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

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My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year and it has been great; I believe he is the love of my life! But there’s one little problem. My boyfriend was with his ex-girlfriend for a little under a year and he got really close with her daughter. Even though their relationship ended way in the past, he still keeps contact with his ex to spend time with her daughter whom he claims is like his child even though she’s not.

My boyfriend has taken up responsibility of being a father figure for this little girl which I admire but recently have not been comfortable with. His family is close to the little girl and call her his child as well. It’s all a little frustrating and annoying, and, lately, I’ve been a bit jealous. I’ve tried to express my feelings, but my boyfriend doesn’t understand. Please give me any suggestions on how to handle the situation. — Frustrated Girlfriend

Honestly, I think it’s really weird that your boyfriend remains close with this little girl who was in his life so briefly and isn’t related to him. Did they ever live together? If so, I could understand a little bit better, but, still, the relationship seems… inappropriate at this point, not just because your boyfriend is no longer with the mother, but also because he ISN’T a father figure to her and because remaining close with her muddies boundaries and can potentially make things confusing for the little girl and for anyone who may get romantically involved with the adults in question (your boyfriend and the girl’s mother).

If YOU have issues with your boyfriend remaining so close to this girl, imagine how potential new boyfriends of the mother might feel. What happens if she meets someone she wants to marry? Is your boyfriend going to continue being the father figure and spending time with his ex’s daughter when she has a step-dad in her life?

I find it irresponsible of the mother that she’s allowed your boyfriend to remain such a constant presence in her daughter’s life and hasn’t set some clearer boundaries herself. It makes me wonder if she isn’t over your boyfriend and she’s using her daughter to keep him around. I also find it troubling that when you express some of your concern and jealousy — totally normal reactions given the circumstance — your boyfriend doesn’t express any compassion or understanding.

If it were me and I had something of an unconventional relationship with an ex’s child whom I knew for only a brief time, I would go out of my way to make a new partner feel comfortable about the situation and understand my motives. It doesn’t seem like your boyfriend is doing that, and as “admirable” as you might consider his behavior in relation to this little girl, how admirable is his behavior toward you? Who cares if he’s loving with someone else — an ex’s child, of all people — if he isn’t expressing the same loving attitude to YOU, his girlfriend.

You need to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your boyfriend about his feelings towards his ex, his feelings towards this little girl, and where he sees things going in the future. If you two were to remain together and, say, have a child of your own (is that something either of you wants?), does he think he’s STILL going to continue doting on this child who isn’t his (and isn’t related to him)? How is he going to explain the relationship he has with her to potential children of his own one day? Does he not see that this relationship he has with the girl has something of an expiration date and that the longer he avoids it the more attached she gets and the harder she’ll take it when things change and boundaries that should have already been made are finally set?

If you keep having these conversations and your words continue falling on deaf ears, I would consider moving on. Something isn’t quite right in this scenario, and the more time you hang around waiting to see what that something is the bigger chance you’re going to be hurt in the end.


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


  1. That’s really weird. Like REALLY weird. I definitely agree that it’s inappropriate and I totally get why you’re uncomfortable with it. When you break up with the person, you “break up” with their family in a way. I could MAYBE understand wanting to hang out with an adult family member you became close with after a break up (for example my ex’s aunt has wanted to grab coffee with me to catch up — I haven’t yet but have considered it) but a kid?? Like Wendy said, that blurs lines a lot, especially for the kid. It makes your boyfriend appear to be “stepdad” when he’s…not.
    I wonder also why his family is on board with this and treating this child like their own family. That makes it even MORE confusing for this little girl, which is absolutely unfair to her. I REALLY wonder how it got to this and how the girl’s mom let it get to this point. She is absolutely not watching out for her daughter’s best interests in this case.

    1. I agree. These single moms are really jacking their kids up. I rather be the only parental figure in their lives than clinging to men as a crutch to raise my kids

    2. If you are going to build a NEW relationship, you must let go everything of your old relationship/baggage, unless you have biological children is another topic, and still if you can’t make your partner first priority, then DO NOT START A NEW RELATIONSHIP!. Remain single and you can do whatever you want, with making another human being miserable and draining them to the deep end. It’s unfair and selfish to bring a new person into your life when you’re carrying old baggage, and in top expect the new person in your life to carry with that unwanted baggage that you’re carrying around and refuse to let go. I don’t understand why some people carry old baggage around and expect others to carry it with them. You’re not over your ex and his/her family, then remain single!

      My 0.02

      1. If *the child* is 18 years old and he called her step daughter even if they were never married do u think he is living in the past too? She came across the country to visit him and giving a message from her mom what does this mean?,i need your opinion pls.

    3. I have a similar situation and it is breaking my heart and soul. My partner of 10 years established a relationship with his ex girlfriend’s daughter after five years of being with me. He remained close to his ex and when she gave birth 5 years after they broke up and he was with me, he decided to be the baby’s godfather. Now the baby is 6 and she is startling to take priority. He has tried to balance our relationship but kinda failed. He has invited both mom and daughter to his beach house while I was working. He asked me if it was ok but I couldn’t say no because it’s not my house. And I wanted to see if I could deal with it. Needless to say, I freaked out thinking of them on the beach together. I know the mom and my partner are not romantically involved but I still get jealous of their bond with the little girl. He takes her for walks, takes the little girl for ice cream and donuts and bagels on Saturdays and other days. The invitation is open for me to go but I’m usually busy and would prefer to stay in my apt. And another thing, he doesn’t want to live with me. He’s always loving to me and kind but I am heart broken because I told him how I felt about not living together and his not spending enough time with me.
      I’m just having a rough time. Any suggestions would help me !

      1. @Scarlet MOA. You’ve known your partner was the god parent to this child for half of your relationship and you’ve decided denial was the best course of action? He’s attempted to include you in this portion of his life but you prefer to sit alone in your apartment. WHY would he want to live with you when you disagree with this portion of his life and don’t want anything to do with it.

        I’m not saying it isn’t weird that he wanted to be the god father in the first place. But it sounds like they stayed friends after the break up obviously AND this has been his life for years and years so you need to either accept it and try to become a part of it or you need to end it (and that’s ok too!)

  2. I am going to say that there is not enough info in this letter to definitively say that this is a good or bad idea on the boyfriend’s part. However, the fact that his family also loves this little girl & feels close to her makes a difference to me. Yes I agree with Wendy that the mother is irresponsible in her actions. But if she has such poor judgement, is it really all that bad that a little girl has a possible stabilizing adult presence in her life? I don’t think its necessarily a bad or weird thing to have a good, caring adult involved in the life of a child, who may not have many other people who care about her. The world needs more people who love & care for children, not less. If there is any hint of secretiveness about his activities with this girl, then I would question whether the man is a predator of some kind, but the LW does not seem to indicate that. I do think that the LW was remiss in waiting a year ?!? to address her concerns however. By now, if she was seriously a part of this man’s life, she should be understanding why he is involved in this child’s life. And also possibly be involved as well. Why is his relationship with this girl separate from the relationship with the LW? This is the inappropriate part of the whole deal. Either you are partners, or you are not. I would have a long talk with him about this LW, perhaps even see a counselor together & hash out the points that Wendy brought up. Be more involved with him & this girl, if this is that important to him, & address your insecurities with him. Make sure to set some boundaries together as well, your relationship needs its own time & should come first. This could be a great chance for you to preview what kind of father he would be to his own children.

    1. I get what you were thinking but your mistake is thinking the little girl will have a stablized relationship when she won’t. That is not her father and if he is in a relationship that turns to marriage, he may be someone else’s actual father, knocking her completely off of any priority list. This kid that isn’t his will not even be in top 3 priorities if this man is responsible and reasonable enough and if the kid is, now he’s disrespecting his own made family. Sure it sounds nice to help out kids in a world where kids need love but your painting an unrealistic picture of how things really are. Most people don’t want to get involved with people who don’t have their priorities straight and screwing up priorities for a perceived greater good will always put someone involved in the crap end of the stick. If you want to play step mom or stepdad to an exs kids, stay single and don’t drag it on to someone else. One day you will have to choose in a situation and the only person not getting hurt is you who put it all together from the start. What if your partner wants to move states, how’s holidays going to work, what if this exs kid needs money that would come from funds you should be using to build your family. Now you have effectively made your partner and assumed ass if they don’t want to agree on helping. This is not your kid. Having two good parents is nice but not a requirement for survival. You can pour all the sugar you want and call it helping the poor kids, but sugar on salt is still salty sugar. You agree for the idea but putting it into practice totally ignores all the problems that comes with it.

      1. Say it louder for the folks in the back!!

      2. This was on fire.

    2. Anonymous says:

      I love this response

  3. I don’t necessarily think this is as odd as Wendy does, especially if the daughter was very young when they dated. If she was, for example, a baby for the year they dated, and they were living together, he was probably acting as the father in her life. And, upon the break up, it’s possible that he continued that role (and perhaps neither he nor the mother had significant others at that time, so there was no one else to be bothered by it) and suddenly this little girl is six, has had this man in her life since she was a baby, and now his girlfriend wants to greatly diminish their relationship…

    I’m not saying the above scenario is necessarily the case, but I am saying a similar type of situation is feasible, and in that case, I would think the boyfriend simply had a genuine strong relationship with the little girl and was being a stand up guy by wanting to continue it. I would actually view him negatively if he was willing to cut back on it simply because his new girlfriend had a problem with it.

