I was sort of nodding along with you for most of your letter. I could appreciate how having a partner who goes out a lot and gets really drunk and can’t be reached and doesn’t come home until the morning would be unnerving, especially if that’s not a lifestyle you share or are interested in yourself. But then I got to the end of your letter where you say your boyfriend goes out once every few months and, girl, no. If you are seriously losing your shit over your boyfriend going out a few times a year, the problem here is YOU, not your boyfriend. You need to do some self-reflecting and maybe seek therapy to unpack why, at nearly 30 years old, you can’t be alone for an evening every once in a while.
Enjoying separate interests and time away from each other now and then with your own groups of friends is normal and healthy in a relationship. Sure, there may be couples who never ever spend any of their non-work time apart, but they are an exception and not the norm (and in my opinion, not an inspiration either). It sounds like what you’re after isn’t so much a boyfriend or a partner but instead a babysitter who will constantly and consistently watch over you, get you ready for bed, and tuck you in at night. Grow up! And change your attitude or risk losing your boyfriend (unless he’s as codependent as you are and has simply accepted that your brand of cray is the tax he pays for having someone tuck him in almost every night).
I’m unsure of how to proceed. It’s starting to feel like I’m walking on eggshells in my own home because he caters to her in everything and avoids having uncomfortable conversations with her. I understand that she is his daughter, but I’m part of his life and future. How do I approach her without there feeling like there is a pissing contest to just have a conversation with her? How can I make sure this does not affect my relationship with my boyfriend even though it’s already started to? — Stepmom-to-Be
I hear no empathy or compassion from you in regards to Julie. Instead of trying to see where she might be coming from — her dad is dating a woman basically her age, which would be kind of cringe-worthy for lots of women — you frame your letter all around you. YOU are uncomfortable, YOU are walking on eggshells, YOUR relationship is being affected by her. Do you not think that her relationship with her dad is being affected by YOU? Do you not think that SHE might feel super uncomfortable with the idea that a woman her age is planning to become her stepmother? Do you think SHE might feel like she’s walking on eggshells, trying to delicately balance her feelings of discomfort with her desire to maintain a good relationship with her dad and not alienate him? Can you appreciate how she might feel like she’s losing her place in her dad’s life when someone who could very well be his daughter has moved in with him and taken over a huge place in his home and heart?
Why don’t you try getting to know her as a person, invite her to lunch or something else you might both enjoy, and tell her that you can imagine it must be a little weird for her to see her dad dating someone practically her age but that you don’t have any interest in replacing her in her dad’s life, that you love him and by extension love his daughter, and that you hope you and she can be friends and can unite in your mutual love and respect for your boyfriend. Give Julie and her dad time alone — make sure you aren’t present every time they make plans together, let them know you respect their relationship and aren’t threatened by it. Be generous and empathetic, and you will have a better chance of being accepted, if not embraced, by Julie, and appreciated for your efforts by her father.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.