“My Boyfriend Has an Inappropriate Relationship with a 17-Year-Old Girl… Who May or May Not Be His Daughter”

I just got done reading your column, “My Boyfriend Has Remained Close to His Ex’s Daughter.” I have a very similar problem; however, the girl in question is 17 years old. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years now, and two years ago we began picking her up so she could spend time with his three children, who are her half-siblings (through her mother). My boyfriend had not taken any interest in spending time with her or picking her up in the first two years we were together; he had the opportunity eight years ago to take custody of the girl when he took custody of his own children. However, since her mother had told him he was not the father, he refused to take her. But two years ago his brother told him that he thought the girl favored their sister, and, since then, my boyfriend has taken on a relationship with her that I feel is inappropriate.

“My Boyfriend Treats His Daughter Like SHE is His Girlfriend”

She told him that she wants daddy date time so he takes weekends off from our relationship to spend with her. I have allowed him to bring her to my house for weekends with us for the last two years, yet she wants time with him without me and he is allowing it. She is always hugging him, kissing him on the mouth, and taking photos of them hugging, and, when he is lying down, she crawls up on his bed, lies next to him, and puts her arms and legs over him. I have tried several times to talk to him about the situation and each time we end up in a huge fight; he feels I am being unreasonable and selfish. I feel this is inappropriate and it is very uncomfortable for me. I have asked him to take a DNA test, yet he refuses out of fear that she may really be his and that he won’t be able to handle the guilt if she is. I don’t know how to handle it anymore. Any advice? — Uncomfortable With His Sudden Daddy’s Girl

Ew, this whole letter gives me the yucks, so I can only imagine how you, LW, must feel. This relationship is grossly inappropriate, and you have every reason to feel uncomfortable, disrespected, and icky by the whole thing. I really, seriously doubt your boyfriend’s reason for refusing a DNA test is truly because he’ll feel so guilty if this girl turns out to be his daughter. And I doubt that his brother making some off-hand comment about the girl looking like their sister was the impetus for your boyfriend’s sudden interest in her. Something tells me her turning 15 and showing all the outward signs of womanhood while being very much a malleable teenager probably had a lot to do with his wanting to spend so much time with her and allowing her to be so physically affectionate with him in ways that certainly border on inappropriate (whether they share DNA or not).

The truth is that, for many years, your boyfriend had no interest in being a father to this girl. He had so little interest, actually, that he refused a DNA test that would have confirmed paternity. And you think some off-hand comment about the girl’s likeness to an actual family member changed his disinterest when the promise of paternity confirmation did not? Very unlikely. What’s more likely is your boyfriend enjoys the attention of this woman-like girl and the freedom to spend intimate time with her. You’ve said that the time he spends with her is at the expense of his relationship with you; I wonder if he’s sacrificing time with his own children, too. His relationship with the girl is also at her expense. He’s abusing his power of authority and taking advantage of her, and it’s really gross.

If your boyfriend continues to refuse a DNA test, and continues to allow or encourage this girl’s behavior, and continues to behave generally inappropriately with this girl (“daddy dates” with someone he never believed to be his daughter, kissing on the mouth, lying together in bed intimately), you should MOA. If it were I, I’d have left already, deleted his number from my phone, and blocked him on email and across whatever social networks I was on. This is bad news and you should proceed with the utmost caution and suspicion. Actually, no. Just MOA now. I can’t fathom how staying with him can lead to anything but a doomed outcome for you.


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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. Could she be accessory to statutory rape?

    1. Or am I watching too much TV (we can’t edit anymore?)

    2. uncomfortable with daddys girl says:

      Just to clairfy and update the situaion. Kisses were peck kisses and there was no sex invovled cuddling always in a room full of people. I guess i was the only one with an issue. Anyways DNA test he finaly agreed to take got results he is not the father, we have all sat down and had a serious heart to heart over the situation and everything is great now. He was just trying to give her the love and attention he has always given his other 3 (her siblings) since she never really had a father figure growing up.

      1. So you wrote in last week. Your bf refused to take a paternity test, but in the space of a week he agreed to take one, got it done, got the results back, you all sat down as a family and worked it out and now everything is great? And all this happened in about a week? And all the gross freaked-out feelings you had are gone? Really?

      2. Skyblossom says:

        My thoughts exactly. I think the LW became scared.

      3. Skyblossom says:

        Now you’re saying there was really nothing to worry about and yet you thought there was plenty to worry about last week. So were you lying then or are you lying now or are you the boyfriend running scared?