    A situation such as the above would also explain why the boyfriend and his family sometimes describe the girl as his daughter…

  4. I’m probably coming at this from a perspective that isn’t all that common, but I think it depends on a lot of things as to whether or not it’s really weird. I wonder how old the daughter is. Like does little mean 4 or 10? My husband’s mom was not that great of a Mom, one of the people she dated was the woman that he and his one sister call Mom and his sister’s kids call Grandma today. She only dated his Mom for a short time but she felt really bad for the kids and their lack of support and stayed in contact while they were growing up. I realize this isn’t necessarily the norm or even what this little girl is going through, but I guess for me I would need more information.
    At the end of the day though, you can’t make him change. You can tell him your perspective and ask for change. But, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to. So you’re going to probably have to decide if you’re willing to have a relationship with him if he won’t stop the relationship with the daughter.

  5. Perhaps we don’t have enough information to say how weird that is, it really depends on how old the girl is, how was your boyfriend’s relationship with her while he was dating her mom and how it has evolved afterwards. You say they broke up way in the past, so that probably means he’s been the main father figure for this girl for a long time – in that case it might be he’s just having trouble understand that you are insecure about it, that you need to be sure this doesn’t mean he’s still attached to the mother, or that she still wants to date him. Maybe in his mind this is all super clear, but you have every right to be confused and insecure. You should talk openly to your boyfriend and address this issues – I wouldn’t ask him to change his relationship with the little girl, but to help you understand what that means, and address your concerns.

  6. I don’t think it’s all that weird. I know a guy who is very close to his ex girlfriend’s son. I don’t think they were even all together that long, but the kid’s mother is a train wreck (drugs/jail/etc) and for whatever reason this guy loves that boy like his own and wants to provide stability for him. They’ve been broken up for YEARS but he still visits him and talks to him on the phone and helps pay for school supplies and everyone just refers to him as the boy’s step-dad.

    Now, he’s also been single this whole time so who knows how that affects any potential relationships. I can certainly understand being the girlfriend and feeling jealous and uncomfortable with the situation. I think Wendy is right that this needs to be talked about.

  7. I think staying in touch and seeing the ex’s daughter from time to time would be one thing, but saying that she’s HIS kid and his whole family affirming that? That’s the really odd part to me.

    1. That said, if he really is the de facto step dad and this is a stable situation (meaning that neither the ex nor him would ever suddenly end the kid’s relationship with him) then LW just needs to decide whether this is something she can accept. In the end it doesn’t matter if it’s unconventional or not.

      1. Hi, he isn’t the step dad. She has an involved and loving dad who she sees every week. My partner just takes it upon himself to be involved as the godparent.

      2. Reb Iñiguez says:

        I’m in a similar relationship where my bf of a few months just clarified that he wants his ex’s preteen girls in his life forever and that they still call him daddy and his parents grandparents. (Dated 4 months before gf/bf, I’ve said “I love you”, and have known him for years.) He lived with the ex for a 3-5 years when they were 4-6. He’s been broken up 2.5 years; for 1 year they didn’t talk. Now they stay over with him every 2 months. The ex has a new bf, and maybe has dated. He’s dated, but they haven’t accepted his relationship w the girls. He feels guilty for the way he treated them in the past because they weren’t his own and he wanted them to. He does not really seem understanding of my insecurity but claims he’s completely over his ex, first & big love. Girla love with mom and spend time with dad and him. According to him, real dad sucks. I think I could maybe be supportive, but them staying over because they make him feel like a family with a busy life…it make me feel that I don’t fill that gap. No talk of our future really. 🙁

    2. Hi I’m Erica and I have a similar situation. My boyfriend was married for 3 years with his ex wife and been divorced for 5. He divorced her because she cheated on him and got a baby. The baby girl just 6 this year mind you that she was only 1 if that. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over an year now. Mind you we did come to an agreement that before we made it official we are not to talk to any of our exes. We both agreed to not bring our past with us in our relationship so let everything go and comes to find out he’s been texting and calling her trynna to become a god father to her kid. Now I have nothing against her daughter but I didn’t agree to him speaking to her and trying to become a father to her kid. Mind you again the ex wife has a boyfriend like why you need my man to play father when your kid has a father figure there for her. Now I have to make a decision rather or not to deal with him doing that or just move on because he lied to me. Should I be okay even when he didn’t bother to tell me? Should I accept that and have to deal with his ex wife and a kid that is not his or mines?

      1. You said u guys made a agreement not to talk to your exes, he didn’t keep up with hisend of his agreement. U need to ask why? & If what he saids doesn’t sit well with u, then u need to make your decision to stay or not. If u choose to leave, it’s ok because he wasn’t meant for u.

  8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I think it may be weird but may not be. We need more information. How long were your boyfriend and his ex together? How long ago exactly did it end? How old was the girl then? I wouldn’t think it’s weird that post break up he wanted to continue seeing the kid but I would expect him to want to wind that down. Maybe for example cutting off contact with the kid was too hard so he continued to see her for a bit but slowly/eventually ending that too? I don’t know what the experts say is the best way to end things with a kid but I would expect cutting all contact unexpectedly and all of a sudden would be really hard for the kid. So I don’t know…. But I also think it’s really inappropriate for the kid to be so attached to a man who is not her father and has no relationship to her mother.

    1. Thanks for your response ! He was together with her for 10 years and lived with her. He left her and then started dating me. She had the child three years after the breakup. He decided to create a bond with the child at birth. We were together all along. I warned him and asked him for years about the relationship and had issues with it. He’s a wonderful man and is a very loving partner but never understood my concerns. He’s had mom and daughter over at the beach house without me (did ask me first ) but I did not say I was uncomfortable with that. We would have had a conflict, I’m sure. When I injured my eye and I had to drive to the doctor he told me he had to go to the child’s first day of first grade. Not intentionally telling me he wouldn’t take me but I would have liked him to offer to take me. So , I love him and do appreciate him but I’m confused. Thanks for responding.

  9. Sunshine Brite says:

    You don’t mention how old the daughter was when he came into her life and how old she is now. I think that if they were together when she was born or as an infant then I don’t think this is very weird at all.
    I don’t find that family needs to end at blood relations or relationship boundaries. If the relationship is waaay past then he may have known this girl for years now. I think it would be absolutely cruel to try and redefine that at this point by based on a girlfriend’s perspective of something that isn’t “normal.”
    You recognize that you’re jealous and seem to want to be dating someone without kids. I think my answer would be similar to someone with an adopted child, if you don’t want to be with someone with kids then don’t.

    1. Hi, thanks for your response. The information is this: he left the mom about ten years ago and started dating me. After about three years his ex has a child. He took it upon himself to be the child’s godparent. She is now six. He sees her weekly and has them come on vacation with us. The lovely child is sweet and he adores her. He goes to the ex’s house to pick the child up and takes her out etc. the boundaries are blurred but I also appreciate his love for the child. She just takes priority and this is the problem. She has a dad who she sees every week and has a loving home.
      That’s the info. I appreciate your response.

      1. Why on earth would he want to be the child’s godparent? They had already been broken up when she conceived and he was with you. What is the reasoning behind that?

  10. Yeah, I don’t see this as being as uncomfortable and weird as Wendy does. It sounds like he’s been in the little girl’s life for a while (relationship ended “way in the past”), so it would surprise me if her mother was holding on to hope for rekindling a relationship. Maybe it’s the unrelated male adult/female child dynamic that could be seen as odd? But if he’s successfully been a positive influence in this girl’s life for a while, then it seems as though it’s working. The LW might want to think about whether this is a deal breaker for her because it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change and her trying to convince him that it’s inappropriate either isn’t going to work or will have negative consequences (I could see him being resentful of the LW forcing this relationship to end).

    1. Yeah. It’s tempting to think about this situation through the “is it weird or not?” lens, but in the end it’s just a question about deal breakers. There might be good reasons for him to continue with the stepfather role, there are also good reasons for the LW not to like it.

      1. I agree. And to the LW’s credit, she doesn’t call it a weird dynamic or that she wants it to end, just that she’s uncomfortable with it, which is a perfectly fine reaction. The “weird it not weird” frame of mind doesn’t really do much more than put a stamp on someone’s reasons to MOA.

      2. *weird or not weird

  11. Add me to the list who don’t think this is that weird. I guess it could be if the mother were luring the BF over on the premise that the kid needs something and greeting him in lingerie or whatever. But that doesn’t sound like is what is happening. It sounds like the girl’s father and/or his family were not involved in her life while the BF and the mother were dating and he and his family fell into the parental and grandparental roles and saw no reason for that to change after the BF and the mother broke up. I think the fact that he is apparently willing to quasi-co-parent with an ex for a child that isn’t even his because he feels responsible for being a presence in this little girl’s life makes him more of a stand up guy than a weirdo, barring some info we don’t have.
    At any rate, since the girl is part of the BF and his family’s lives, related or not, I think the LW probably needs to either accept it and make a place on her life for this little girl, too, since she’s so important to the “love of [her] life”, or move on. But being jealous of a child is ridiculous. And trying to force her BF into dropping a child that is attached to him and that he is attached to just because the relationship isn’t “traditional” is selfish and cruel. Being a father figure to this little girl is part of who your BF is, LW. Take it or leave it.

