throwing your love life into chaos. Whether you and your father are close, estranged, or somewhere in between, his energy – and the way you relate to it  – has a major impact on your intimate partnerships.

The Female Journey

As young women, our souls go through a natural progression of bonding and connection with each parent. In a perfect world, it looks like this: We spend the first decade of our life under the primary influence of our moms. And at about ten years old, we’re ready for more independence and step away from our moms, into our father’s sphere of influence. A few years later, our bodies become decidedly female and we claim our womanhood, returning once again to our mother as the strongest energetic influence in our lives.

As our mother’s daughter in this way, we gain a sense of centeredness, grace, beauty, power and feminine radiance. And here, we’re able to engage in a respectful relationship with a man who is his father’s son (and draws purpose and potency from his masculine lineage).

A Natural Process Interrupted

Unfortunately, many of us did not have an easy journey back to our mothers. Our father may have been an extra strong influence, been possessive of us, or we simply trusted or admired him more than our mom. We may have had to stay in our dad’s masculine energy by taking over the “knight in shining armor” role for a mom who seemed weak. Perhaps our mother was emotionally or physically unsafe, or she rejected us once we became a woman.    

Whatever the reason, if we are now women in the primary influence of our father’s energy, then it will be very difficult to find peace in our intimate relations with men. Two things are likely going to happen:

  1. We’ll be stuck relating to men from a young girl’s perspective (as we did with our Daddy – whether we were loving him or judging him, or just trying to take care of Mom). We are trapped in a power imbalance and must work hard to win men’s approval and attention. We may also find ourselves playing the waiting game – trying to figure out if we should stay or leave a relationship where we’re not being treated the way we want.
  2. We’ll tend to attract men who are stuck relating to women from a young boy’s perspective. They will not truly respect women (often seen in a fear of commitment or in patterns of betrayal), may act like a child with us, and then feel resentful that we have too much power.

Relationships based on these dynamics tend to be both chaotic and unsustainable.

The Solution

It is only by our mother’s side that we, as girls, can become women. And the gifts available to us through our maternal line are our natural birthright. This is where we must look if we want to be nourished and supported enough to meet men in a way that holds real promise for longterm respectfulness and compatibility. The first step begins with a simple curiosity about our mothers and female ancestry.

Some of my clients have had very difficult experiences with their moms, and the thought of reconnecting with their maternal line feels daunting, painful or even scary. Some of these women felt rejected by their mothers, some had moms who competed with them, and others were abused by their moms. But no matter what the history was, I’ve seen firsthand how with consistent effort, certain healing tools, gentleness and positive intention, we can shift the family’s dynamics so that a woman can begin to access and receive safe, feminine love and energy that had previously been unavailable.

There may be much to heal along the path. But the journey is worth it.

If longterm partnership is on your mind, take a step back and consider how much more the females in your life might have to offer than what you once may have realized. Put a photo of your mom or grand mom on your altar. Become more curious about what life was like for your mother and your grandmothers – ask people in the family to tell you stories. And perhaps most importantly, open your heart to the feminine energy around you and let it radiate through your life. You don’t need to reject any positive bond you have with your father, but if you can grow into a more adult version of it and move into your feminine birthright, you’ll have an easier time creating the lasting love you desire.