      4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Now you say the cuddling was only in a room full of people but before you said that the cuddling was in bed, where your husband was laying. So are you saying you have a bed in a public place in your house? Why do I suspect your’re the boyfriend trying to put out a fire?

  2. Yuck is right. The whole time I was reading this letter, my face was scrunched up in disgust. WWS – MOA!!! I cannot think of one good reason for him NOT to want a paternity test. This inappropriate physical relationship is so gross on so many levels and his not wanting to know the truth one way or the other makes me sick. As Wendy said, regardless as to whether he’s her bio dad, this is wildly inappropriate behavior on both their parts – but the fact that he COULD be her bio dad and lets it continue is shamefully disgusting. I would want no part of that situation, if I were you, LW.

    1. YES!! I don’t know what my face looked like, but someone came into my office and said “What the heck are you reading? Your face is all sorts of disgusted/mortified looking.”

      1. My face looked like this ————————>

        Also, where is the “update” above coming from, Jupiter?

      2. Hahahahahaaa! Love it.
        And, yes, interesting update.

  3. Skyblossom says:

    Not only should you get out for your own sake I think you have an obligation to protect the girl so you need to tell her mom what has been happening and also consider reporting him to the police. He is preying on her and she loves the attention. Next time she is over take some pictures with your phone to have proof to back up what you are saying so that in a he said she said disagreement about what happened you will have proof. Then, as soon as you have proof you need to talk to the mom and the authorities about it because you will be allowing this to happen in your home and will have some of the responsibility for what is happening.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree. There’s more than a four year relationship on the line here. This girl may be encouraging and enjoying this grossly inappropriate dynamic but she’s still a kid and deserves any help the LW can give her. Where is the girl’s mother in all this? ( it may be in the letter but honestly it’s too disturbing to read again). LW, dump the MF you’re with but do something to help this girl. She’s way too young to be subjected to this.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        Her mother may know and not care or her mom may not know. She may just know that her daughter is finally getting to know her dad.

  4. Anyone seen that ‘nope nope nope nope’ GIF with the octopus? Yeah, that’s me right now.
    LW, there’s no outcome here that isn’t disgusting. If she isn’t his daughter…yuck. If she IS his daughter, it’s much grosser. Take your pick, statutory rape or incest?
    I couldn’t stay with this guy another day. And the poor 17-year-old needs a LOT of therapy.

  5. Sometimes I wish Wendy made these letters up. My reaction to many of them recently is “Are there seriously no good men out there? Why would you even consider being in this situation?” LW, it’s possible that your bf should be in counselling. It’s about even odds that he should be in jail. He shouldn’t be in a relationship with you. Get out before you find him responding to the endearment “Grampaw Daddy.”

  6. WWS. Also I’d be interested to hear the mother’s opinion on all of this. I mean, she may not know how inappropriately close they are, but she must have picked up on this sudden display of attention?

  7. The fact that your boyfriend showed no interest in this girl for years after acting as her father for most of her life up to that point (I’m assuming, based on the fact that there’s a possibility that she’s his daughter and that there are three other children who are definitely his) is a major red flag in its own right. That’s just a shitty way to treat a kid. And whether she’s his daughter or not, their new-found relationship sound highly inappropriate at best and possibly illegal. MOA, and consider calling CPS. You may not have enough evidence for them to act, but it sounds like this situation needs to be investigated at least.

  8. Cleopatra Jones says:

    I wasn’t yucked out by the whole letter because I kind of think that some of those behaviors are in a gray area.
    The kissing on the mouth…if it’s a quick peck on the lips that’s not a big deal. Tongue down Dad’s throat– big effin’ deal. Getting into bed with him and putting her legs/ arms over him for selfies– not a huge deal. Getting into bed with him scantily dressed and taking selfies in provocative poses — big effin’ deal. I think I’d have to see the context before I personally decided that this relationship was inappropriate.
    What this really sounds like to me, is this young girl is ‘battling’ the LW for the Dad’s attention. It almost feels like a cat fight between these two. Remember, the LW had the Dad to herself for TWO whole years before he started participating in the daughter’s life, so this could totally feel like the daughter is encroaching on the LW’s ‘territory’.
    As for the Dad deciding not to get the paternity test. I can understand that, for years he denied that this child was his but now he’s deciding to ‘take her in’, so what’s the point of the paternity test? He’s decided that he wants to be a part of her life as her father so why does it matter if he’s not her biological father. My impression is that the LW wants the daughter to not be his kid because then she will have ‘won’ the cat fight between them.
    Honestly, if the LW feels that she’s unhappy with the current situation she should pack his stuff and wish him a nice life because the daughter is now permanently a part of his life.

