“He Is Obsessed With His Ex-Girlfriend’s Daughter”

I’m dating someone, “Ryan,” who was in a relationship for seven months with someone I knew. She had a son and a daughter. He pursued me after they had broken up which, from my understanding, was her idea. Since then, she found out he was talking to me and immediately got hateful. She and I were never buddy-buddy; she only watched my son for a little while, but she says I’ve betrayed her. Well, Ryan said he understands her reasoning, which doesn’t make sense to me. Also, apparently while they dated for seven months, Ryan grew attached to her daughter, “Allison.” Allison apparently wanted him in her life and calls him her “second dad.” Her mom tends to pawn her kids off as much as she can, and with her kids’ dad moving to Mississippi, the only option she has is my boyfriend.

“My Boyfriend Has Remained Close to His Ex’s Daughter”

I asked Ryan to please let Allison be and to let her move on because he now has me and my son, but he’s focused on her. He’s threatened our relationship multiple times, saying that if I can’t accept this, then I need to leave. Am I in the wrong for voicing my concern? He seems to think everything should be seen his way, and I don’t think that’s right. — Concerned

Oh, wow, you need to get away from Ryan immediately. There are so many red flags that it should make your head spin. Ryan’s ex has two kids – a son and a daughter, but Ryan seems to only be obsessed with the daughter? He was only with the ex seven months, but Allison calls him a “second dad”? He is telling you that if you can’t accept his relationship and obsession with the daughter of a woman he dated a few months, you need to leave? THEN LEAVE! Oh my God, leave! None of this is normal. He sounds, at best, like someone who has zero regard for your feelings and no investment in your relationship. At worst, he sounds like a predator, preying on the daughter of an ex who’s desperate for a father figure in her life. Bottom line: This is 100% a situation you need to MOA from asap!

From the forums:

My partner and I have been together for over 12 years, off and on. We live together in an apartment, each having our own bedroom because this works better for our space needs and lifestyle. I am a registered nurse working in a critical care unit at a hospital. Since the COVID 19 outbreak/pandemic, to protect my partner, we have been maintaining two meters’ distance at home. He works at home and does not go out much, if at all. Neither of us is sick, yet. Yesterday I asked him what if I got covid19 and was required to be quarantined at home. Without hesitation, he said he would find another place to stay to avoid getting sick. I felt hurt that he didn’t even offer to take care of me while maintaining safe distance. I am worried that during difficult times he would abandon me and care for himself first. I would like some impartial perspectives: Am I expecting too much or is my worry justified that my partner is being selfish and does not care about me? — Critical Care Nurse

In a lot of places, hospitals are securing hotel rooms and other spaces where their infected personnel can quarantine away from their own family members so as to reduce their risk as well as limit community transmission. It does not seem weird that your boyfriend would not want to share a small space with someone who is infected with Covid19. It is recommended that people who are infected and quarantining at home (versus being hospitalized) have as close to zero contact with anyone else – including other household members – as possible.

I’m not sure what kind of care you envision your boyfriend being able to provide you under these kinds of circumstances. At best, he could leave food outside your bedroom door, bleach the bathroom after every time you use it to try to keep it disinfected for his own use (unless you have a second bathroom in the home you could designate as your own), and very carefully take your temperature while wearing a mask and gloves and washing himself afterward. And, yes, loving spouses are taking this kind of risk (here’s a harrowing account of a woman giving such care to her husband sick with Covid19 that should make all of us commit to stopping the spread as best as we can). But it’s understandable when some decide not to and maintain a distance through the duration of the illness.

If your relationship isn’t stable enough to withstand the extraordinary measures needed to limit exposure to a deadly disease, and you see your boyfriend’s plan as an indictment on the state of your relationship, then maybe, after 12 years of being on and off, it’s time to be off for good.

My boyfriend, whom I live with, texts his ex-girlfriend via social media non-stop. She, however, has blocked him and ignores him although he keeps finding ways to contact her. I’ve asked him why he does this, and his answer is he has a connection with her and he knows she is his friend. It hurts me, but he keeps to his story. I need to know: Am I just his second best because she does not want him? — Second Best?

Your boyfriend is not friends with his ex. They aren’t friends. She wants nothing to do with him. She’s blocked him and he doesn’t respect the boundaries she’s set with him. This isn’t even about your being “second best,” this is about his being a fucking creep. What he’s doing to his ex borders on criminal, and what he’s doing to you is immoral. You need to move on and hope to God he doesn’t disrespect the boundaries you set with him!

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1 – Just remove yourself from this whole situation by dumping Ryan. Honestly, your insistence that Ryan should no longer speak to Allison (and what about her brother?) is unreasonable. If he wants to maintain connections with his ex’s kids, that is his right. Just because you want him to take care of your son does not mean he automatically abandons all previous relationships especially if they are meaningful to him. Yes his previous relationship was short lived but it sounds like they were effectively abandoned by their father and from your description do not have a stable life with their mother. Is it any wonder they see Ryan as a surrogate?

