‘I’m the daughter of a serial womaniser and I never told my mother.’

Sex and the City

We’re in the midst of a historic revolution about previously silenced and secret sexual misconduct. It’s an exciting time for all women, because it’s a giant leap forward for a world of true gender equality.

Amongst all the ruined careers, and vindicated victims, are families. In particular, fathers who’ve been exposed, but are raising young women themselves.

So how does a woman, who is the daughter of serial womaniser – a man who used his wealth and power to conduct numerous extra-marital affairs – feel about her father’s behaviour? How does she reconcile the father that she loves with the man that he is?

The adult daughter of such a man – a successful businessman with a high-profile – explained to Mamamia how she navigates her relationship with her dad:

 

“I first worked out my dad had an unconventional approach to women when I was about ten. I suddenly noticed that he’d become really charming, always cracking jokes and very smooth, when he was around young women. He wasn’t like that at all with my mum.

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But I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Dad was a funny guy who liked to have a good time, and that’s one of the reasons I loved him. Mum was really conservative and so I guess I thought that Dad was allowed to enjoy himself in the company of others. Of course, as an adult now, I see how that would have made Mum feel. And I feel really guilty about it.

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I look back now and know there were many times that I was used as an excuse for dad to escape the house to meet a woman. Dad was really interested in property, so he’d tell mum that we were going to “look at a house.” We’d arrive, and I’d spend an hour or so waiting for him in the car, while he went inside to ‘inspect’ it. If I asked to come in with him, he’d get annoyed. I spent so many hours of my childhood doing that, bored out of my mind, like a puppy in a car, just waiting for its owner to return. Then we’d go to a restaurant and we’d have a great time eating and laughing, and then go home.

Some of the houses would have ‘For Sale’ signs, some wouldn’t. I know it sounds stupid, but it never occurred to me to question my dad. He was my dad – I trusted him, and adored him. He was larger than life, and I’m so sorry to say it, but I admired his attitude to life more than I admired my mother’s very practical, cautious approach.

My father was a good man in lots of ways. He was so smart, and knew so much. He was very generous and kind to everyone he met. It might be time I admit to myself that’s not entirely true – that he treated mum badly, and that dragging me around as his cover was appalling. And of course, the women he was cheating with. But I’ve been very forgiving of him. Firstly, I didn’t realise at the time what was happening. I only found out when some of the women told mum. And I’ve never discussed any of the visits with mum. How could I?

The undisputed King of Dads, Barack Obama

I guess I should be angry with dad about it, for putting me in that position, but I'm not. I think he couldn't control himself. I think he was unhappy with mum, and loved sex. Dad lived large in lots of ways - with alcohol and money, and material things, so I really just think it was about him having a good time. Of course I realise now that he had issues. His own father treated my grandmother in the same way. It was hugely disrespectful. And selfish.

But the funny thing is, the man in the world who's respected me the most is my dad. Apart from the dragging me around as an excuse for his affairs, of course.

But when it came to parenting me, dad raised me with a very feminist attitude. He wanted me to be independent, earn my own money, and never have to rely on a man. Is that because he knew what some men could be like? Probably. But my dad loved me, spoilt me, invested in me, taught me so many other things about life. That's what I think of when I think of my dad. That I was loved, and that he's always been there for me.

And yet... I know it's affected my relationships with men. I forgave the first two boyfriends who cheated on me. I somehow thought, 'well, people are human'. I'm like my dad in some ways - I'm a sexual person, although I've never cheated on anyone - but when it's happened to me, I can sort of understand it's just about sex. I know people make mistakes; no one's perfect. A friend once told me that watching my dad's actions has meant that I've got low standards in terms of behaviour I accept from men. That hurt me when he said that, butI know  it's true.

I know my father's behaviour towards women has destroyed me in some ways. I'm the daughter of a serial womaniser. But the good in him far outweighed the bad. I'll always be a daddy's girl."

 

 

*A tape surfaced last year in which Trump can be heard bragging about "grabbing women by the pussy". Take a glimpse into the life of his daughter, Ivanka, who now works with him.*

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