    1. Cleopatra Jones says:

      Oh, FTR he wasn’t a part of the kid’s life because the ex-wife told him that wasn’t his kid. It wasn’t like he took the other kids and then told her to f*** off. He legitimately thought that wasn’t his kid, so he shouldn’t have to bear the responsibility for raising her or her financial well-being.

      1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        He could have taken a paternity test to confirm he wasn’t this girl’s father. He could have done it at any point — when he was still with the mother having kid after kid, or when they broken up and he took custody of the three bio kids, or a couple years ago when suddenly took an interest in this girl. The fact that he didn’t and doesn’t speaks volumes. It would be one thing if he’d ALWAYS treated her like daughter and it just didn’t matter to him whether she shared his DNA or not; but the fact is, he had no interest in her at all until her appearance became noteworthy. That is so icky. So, so, so icky.

      2. OK, this comment just made me realize that this new touchy-feely relationship started not only after the girl matured, but after it was pointed out that she looked like the bf’s sister. Is it just me, or does that add a whole new layer of ickyness?

      3. Cleopatra Jones says:

        True but DNA tests are expensive so depending on his financial situation, it might not have been a feasible option (especially since he took custody of his other kids). Also, depending on where you live getting a DNA/paternity test might mean taking (unpaid) time off of work and driving for upwards of an hour to access a facility that can do the test.
        Hell, I live in a medium sized urban area and I couldn’t tell you where to get a DNA/paternity test so I imagine in smaller rural areas that might not even cross a person’s mind.
        I’m in no way defending the Dad BUT we have only one side of the story. The LW isn’t particularly objective in this case because it feels to me that her and the daughter are fighting for Dad’s attention. I’m just refraining from jumping on the bandwagon that the relationship is inappropriate.
        Also, at the end of the day she has the choice to stay or go. If she stays then the daughter is a permanent part of his life in whatever form he decides AND she will have to deal with it (cause she already said something and he hasn’t changed).

      4. OK, but even if you take the whole incesty yuck factor out of this, even if this is just as you described it and the LW is overreacting about the nature of this activity because the daughter is fighting for daddy’s attention, then we still have a plain ol’ garden variety scenario of the guy not respecting his lady’s feelings or boundaries and changing the life they share without discussing it with her. Still fairly strong grounds for, if not moving on, certainly a state of the union chat between them.

      5. Cleopatra Jones says:

        And that I will not disagree with.
        I just felt like the ‘inappropriate relationship’ stuff was just smoke & mirrors. To me, the real issue of the letter is…if she’s uncomfortable/unhappy with his relationship with his new daughter, should she stay with him? –The answer is NO.
        This letter felt so much like she was looking for a reason to force the daughter out so they could go back to their old happy life.

      6. You can buy DNA tests at Walgreens and get the results in the mail. It’s not that hard or expensive. He just doesn’t want to do it.

      7. Cleopatra Jones says:

        Well, then that’s her answer about the future of the relationship.

    2. Skyblossom says:

      If he has always behaved this way with all of the kids then I would just think it’s the way he shows affection. The LW doesn’t mention him acting like this with the other three, the three that he definitely considers his. She doesn’t mention him wanting alone time with any of the other three. It’s the very different relationship that stands out. It’s as if he has gone from dating the girlfriend to dating the girl and if he is a father figure he shouldn’t be dating her.

      1. Sunshine Brite says:

        Good point, I’d like to hear how he is with the others and if he sets any boundaries with them.

    3. The kissing on the mouth thing I agree with, depending on how it’s being done. But, the wrapping of arms and legs…yeah, that’s really inappropriate considering her age. I know that’s how little kids hug people, but when you’re talking about a teenager with a developing body…it’s crossing a boundary, in my opinion. He is not behaving like a father figure to this girl, whether he is her father or not. If she’s doing it because she’s still learning social boundaries or craving the attention, then he needs to tell her that this is not appropriate behavior with someone whom she may think of as a father. The fact that he is not doing that is very, very troubling.

