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Topic: Young adult without a father figure

WonderfulClient started this discussion 4.6 years ago #2,729

Sorry for another post, just wondering if people have some experience in helping a young adult deal with not having a father figure.

For years people told me that not having a relationship with my father would cause me a lot of harm and I never believed the extent of what they said - now all of a sudden I desperately want a father - not necessarily MY father, because I don't like him and I have no interest in having a relationship with him - but a father.
I'm obviously not literally looking for a new father, I just recognize myself relating to people as though they were my father (not sure how else to explain it).

It's often people who are very different from my real father, people that I think would be really good fathers, and I find myself thinking weird thoughts - my first class with a professor this year and all I can think about is him holding me in his arms, a new guy I've recently become friends with and all I want is for him to hug me and tell me I'm on the right path - the only thing I can make of this is that I'm lacking that father figure I maybe need a bit of.

So do you have any advice on how to live as a young adult without a father figure?

I don't like the way that I'm developing weird feelings (transference I guess) for men who I shouldn't be feeling that way for, as though I wish they were my fathers, but I really don't know how to control it. I find myself looking for something from them - and obviously I can't make them my fathers - so I find myself fantasizing about seducing them, or doing something that would make me feel as though I were important in their lives.

It's not a healthy way to live. I want to find some way of dealing with this father crap so that I'm not realting to the wrong men in that way.

(Edited 6 minutes later.)

WonderfulClient (OP) double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 1 day later[^] [v] #0

Bump? :(

Sifter joined in and replied with this 4.6 years ago, 13 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

Wonderful, I don't know if I'd endorse this method for anyone else, but when I was at college I made a friend - an older male friend - who was really got my wavelength. He had the hots for me and wanted to have sex and we did have sex a couple of times, but I wasn't really into it. I just wanted to be close and have the fatherly stuff. And because, transference and lust aside, we genuinely liked each other a great deal, we worked it out, and had a very beautiful, long-lasting friendship. And it satisfied some of my needs. A little later in life I plugged some of the remaining gaps through other close friendships with older guys, with more or less sex involved, until I could finally get enough therapy to get the core of the issue addressed (very recently). It worked for me because I was able to maintain mutual respect in each of those friendships, and to stay conscious both of my needs and of the individuality of the other person (they weren't just some blank father figure there to fill my needs). So... that's how I did it.

WonderfulClient (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 7 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
This is great to read. Thanks for sharing this. It's really interesting.
It seems like I'm looking for some of the same things you did when you were in college - at least before I was with my fiancee, I found myself being friends with older men... and I couldn't really define those relationships - I had sex with some of them, but I can see how I was looking for more than that out of them. Now that I'm with my fiancee, I'm not doing that, but I'm still meeting those kinds of men, and I keep my distance, but I become very attached. It seems that whatever it is I'm trying to do/used to try to do is similar to what you did.

WonderfulClient (OP) double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 5 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
> I was able to maintain mutual respect in each of those friendships, and to stay conscious both of my needs and of the individuality of the other person (they weren't just some blank father figure there to fill my needs).
This is really interesting to me. I think this is one of the reasons why these types of relationships cause me so much distress (see "Submissive to men I'm attracted to" thread) - because I don't know how to stay conscious of my needs and of the individuality of the other person.
I stress (as you can see at the other thread) about what I'm supposed to do for them (should I be being their friend? Should I be seducing them? Should I ignore them and just be acquaintances?) and I think that's because, as you said, I'm using them as some "blank father figure there to fill my needs". And I'm trying to find ways for them to be more than that - by establishing SOMETHING with them - but in the end, that's what they are to me.
Now I am starting to be conscious of what my needs are with them, but I don't know how to allow them to keep their individuality if I keep interacting with them as opposed to them just serving this function of a "blank father figure" to me.

(Edited 15 seconds later.)

Sifter replied with this 4.6 years ago, 7 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
Yeah. If you can stay alert to your own transference, and the fact that the transference is your responsibility, and be CURIOUS about the transference, it helps. So sometimes your needs might be out of whack with the situation, but just watch and learn about yourself. In the right situation you can be open with the other person without making it their problem. Like with yourself you might be going 'wow, I'm super drawn to Barry's work ethic/geniality/cuddliness/whatever. I guess I need more of that in my life...'. And... try to have friendships with guys that you genuinely like, who genuinely like you, and that way they have a chance of getting the different layers of what is going on too.

