I don’t have many memories of my biological mother. I know her name is Lori. She smelled like lilacs and cigarettes, and my dad says I have her smile. They were high school sweethearts who had me when they were way too young, and as it is wont to do, that young love burned out. It left my dad with two kids to raise alone, and it shaped me in ways I wouldn’t be aware of until well into high school. I watched my female classmates and friends, who either had both parents or at least their mother, and I saw how I was different. Here are just a few ways that girls who were raised by single dads loved differently.
1. She is confident
Without a mother there encouraging her to use makeup and to be mindful of how many calories are in that chocolate chip cookie, she blossomed with confidence. Her dad was honest with her (because he had to be), and instilled the certainty in her that she could do anything she put her mind to.
2. She is headstrong
No one was there to teach her how to be ‘ladylike’. She knows what she wants and goes for it, and she doesn’t have time for people who don’t support her or who stand in her way. Loving her means accepting that.
3. She doesn’t have a lot of female friends
She grew up around a man, or men, and as she did, she found herself drawn to men. It was simply easier for her to find a guy friend when she wanted to talk about video games and horror movies. She has female friends but when the drama gets to be too much, she seeks comfort in what she knows.
4. She commits quickly
She’s an all or nothing kind of girl. She loves wholeheartedly, without reservation, once she’s on sure footing. Her mother never taught her how to play mind games. Her dad taught her to be brutally honest and to pursue what she wants. When she knows she wants you, you’ll never have to question it.
5. She doesn’t commit at all
Sometimes she avoids dating altogether. She’s seen how badly relationships can fall apart, and she’s known all her life that she doesn’t need a man (or a woman) to complete her. She’s perfectly content taking care of herself and living life to the fullest.
6. She is independent
Early on she became used to coming home to an empty house. She learned to cook and clean and her dad told her to never rely on a man for anything. So she worked, took care of herself, and dated when it was right for her.
7. She’s slow to show emotions
She never believed that showing emotions was weak or wrong, but she has a great poker face that makes her deceptively hard to read. For better or worse, her dad raised her with the belief that no one wants to know how she’s feeling every second of the day, so until you get to know her, you’ll probably notice that you never can quite tell what she’s thinking.
8. She has an enormous heart
Someone once said that when a heart breaks, the pieces come back together to form an even bigger heart. Her mother broke her heart more times than she can count, and her dad probably has broken her heart once or twice along the way. Her heart has become all encompassing, loving in ways she’s only beginning to realize.
9. She’s not afraid to hurt
When she was little and she would fall, her dad would look at her and say, “Get up and try it again.” Now, as an adult, she doesn’t look for ways to be hurt, but she understands that a little pain comes with the territory of falling in love. Heartache came at an early age and she knows it for the truths it holds.
10. She’s ready to make her dreams come true, with or without you
For most of her life, her dad has been everything to her. Dad, mom, chauffeur, teacher, cook, confidant, guru, and her support system. He has shown her, through his words and deeds, that all she needs to make her dreams come true is faith in herself. He’s taught her to dream with her eyes to the sky and her feet firmly on the ground. Love is a great and important part of life, but she won’t let it or any man consume her. She has huge dreams to chase. Maybe her dreams involve school, or traveling around the world, or opening an animal shelter. She knows she can make them happen, and she’ll be just fine doing it on her own.
Every girl is different. No two are exactly alike. But when you find a girl who was raised by a single dad, you’ll realize you’ve never dated anyone like her before. She’ll challenge everything you think you know about dating and relationships, and whether or not she’s The One, you’ll be a different person for having known her.