How has your relationship with your father affected who you are now and in the past?

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    Feb 17, 2009 11:51 PM GMT
    Love my dad to death. He's a role model for me. Wasn't there much when growing up as he was always working trying to give my brothers and I a better life. Didnt like him much then. But now that I'm a parent I realize why he was always gone. He taught me everything I know about construction and helped me build my house, so cudos for that.

    We've become closer now that I'm out and much happier. He's your stereotypical construction worker, a mans mans, doesnt talk much, kinda gruff. But he also wont let his kids leave the house without a hug and "I love you", lets me host my GLBT rowing team at their house in the country for team building, and always asks when I'm gonna find a husband and have more kids. *Side note*, I think he should be knighted for allowing me to bring a busload of queens to the house for the weekend and still lets me do it the following year.

    Seriously, I've got the best dad in the world... and I remind him of that all the time.
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:53 PM GMT
    My dad was a perfectly horrible person and the worst father I could possibly imagine. He had a terrible temper and went into hysterical rants over the smallest, most insignificant things. He loved to scream and toss insults, and looked for reasons to do both. He cursed at me. He was a racist. He was anti-Semitic. He was full of hate. He was also an alcoholic.

    His drinking ruined every Christmas. Every vacation. Every family get-together. Every weekend. Eventually, the drinking accelerated, and he ultimately ruined every day. This lunacy went on for ten years until I finally got out of the house.

    He never complimented me. He never taught me anything. He never patted me on the back or put his arm around my shoulder. He never told me a joke. He never took the slightest interest in me. He refused to help me in any way. I am ashamed to think that I came from someone like this.

    He didn't even have the excuse of growing up in a dysfunctional family. He had five brothers and sisters, and all of them were wonderful people.

    His drinking destroyed our family. None of us had any normal interaction with each other until he finally died eight years ago. Good riddance. Too bad there's not a hell. It's a perfect place for him.

    And just Imagine how he would've treated me had he known I was gay. . .
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    Feb 18, 2009 12:08 AM GMT
    LittleDude sorry to hear that. Gotta say my dad was and is an incredible man. I looked up to him then and look up to him now at his ripe old age of 85. There are 5 kids in my family (4 boys) and he was always there for us. Taught us great values and strong work ethic. He and my mom are still happily married and even my late coming out did not affect our relationship. How he raised a family of 7 on a teachers salary is truly amazing. We all continue to look to him for inspiration (as he is healthy as a horse).
  • GQjock

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    Feb 18, 2009 12:17 AM GMT
    There seems to be a common thread in a lot of these responses and I am wondering if it would break down along the same lines among str8 guys and their fathers

    I'll have to throw in with the majority that had a father who really shouldn't have been one
    It's taken a lifetime for me to understand him
    Not that I will ever forgive him in my lifetime ... I know that bigger men than me
    have forgiven worse but they didn't live with my father
    My dad was the kind of man who always had to have the attention on him
    and if he couldn't get it by doing well he'd act out and get it that way
    he was verbally
    emotionally and physically abusive
    for most of my life
    and now that he's growing older and his family has moved onto their own lives
    and we don't have to take his abuse anymore he's turning into a shriveled empty old man
    We all become what we are in our hearts
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    Feb 18, 2009 12:31 AM GMT
    My dad, like many, were dads during a time when dads did things to support the family but moms raised kids. Although my dad wasn't active in my everyday life (he was very busy earning a living), he provided and along with my mom, set an example of what a respectable person should be. He had one major flaw that hurts me to this day, but I won't go there. He never stopped loving me and, I think, in turn, I learned that people can change and that love can prevail.

    I miss him now but as a dad myself I hope that what I've done will allow my kids to answer this question in a positive and loving way. I want them to say, my dad was there, he loved me, he cared for me, he gave me more than I could ever want. He showed me how to care, how to treat others with respect and how different we all can be and still get along.

    I'm a lucky dad to have 3 great, beautiful and understanding kids!
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    Feb 18, 2009 12:48 AM GMT
    My dad worked out of town for several months at a time until my parents split at 15. He was a very firm disciplinarian and horrible cynicist. Just a very unhappy man, with whom I could never identify with well. I'm certain it was obvious to most that I was gay from a very young age, my father was not the exception. He was much closer to my brother and left me to fend on my own.