      1. Agree.

  9. Sunshine Brite says:

    LW, I don’t see it as a similar problem as the other letter. In the other letter he’d always been the girl’s father figure and here your boyfriend has done everything but parent her until she was 15.
    I can see if she is latching onto him that she’d want time with just him and her, especially if she’s desperate for male attention. Especially if she sees her half siblings getting something that she never has. The physical stuff is gross to me but I also know I’m not a cuddler, I know people who need that much physical touch and everyone I know is always squishing together for selfies and it’s up to him to set boundaries and it’s red flags that he doesn’t. I go back and forth on whether declining the DNA test is weird, I mean he has repeatedly rejected her for years and now has been building a bond that’s pretty fragile.
    I guess I’m not as squicked out as Wendy or just generally see more grey area, but it’s not like you have to put up with it either. It’s overly physically affectionate and he’s not doing anything to stop it. You get to make your choice on whether that’s something you want in your life.

  10. findingtheearth says:

    My question: what guilt could he not handle if she is his child? the fact that he wasn’t around or the fact he behaves inappropriately with her?

  11. Ew. Eweweweweewewew
    I don´t get the selfie thing everyone is saying. From my understanding of the letter, the girl takes pics with th guy while hugging, and as a different thing gets into bed with him and drapes herself on top.
    This is so not OK.

    1. I also don´t understand the timeline. How long was the guy with the kids mother? Did he raise the girl until he moved out then got told he wasn´t the father? I have to imagine he was there quite a while if he could have had custody of her. And my (admittedly rusty) math skills tell me the girl must be closeish in age to her siblings. If 8 years ago, she was 9, and the other 3 were already there when the father took custody)

      1. I didn’t understand the timeline at all either. I’m so confused by this story.

      2. Sunshine Brite says:

        I’m guessing it was super on again off again over decades if there was any chance she was his

      3. that was my 1st thought, then I thought it might be more of a “she´s not even yours” thing, in a fight over custody or something.
        LW, we ned details, please!!!

  12. What is the relationship with the other kids? Does he give them equal daddy date time? Does she still live with her Mother? Do the kids he has custody of get time with the Mother? What is the relationship between the kids and the teenage daughter? I think the daughter sounds like she has been through a lot and probably is begging for attention in the only way she has learned she can do that. And it’s your bf’s job to show her the correct way to get that attention. I feel really bad for her and I hope she gets the help she needs soon.

    1. THIS! I feel that the boyfriend is taking advantage of a young girl who is more than likely seeking male attention or a father figure… but doesn’t understand what’s appropriate. It doesn’t sound like she had a good male figure in her life before. I feel bad for her too.

  13. bittergaymark says:

    This letter is too vague and details too vague for me to make much sense of. Honestly, it could go either way. The LW isn’t clear here on much of anything. Is she just a crazy insecure person who is threatened by somebody younger than her? Who knows? Is something truly sinister going on here? Who knows? That said — if I was a creepy guy intent on banging some hot young thing who may or may not be my daughter, I would think I’d be fucking more discreet about it…

  14. ArtsyGirl says:

    This is a two shower letter with scalding hot water. I just feel gross especially when you throw in the possible incest thing along with the statutory rape possibility. Icky, icky, icky. The BF must be in his mid to late 30s at the youngest in order to have a daughter who is 17 and even if he does not think the child is his (please let him think the child is not his) it looks like he is grooming her. From what the LW said in her letter, it sounds like there is little to no stability in this girl’s life (mother lost custody of three siblings and therefore there is likely history of substance abuse or some other problematic behavior) and the 17 year old is likely extremely vulnerable. Has the LW talked to anyone else in the BF’s family about his behavior? It sounds like he has two siblings at least and if I thought my hypothetical brother was having sex with his possible child you bet I would step in and do something about it.

  15. I can only imagine the visceral yuck faces I was making when reading this letter. Very grossed out, this just seems wrong on so many levels. The only thing I can think of to say, and this is not a defense of this behavior at all but, in many states age of consent is 17, maybe that is the reason he doesn’t want to take the DNA test now. He doesn’t want to know because of what’s going on. Maybe there’s one moral fiber left in him and that if he knew that this girl was his daughter he wouldn’t be able to proceed with said behavior.

  16. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

    From the LW (who wrote in last week, even though I’m just publishing the letter today):

    “Just an update on the situation. My boyfriend and I had a heart-to-heart talk over this and he finally went for a DNA test. The girl is not his daughter and we have all talked. it was that he was trying to give her all the attention he thought he owed her that he gave to the others as he raised them. But everything is back to normal and all is good. Thank you for taking the time to respond.”

    1. Yeah except for the poor girl. I hope that he is still including her in your life because she still is related to his kids. It must be awful for her to be going through this. His life might be back to normal, but what about her? It’s obvious she lacks something in her life. And I still feel truly awful for her.

