|Photographer: Adam Bell-Ghijben|
You’ve heard of the Oedipus complex, right? According to Freud, it is the theory that every man secretly wants to kill his dad and have sex with his mum. (I know. That’s totally disturbing behaviour.) But have you heard of the Electra complex.The Electra complex denotes a woman’s sexual attachment to her father and a corresponding competitive hostility toward her mother. It’s from the Electra complex that we’ve derived the modern concept of “daddy issues.” Now I'm not saying that women with daddy issues want to have sex with their fathers (cause that would be extremely creepy).These days, people say a woman has daddy issues when she appears to be seeking attention from men in order to compensate for the attention she may not have received from her father. When we talk about her daddy issues, we’re generally talking about things like aggressive flirtation, promiscuity, a tendency toward exhibitionism, and certain emotional hang-ups.
I am the queen of daddy issues, my friends and I get on stage, many of them taking their clothes off, I am a perpetual flirt, and I by no means do it on purpose (well most of the time), I am extremely clingy (which bugs me more than it bugs my partners, trust me, because there is nothing I hate more than clinging to a man) and at the slightest sign of attention from a man (whether it be a smile, a slight flirt, or just genuinely nice guy being his usual nice self, my daddy issues kick into overdrive...
Sexual aggressivenessMost guys delight at the idea of a sexually aggressive woman. But if a woman is grinding up against you on a dance floor, initiating public groping and dragging you into her bedroom on the first date, this may equal daddy issues. If you’re up for a one-night stand, woo-hoo! you hit the jackpot! But if going to pound town isn't the only thing you’re interested in, your strategy should be to take things slow. Even if her sexy signals are overly aggressive, tell her you want to slow down and get to know her before doing the deed. Show her you’re interested in more than just sex and she won’t feel quite as desperate to impress you with her sexual prowess.
Excessive flirtingIt’s a stereotype that girls with daddy issues flirt a lot (and I do). And maybe it was even her flirting that got your attention in the first place. Once she’s your girlfriend, though, flirting with strange men is not going to fly.
It’s important to recognise that not all women flirt because they’re interested in the guy they’re talking to, I personally dont even know I'm flirting half the time, but i know I do it constantly. Your girlfriend may be flirting because she craves attention and enjoys the rush of developing sexual tension with a stranger.
ClinginessWe typically apply the “daddy issues” label to women who seem to crave male attention -- and ploys for male attention can take many forms, including clinginess. Every woman wants care and assurance from her partner. But a girl with daddy issues wants those things in excess, whether its because her father was never around, or he was just an arse and never paid her enough attention. She may throw a fit whenever you make plans without her. She might beg and bargain whenever you try to leave her apartment. Be careful with clinginess, if you give in to a bout of clinginess once, you’re sunk forever.
Compare and contrastIt’s fair to say that a woman’s relationship with her father affects her romantic relationships. If her dad failed to show her love and affection, she might grow up expecting the worst from men. If you find her blowing up over minor screw-ups, it might be because your mistake reminds her of her father’s poor parenting.
The key in these situations is to make your partner aware of these unfair comparisons. You are not her father, for better or worse. You can only be yourself; show her the reliable, attentive and caring guy you are, and eventually she’ll stop blaming you for someone else’s mistakes.