    1. lonemirage14 says:

      You described exactly what I was picking up on – she sounds almost jealous of the child herself and less about the mother.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Hi, thanks for response !! The child has an involved biological dad and mom’s family is huge. The ex had her three or four years after she and my partner broke up. He decided to be involved in her life practically at birth. We had been together for about five years when the baby was born. We don’t live together because he feels my 20 year old son is still not independent. My partner, who I love, wants to be a loving godfather, I get it. But it’s put a strain in our relationship.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I am sorry but I think there are some issues …if it was me it would be hard to understand why he can’t get his emotional need meet from the person he is with .I don’t fell he should ever put u above the girl she has parents and that is your person that u rely on to be there for you . o gosh it seem like I would go crazy but there maybe some deeper things he need to deal with

      2. This is weird. It’s not healthy for anyone, especially not the little girl. People to learn boundaries and people need to learn not to end up with people who don’t know how to set or respect healthy boundaries.

    3. Hi ! The child has a loving dad who she sees every week. My partner took it upon himself to be The Godfather to this lovely child at birth. We had been dating for about four years at the time. The mom has a partner and the Real dad was always in the picture. My partner just wanted to be in this child’s life and kinda be involved. So when I’m home and doing chores and cooking and cleaning and preparing our lives ( and we don’t live together Because he feels my 20 year old son is still too dependent on me) he’s is college my partner is busy with all of his responsibilities and the takes the child out. It’s all fine and I love my partner but it’s difficult.

  12. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

    From the LW:

    “The little girl is now 3 and he was together with his ex when she was like 4 months old.
    They broke up almost 2 years ago.. And we’ve been together for a year.”

    1. So as much as we can all hem and haw about the oddness or not of the situation, the bf has to want to change. If talking to him about it doesn’t make him change you’re going to have to decide if you’re willing to stay with him if he doesn’t want to stop the relationship with the little girl.

    2. Now I need to know everyone’s ages.

    3. Yep – definitely not weird. LW you are getting some good advice here. Decide if this is a deal-breaker for you & either enjoy your “bonus child” or MOA.

    4. Avatar photo something random says:

      I don’t know if we should jump to the conclusion that the boyfriend is a predator because he fell in love with this baby and continues to care about this little girl. If there isn’t a father in her life then I think some strong relationships with a grandfather and mom’s old friend and some other male figures might be healthy for her. Especially ones that care enough to bring her into their whole family.

      I think the letter writer should encourage her boyfriend to shift from a father figure to an uncle figure. That doesn’t mean the level of love or involvement has to go down. This would make room for potential love interests to take on the role on aunt and stepfather, respectively.

      If the boyfriend really does see himself as the father, then he and the birth mother should formalize an adoption and he should pay child support. Otherwise the girl might end up confused.

      I’m not sure it’s appropriate for this girlfriend to start managing all of this, though. They should be working on solutions that honor and support each other and not using jealously as a motivator when talking about this.

    5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh man so he was with her from 4 months to 16 months? (about a year?) so this baby thinks of him as Dad? So is the plan for him to just keep it up? Because it’s only going to get harder for them (boyfriend and ex’s daughter) to separate when ex/new beau decide to start their own family…. they need to be winding that relationship down. Why are people so irresponsible with kids’ feelings?

      1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        Exactly!! At 16-months-old, the child would have missed the guy for a few weeks and then would have forgotten him. And eventually, the mother would probably have a new boyfriend and potentially a husband who could step in and be this child’s father figure. That could still happen, but now the LW’s boyfriend has been in this picture all this time, without being related to the child or involved with the mother, and I imagine it will be hard and confusing for the little girl when boundaries are finally set. And they will be set. If not now, then at some point when this relationship becomes inconvenient for the LW’s boyfriend or the girl’s mother or both. I know I’m cynical and maybe everyone involved is super evolved and mature and nothing bad will ever happen, but it just seems too big a risk to take with a young child.

      2. I agree. This is unfair to the new girlfriend and irresponsible on both parents parts. If he was single he can do what he wants but niw commitment to the bew girlfriend and carrying on this extra relationship is going to add confusion, take tine and enrrgy away from their own growth as a couple and family down the road. You cannot go around opening doirs after refusing to close others. If he is not considerate of your future together then move on and find a man who loves you enough not to unnecessarily add to your plate or try and harbor his past. Its nit healthy period ( weird or not weird, 2 years or 12 years. You cannot feel comfortable when he won’t create security, boundaries and give fully to his new beginnings.

  13. lonemirage14 says:

    I think its pretty amazing that the LW’s boyfriend is stepping up to take on such a huge role in this little girl’s life – reading between the lines it sounds like her biological father is probably not very involved, if at all. I don’t think it’s fair at all to fault him for doing what many people wouldn’t do.

    That being said, I do think, LW, that he needs to make you more comfortable with the situation and make it clear that he is interested in the child’s well-being and not so much about his ex. On the flip side, its very possible the ex is using her daughter to try to get your boyfriend back, and I think that is a fair fear to have, but you need to trust your boyfriend. I think if you are getting a sense that he is playing such a large role in the girl’s life to get back with his ex, I’d also assume you have trust issues with him on other topics.

    But if his intentions are true and he wants to be the father figure to this little girl who was young enough when he was with her mother to see him as an important figure in her life, then frankly it is a bit cruel of you to dismiss the situation so quickly. Talk to your boyfriend, explain why you feel the way you feel, and if you can’t accept that this child is in his life likely for the foreseeable future, then I don’t see the relationship lasting between the two of you. He clearly seems bonded with the kid, as does his family.

    1. Hi!
      The biological dad is very involved and she lives with dad twice a week. My partner has taken upon himself to be the godparent when the child was born four years into our relationship. The child is six now.

  14. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

    I’m in the middle here–my daughter was 9 (is now 10) when my boyfriend and I started dating. Her dad is in the military and is frequently gone, and my boyfriend has been quite a father figure to her. I imagine if we were to break up, that they would probably continue to contact each other occasionally (maybe “text” on her iPod). I also imagine it would kind of fizzle out as time went by. So I don’t think it’s super weird to still have contact with the child of an ex-girlfriend, but given her age, this little girl can and would do just fine without this man in her life. As awful as it sounds, she likely wouldn’t even remember him in a year. So while he thinks he’s doing it for the child, I imagine it’s for himself. He probably enjoys having a “child” and has grown close to her–all understandable. But it’s getting in the way of his relationship with the LW, and he clearly doesn’t see that and/or doesn’t care. It’s up to the LW if she can live with it. I probably wouldn’t want to.

    1. lonemirage14 says:

      I am going to disagree on your statement that the girl would forget about this guy in a year. It seems that him and his family are very involved in her life, and she is old enough (3 years old) to form very clear memories and lasting impressions from those around her. Some of my strongest memories of that age were my own parents breaking up and my stepdad coming into the picture. Children are so impressionable, and they absorb so many things they see and feel around them, that if the LW’s boyfriend and this little girl have a true bond, I would hate to think how that would make her feel if the boyfriend gave up on her or felt that he had to break off the relationship, both at the time it happens and in the future. Don’t discredit a child’s memory and their ability to understand things that may seem beyond their capability to interpret.

      1. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

        I certainly didn’t mean to sound blase or imply that I would want the man to be intentionally cruel to the little girl. Just that at that young age, children tend to live in the moment of who is “there” with them. I was still married to my ex when my daughter was 3, and he went away to 6 months of military training. She didn’t forget him, since we made an effort (through Skype and calls) to keep them connected, but she managed just fine without him. She missed him occasionally but was not destroyed and honestly, after about 2 months, stopped asking when he was coming home. I think that if the man did decide he needed to slowly leave this child’s life, it would be better to do it at this age than say 6 when he had been around for so long and the girl would be much likelier to remember him.
        I’m also super impressed by your memory–I have zero memories before about age 5!

      2. lonemirage14 says:

        You have a point there with him breaking off the relationship at an earlier age. Kind of my overall thought is that for most kids, someone who plays an important role in their life and then isn’t around anymore will still leave an impression and perhaps a negative one, depending on how breaking off the relationship goes. I often wonder if I would see things differently or if I would approach my own relationships differently if my parents never split up or if they had done it when I was a baby, and therefore I wouldn’t have certain memories. My stepdad has had a huge influence on my life, and again, it makes me wonder how different I would be and where I would be in life without him, or if my mom met him later, earlier, etc.

        Just a quick example to make what is a very long story short, I had an aunt – who is now divorced from my paternal uncle – who treated me terribly because she was against my parents not getting married. The last time she watched me without another adult family member present was when I was about 6, but I have memories of feeling hurt and anger towards her from the few years prior. The way she treated me left such an impact that I actively avoided her when she was still married to my uncle, and seeing her a few years back for the first time in about 15 years at my cousin’s bridal shower literally gave me a panic attack. I’m not saying that this girl or your daughter will experience such feelings from losing male figures in their lives, but young children can really internalize hurt emotions for a long time and it can effect them later in life.