    LW2: It might be useful to talk to your partner as to why he is not willing to care for you. Is it because he feels that this type of care is outside his capabilities? Is it because he does not want to get sick? Is it because he does not want an interruption to his work? Does he have underlying health problems which would make him more at risk for COVID-19? Also, could you flip the script – would be expect you to care for him if he got ill? Maybe better understanding his motivation will help you decide if you want to continue a relationship with this man.

    LW3- Your BF is a stalker – full stop. His ex has blocked him, she wants nothing to do with him, and yet he continues to harass her. Dump him and block him too before he does this same thing to you.

    1. Did we even read the same letter on LW1? What brother? Previous abandonment does not obligate the next guy who comes along to act as a father figure. After only seven months, I would be completely freaked out if a guy I was dating wanted to act like a father to my kids. That’s way too soon for that kind of emotional responsibility.

      1. The brother that is mentioned in the second sentence, where it says “She [Ryan’s ex] had a son and a daughter.” The son would be Alison’s [the daughter’s] brother.

      2. ArtsyGirl says:

        FYI – ultimately it isn’t the LW’s call if Ryan maintains contact with his ex’s kids. It seems like he wants to stay in their lives, his ex wants him to stay in their lives, and the kid(s) want him in their lives. The LW clearly wants him to raise her own son and not devote time and energy to Alison. The only thing I think the LW could push back on is Ryan’s ex speaking badly about her. If the LW doesn’t like the situation she can leave which I honestly think she should do.

  2. LW1: I wouldn’t jump to the worse speculations about his interest for this child but I come to the same conclusion. It doesn’t matter wether you are right or wrong. He just won’t “move on”. The whole situation seems muddy and I wouldn’t like to be part of it. Move on yourself.
    LW2: did you ask : “but would you at least feed me? give me minimal care?” Why planning the worse and not planning workable options for the couple in case of infection ? Talk again in a more pragmatic way. If you are stuck with the same kind of answer, the situation reveals your common lack of commitment. Then let him go take care of himself in self-isolation…

  3. LW1: I too would not necessarily jump to the conclusion that the man is a sexual predator. Lots of kids whose parents are dating either want nothing to do with the new person or get super attached very quickly. Maybe the son is older and didn’t get attached. Maybe the boyfriend has poor boundaries and feels guilty about the girl. It’s important to know the ages of the kids. He sounds like a jerk though.

  4. Bittergaymark says:

    LW1) is an unreliable narrator who gleefully wants to imply (With Zero Real Evidence!) an inappropriate sexual relationship on the part of the boyfriend and a child yet she wants to stay with the guy? Okay, whatever.

    LW2). Hi. We’re in a deadly fucking pandemic!

    LW3). Stalker!! MOA!!!

    1. I don’t think LW1 implied a sexual relationship; I was the one who alluded to that. I think it’s certainly a possibility. A guy dates a woman for a handful of months and of the two kids she has, he remains obsessed with the daughter but not at all with the son? It’s a reasonable possibility that he his intentions are not pure.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Hmmmmm. I think she alluded to it as well. The way she wrote her letter kinda called for your response in my opinion…

  5. When my kids & husband caught this horrible virus quarantining wasn’t an option for me. My youngest is 2 and my husband was bedridden. I knew I was was going down and sure enough 5 days later I got sick. By then my husband was capable of taking care of the kids. He bounced back quick. I didn’t have it as bad as him. Mainly just fever & extreme fatigue. If it was just the 2 of us, I think whoever was sick would beg the healthy to go, but the healthy one would refuse. If you have to have it I hope your case is as mild as ours! Thanks for what you’re doing!!

  6. I wonder how it would be to hear the other side of Concerned about Ryan would go. I am a single man who comes from a divorced family. I dated a woman for seven months, she has two children and thier father is not around. I became close to the children and see myself as a positive male influence. I broke up with their mother but we remain friends. I do not want to disappear from the children’s lives as there father has. I don’t want to see them every week but would like to stay in contact, watch their ball games, go miniture golf etc. like a “big brother.” I want to do more than what my own father gave me. I want to continue to be a postive male influence of how a good man behaves. In time our relationship may fade but it also might grow stronger.
    I am now dating another woman with a child. I hope to bond with her son as well. The new girlfriend wants me to cut off my relationship with my old girlfriend and her children. This seems cruel and cold to the children. Do I really need to dump the new girlfriend because of her demands or do I dump my relationship with children I have bonded to? I’m just a man trying to do the right thing.
    As a widowed mother I fostered male relationships for my daughter. One of them has remained a friend and my daughter’s children call him grandpa. He and I are still Just Friends.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      So are you a “single man” or a “widowed mother”?

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        She’s a widowed mother.

        Her “single man” take at the top Of her post was merely her illustrating how she imagined this letter would sound from that point of view…

  7. Sea Witch says:

    I get the LW2’s hurt at her boyfriend saying he’d be living somewhere else if she catches it, but honestly, she of all people should be aware that people react to the virus in wildly unpredictable ways. Some healthy young people with no underlying factors get very ill, while others in the same household barely show symptoms. If I caught it, I’d be retreating to the guest room to reduce the chances of Mr. Sea Witch getting it.

    Given that the incubation period is 14 days, moving out would probably not be the recommended course of action for him anyway – he’d be a carrier

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