Tag Archives: male female friendships

Girls with daddy issues behaving badly

Is it only me who feels that this year has been a very long and very emotionally taxing one?

 

2012 has not been easy.  Lots of things have happened this year – perhaps too much. Add to that hours of personal analytical contemplation and you have the typical ‘year-drawing-to-an-end’ emotional exhaustion.  Sadly, dear readers, this little Teatart is tired, stale and well beyond its best-before date.

 

What makes times like these so difficult is the absence of my father. My dad was always my ‘Mr Fix-it”, a walking library of solutions to life’s problems, my ever-constant rock. Besides simply being my father, he was also a stand-in mother and my primary care-giver for the duration of my early years. His passing left a huge void in my life akin to a gaping chasm. 

 

Only last year I learnt through therapy that this is an underlying reason for my attraction to certain men.  I apparently subconsciously seek out men who I consider as being able to fill that father figure gap – however unhealthy that may sound!  Only now can I recognise that my first husband actually took on the vacant father figure role as the person who provided me with the stability, security and affection I needed.  Only now can I see that the end of our marriage therefore represented far more than just the termination of a husband-wife relationship – I lost another person I depended on.

 

Image courtesy of fooyoh.com

Image courtesy of fooyoh.com

The human psyche is indeed complex.  We endeavour to deal with various tragedies and painful life experiences in unique ways.  In my case, the loss of my father, who was my pillar of strength, was perceived as the ultimate rejection. The result is that I have sought out what could only be deemed as inappropriate friendships with men.  To explain:  my male friends are incredibly affectionate, caring and loyal.  Their friendship means a great deal to me.  Yet I realise that I have overstepped the boundaries of friendship in an ill attempt to fill the ‘fatherless’ gap.  As a married woman, constantly hugging another man and sitting on his lap is most certainly not deemed proper behaviour – no matter how innocent the intentions!

 

While all this self-analysis and the subsequent flood of emotions have left me spent, I am now better equipped to practise more discretion in my selection of male friends, and in my dealings with them.  I also have a wonderful support network of good friends, a loving husband and a caring mother to help me – what more could a girl need in overcoming her daddy issues?

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The “just friends” phenomenon

It’s the age-old debate: can men and women be “just friends”? Most women will agree that they can. But I’m a cynic at heart; and this particular topic has remained at the top of my unsolvable mysteries list.

Hear me out. Men and women are wired completely differently. Generally women are the more emotional of the species. I would go as far as to say that women often fall in love emotionally and mentally long before the physical element kicks-in. How else can you explain a tall good-looking woman with a short, fat and balding man? I would like to believe that women have the perplexing ability to see beyond the physical from the off-set. She can delve beneath all the bravado into the very soul of a man.

Men, on the other hand, may be a little less complicated. I’m talking more on the line of an “Ugga Ugga, me see, me want” model variation that thankfully ensures the survival of the human race through his sheer desire to populate the earth.

When a man is hunting for his special partner, he is an obliging and amicable creature that aims to please his female companion in just about everything he does. However, he faces one sizable risk when wooing a girl, and that is falling into that dreaded friendship abyss. You know the one I’m referring to: the comfortable space within which a woman now views the man as her long-lost best friend. I hate to say this, but it needs to be said. Once a woman has set her mind on a man being her friend, not much can sway her decision.

This leads me to my conclusion: in most male-female friendships, it’s usually the man who hopes for more. Of course, whether he acts on his feelings is an entirely different scenario. I’m sure it is often the fear of rejection that stops many a brave man cold in his tracks.

That said, I’ve become more and more convinced of late that, besides the hope of a potential relationship, the reality of the specific circumstances surrounding a man-woman friendship actually has a much bigger role to play.

Call it fate, or a twisted turn of events, but sometimes we meet a potential someone at the wrong juncture in our lives, and we therefore settle for a platonic friendship simply because there is no other choice.

For example, I was once convinced that a close male friend was my perfect equal. At that stage he was in a relationship whereas I was not. I allowed myself to contemplate if things could’ve turned out differently between us if we had met before he was attached.

The “what ifs” and “maybes” are life’s cruel temptations. Maybe this is what makes male-female friendships a phenomenon that will not cease to exist anytime soon? The hope of something more than friendship on the part of the one person? Or the romantic thought of “what if” the situation was different?

Or perhaps I’ve gotten it all wrong …again!

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