    2. I think the LW should figure out why she’s so uncomfortable. Does she think they’ll get back together? Does she want someone that will only love her and their future, hypothetical family? Maybe if she has a rational discussion about her feelings, they can come to some sort of compromise together.

  15. Put me in the not weird camp. I thought that before knowing the age, but especially now that I do. This man is probably the only male father figure she knows and I truly believe you don’t need to be related by blood to have a bond with someone. I think he’s doing the stand up thing.
    So, the question is, can the LW be ok with this? If not, she should probably MOA. I mean, maybe his role in this child’s life will dissipate over time, maybe not. To me, this is not a red flag, but I can see how it might be for some people. But, LW, I would not try to change him to the point where he resents you. That’s not a life I would want to start with someone.

    1. I understand why people think it’s a standup thing to do for him (especially because so many children lack father figures) and maybe I’m overly cynical today, but IMO there’s just as much of a chance that this is a hugely dysfunctional situation that was entered into without much thought. (I’m awaiting confirmation that they’re all in their early 20ies). Just because a man is involved in a child’s life doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Staying involved is great if everyone is on the same page and if they have some sort of stable arrangement. But if it’s just like they kept this going after they broke up and he somehow claimed the title of ‘daddy’ along the way? Not impressive per se and maybe just indicative of a lack of boundaries.

      1. Because a guy in his 20’s cant be a good & loving influence on a child regardless of blood relationship? Ouch! Ever hear of the Big Brother/Big Sister program? I don’t think we have enough info that even hints that this is a dysfuntional situation. You can’t base that off an age……

      2. No, I can’t base it on age (but I would love to know their ages anyway just for general context). I guess what alerts me is that all of this happened in a relatively short time frame – LW’s boyfriend and his ex were together for less than a year and now only two years have passed. There doesn’t appear to be a formal agreement regarding his role in the child’s life, yet he’s considered her stepdad (if he weren’t I would have no objection). He hasn’t really discussed his role with his girlfriend (the LW) either. I just think there’s sometimes a tendency to believe that any male involvement is good for a child who doesn’t grow up with her bio dad. That’s not the case – there are so many instances in which it’s better for a child to NOT have someone in their life, at least not as a quasi dad. Basically anytime that it’s not an explicit and stable arrangement.

      3. But who really cares if this all is happening haphazardly as long as the child is happy and healthy and loved? I don’t think family needs to be defined the traditional way. I also don’t believe in labels/defined roles how a majority of people thinks of them.

      4. Avatar photo something random says:

        The problem with haphazardly is that there are no expectations nor boundaries in place. These are necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy in the long run. I don’t see a reason the boyfriend can’t put these in place, though.

      5. Avatar photo something random says:

        My biggest worry is that a girlfriend (like the lw) comes along or another boyfriend comes along that want their own family. So people get pruned out and little girl deals with abandonment.

      6. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:


      7. Yes this! I think 3 years is a pretty stable arrangement. Even a marriage can turn into an unstable situation if it ends Sas. I don’t think you should rip a guy out of this child’s life based on some hypothetical “what might happen in the future”. I think he is probably adding love to this child’s life & an extended family that loves her as well. Win-Win for everyone. Except apparently the LW. The 2 of them need to sort this out between the 2 of them pronto.

      8. Oh, I don’t have any objection to nontraditional arrangements at all. What I find important is whether they are talking about how things are supposed to work (specifically the boyfriend and his ex) and if they have some ideas on how they’d react if the situation changes in any way (like with new partners and kids entering the picture). Basically I’m bringing up a more negative scenario that might also be happening because the LW, who knows this situation better, might be able to assess if some of her unease comes from a lack boundaries going on. I’m not saying it IS happening, just that the casual use of ‘his kid’ is throwing up some yellow flags for me.

      9. I agree they need to set boundaries & communicate. And if they were able to formalize something with the Ex that would be even better. It just sounded to me like the LW has known about this for a year & is just now starting to get jealous & questioning that relationship. I think the issue is with the LW feeling insecure, the grownups need to handle that between themselves.

      10. Maybe I’m also partially thrown off by how LW describes this situation. I would love to have a more detailed description, because the way she wrote her letter it sounds like there’s a discrepancy between the boyfriend’s ‘title’ (being the girl’s dad) and what is really happening (staying in touch and seeing the girl, but no real parental duties). It seems like LW is feeling some sort of mismatch but she doesn’t explain it any further. It definitely sounds like she always knew about this though – maybe she wants to get more serious with him and no starts to see it as a problem?

      11. Agreed. What happens if/when the mom gets married? Would this girl still come over to visit LW’s boyfriend’s family and call him “dad”?

    2. Yeah, for all intents and purposes, this guy probably does consider himself the child’s father, since he’s been involved in her life nearly since birth and he appears to be the only father figure she’s got. I’d approach this as I would any situation where the current BF had a kid with an ex because for now that’s what it is, although it may change in the future. And, I mean, the LW knew about her BF’s relationship with this girl over a year ago when she started this relationship. So, like we always say, if you don’t want someone else’s kid in your life, then don’t date someone with kids. Or quasi-kids.

    3. Hi, the child has a very loving and involved biological dad who she sees every week.

  16. I think if you push this too much, he might drop the relationship with you and not the one with the little girl.

    1. Avatar photo something random says:

      I’m pasting this from my comment above

      I think the letter writer should encourage her boyfriend to shift from a father figure to an uncle figure. That doesn’t mean the level of love or involvement has to go down. This would make room for potential love interests to take on the role on aunt and stepfather, respectively.
      If the boyfriend really does see himself as the father, then he and the birth mother should formalize an adoption and he should pay child support. Otherwise the girl might end up confused.

      I think the girlfriend just doesn’t want to take on the baggage of this little girl. Which makes sense because there isn’t a formal relationship and things could be yanked away at any time. If the grown ups sit down and talk things through this should make everyone more clear with what the appropriate level of involvement is. I feel for the girlfriend because even if the little girl was boyfriends daughter things would fuzzy as to what the letter writer’s level of involvement should be. The fact that she isn’t, makes it that much harder finding a comfortable level. Grown-ups communicate.

  17. Wow Wendy. This is the worst, most shallow, sexist advice you have ever given.

    At first I thought you were being sarcastic, but I re-read twice and your just being dumb.

    My thoughts. The boyfriend sounds like exactly the sort of man a woman should want to find. Stand up, caring, loyal.

    To the LW… my advice. Start getting involved with this child that means so much to your boyfriend and show him how secure, understanding, and kind you are.

    If the above doesn’t describe you, then keep nagging him until he breaks up with you and finds someone he deserves.

    1. Avatar photo something random says:

      This advice is not shallow nor sexist. The relationship isn’t clear and calling it inappropriate is accurate until it is clarified. This comment is one of the rudest most negative comments I’ve read in long time. This letter’s illicit strong feelings but Wendy is one of the most thoughtful and considerate advice-givers out there. There are ways to disagree without insulting out host. I wish there were still thumbs downs.

      1. Avatar photo something random says:

        correction (This letter has illicited) (our host)

    2. woah, that is super harsh and uncalled for.

    3. Unfortunately, he’s stand up, caring and loyal playing the Daddy role for another woman with a child who is not his.

      I’m seeing more of someone who lacks boundaries and the ability to make difficult decisions that are the best for everyone’s future.

      It is a shame the single mom of the baby allows it. She’s going to mess up the baby girl and make it hard for another man to come along and fill that Father role..and when he does..I doubt he’d be thrilled to know her short-term boyfriend is still in the picture!

      This isn’t normal either way you cut it, people. Playing a role you’re not does not necessarily make you a superhero. I find most men are guilted or feel bad. Same reason why most men don’t leave unhappy relationships.

      To expect ANY serious future spouse of his to roll over and accept this is highly unacceptable and inconsiderate to their feelings. You cannot be in CREATE mode with a new spouse when you’re over there creating with an ex and fulfilling other stuff that was never your obligation and never meant to be.

      She has the right to bring it up. If he doesn’t want to let it go and acts resentful then SHAME on him. He just put a kid he barely knows ahead of a wife/future wife and GOOD LUCK to him finding any sane woman of value who’s going to be OK with this. They seriously weren’t in each other’s lives that long at all, the child is so little this would be an easy break and he’s not taking it. FINE…but do not expect any SANE, valuable new woman to come in and be sidelined for this mess you and that ex are creating.

      I am GLAD Wendy actually gave some real advice because too many people are afraid to say it. Thanks, Wendy!

