Social Question

essieness's avatar

Why are some women drawn to men who are just like their dads?

Asked by essieness (7641 points ) March 5th, 2010

For instance, I am always drawn to the dreamer musician with no money who also happens to do construction as a day job. Exact replica of my father.

I know other women who have told me they are drawn to men like their fathers. What gives?

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40 Answers

SundayKittens's avatar

GOOD. QUESTION. Familiarity, that’s what we’ve grown up seeing as “the man”. Except when you don’t like your dad…then it gets annoying.
I’m totally with you on this…

marinelife's avatar

It is your example of ideal manhood.

Blackberry's avatar

You grew up with is male figure in your life, being an influence to you for decades, of course you’re going to like people similar to him if you indeed like your father. This is an example of an environmental influence, this is why parents and other people in the childs life can greatly influence how the child will turn out.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My dad was a great example of what a man should be.He had strength of character.What’s not to like about that?not all are like that

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I’m also always wondering abut it…. I think its just CRAZY! ;d

CMaz's avatar

Nothing wrong with following a good example.

It is when it gets abused that things run amuck.

davidbetterman's avatar

It’s Oedipus reversed.

Blackberry's avatar

@davidbetterman Apparently they call it the Elecktra complex lol.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

Freud mentions this in an article I read recently for school, but I don’t remember exactly what was said, something about the Oedipus complex maybe? I’m not saying that is the case here mind you. At any rate, my wife married me, an artisticly bent person who isn’t tall and a bit on the bigger side.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

@davidbetterman , ahh see, I knew I was close, I can’t find the article anywhere, heh.

Cruiser's avatar

It is called the Electra Complex which is the female version of the Oedipal Complex.
In psychoanalysis, a daughter’s unconscious libidinal desire for her father.

davidbetterman's avatar

Is it named after Electra?

ZAGWRITER's avatar

@davidbetterman , dear God no, but thank you for the pic.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I don’t think it’s an Electra complex. While Freud had some interesting ideas, I never bought into the Oedipus/Electra complex. I would wager that most people don’t have unconscious desires toward their parents.. the age at which most kids state they want to marry mom or dad is a largely nonsexual one.

It’s not only women, by the way, but men marry women like their mothers. I’m having a hard time recalling exactly what I read about this, but the idea is that you seek partners like your parents in order to relive childhood hurts/issues and be able to work through them. The crux is that being with someone so like your parent brings up old childhood feelings, and supposedly most of us spend our lives trying to repair the damages that occurred growing up. Often times, though, when we do this, we just keep repeating the pattern over and over rather than resolving the issues and finding a partner less like your parent(s).

For what it’s worth, I keep finding myself dating my mother. I hate it. I don’t mean to at all, but that’s just how things keep playing out. My therapist noticed this pattern, too, and before I moved, she was trying to help me break it.

jfos's avatar

If you think about it, from a survival standpoint, our parents were successful in that they reproduced. If that is a main goal of survival, then it’s no wonder we’re subconsciously drawn to people with similar characteristics as our parents. Blaga.

deni's avatar

Isn’t it a psychological thing? Doesn’t Freud have a theory on this? I really can’t remember but there is a reason that men subconsciously like women who remind them of their mother and vice versa. And it does make sense….oh. Now I see @jfos said what I was thinking. Bravo.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@deni What were your father and mother like?

jfos's avatar

Okay, to set the record straight, Freud’s Oedipus complex is that boys are attracted TO THEIR MOTHER. This question concerns (straight) women who are subconsciously drawn to men who exhibit personality traits that she noticed in her father. There’s a difference.

deni's avatar

Okay, it’s the Oedipus complex for boys and the Electra complex for girls, but they aren’t all that much different.

@Adirondackwannabe my mother is essentially the perfect mom, creative, genuine, generous, kind, caring, everything you could desire in another human lol. My dad is also extremely creative and imaginitive, but he’s a bit more critical and anal about some things which ultimately caused their divorce. I don’t see myself looking for guys that remind me of my dad. Maybe I used to, because I used to for some reason be into boys who made fun of me or whatever for some stupid reason. But now I make sure its the other way around, and I think that’s because I saw how my dad being critical broke up their marriage and I don’t want to be in that position. So I learned from their problems, I guess, rather than subconsciously going down the same path?. Yay.

jfos's avatar

@deni Or so you think….

BoBo1946's avatar

always, if they were good dad’s!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’ve never met my birth father. My birth mother angrily refused to say much to her family about how I got here. I am not used to men being around and I think I have subconsciously gotten used to that state of affairs. I developed a great fear of men from the many, many scary and bad experiences I went through as a little girl with the few adult men who drifted in and out of my childhood residences.