Sifter double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 14 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
That's interesting. Certainly I had times when the 'blank father figure' urge was driving me too. But if that's working most of the time, then I think the relationship can easily get to be about mutual exploitation. How to get beyond that... it's hard to answer this, and it might just be about readiness... instinctively I'd say... there was something really special about the times where I was able to joke or allude to the father-figure or transference stuff with those guys. To acknowledge it, like... putting it in its own bubble, somehow (a big bubble) so it wasn't just smothering everything, undistinguished or denied. And we could kind of laugh about that as much as laughing about the fact that they are looking to secure their immortality by getting with some hot young thing. And it's futile, both ways... they are not your dad, you can't give them eternal life. But humans love persisting with the futile. Someone you can laugh about that with is special.

And then there were these other times when I had to see - shit, this guy has his own troubles, he has a wife or an ex-wife, kids, stuff he's trying to take care of that I have to respect. He's not just an object.... But if he treats you as an object, it's hard to get there. Sorry, I'm sure this doesn't help much.

WonderfulClient (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 14 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
> In the right situation you can be open with the other person without making it their problem.
THIS is really interest. How can you do that?
What I'm trying to figure out is how to interact with these people. Because these type of people that I tend to get drawn to ARE incredible people. I just don't let myself have an incredible relationship with them because there's all this concern about how I'm supposed to act, what I'm supposed to let them see, etc.
To say that "you can be open with the other person without making it their problem" - can you expand on what you mean?
I'm obviously not going to go up to a new friend and tell him that I want him to hold me every time I see him because I wish he were my dad haha.
But I wish there were some way of kind of letting them in on this without it being a problem to them at all (and I'm not sure how to do this since it's clearly not something that most people feel, so it would seem like a pretty big problem if I were to openly tell them).

The word "cuddliness" just really got me feeling exactly what I'm feeling when I'm around this new guy. He's cuddly. He's adorably cuddly and every time I see him I want to tell him that I want a hug, or if I'm sitting next to him I just want to lean my head on his shoulder, but because I recognize there's so much subconscious stuff going into my relationship with this guy, I'm finding it hard to rationally recognize what's appropriate and what's not. I think it would be weird to tell him that I want a hug every time I see him - at the same time I don't know how else to deal with it because the feeling of wanting to hug him is so strong when I see him.

We had an awkward moment last week - he walked me to the subway station and the whole time we were talking about sexual abuse cases in first year criminal law and how it completely ruins how you feel about sex (he's in second year - he was warning me about it because my class hasn't gone over sexual abuse cases yet). We made a few jokes while we were talking about it and when I got to the subway we were saying bye and he was going to give me a high five or something (he's a weird guy like that) and I told him to give me a hug. So he gave me a hug and it was seriously the longest/cuddliest/most touchy hug I've had in a long time. It was the exact feeling I was looking for. At the same time it felt really sexual the way his whole body rubbed so sexually against mine (I don't know if this was just in my head though) and I said something joking about how that hug could constitute sexual assault (bad joke I know, awkward moment, but he laughed and it made the awkwardness go away).
Any way. So this slightly awkward moment (I haven't hugged anyone else at this school - we're all still very professional with each other - I don't know if maybe he felt weird that I would even ask him) made me realize that I don't know how to manage things with him - I want to hug him every time I see him and I don't know what's appropriate - if I were to do that, it's like I'm using him for something completely different than he realizes. At the same time, he seemed totally ok with it last time. I don't think the amount of closeness there was in that hug was all in my head...

All I can think right now is about how much I want a hug from him. I see him tomorrow... I want to ask him for a hug... that would be weird, I think... It's hard to think rationally when there's all this subconscious stuff at work. I don't know if it would be inappropriate to ask him for a hug. He's a very touchy feely person. I also feel like the hug would mean so much to me it would send him weird vibes...

(Edited 1 minute later.)

WonderfulClient (OP) double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 9 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
> That's interesting. Certainly I had times when the 'blank father figure' urge was driving me too. But if that's working most of the time, then I think the relationship can easily get to be about mutual exploitation.
Yes. I'm worried about that. I think that's why I overanalyze every aspect of it because I know how easily it can become that when I'm feeling this way about someone - I rationalize things that I would never think were appropriate otherwise (like this random hug with him shortly after I met him..)