    4. Have you all gone mad? This has got to be the most shocking look into how people think we live in some ferry tale of a world this is so very toxic to everyone involved the mother shouldn’t allow her child to be set up for disaster every future relationship of everyone involve plus the people who have no decision in the matter will be negatively impa Ted from a false since of a idea. They have stated the girl has a loving father in the picture so this is where it takes a turn far left into weirdo land. So why not have the daughter have a relationship with every past ex? This is nothing bit a rouse for not wanting to completely let go and in return use your child as the scape goat to your fears. Everyone will have resentment even if they’re sitting around a campfire singing folk songs holding hands this is one of the most unhealthy unrealistic examples of neglect!!! Neglecting to be an adult and have a tough conversation with your kid this by far is not the only issue of turmoil in this mother’s and in effect this child’s life you are giving that child a false sense of how the world is to me that is cowardly what pain you think you are saving that little girl with your foolish comments is going to be 10 fold in the end are they doing this for the child? I don’t think so she didn’t pick the boyfriend mom did remind you she has a father

  18. rickipedia says:

    I’m in the not weird camp. My sister’s husband dated his ex-gf who had an infant daughter that wasn’t his. They were together for a year, but he got fully committed to the little girl, and is the only “father” she’s ever known. The mother is not the most stable influence, there have been numerous other men in her life, but my sister’s husband is the constant- he’s “DAD” to the little girl. She’s going on 13 now. My sister wasn’t incredibly comfortable with the situation when he first told her about it, but he made it very clear that the little girl was important to him- his whole family had accepted her as his, she was not going anywhere. My sister got over it, and developed a great step-parenting role with the girl. When my sister and her husband had their child, the little girl was so excited to have a little sister, and now, my niece is 4, and the little girl is her “sissy”. They are, together, a family unit, despite his not being the biological father of the girl.

    Your boyfriend made the decision to be a constant in his ex-gf’s child’s life. He decided to take on that responsibility before you, LW, came along- you don’t get to ask him to stop. You get to decide whether this is a situation you can handle or not. And if you do choose to stay, don’t be insecure about the child’s mother being in your boyfriend’s life- that is not what this is about. If it was, he would have stayed with her, and you wouldn’t be in the picture.

  19. Eh I think the lw should either get over it or get over the relationship, but as for the weird/not weird debatr, I do think this is kind of weird. I mean, the woman’s daughter was a literal baby when lw’s bf came into the picture. I don’t underatand 1.) Why the mother allowed a stranger she dated for leas than a year to spend so much time around her baby, or 2.) Why a stranger would bond with a baby to the point of wanting to be in her life post break up. I mean, the latter confusion is possibly because I’m not a baby person? But yea, I don’t know. I also find the automatic “more adults, more love, awrsome guy, filling a father role” commenter reaction pretty weird. It’s not always, AUTOMATICALLY awesome gor a child to have extra adults in her lifr, especially if the situation among the adults goes sour later . definitely more details would be helpful…

  20. So this situation may or may not be weird (I’m kind of siding on not weird), but ultimately the LW needs to decide if she can handle this. I’ve been in a slightly similar situation. My husband’s best friend had a daughter with his now ex. They were in their early 20s at the time, a lot of drama happened, and the mother lost custody. So our friend was a single father and he did eventually have a longterm girlfriend he is still with, but I’ve been the close female figure in her life since she was born. We call her my niece and I get regular one on one time with her despite her having a stepmother figure. It’s different because there was no romantic relationship there, but all of us have communicated and decided it was best for me to still keep that closeknit relationship with his daughter. Communication, boundaries, and expectations need to happen. And ultimately I wouldn’t blame you LW if you didn’t want to continue this relationship.

  21. Kinda weird that he is “dad” and I think switching over to an uncle role would be more appropriate. Maybe just suggesting she call him by his first name at least. Having a stable male role model is good for girls though and to me it is kinda cool he has taken that on. You didn’t mention mom’s boyfriend/husband so he may be one of the only male role models in the little girl’s life. And I mean, mom sounds a bit off to have a stranger get so close to her infant. The child will probably have many men come into her life though mom and having one (or two, maybe down the road) that stick around and give a shit could send a good message to her.

    Kids need people who care about them and adults they can trust. It would be one thing if you thought he was being “inappropriate” or wanting to stay close to her mom to get back with her but that isn’t the way it sounded to me. Would I want to be in this situation? Probably not. But it doesn’t sound super weird to me. It is okay to walk away from this relationship if it isn’t what you are wanting.

  22. Jaq_Attack says:

    My mom was a single parent for a long time, the only boyfriend I ever met was the man she ended up getting married to. She didn’t want to put me in a situation where I would get attached to someone and then if the relationship didn’t pan out, have to deal with the break up.
    I feel that in LW’s case, her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend should have made a clear boundary when they broke up. I think it’s great that the boyfriend is close to this little girl, it only makes things more complicated. Does he pay for things or simply spend time with her? If LW and boyfriend get more serious and they have a child, does the little girl become part of this bizarre blended family or is that when he decides to stop seeing her? I think he and the mother are creating a complicated situation “for the sake” of the little girl.

  23. Too many people in our society have bought into this notion that the other woman or man entering these situations with ex’s and children should just suck it up and accept it. And if they don’t, “they” are the selfish, maladjusted ones. I completely disagree with this. I think it absolutely dismisses the feelings of the person like LW who is being asked to accept this situation. A person who enters a relationship with someone who is still involved with their EX’s kids who are not theirs, is frankly being asked to sideline their own emotions, wants, needs and ultimately their vision and dream for their life. As if someone else’s child preempts “their” life as more important.

    I think too many in society have bought into this idea that if someone is dating a person who has an ex with kids, that the “right thing to do” is for them to “embrace” the idea of being a parent figure to a child that is not only not theirs but is not even their boyfriend’s. I think THAT is incredibly unrealistic and self centered on the part of all other parties EXCEPT the person who is entering this unusual situation.

    Right after the 60’s, divorce skyrocketed and the term “blended families” was put out there. Interestingly though, the divorce rate for “blended families” is extremely high. There’s a reason for that. It’s what so many are ignoring. It’s that you are asking people to accept things that are incredibly hard. And having a hard time doing that does not make one “less” of a grown up. That’s absurd. It means most people would never in a million years sign up for constantly having to be reminded of the love of their life’s former relationships, lovers, memories, etc. The only reason anyone would ever enter into that kind of insanity is because there are children involved. Usually it’s because one person in the couple is the biological or the adoptive parent. But when neither in the couple is the bio or adoptive parent, then why would most ever consider sticking around for that?

    The only way I could possibly see that working with someone who wants to maintain a relationship with their ex’s kids, is if the relationship is clearly and I mean CLEARLY redefined to all parties. That this person perhaps remains in touch with the kid but holidays, vacations, etc should be spent with the actual bio parents and THEIR families.

    1. Thank you, thank you!

    2. Skyblossom says:

      Each person gets to determine who their family is and it can include former step-children. As the new girlfriend/boyfriend you don’t get to choose who they decide is their family. You do get to choose if you want them with their family. People can have messed up biological children that you would want nothing to do with. They can have a strong relationship with the other parent of that biological child. You need to know and decide whether the relationship works for you as is and you can walk away if it doesn’t.

      I personally think a person who doesn’t abandon children, just because they aren’t biological, is a great person. In many respects it is a version of an informal adoption. The love is there and the desire to be a family even if no one has made it a legal arrangement.

      1. And as the new spouse/wife/husband, they don’t get to expect you to accept it, nor are you anything less of a good person for not wanting to accept it. It’s not normal to want to raise your spouses ex girlfriend’s child from another man. Do you see how that even sounds? What a wreck.

        I could see if he raised her maybe 6+ years or so but this is ridiculous.

  24. I was in a similar situation and had to remove myself. It was very difficult, but I can’t take added stress or drama; I have my own two kids to raise. The boy was a troubled teenager, and I would’ve had to accept that in the lives of my kids and my own, had I remained in the relationship with my boyfriend. Now my ex and this boy can carry on as father and son, which they are not. I think it’ll be difficult for any new girlfriend to accept this situation.

  25. I am having the same situation with you. My boyfriend has a little girl from his ex girlfriend. The little girl is less than a year old now. My boyfriend actually only dated his ex for a short time. They were more like fuck bodies. He barely went to see the little girl but he doesn’t want to give the rights away. He told me that he felt guilty and not fair to the innocent girl so he wanted to keep in touch in case the little girl needs something in her life. His family is a Christian family but somehow they accepted the existence of his daughter. They even planed a trip to visit the little girl. It is so odd and uncomfortable to me. I talked to him but he doesn’t understand. He did told me that he had no connection with the kid and wanted to give the rights away. But after the baby was born, he couldn’t make his decision. So now I’m thinking about breaking up with him. We were almost engaged. However, my family has no tolerance on this thing and I also cannot get over this. I’d say, it is not your fault and you don’t have to take it if you cannot. Your relationship is build on the principles of both you and him/her. If you don’t feel happy about this and it will bother you a lot in this relationship, end it.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      Why would you resent your boyfriend not giving up his own child? He gives very little time to this child and yet you are jealous of that tiny bit he gives her. Children aren’t disposable and she deserves a dad.

      If a guy having a child is a dealbreaker for you that is fine. Not wanting to get involved with stepchildren is a choice. If that is your choice then don’t date guys with kids. Dating a guy with a child and wanting him to dump that child is incredibly selfish and heartlessly cruel to the child and you have to know at some level that the guy who will dump the child he had with another woman will dump the child he has with you. You should leave this guy, not because he won’t dump his daughter but because he is barely there as her dad. She is the one person in the world who should be able to depend on him and she can’t. You can’t expect to get better than she gets because he is the type of guy that you can’t depend on. What you are seeing with his daughter is what you can expect long term for yourself. Ugly isn’t it.