    As a result, I am fiercely independent which makes relationships nearly impossible. I don't identify well with older men at all, it is a literal struggle.

    However, I am very passionate towards the underdog and make a conscious effort to appreciate life rather than hate it. I only have one shot at it and looking at my father now is not what I want for myself.

    Having said all of that, I am not playing a violin song for anyone.icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 18, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
    alexander7 said When I was a kid, fathers just did not react to their children with a lot of outward expressions of love. At that time, he was an excellent provider, gave us a secure home, encouraged us with our education, took us on fun vacations, and loved my mother in very obvious ways. As time went on, he changed with the times. He readily accepted both my sister and me when we came out. He started to show the real compassion that was in his heart and later as his children became older he would kiss us when we went "home".Overall, I would have to say that he was a great dad, God keep him and love him.


    Thanks so much for starting this thread, and thanks for putting these thoughts into words. I have similar feelings of love and respect for my father, and regret only that he wasn't able to express his own feelings until later in our lives.

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    Feb 18, 2009 1:36 AM GMT
    Even though my father is not even listed on my Birth Certificate, I do know who he is. He has had nothing to do with my life, and my mother and her mother had everything to do with raising me. I have turned out all-right without him, and anyone could tell you that I can thank my mother and grandmother for how I was raised.
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    Feb 18, 2009 2:03 AM GMT
    I love my dad (In fact, I love all of my parents - the original two are remarried now). They raised all of us kids to the best of their abilities, and we turned out to be distinct individuals - each with their own life path.

    And while my dad can be horribly, passive aggressive, he is a great man who taught me all of the important facts about life and dealing with people. I am blessed to have him in my life. When I came out, he was more upset that I told my mom first. He is a character that way.
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    Feb 18, 2009 2:19 AM GMT
    I've heard it said that when a family experiences any hardship, it is through the pain of that hardship that can either pull the family closer together or it pushes it further apart. I hate to admit that my experience was the latter.

    My mom died of cancer when I was 8. That was also the year my dad fell apart. Not because of some prophetic or profound love that he felt for my mom, I think it was the terror he must have felt to now have to raise 7 kids alone.

    I try to imagine myself in his situation. Barely a high school education, no family of his own, no support structure to think of, having to feed, clothe, and shelter 7 kids. I guess when it came to love, affection, and emotional support, he just didn't have anything left to give.

    So I can forgive him for the rage, violence, and perhaps worse - the indifference he demonstrated to me throughout much of my life. I guess that is wisdom that only comes with age.

    Because of him, I learned early on the meaning of self-reliance and independence. But more importantly, he showed me by example the kind of man I did NOT want to become.

    Sure, there are demons that I still carry with me to this day. And yes, I am working on them. Walter - your patience never ceases to amaze me. But I guess if we all the chance to choose our parents, perhaps we'd all choose someone different.

    And after reading the personal stories from all of the men on here who were fortunate to have a father that freely gave his time, attention, and love, YOU ARE THE LUCKIEST MEN ON EARTH!!

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    Feb 18, 2009 3:02 AM GMT
    I love my dad. Don't get me wrong, but my dad is the perfect example of who I don't want to be when I'm a father. 2 dysfunctional marriages, 5 kids, abusive, the list goes on and on. I'm just glad I get to learn from his mistakes so I dont make them later on in life.
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    Feb 18, 2009 3:06 AM GMT
    I largely grew up without a real father. My step dad came into the picture when I was 18. He's been around ever since, and he is definitely everything I could have imagined from a father.

    Before that, though, I had to be the "man of the house," with two sisters, my mother and grandmother.

    I have no regrets. It was a good childhood, for the most part :-)
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    Feb 18, 2009 3:18 AM GMT
    I was, and am, as lucky as a kid could be.

    My Dad taught me to say, "Why couldn't I?" instead of presuming I couldn't when I wanted to try something new.

    My Dad taught me to say, "Ok, what are my options?" instead of freaking out, when I thought I was going to get kicked out of college (didn't, graduated, on way to Ph.D.)

    My Dad taught me to be self-sufficient, but that it's ok to ask for help when you need it.

    My Dad helped my Mom come to terms with my being gay, and the idea of my bringing my first boyfriend home (big success).

    My Dad taught me that letting it roll off your back makes your life easier. And makes people listen when you put your foot down.

