Experts say that women without father figures have more difficulty in heterosexual romantic relationships.
Mitchell Ray, 18, a freshman journalism student from Tampa, supports this idea saying her father’s calm nature has influenced her relationship tremendously.
Currently in a relationship, Ray said she feels her commitment has been successful because of her father’s honest personality.
“My relationship with my father is [similar to a] best guy friend,” Ray said. “Talking to him about life and the men I meet helps me have better relationships with the guys that I become involved with. My dad gives me an inside scoop on the motives of some men.”
W. Andrew Collins, writing in the American Psychologist, notes in a 2004 article, “Perspective study of intra-individual and peer influences on adolescents heterosexual romantic and sexual behavior”, the important role of parents in shaping the development of children.
Teshera Tull, a 20-year-old senior biology student from Barbados, said that her father has not been a positive influence in her life.
Tull has learned to accept her father’s flaws and uses it to gain a better perspective on the type of woman she is supposed to be.
“I don’t let what he did to me dictate what goes on in my relationships because you can’t let one person hold you back from trying to excel,” Tull said.
Rachelle Jean-Louis, a counselor from Delray Beach and a Florida A&M alum, believes that most relationships fail because of lack of trust, respect and not taking the time to build a foundation.
“Watching your parents is the first relationship a person gets to observe,” Jean-Louis said. “So if [children] see their parents dealing with situations negatively they will be influenced in harmful ways.”
Dr. Yolanda K.H Bogan, director of FAMU counseling services, believes that women do not have to be the victim of these harmful influences.
“I always recommend that women think about the kinds of relationships that they want before getting involved,” she said.
Jean-Louis agrees with Bogan’s sentiment and notes the importance of women recognizing and resolving these issues.
“Regardless if they have to attend counseling, it is important to take care of the problem as soon as it is accepted,” Jean said. “They need to find a release system so they won’t carry the heavy weight.”
In many cases, couples do not go to a counseling center, because many of them do not believe that there is a problem.
Bogan said that there is a possibility for women with father figures to have issues with their relationships.
She points out that some fathers are abusive or neglectful. However, there are ways, Bogan said, to get past these situations.
Parental influence, positive or negative, teaches children how to respond and relate to the opposite sex experts agree.
It is up to the child how they will eventually mold that experience for better or worse.
“You can’t lump all women into one category,” said Bogan.