      Pretending that an out-of-wedlock child doesn’t exist isn’t Christian. It is that kind of thing that turns people away from Christianity.

  26. I’m in the same situation as the boyfriend. My ex and I don’t even speak but I still see her daughter as my daughter. It’s not weird at all. When a father(or father figure) bonds with a daughter it’s not weird, it’s beautiful. Her daughter is mixed (looks Black) and has zero positive Black male influences in her life – and really no Black influences at all. I was teaching her to to love who she is, love her hair, love her dark skin, reinforce that she is beautiful the way she is.

    I was pretty shocked by how many people find it “weird” but I couldn’t care less. I don’t know how long I’m on this Earth but while I’m here I’m going to do everything I can, within reason and respect to the mother, to make sure that MY DAUGHTER grows up with self-esteem, pride and self-awareness.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      That’s wonderful!

  27. Born King says:

    The comments will throw you thru a loop. First off as a man getting involved with a female. That has a child or children and the biological father isn’t in the household is very hard. The shoes that you have to fill as a man are very big. Your natural instinct to provide and protect are doubled. This becomes your family and that becomes your child point blank. It’s a package deal and all the love that you never new you had comes out. You truly become the man god intended. Even if the relationship ends down the road there’s a special place that the child holds in your heart. You can’t get mad at this guy for loving this child or spending time with the child. He’s being a father even if he’s not the biological. Which is a great thing in this day and age. But the comments are what is loopy. This that this that o she’s wrong he’s wrong. No and no take it the way it should be. The mother knows this man and her child have a special bond. Which she doesn’t want to break. I say you embrace it and meet the childs mother and really sit and talk to her and the kid. Maybe you have something special about you that the child is missing. Kids need all the love they can get to help them grow to be a good person.

  28. I’m an almost identical situation.. 6 years ago, my boyfriend dated a girl with a 4 month old baby, and they stayed together for under a year. They did not live together and my boyfriend (hers at the time) was away for work a lot and the little girl also spent a lot of time at her fathers. My boyfriend has not been a constant in her life after the mother and him broke up. She completely shut him out for months and he moved on. Then he got another girlfriend and the mother suddenly came back around and made him feel guilty for not spending time with her daughter, so he came back into her life occasionally. Long story short the mother is now married to another man and has another baby with him. My boyfriend and his parents house and their vehicles are FILLED with pictures of this girl, at ages where she wasn’t even in their life. Every conversation somehow seems to involve her, even though she never comes around anymore, and it’s honestly creepy and extremely frustrating. I have tried to talk to my boyfriend and understand this “relationship” but he is reluctant to try and help me understand, so I expressed my concerns and was very straightforward with him that this was a dealbreaker because I find it inappropriate and honestly unnecessary – the child has her father and now a step father. After many heated arguments about the subject, he took down her photos and said he will remove himself from the situation. After running into the mother and daughter one day, he waves and says hello, perfectly fine with me, the mother sends him a long message about how he is neglecting her child and she “cried for days” about how he “doesn’t love her”. Which just sounds like a lie to me, they haven’t seen each other more than once every couple months for a year now. She goes on to give him an ultimatum on how he is either in her life or he’s not. So he tells the mother he wants to be in her life. Now we’re back to square one. All the while, the Mother’s husband finds my boyfriend “creepy” and has stated he is not allowed to be around his daughter, this little girls sister. Yet the mother still demands him to be present in her first daughters life.

    I understand both sides to your story LW and I may be biased but it really does depend on a lot of factors. I can’t give you any advice as I am searching for some myself, but I can definitely say that you should not feel bad about feeling the way you do, and you’re not alone in this unconventional situation. I’m crazy about my boyfriend but I don’t think this is something I can put up with if it continues. The drama alone is too much let alone the actual situation. I don’t know about you, but in my case, the relationship it definitely weird and if I didn’t know my boyfriend for my entire life, I would probably think he had a very inappropriate relationship with her. I know that he doesn’t, but that’s just how weird it is.

    I hope you have, or will have, found some common ground in this situation and that things have worked out.

  29. I think it’s inappropriate ON ALL levels. Doesn’t matter how old the child is OR was. My husband was with a woman 13 years older than him for a year or so, her daughter 16 years+. He and the mother break up the daughter stays in the house with him, the daughter gets pregnant with twins. He calls the woman whom is now 40 his daughter, and her girls his grandkids. Asked where is the father, dead I’m told. The SO- called daughter hates me, why I don’t know because we only met when he was hospitalized in a terrible accident 4 years ago. I’ve never been around her kids and she’s said she don’t want her kids around me. He and I have been together 7 years, married 6 months. I have never understood the relationship OR the secret of it, because I get half truths and his family is closed mouth about, but accepts it. He buys things secretly, is on school record, AS well as doctors. He told me he has no relationship with the grandmother whom is now 64 years old, ALTHOUGH I found a birthday card from her for his 50th birthday. The situation is disrespect to the new adults and I find it very inappropriate. I feel like the stories THESE men have told about the situations are half truths. I also feel there is some psychological issues or other unnatural reasons…

  30. My boyfriend is attached to his ex’s kid. he was there to see her born but only because he thought it was his the whole time until she had to have 2 other men take a DNA test with who she cheated on him with. The biological father is on the child’s life and calls both of them daddy. And the ex’s calls him and tells him what he needs to buy the kid and her now son. He calls her his daughter his family does not claim her and continues to tell him the ex is only using him. The ex told him she only used him for money. But he still claims the kid as his daughter she’s about 11 now. I want nothing to do with it but I love him what do I do?

    1. I think if you want nothing to do with the girl he’s always thought of and treated and loved as his daughter (and she has likely thought of and treated and loved him as her dad), you should not be dating him. Time for you to MOA. This is your issue, not his. He seems ok with the situation, you don’t.

  31. Honestly I don’t think it’s all that weird.. only because I dated someone with two children whom I still care very much for. No I don’t see them very often and haven’t in a while but I’d like to. Our plan as a couple was the raise them together and just because we aren’t together doesn’t mean I don’t want still do that!

    1. Is normal to feel these feelings. Exspecially if he doesn’t care.

  32. Ok – I’ll tell you what’s weird. I married a man in 2015. His ex-wife’s daughter was supposedly moving out soon. He and this young woman’s mom were married less than a year and the 34 year old step-daughter moved in (from another state) toward the end of their marriage. He first met this 34 year old “step daughter” only a few months before he met me. He told me she was looking for a place and would move out in a few weeks. The “weeks” turned into months. Call me naive but it took a while for me to realize that he and his 34-year old “step daughter” were the item and I was the fifth wheel, probably there just so the neighbors wouldn’t talk. He was late 50s, so a bit too old for her,; guess they just wanted me there to make it all look legit. I finally told him that if she didn’t leave, I would – and I meant it, too! I am now happily remarried, he has since had a stroke (ex-smoker) and the “step-daughter” has abandoned him. I guess I dodged a bullet and am just so thankful I left. Don’t get me wrong – I loved this guy and would have gladly been there for him thru all life’s ups and downs, in sickness and in health; but not with “the other woman” in the picture! If any of you reading this are in a similar situation – get out of there because there’s someone much better for you out there. Wish you all the best!

  33. This is the most rediculous. Childish insecure line of scrap I have ever. Heard. Any positive influence. Is positive. Influence. I am 53. And helped raise many children that are not. Mine. With a good outcome. That man. Would probably. Give his life to her. Safety . I I raised two daughter’s. That weren’t mine and two boys that were. After tragedy of losing one daughter to an accident I made the ultimate sacrifice. And adopted. Them to one family to keep them together as siblings not to mention the million dollar a year company I flushed down the toilet. To raise these. Children. . thadaughter. Princess aurora (her nickname) will always be my daughter. So you need to grow up get over. Because you are already a lost cause. With eniquities and insecurity. . he may be the only real man. She ever meets growing. Up . because. There are so many pervs in this. World. He might be the cornerstone of. Her character. You love him for some reasn

  34. I feel like the only people on board are probably single mothers themselves looking for someone to support their kids, I’m going through the same thing but I’ve been with my bf for 21/2years, I told him
    How I felt from the start, he gave me the impression it wouldn’t last, but here we are three years later spending time and money on them. He was with their mother for 3 years and they were 10-11 years old and now their 16-17 it’s ridiculous! Their mother and new step father to be makes 4x the amount my bf and I do together but this women keep sending her kids with him for him to
    Buy them fancy dinners, shopping, the last eat electronics etc, and it makes me sick. When we got together it was clear we both wanted children but having them in our lives has put that off and I’m at the point where I’m ready to bail if this doesn’t change, because when it comes down to it, I didn’t sign up for that and I was lead to believe it wasn’t going to last,! …although my bf’s family is more upset with the situation than I am and definitely don’t approve.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually struggling with this dilemma myself. I started a relationship with a woman who had a 3 month old that had no contact with her real father. I raised her as my own for 5 years before we broke up. We have another child together that I have shared custody of. We have been broken up for over a year and her daughter still calls me daddy and asks to come over with her brother. I still treat her like my own and my wife thinks its not good for the daughter. I agree but love this little girl and don’t want to break her heart by not letting her come with her brother sometimes to my house. I would like her mom to make clear boundaries about who I am and not keep the charade going. She won’t do it and I don’t know what to do.