> there was something really special about the times where I was able to joke or allude to the father-figure or transference stuff with those guys. To acknowledge it, like... putting it in its own bubble, somehow (a big bubble) so it wasn't just smothering everything, undistinguished or denied.
This sounds amazing to me.
> And we could kind of laugh about that as much as laughing about the fact that they are looking to secure their immortality by getting with some hot young thing. And it's futile, both ways... they are not your dad, you can't give them eternal life. But humans love persisting with the futile. Someone you can laugh about that with is special.
I wish I could have this with someone, but I guess it's tough because we've known each other for such a short period of time that I don't know if I actually am something like that to him (or if he just sees me as any other student he's friends with).

> And then there were these other times when I had to see - shit, this guy has his own troubles, he has a wife or an ex-wife, kids, stuff he's trying to take care of that I have to respect. He's not just an object.... But if he treats you as an object, it's hard to get there. Sorry, I'm sure this doesn't help much.
This helps a lot. It's very interesting. It relates so much to what I'm experiencing right now, which I was feeling very alone with.

WonderfulClient (OP) triple-posted this 4.6 years ago, 2 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

I know this is a stupid question... but is it weird if I tell him that I want to give him a hug every time I see him? I mean, I'm not going to go into this whole father transference crap, just that I want to give him a hug?

On one hand, I really want to put it out there. Just let him know so that it doesn't make me so uncomfortable when I see him any more.
Kind of in the same way as when you and a guy are both in relationships and not going to cheat but incredibly attracted to each other, I find it helps to just say you really want to fuck each other - even if you don't do it, and have no intention of doing it, there's all of a sudden all this pressure/discomfort off your shoulders when you openly say things like that.
Of course, you could put yourself in a really stupid/bad position to say something like that to someone who isn't feeling the same way/isn't accepting of people saying things openly like that.

But on the other hand, I worry I'm rationalizing something that I shouldn't be simply because I'm craving it so much. It would probably be weird to tell someone that you don't know too well that you want a hug every time you see them.

(Edited 6 minutes later.)

Sifter replied with this 4.6 years ago, 15 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

No idea if it's weird or not. Totally depends on the guy and the moment. But the transference stuff between young women and older men is by no means unusual. A particular guy may or may not be aware of it, but it's not rare.

WonderfulClient (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 4 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
Yeah, it's hard to say without knowing him/our relationship. I just find it hard to trust my judgment in situations like this.
Very true - not so rare at all - not sure how much men are actually aware of it though or if it's something anyone would really openly discuss

Sifter replied with this 4.6 years ago, 12 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
Some guys are preoccupied by their own drives for closeness, intimacy, sexual or otherwise, just as much as you are. Some are self-aware about that. Some are focused on other things. I guess the point is that he's not 'men', he's a particular person, and the only way to know what he is or isn't comfortable with is by getting to know him.

WonderfulClient (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 9 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
This is a really good point. And kind of scary, too.

Sifter replied with this 4.6 years ago, 21 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
> > In the right situation you can be open with the other person without making it their problem.
> THIS is really interest. How can you do that?
> What I'm trying to figure out is how to interact with these people. Because these type of people that I tend to get drawn to ARE incredible people. I just don't let myself have an incredible relationship with them because there's all this concern about how I'm supposed to act, what I'm supposed to let them see, etc.
> To say that "you can be open with the other person without making it their problem" - can you expand on what you mean?

What I mean there is something like this. You really want a hug. That's your problem, not his. There are a lot of people in the world who want hugs, and if you want a hug, it's your job to find someone who wants to hug you. If you try to figure out his manual or set up the situation so that he HAS to give you a hug, that's manipulation. Making it his problem. If you can see him as a person who has the right to hug you or not, and you can be open with yourself about what you want... maybe you don't have to distort yourself or be covert about what you want, in order to make the hug happen. And maybe you can catch a glimmer of him as something other than a hug dispenser.

Whether or not you get this hug, you're still going to be responsible for the hugs you want in the future. It's not going to cure you of the need for hugs. So you might as well loosen up about this particular hug, and get comfy with the idea of yourself as someone who needs hugs. And think about the big picture of where they are going to come from.

WonderfulClient (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 8 hours later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
This is amazing.
It's harder to actually implement this, since, in the moment, I don't trust my judgment - it's easy to do things that seem inappropriate and believe they're appropriate when you're in the middle of it.
I think it will be helpful to keep this in mind, though.

WonderfulClient (OP) double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 2 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^] [v] #0

Random question - not really relevant in this thread, but do you - or anyone else who is possibly looking at the thread - feel a deep need to tell someone everything about yourself/know everything about them? How normal is it to want to share your deepest secrets/want to know someone else's deepest secrets?
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