How to Pick a Daddy Type

Selecting the men who are good long-term relationship material.

Posted Apr 18, 2020

Who is the perfect romantic partner? Not someone like dear old dad who might at this point in your life be a grumpy middle-aged guy going bald with a gut. You want someone tall, athletic, handsome, with a good head of hair and a flat stomach, self-confident, hugely successful, charming, and with a great sense of humor. That’s the kind of guy they’d have on The Bachelor that all the single gals are hoping to snag for themselves.

But how happy do women end up who end up with such guys? What if those dreamboats all have inflated egos and are full of themselves because they know they are popular with the ladies? What if they tend to be commitment-phobic and are always holding out for better? What if when married they are tempted to have affairs because the grass always seems greener somewhere else? They know they’re hot and can you blame them for trying to spend the rest of their lives trying to capitalize on that through endless sexual variety?

A daddy type has different priorities. He’s not looking for endless sexual variety, though he might fantasize about it. He’s looking for his life partner, a good mommy type, to create a family so he can get to be a father. To that end, he’s going to be reasonably successful, but he doesn’t need to be a master of the universe because he doesn’t want a life that is all about work without any time for family. He might be good looking but he’s not going to be vain about his appearance because that isn’t his main selling point. His main selling point is his personality. He’s warm, sensitive, loyal, devoted, trustworthy, good-natured, easy-going, intelligent, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s a team player who is not just in it for himself. He’s more cuddly than hot.

The Evolution of Daddies

Why is the world full of these two types of guys: cads and dads? Fathering is a cross-cultural universal. In all cultures across all of recorded history, fathers help take care of their children. Fathering is part of human nature, but that aspect of human nature is much more evolved in some men than others.

Women, as well as men, have a fateful choice to make when they pick a life partner. They can choose someone who might turn out to be unfaithful, abusive, and neglectful or someone who might turn out to be faithful, kind, and supportive. The men who are game-players are high on the Dark Triad traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian intelligence (i.e., being manipulative) so aren’t the best husbands or fathers. In contrast, the men who are honest and take risks for intimacy (i.e., are authentic) are the best husbands and fathers. Picking a daddy type means being able to accurately distinguish the game-players from the honest and straightforward men who are just being themselves.

Why Women Pick Cads over Dads

Unfortunately, roguish men have a certain sex appeal if they are good looking, confident, and charming. That makes such men alluring to women. But all that kind of sexual chemistry means is that such “manly” men are a healthy specimen. It’s not a character reference. Many women mistakenly assume these sexy “bad boys” will grow up when they are finally ready to settle down or they will be “fixed” through therapy once saddled with responsibilities. Those are mistaken assumptions and such women are then unhappily stuck with unfaithful, abusive, and/or neglectful husbands and fathers who aren’t ever going to grow-up or get fixed.

How to Tell the Difference

Cads and dads approach dating in very different ways. Cads look at dates as only sex objects. They want to make a conquest. To do so they turn on the charm to try to evoke sexual chemistry. They comment on women’s looks as they undress women with their eyes. They introduce sexual innuendos or allusions into the conversation to get some sort of sex talk going. They’re very touchy to push for physical intimacy. They view women’s sexual reluctance as simply a challenge to be overcome. They imply they are open to a serious relationship if things evolve but clearly, they won’t be open to it until after they have first checked out the merchandise. It’s all a game.

Daddy types have a different approach. They are looking for a life partner, so they want to get to know you as a person. Yes, they care about women’s looks but they are as importantly checking out women’s personalities to see if they are compatible. They are respectful and friendly. They are not trying to sexualize the getting to know you part of dating. Their thinking is that if this person is going to be my life partner what’s the rush to have sex. We can let the sexual tension slowly build until it becomes a grand romantic passion. They are waiting for women to give them the green light before making a move. Daddy types don’t play it cool but show their eagerness and enthusiasm about getting to know you if they see you as serious life partner material.

Being Open to a Good Daddy

Some women are turned off by the “good daddy dating strategy.” It might seem too passive. They want a man that takes more initiative. They might not be comfortable with all that emotional intimacy because it feels too vulnerable. Since he’s willing to be a good daddy, he wants a woman with strong maternal instincts, a good mommy type. Many women are ambivalent about motherhood or mothering a husband. So that might be a turn-off if he seems like someone who would appreciate being mothered even though he would return the favor. His eagerness and enthusiasm might be misinterpreted as neediness and becomes a turn-off.

The women who like the good daddy dating strategy appreciate not feeling pressured into sex, enjoy having a deep and intelligent conversation in which their opinions are valued, and see such men as cute, cuddly, and amusing and feel affection for such men and want to give them a hug. Such men are eager to please so they tend to be good in bed. Appreciative women scoop such men up and get to enjoy stable long-term relationships. So, if women want a good daddy for their children or themselves, this is what they need to look for and this is what they need to be open to.


Josephs, L. (2018) The Dynamics of Infidelity: Applying Relationship Science to Psychotherapy Practice. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.