  36. My husband secretary placed love potion on my husband coffee, ever since my husband’s company employed this secretary my husband comes back home with lips kiss on his shirt. On several occasions. My husband didn’t deny, that was what got my heart broken.

  37. My husband moved out the last time i confronted him about it and went to stay with her. He will not even pick my calls. I was broken and shattered, it was like I tore my MARRIAGE APART DUE TO THE IMPROPER WAY I HANDLED THE SITUATION. I’d cry every day and night, swollen eyes to work and friends started asking questions.

  38. ive been dating a guy for 9 months . he left his wife for me. they were married 7 years. his son is 14. and is ex wants to remain in contact with his son. i feel its only to cause problems and i don’t think its ok. help

    1. You don’t think it’s “ok” that a woman who spent seven years raising a child wants to remain in contact with the child? Do you think it’s “ok” to date a married man and wreck a marriage?

      1. I didn’t wreck a marriage. it was failing for years. he left her. then we dated. but thanks for the past judgment. and it would be fine if she wanted to stay in contact with the child because she cared. but she only messages the kid to find out whats going on in our home, and to tell him negative things to cause problems. I posted to get advice not judgment. thank.

    2. anonymousse says:

      OMG. Have some dignity and don’t sleep with married men.

  39. Bittergaymark says:

    The women who resurrect this thread somehow keep getting worse and worse! Yikes!

    1. It’s because they accidentally drank the secret love potion their husband’s secretary put in his coffee. It gets wonky when not used as directed.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Mwah hah Hah.

  40. ElectricPhys says:

    I didn’t get to read everyone’s post but as a man in this situation myself I believe you are all looking at it the wrong way. You see if he’s keeping in contact with the child it’s because children think very differently than us adults. We have come to learn that after we break up we move on and forget about those ones we once said I love you to. To a child that makes no sense at all and it’s very confusing especially when they are old enough to understand what a mother and a father is.

    In my own situation she has her real father but he doesn’t want much to do with her. It’s unfortunate for her and I can’t help but feel sad for her. She needs those fatherly experiences so that when she grows up she can have good memories. Ones that a good father would do with his daughter like taking her to the zoo or buying her shoes. Getting amazing gifts for Christmas and birthdays, teaching her how to swim, how to ride her first bicycle.

    I recently spoke with my step daughters councilor in school and she believes that if a man enters a child’s life then he should remain committed to that child. At least until she’s 13 to 14 years of age. And for the above reasons I would also agree. Mine is nearing 13 and she is beginning to change, I’ll be an old relic and she’ll begin to go out with her friends more often than want to hang out with me.

    Now you might be thinking this is a bit weird or a little like your boyfriends are not with you and it’s causing distance between you and your boyfriends. But this is absolutely not the case. You see he is a man that is going to be a good father to your children when you decide to have them with him one day. It means he is a committed man and when he makes promises he sticks to them. Try not to let your thoughts meddle with his commitments.

    Remember one day you were a little girl too and imagine if the only father figure you had was a man who was supporting you but his girlfriend was trying to take him away from you. You won’t know that when you are a child of course but now you do.

    Try not to let your feelings get in the way. Support the fact he is helping a little girl or a little boy have a father figure. Because they really need it. I think you’ll find peace if you talk to him and be upfront about your feelings too.

  41. I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 6 months now and I’ve known him for about 15 years, but I’m getting more uncomfortable with the fact he is super involved with his ex girlfriends daughter who is about 12 and he is now telling me that he’s buying a huge house so the kid can come live with him and her mom (his ex) keep in mind this woman is married and this is not my boyfriend’s child.. and when I address how it makes me feel he tells me it’s nothing and he’s doing this for the little girl.. and that if I can’t get over this then he doesn’t knw what to tell me. Also, that everyone but “me” knws what him and the kids mom have is only friends.. But to me, because I’m not a total idiot.. something more is going on with this situation then he’s trying to make me believe.. please give me yalls opinion.

  42. Add to my post—> this kid has a father and a step dad and now my boyfriend is playing some weird roll in all this…

  43. And the last time I voiced my opinion on it.. his response was.. (he could give 2 f**** about his ex/the kids mother) he’s doing it for the kid and his ex/the kids mother is getting the benefits of being the mother and also said he might adopt the kid.. it’s getting that “serious”

    I’m all for helping a child and adoption.. but I’m super confused and uncomfortable with that bc please enlighten me on how you’re going to adopt this kid that has a biological father, stepfather and mother that she currently lives with .. but the mother/his ex and this child are planning all this and buying a house together..

    Sounds to me like this is a huge life changing family decision on everyone’s part.. not just about this child he’s wanting to help..

    ( because when you adopt a child.. I’ve never heard of the mother coming with the kid and moving in with the person adopting that child ) sounds to me.. more like.. something’s still going on with him and is ex and he’s trying to cover it up like it’s completely different so he can have me on the sideline..

    I can’t be the only one that finds this SUPER WEIRD AND OFF…

  44. I’m both SLW1990 & Mustang, I thought updating my profile name would change on every post*

  45. My ex and I dated for almost a year before we involved kids or family. I had two children and she had two as well. My children where 6 and 12, hers almost 2 and 3 1/2. The girls father is a bit of a deadbeat so her two took to me very quick, and neither remember a life without me. For six years I raised them as my own before me and their mother split. My ex has stays in contact with my daughter

  46. *who is now 13. My daughter is old enough to make her own choice on the mater and chooses to stay in contact. After a the split there was about 6 weeks of zero contact. Once the smoke cleared I tried to create a dialog with my ex on seeing the girls regularly but got no response. It’s now been 4 months I would like to reach out, and try for some kind of visitation, but has It been too long? Is it best left alone? I’m conflicted at this point. Some tell me leave things alone and others say to reach out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  47. mellanthe says:

    Each situaiton is different. But please. Stop trying to separate kids who have grown up with a parental figure with one of their most important adult role models. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your partner’s biological kid: they raised that kid for years as if it was their own.

    They loved that kid, and to that kid they were essentially a parent. I have friends who chose to take their stepfather’s name and call them dad – even after their mum broke up with them, because that was the only reliable father figure they knew, and because they saw them as a dad.

    If you want a man or woman without kids, then don’t date someone who has children. It really is that simple. Don’t expect someone who has kids in their life to abandon them so you can replace them with ‘your’ children. Families aren’t a game.

    However, if there really is some messed up dynamic betwen the ex and your partner, or they are pretending they are still a family unit etc – you can ask your partner to make it clear that you’re in the picture, and you’re a new family now. However, if they aren’t willing to do that and they want to be in some over-involved situation with the ex, you can either accept it or leave. You can’t make them change what they won’t want.

  48. This article made me feel SO much better!!!
    My boyfriend and I grew up together since we were 7 years old. We’ve been best friends all of our lives and just last October started dating. He dated this girl Gabbie for a couple years in junior high and then for 5 months last year; both times she ended up cheating on him and they broke up. The second time they dated she had a one year old little girl that he got attached to.
    When we started dating I mentioned how uncomfortable I was since his ex and him were texting everyday (even on our first date), calling, and seeing each other while I was at work and expecting me to join them when off work.
    We tried everything from talking to couples counseling and it finally came down to me saying we just needed to break up for change to start happening.
    He’s talking to his family this week to state they need to start distancing from this child they’ve only briefly known and I can’t help but to feel guilty, relieved, and just overwhelmed.
    I’m sorry for everyone else in this situation but I’m so happy that I’m not a monster for being uncomfortable with the situation and wanting them to cease their contact with one another.

  49. See idk I’m in the same situation but reverse though.. Two summers ago 2019 I briefly dated a man who had a child that was in the middle of my two children my son was 5 my daughter 3 and his was 4 and I quickly grew Attached with her and in love with him as did my children with him and her.
    Well sad to say our relationship only lasted maybe about 5 months but we remained on and off for the next following year until June 2020 without having the kids around each other and actually when Covid started in March his good best friend which became like my brother over the year ended up moving into my apartment as a roommate because he had absolutely no where to go which ment my ex still came around and yeah we all got along and me and him went on mountain bike trips over the summer I was still trying to be there for him as a friend as something hoping he would change his stupid man ways and letting his ex control his life but in September 2020 I found and fell in love with my now husband (whom I actually went to school with and thought was cute back then lol) but we actully never talked in school but he happened to be working with my cousin roofing and I stopped by that summer day everything happens for a reason right lol so I give up on my ex told him I’m done trying to be someone you’ll never appreciate nor want but I don’t want to lose your little girl and I know you have no one who will 200% be there is you need someone ..

