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Commitment Issues and Daddy Issues?

Community Member

Hello everyone,

I'm a 21 (turning 22) university student who has never been in a relationship. I wouldn't say that I've been pressured into societal standards into getting one but I know for a fact, that this goes beyond that. Since high school, I've been in situations where I would find myself in scenarios where I would ultimately push a guy away if he showed interest in me. Weird thing is, I would be interested in that person and would converse with him, sometimes even harmless flirting (with the thought of potentially dating). But as soon as he shows the action back, I would push him away and feel disgusted at myself and towards the guy. At first I thought this was just a phase but as I got out of high school, entered university and was exposed more into the dating world...I would always find myself having the same feeling as my high school self did back then.

What I find quite odd is that I know that I like this person, I could sense that our feelings are mutual but as soon as the situation could potentially turn into something "more" than just friends (and possibly some sort of commitment), I would push myself away from this person and ultimately hurt them. This often repeats itself. I don't know why I do this. For awhile, I'm thinking that this could be a result to my parents divorce. It happened at a really early stage of my life where I hardly remember anything but from that, I never grew up with a father figure...yet alone, any sort of male presence in the household.

My older sister was the most affected between us & I somewhat feel bad that I don't have any feeling towards it (due to being too young to remember).

Growing up, I would hear stories from my mum how my dad was a man that couldn't be trusted and I know for a fact that it's true. I figured out that he cheated on my mum several times and remarried several times as well. Could my fear of commitment and forming all these "exit strategies" be because I'm a child of divorced parents? I have no idea how to change as I find it difficult to get rid of this "feeling"...

As much as I hate to admit this, I would find myself having major defensive barriers and a tendency to be jealous most of the time. My preference in men was always someone who was older than me and unfortunately I'm the type who needs constant reassurance. I feel disgusted in myself for having these traits and as obvious as it sounds, are these qualities os someone who suffers from "daddy issues" and is it too late to change?

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Collegestudent and welcome,

I think it is a massive advantage to you that you are self aware at such a young age. Basically that before you have entered a relationship you have realised that you are vulnerable. That is such a hard thing to achieve. Go you!

So what does that mean practically?

You can seek help. You've recognised the divorce and infidelity of your father has affected you. How would you feel about working through this in therapy? Relationships require trust. And if you can see already you have problems with jealousy and trust then the way forward in my view is to start managing them if they are a problem. What do you think?

The other option is embracing your defenses. I did this eventually after being hurt a lot. I was upfront about what I needed and expected from a partner. Funnily enough my husband needed and expected exactly the same things. So for mw it worked out. But the hard thing is to get to that stage of demanding what I wanted and accepting nothing less took me being too frightened to let down my guard with another man.

Please try keep in mind we all have issues. You may meet a bloke who has had the same experience. Who the idea of infidelity revolts him just as much as it does you. To someone like that he might want the same reassurance you do.

I hope this helps even a little. Please feel free to keep writing or to join in around the forums wherever it helps you.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello College Student

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. Well done on your self awareness and courage to write in here.

Once you have learned to distrust either a specific person or someone in a more general category it is quite hard to be trusting in a similar situation. I cannot tell you that your parents divorce is the cause of your hesitancy in forming relationships as I am not qualified to say this. However I think it is a possibility.

I know I find relationships with men quite difficult and my psychiatrist says it is a result of my husband's, now ex, behaviour towards me. This has been confirmed with two other men and makes me wary of being more than friendly with men.

Do you find this lack of commitment a worry? It's frequent situation where we enjoy the company and friendship of another person, only to run away, so to speak, when the friendship looks like developing further. If you have a full and happy life you may not want to test the waters of a deeper relationship and that's OK if it's what you want.

There are a couple of things to consider. When your friends marry, or live together, and start a family will you feel lonely. I realise this sounds like societal norms pressuring you to conform but it can be a significant factor in your life.

Regardless of wanting a partner and children how do you feel about putting your current situation to rest and not feeling nervous or scared at the prospect of falling in love? There are heaps of reasons why people stay single and heaps for being one half of a couple. Maybe your starting point is to resolve this question. It all boils down to what you want for your life. Whether or not you can make choices relying on your own awareness or would like to talk to someone who can help you explore this area is up to you.

May I suggest you you take time to think about this. If you are still in uni perhaps you could talk with one of your college counsellors. They should be used to helping students decide what they want in life, whatever the options.

Keep chatting to us if you find it useful.