I didn’t trust men to be kind, I learned later in therapy, nor did I expect them to care about others or capable of having tender feelings. Apparently, even when I was well over 16, I still saw men through my injured 6-year-old’s eyes: perverted, sex-crazed, un-empathetic and ready to cast you off as soon as you’ve outlived your usefulness to them. I suspected them all to have selfish ulterior motives, even when they were being kind. It’s hard to have a man around, even if you like him, if subconsciously, you believe all men to be horrible, selfish bullies who are out to take advantage of you.

I’ve not trusted myself to keep from dating such men, like the ones who my birth mother and aunt drew into their lives, that I’ve hardly dated or had relationships at all.

RAMesesII's avatar

I haven’t read all the other answer’s yet (no time), but I’m sure it has some Freudian/Oedipal reason…
If not that, familiarity.

I’ve often heard that women, from their father/brothers have an image of what a man should be, and thusly are attracted to it, consciously or subconsciously.

janbb's avatar

There is also the Imago theory that you look for qualities in a mate that incorporate aspects of each of your parents. Eeww!

BoBo1946's avatar

@janbb ditto, ditto, and ditto!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@deni Good for you.
@janbb What BoBo said.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Freud called this the Elektra complex. It happens far too often to be dismissed.

simonedb's avatar

we are creatures of habit.
we are used to receiving love from this kind of man and we know it works to some extent or another.

Jude's avatar

See, I’m not like that at all. When my Mom met my Dad, she was shy and he tended to be overbearing/controlling. She had 4 kids at a young age, and it got to the point to where she had low self-esteem. My Dad was abusive emotionally and mentally (at times physically). He made my Mom feel like shit. Finally, she went to see her doctor because she thought that something was wrong with her —mentally. He talked with her at length and finally told her “there’s nothing wrong with you. Your self-esteem is low. Get a part-time, maybe, or, perhaps, go back to school”. He prescribed her a bit of meds to help her get out of her funk. She got a part-time job and worked on her B.A. (and eventually graduated with honors). After a bit of time, her self-esteem increased. She would no longer put up with my Dad’s douchebag ways and grew herself backbone. Things sure did change, and he no longer disrespected her. She was strong and confident.

I tend to avoid the douchebags, control freaks, selfish individuals and bullies. I go for women who are warmhearted, loving, supportive and who respect me as much as I respect them

essieness's avatar

@simonedb Good point.

For me, I think the “this is your idea of what a man should be like” idea is most applicable. For instance, if a man can build/fix things, I’m smitten. Because my dad was that way, and was always dirty and sweaty from work, I associate that with manliness. Of course I wasn’t attracted to my dad in that way, like the reverse Oedipus complex, it’s definitely more of just being attracted to men like him. I guess it’s a comforting feeling; being around someone who reminds me of him in small ways.

simonedb's avatar

also—>
“we are wired to choose the familiar and the comfortable at any cost.” – eliezer sobel

MacBean's avatar

Well, my dad is friggin’ awesome. It’s impossible not to like guys like him.

ChaosCross's avatar

Cool dad=secret attraction

stardust's avatar

Well, I seem to be on the opposite end of the scale. I would do everything to avoid meeting a man that bears any resemblance. He’s a mess.
However, I do think it’s an interesting subject. The father figure is supposed to deliver undonditional love, can be very protective of his daughter/s, wants the best for them in life, etc. It makes sense that a woman would be drawn to a similiar man.

babaji's avatar

Security, familiarity, trust

lonelydragon's avatar

For two reasons. First, whether a woman had a good or a bad father, she’ll be drawn to a man with a similar personality to her father’s because that’s what is familiar to her, though if her father is a good man, she’ll consciously seek a man like him. Second, if a woman had a bad father, she might be drawn to men like him because she hopes that she can “fix” them. In this example, she is trying to re-enact the father/daughter relationship in order to achieve the resolution that she didn’t get the first time around.

liminal's avatar

@ChaosCross what do you mean by attraction?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lonelydragon I was thinking about your answer and doesn’t the attraction to the bad father seem like a recipe for disaster?

lonelydragon's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe In most cases, yes, it is. But a lot of times, women who do this aren’t consciously aware of how their fathers influence the attraction to unsuitable mates.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lonelydragon I couldn’t figure out how to respond to your answer for awhile, it bothered me quite a bit. I guess the only answer is something I’ve used before. What did the female gender do that was so bad that you were sentenced to have to put up with men?

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