    And actually my daughter will go there Nd stay with them calls his dad papa an I call him dad me and his father grew a bond also his daughter will come here and stay and him an my husband get along good put them together for a day or two omg they both drive me nuts smh (air heads) lol my husband understands my bond with his kid as my ex’s to mine as well it’s weird but we co parent better for each other and our kids better than we do with the actual other parent of our children lol

    Idk maybe it’s because growing up without a dad and having a great step dad half my life until I was 17 and that is still in my life To this day who I call my dad and he calls me his daughter is why but if he’s anything like my step dad was and yes I know it wasn’t nine years like mine was in mine and that little girl don’t have a good dad or father figure in her life one of the best things you can do is maybe try and create a bond with her and her mom
    because in today’s world it doesn’t hurt it’s not normal but tell you what I love my life my husband and my kids along with my ex’s child and yes he’s a moron and drives me bonkers but our blended family I wouldn’t trade because no one deserves to face life alone takes a village to raise a child lol

  50. My situation was strange and out of the ordinary in circumstances many people never understand. I had a daughter with my ex we was very young at the time and never got married. We broke up or stopped dating on good terms we never went thru the courts for visitation shared custody. We only lived a few blocks from each other and once our daughter was old enough we let her decide who’s house she was going to stay at. I ended up getting married and still am very happily my ex and wife get along well. My ex started hanging out with the wrong people and started doing meth. At this point I took her to the side telling her I’m not telling her what to do. I didn’t tell her I want her to stop but it’s up to her and I think our daughter should stay with me due to her new friends and life style. She was embarrassed not wanting to admit but didn’t lie she said ok and that’s how it was. I got a call we hadn’t heard from her for nearly a year she lost her house. She was at a hospital and just given birth to a daughter tell me she needed my help. My ex had been in prison I had no idea and she was at the hospital just to give birth. My ex family is very messed up and she said I’m the only person she has who she trust. I told her I’ve gotta fun this by my wife before saying anything more about what I’m going to decide. I was blown away surprised and very upset she got herself in prison and my daughter feelings. I called my wife telling her it didn’t surprise me my wife said why didn’t I just tell her yes. My wife is a nurse so she she has a heart of gold I reminded her the fact we also had a 2 year old girl and my 11 year old daughter with my ex could we handle it. My parent both retired take care of my girls when we are at work so I also felt before making an decisions it was best to ask them because we would need that and this is a new born. Like my wife my mom and dad first response was why didn’t I just tell her yes this baby needs us. I ended up calling her back and telling her my wife who was closer was heading over to get the baby. I wasn’t sure about anything it was like someone shoving something down your throat and not being able to agree to eat it or having a chance to digest it as suddenly it’s happening. It took me a couple weeks to where I loved this little baby and realized this was the right thing to do. My ex had 28 months left to serve before she would be released from prison. On top of that she was forced to stay in a half way house till she was then sent to a treatment center. Then she relapsed breaking her probation going back to serve 3 1/2 years. Getting out doing the same thing into a facility for treatment state evaluation to get her custody rights back. The baby was far from a baby when she got her shit together Kathy the baby was almost 8 years old. My wife went from we are just taking care of her baby to freaking out she’s not going to give her back. The same was for Kathy we have a little girl crying she doesn’t want to leave our house. I think during that 7 years and 9 months Kathy maybe as a child who age could remember her mom seen her a half dozen times and never had a real conversation with her. The state didn’t help as non of the case workers wanted to give her back to my ex nor did my day I had with my ex. I’ll be honest Kathy is in my heart my daughter always has been and always will be. I didn’t want that to happen I didn’t decided at any point to plan to make it happen it just happened. The department of child health and welfare went to the court against my ex getting back custody. As they said it would be devastating to Kathy emotionally and they felt my ex hadn’t met the requirements. She ended up stay with us but we had my ex over and Kathy started wanting to know her mom. I think when Kathy was about 15-16 years old she had that connection a mother and daughter should. Kathy made it clear she was staying with us and my ex never had issues she actually always thanks both of us for everything. I always avoided when people said your daughter this or that talking about Kathy that she wasn’t actually our natural daughter. The shitty stairs and attitudes like why would we do that drove me crazy. I think about 4-5 I would just say thanks and go along with people that she is mine. She is my daughter at heart because it just happened and I know that what happened with your boyfriend with his ex daughter. He didn’t plan it he likely didn’t realize their bond till his relationship ended. I don’t thing loving and caring is a negative thing I think those who want to destroy a relationship because of their own selfishness are negative and evil!

  51. Tracy Raymer says:

    I’m sorry, but some of these comments I’m reading, your trying to justify this is all a good thing, when it’s not. I feel that if the kids are not your Biologically, that I’m sorry but you should cut everything off, because guys are putting these women & vice versa in a hard place. Take for example, A guy was in his exes child’s life for the 1st 6 years of his life, but the guy wasn’t the child’s Biological father. Well, the Biological father ended up coming back into the picture. This guy eventually broke up with her & wanted to move on, he wanted to find someone to settle down with. He ended up finding someone else, but there was just one problem, He still talks to his exes son
    ( the child is 13 years old ), he also talks to the mother. This guys now girlfriend asks why is still keeps in contact with them, he says that, the reason why I stay in contact, is because the child’s parents need to talk about their son. So he thinks he’s his father when he’s not, so he puts the child’s as a priority over his now girlfriend. To me this situation is so messed up. I’m sorry, but when people get involved in relationships, they don’t fix their problems before they move on!!! This is why people have so many problems in relationships, When you move on from a ex, if the child or children are not Biologically your, then cut ties. People might say I’m being harsh for saying this, but it’s not being harsh, it’s being real & Honest!!!! Thank you ?

  52. I’m having this problem now except he’s my ex and still in contact with his ex and her two year old. They split up but still talk for her child, he’s done more for the exes child than our own child. Their two year relationship was toxic and she’s sent me many messages about what’s he really like (I already knew this) then continues to ‘try again’ with him. My child actually asked if her dad is also the other child’s dad. It’s sad really because her child has grown up thinking he’s her dad so by the time the ex meets someone new or her real dad comes back into her life she’s going to feel confused. I’m not bothered who he gets with but I just want our child out of arguments. I’ve even been legally advised to keep her away when him and his ex are at his (toxic environment) but he says he can have her around who he wants.

  53. This isn’t about the child at all. This is about the mother using the child to get what she wants out of men in her life … either money, a break from being a mom, emotional support or whatever … and the mans ego is stroked by not having to “really” commit to being a full time parent with all the sacrifices that entails, but still get to “play Dad” when it’s convenient for everyone… the child is the victim here … it’s like these adults/grownups – simply don’t have their acts together or realize the damage they are doing to this child with all these blurred boundaries and messed up examples that are being set for her . RUN as fast as you can from a situation like this. THEIR crazy doesn’t have to be YOUR crazy. Protect yourself and your heart and RUN … get the hell out of that mess as fast as you can!!!

  54. Yes kids come first… we are all adults and we need to think about kids needs above our needs. But here is my story and I kind of contradict myself.
    I was with this woman for 25 years and the first child is not mine. The first child, a girl, was part of my life since her birth. My x left me a few years ago for some stupid reason of me taking her for granted which I did but we could of talked it over through counseling but I think her dicision was made on other basis. So she left me and now that same first daughter who is not mine has a baby girl herself in her mind I am automatically the grand father. At first I was ok with this, then I decided to tell her to ask my x’s new man to be the grandfather. Why should he get to sleep with my x and I get to be the grandfather.. He needs to take full responisbility with the whole package. What am I left over? … pleas comment on this and let me know what you think..

    1. Can’t imagine why she left.

  55. I’m in a similar situation. For three years I’ve been seeing a guy. His ex was all about drugs and thugs, not my lifestyle at all. He will not let go of his ex’s child which would be fine but it’s so unhealthy. She is very manipulative. Both her parents are in and out of prison and I understand wanting to be that person for her. What I don’t understand is putting it above everything else. Not even that man for me, his girlfriend. She will possibly be moving back in with him as her mom is supposedly going back to prison but her biological father just got out. Her mom even has a new boyfriend who has a kid her age. What I don’t understand is allowing her to get the idea that she is above me, above my kids, above everyone. She comes with the attitude of being the most valuable player in his life. She gets his room, his bed, all the space for her things, whatever she wants, and can do no wrong. And because I’m tired of the disrespect, I’m now sleeping on the floor, the couch, or even outside on an air mattress, I’m the problem when I put my foot down. My kids weren’t even allowed back there. My point is if we broke up they would be his ex’s kids too so what’s with the special treatment just because of all of the trainwrecks? I’m at my wits end in this so called relationship which really sucks because I genuinely love the guy and I wouldn’t have an issue with her if it wasn’t him putting it above his current relationship and everything. When he was away she literally stated, “I make the rules in this house.” She is NINE. When we were in the car getting food he made a joke about straws and she said, “daddy I don’t suck, I swallow.” I know she has the worst influences, I understand that and don’t mind helping but I absolutely will not be disrespected or downgraded next to an ex’s child like this situation. I’ve tried talking to him but it’s a fight and he says I’m the one being disrespectful. He was always going to help her and not help with mine, which is whatever but when I’m not around she gets dropped off by his ex, or he’s there picking her up or dropping her off and the treatment feels like he cares more about his ex, his past than any future. Am I wrong to be upset by it? Is it normal to give everything to an exs child? I mean heck he talks about her taking his last name in front of me but doesn’t have that conversation with me. It hurts so much.

  56. MOA. You are beyond jealous of this child, who has zip in her life, apart from your bf. You can’t stand the situation, so you have to leave. She should not be in his bed. I’d demand that this change. If it doesn’t, you should call CPS and they can investigate whether or not he’s a pedophile.

    Btw, if his ex is all drugs and thugs, what does that make your bf?

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