Pat's Answer

To Pat / 04 Jan 2020

Topic: Father Figure

Your Question

Dear Pat,
I have tried to reach out to an online counsellor but i feel like she didnt know what to say to me so I hope that you read my letter because I really don’t know what to do.
My issue is embarrassing to talk about and isnt something i feel id be able to admit to someone that I know but i am yearning for a father figure in my life. I lost my dad at a young age because he was abusive to my mum so we had to move away, i dont remember him and therefore i am unaware of what i‘m missing by not having a dad, so i dont understand why i’m so desperate to have one.
Im finding myself drawn to middle aged men, anyone, who is male and middle aged who is willing give me attention. I am attracted to them but NOT in a sexual way, in a way where i want them to take me under their wing and treat me like a “daughter”, its crazy.. i know.
I have found however that men only give girls my age attention because they are after one thing : Sex. This is something i do not want at all and i have made it clear to the men i have talked to that i just want to be friends – i havent told them that i see a father in them though.
As soon as they get flirty or hint at wanting sex, i cut contact instantly and this leaves me with a heart ache which is unexplainable, i suppose like im grieving a dad but without noticing, i soon find myself attached to another man who has offered me any kind of attention.
I cannot stress enough that i am not attracted to these men in a sexual way and i am fully aware that this desperate need for a dad is unhealthy, i have tried SOO hard to stop getting attached to men but it just happens and before ive realised it, its too late to leave them because i worry about the heart ache again.
I really just want a father and im aware that i cannot find this in just any man but it hurts so much and it feels like an addiction now.
Nothing has happened yet Pat, but one of these people tried to kiss me and i pushed them away, they tried again and i had to push them away again. they did stop after that but now i feel my addiction and yearning for a father is leaving me in danger and im desperate to put this to a stop… but how?

From Pat / 20 Jan 2020


Welcome to Ask Pat.

You have outlined your feelings around not having a dad in your life very well. You are also very aware of the risk that being drawn to older men poses for you and want to put a stop to this.

Childline would also be concerned about the risks that you have spoken about in your email. It is really positive that you have the awareness of the risk involved in your relationships with older men and are reaching out for help. Every child has a right to a relationship with both parents as long as it is safe for the child to have that relationship.

It is understandable that you are grieving the loss of not having a father figure in your life. You have a right to get support around this. You also have a right to talk to an adult that you trust. This might be your mum, a teacher or a school counsellor.

You might find it helpful to avail of counselling but you will need parental consent if you are under 18. For more information, log onto The Rainbows programme supports children and young people affected by loss because of bereavement, separation or divorce. The service is available in local communities throughout Ireland.

You can also get information about counselling on MyMind provides fast and easy access to counselling and psychotherapy face to face and online.

You might find it helpful to talk to Childline’s 24-hour freephone service by calling 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day). You can also contact Childline by sending a text to 50101, or by chatting online at Both of these services are available between 10am and 4am every day.

Take Care,

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