    2. Cleopatra Jones says:

      Oh, so this really was the situation I thought it was. *smh*

      1. I still think he was crossing a line with their interactions and as a father figure he needed to teach her appropriate boundaries. But, I feel really terrible for this girl if she has suddenly been left in the dust. I hope there is someone in her life who is giving her appropriate attention.

      2. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        100% my thoughts @jlyfsh

      3. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        The sad thing is, I guarantee that some gross predator guy will find this girl right away and take advantage of her desire for attention.

      4. Cleopatra Jones says:

        But see we don’t know that was the actual case given the LW’s update.
        I’m just not convinced that it was so B&W. This letter seemed way too much like she was trying to find a reason to force the daughter of their lives, so she magnified every.single.thing happening as a way to say ‘see she needs to leave’.
        If the inappropriateness was as big of an issue as she proclaimed then why is she all like, ‘the daughter’s gone we are all so happy and normal now’? Cause if that were me and I felt like my BF was crossing sexual boundaries with a impressionable teen girl, I would verbally light his ass on fire and not so politely show him the door. End of story.
        Because if he’s doing that with a child he raised, what’s to stop him from doing it when his other kids start bringing their impressionable teen female friends around?

      5. Regardless of the appropriateness of his actions, it must totally suck for this girl. First, this guy wants nothing to do with her. Then, he thinks she might be his daughter and overcompensates. And not what, he’s not the father so see you later kiddo?
        I agree with FireStar in that she these two a holes just might deserve one another.

      6. I do think the LW is in the wrong here and like FireStar said I think they are probably both deserve each other. Even if she was exaggerating some I still think the Father missed a chance to teach her appropriate boundaries between family and potentially in general. And I think he acted so terribly in deciding to start a relationship knowing that if she wasn’t his daughter he wouldn’t continue. He should have from the beginning done a paternity test and gone from there. He is no peach either.

      7. Cleopatra Jones says:

        Oh, I agree that it’s shitty that now the kid has been left with no father now that they’ve found out it’s not his kid.
        BUT so much of me thinks the reason he actually took the DNA test was to appease the LW. Once she found out it wasn’t actually his kid, well, she had to go. Now, LW has officially won the battle for the Dad.
        When it’s all said and done, if the LW were interested in keeping the daughter in THEIR lives (whether or not it was his), she could have very well spoken with her about appropriate boundaries while at their house instead of waging war with a teen-aged girl.

      8. If what’s your saying is true then the Dad is even shittier. Because he chose an SO over a child. I actually think based on the fact that he told the LW he would feel so guilty if the DNA test said she was his, that he was relieved when it said she was not. Otherwise why agree to go back to ‘normal’? You would think in two years he would have developed a bond with the girl. I don’t know I don’t think this falls only on the LW. It was his decision to bring her in to his life, his decision to overcompensate and ultimately his decision to stop treating her that way once he found out she wasn’t his.
        I don’t think the LW is in the right here for forcing the girl out, but the ultimate failure to me lands on the Dad here.

    3. What’s normal? Having nothing to do with her again? Are those the only choices here? Being woefully inappropriate or ignoring her completely like before? Wow. I dislike your boyfriend even more now if that is the case. And if you think that is what “all is good” looks like – you might just deserve him.

  17. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

    Another from the LW:

    “She is still going to be part of our life and we will be spending quality time together as a family or they will spend time together with the other siblings, we will not be pushing her aside. She is a very sweet girl just there were boundaries that needed to be set and now they are.”

    1. Avatar photo cleopatra jones says:

      Um, so the recap of this whole letter was that LW accuses her BF of an incestuous, pedophile-y relationship with his ‘biological’ daughter but now everything is fine since they found out the daughter isn’t his?
      Like I said before, all of this just sounded like a huge ass fight over the Dad’s attention with the LW pulling out all stops to win.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        I suspect the LW was scared of the responses and sent emails to Wendy to say everything is fine even though I suspect he wouldn’t change so quickly and that they wouldn’t get their DNA results so rapidly.

      2. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        I don’t buy that. And I definitely don’t buy that “everything is great.”

  18. Skyblossom says:

    ” I have tried several times to talk to him about the situation and each time we end up in a huge fight;”

    So suddenly he is willing to talk about this and to get a paternity test and to change his behavior or did the LW suddenly get worried that someone would follow the IP address and her boyfriend would be arrested. It all seems rather sudden that he had a huge change of heart and everything is fine and normal and all of this happened in only a week.

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