03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Fathers Instruction Manual: What Do You Really Want?

Comedian Gary Shandling said: "My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don't really know me."

So it is with fathers and daughters. Women who say they hunger for a new intimacy with their fathers often have a hard time defining it, or apportioning it -- how much is too much; how much is not enough?

Is it deep involvement in the direction and contours of their lives? Is it an ongoing dialogue? Is it unquestioning and unconditional support; perhaps unspoken, but there in a moment? Is it constant, or does it change with the stages of a woman's life - perhaps vibrant in her younger years, but fading as her own life and confidence take shape.

Parting thoughts...

  • How would you describe intimacy between you and your father?

  • For you, how much is too much?
  • How much time are you willing to put in to find and maintain the balance?
  • Do you really want to be close to your father, or are you just as happy with some distance?
  • Who makes the most effort at closeness?
  • Why is that?
  • If you do make an effort, what do you expect in return?
  • Are you getting it?
  • If not, what do you plan to do about it?