    My Dad said, "Whatever makes you happy, makes me happy." and meant it, to the depths of his being.

    My Dad taught me to pick your battles, and when you pick them, don't hold anything back.

    My Dad made me who I am today (along with Mom and some other people). I am a better man for having him around, and I hope to grow up to be like him.
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    Feb 18, 2009 3:57 AM GMT
    I've got to say that this is the type of thread that brings out the best in this community. Men speaking from the heart and supporting each other. You guys are the best.

    My dad is a great guy, and would give the world to me, but has been rather closed emotionally for most of his life. He really just doesn't have the vocabulary for it. The closest I ever saw to his actually breaking open was on the night I came out to them, and then it was only for a second, and back it closed up. He can be stubborn, but I know that he loves me with all his heart, even though it's difficult for him to get it across.
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    Feb 18, 2009 7:54 AM GMT

    PS. This one is for you Mutz!!!

    Thanks Alex,this is great to see all of your responses. It's a shame that alot of us grew up baby boomers and our Dads all had to be the strongest figure in the house.Coming from a large Irish/German family,you know who dominated the house and family,yep our moms. But I had a great childhood with my dad(Bill). He always took my side & wanted us all to do our best in school & life.
    When he got sick with cancer,heartacks & no longer able to play for us kids & grandkids (13) the piano or organ,dad changed & removed himself from the world.He knew I was gay & never realy said anything,except he didn't care for the things being thrown infront of him. (I had way too much drama) Alot of you guys have said our dad's had some demons,...ditto. Maybe this was another issue. Before he died,4 yrs ago,my dad was in a hospital room,alone,scared,holding his robe closed not to show his open heart incision & draging a machine that recirculated his blood back into his veins.Now,there comes a time when you can't deny its your Dad.And,I was for the first time trying to act like the older wiser father.It was a terrible sight,and he was so humble & laughed it off.
    I knew it was the last time I would ever see him smile,laugh or play the piano. I kissed him goodbye. He died a few months later at home with my mom.
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    Feb 18, 2009 3:29 PM GMT
    Missing my father funeral is the greatest regret of my life. I was a few hour late when they buried him. As hard as I try I can never forgive myself for taking that vacation when he is on his deathbed in hospital. This thread bringing back painful memory , what an ungrateful son I am.
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    Feb 18, 2009 4:31 PM GMT
    Most gay men are loathe to approach this subject. But how you were/are with your dad is probably how you will be with your boyfriend or lover. The characteristics of our relationship with Dad carry over into who we are today since those dynamics are our first relationship with a male.

    It's a ticking time bomb if you can't see how your relationship with your dad affects your relationship with your man and if you fail to make corrections.

    My dad and I have a terrible relationship. But somehow i realized that I needed to come to peace with him in order to more fully move on and be happy in life. To accept what I could not change, to try to get over the anger and hate so that I would be at peace.

    This has helped me realize the type of guy that is NOT GOOD for me. So if I ask my man for a safe emotional place to go, it doesn't mean that I allow him to control me or boss me around.

    He would welcome my crazy ideas and sense of curiosity, rather than making fun of me.

    He would celebrate what's good about me, rather than harping on the negative.

    He is NOT.........I find......my dad. And I don't interact with him as such.
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    Feb 18, 2009 8:39 PM GMT
    KissingPro saidMost gay men are loathe to approach this subject. But how you were/are with your dad is probably how you will be with your boyfriend or lover. The characteristics of our relationship with Dad carry over into who we are today since those dynamics are our first relationship with a male.
    .......................most of the quote above left out here, see above..............
    He is NOT.........I find......my dad. And I don't interact with him as such.


    I gotta say that the reason I started this thread was to give a chance for guys on RJ to vent off some steam if their relationship with their father was not sterling and to reflect upon that relationship an understanding of how it has made us who we are as men today. However, KissingPro has brought up an important point because it is possible that the relationship we had with our fathers might reflect on the relationship we have with a boyfriend or lover. This is going to take some more pondering on my part to come up with an answer as to whether, in my case, this is true, but I can say that I love my husband profoundly.

    As I have read through the above responses, both those whose relationships with their fathers were very good to those whose relationships were totally missing, it has been an emotional read. I do not usually get emotional but there is something here that has struck a chord, which may again be a reflection of my relationship with my father.

    Thank you again for each and every one of your responses!!!!