A History Of Father-Daughter Dates

They say that a woman’s relationship with her father sets up the course for all of her relationships with men.  It makes sense.  The first relationship with the opposite sex that a girl knows is with her dad, so it would no doubt teach her what that relationship is supposed to look like.  Unfortunately, not every father-daughter pair is a healthy one.

Many women, myself included, suffer from “daddy issues.”  These are the underlying characteristics that most people blame for a woman having screwed-up relationships with men.  They show up in the form of failure to trust, excessive flirting, eagerness to please, clinginess, and an attraction to much older men.  I should know, I’ve exhibited all of those traits at one point or another.

My relationship with my biological father ended abruptly when I was a freshman in high school.  After dealing with his alcoholic wife who began to treat me like an inconvenience rather than a member of the family, I decided to stop my every-other-weekend visits during what I still consider to be one of the worst nights of my life.  My biological father let me go.  His contact with me soon disappeared.  He believed that I should be the one to maintain the relationship; I questioned when the roles of parent and child had reversed.

The good news is, I had a spare dad.

When I was in grade school, my mom began dating the man I consider my dad.  He already had a son (my brother Zack) who was a year younger than me and we all used to have such fun times going to the local putt-putt course or up to Mammoth for skiing.  A family was formed.  My parents’ relationship was off-and-on until I was in high school when it was subsequently over.  Regardless, the two stayed the best of friends and I was still daddy’s little girl.

As I’ve gotten older, my relationship with my affectionately named Dad-O has grown even closer than I could have ever thought and we enjoy “just the two of us” activities (particularly those that other members of the family have no interest in).  We see movies and have dinner together just to have those rare moments where it’s just a father and his daughter.

When I turned 24, my dad decided to treat me to a skydiving trip.  I had always wanted to go, he had always wanted to go, so we went together and it was incredible.  Then a few months later, we went again with my brother to celebrate his return from the Army.  What’s that they say?  The family that skydives together…

That was totally wicked!

Another time, we went to a nice dinner and saw the play Trying at one of the local theaters.  When we got to the restaurant, I found a small vase of flowers waiting just for me with a sweet note.  My dad had arranged everything.  Even the play that evening was acted out by another father-daughter pair.  There were some damp eyes at the end of the performance on more than one face.

I still have that vase somewhere.

And just this past Saturday, my dad and I went horseback riding.  Every day on my way to work, I pass by a horse ranch and have mentioned to my mom how much I’ve wanted to go riding.  I went a couple of times when I was a kid and have always wanted to try it again.  Out of nowhere, I received an email from the ol’ Daderoo with a local deal that offered a discounted two-hour ride at the exact ranch that I drove by each day.  He wanted to know if that was something I was interested in and I, of course, jumped at the chance.

Two hours and two sore butts later.

I’m sure our father-daughter dates will continue for years to come, but I have come to appreciate them more than I ever knew.  It takes a lot for a man to choose to be a father to a young girl that’s not his own and even more for him to want to maintain the strong relationship it took years to build.  I’ve got something special with my dad and I definitely don’t take it for granted that he stepped in when he didn’t have to.

He’s awesome and that’s no lie.

14 thoughts on “A History Of Father-Daughter Dates

  1. Emily January says:

    Wow! He sounds wonderful. You are so lucky. For me, I only got to see my biological father growing up a couple of times a year, but he’s the one who has always been there and is still there. My step-dad was a big jerk. I’m glad to see that step-fathers can fill the role of father in some situations. I’ve been so jaded because of my experience.

    • Jessica says:

      I am incredibly lucky, Emily, but it sounds like you’ve got a great dad as well. It’s not about the parents who you see all the time, but the ones who are always there for you even if from a distance. My dad really stepped up and filled the empty place that my biological father left when he decided it would be easier for his marriage (another evil step-parent–we could have a jaded party!) to walk away. I don’t regret his decision one bit because I was blessed with a fantastic man in my life that taught me what being a real parent is all about.

  2. hunting for bliss says:

    This is so sweet! I love that you still go on father-daughter dates! I must say that I’m a bit jealous—I have daddy issues, but up until recently I didn’t have a sudo-dad. I have my father-in-law now and he has really stepped up for me. It’s been really nice to have a caring man to call me on my birthday, take an interest in my life, and spoil me a little. I think he likes it too, because he has 4 sons.

    • Jessica says:

      Tobi, our little dates are so much fun. We always have a great time doing something new, fun, and often exciting. Believe me, the daddy issues aren’t all healed, but I know it would have been far worse had my dad not been there to be a positive male figure in my life. I’m thrilled you have your father-in-law! Isn’t it wonderful to be the only girl? 🙂

  3. artzent says:

    My father walked away when I was two and never came back. In my teen years my grandfather took on that role. Not having a father does not necessairly mean that you are doomed to relationships that are toxic. At some point you have to realize that your father is responsible for his choices, not you and you are responsible to make the right choices for you!.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that June, but I’m so glad your grandfather became such an important part of your life. You’re absolutely right, a father’s absence does not mean that all relationships are destined to be doomed. Unfortunately, I still have some deep-seated abandonment issues because of my biological father’s choices and it’s a constant struggle to move past them. It’s hard not to be affected when a person who is predisposed to love you chooses someone else.

  4. Trying to be Conscious says:

    Your Dad-O sounds amazing. What a heart-warming story, it made me feel emotional and hopeful for human relations to read it. I’m lucky enough to have a caring dad. He’s very upset about my moving to New zealand and sometimes it annoys me but I should remember that his love and affection are priceless. I also have lunch dates with my dad and we try to do fun things together when we can. Thank you for sharing, Jessica.

    • Jessica says:

      He is amazing, Cécile! And I’m so glad you have a dad who is going to miss you so much when you move to Kiwi Country. 🙂 What’s that they say? There is no one who can annoy us quite like our parents? Trust me, my dad can irritate me as well when he worries, but it’s all from a place of love. I guess when we have children we can annoy we’ll understand it more clearly.

  5. Dad-O says:

    It’s been almost 24 hours since I read your post. I have discovered that you have reached a spot inside of me where love ,joy and happiness reside and in that place there are no words to express my feelings.
    I have loved you since the moment I met you.
    And have no idea what I did to deserve you and your love, I must’ve been really good at some point in my life.
    I love and cherish you my wonderful daughter.
    There could never be anyone as good as you.
    I look forward to many more father and daughter nights and days.
    Thank you for your gift and your love.

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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