I feel like the third wheel and out of place. We were watching a show at church the other day and he and his daughter had their head on each other’s shoulders. I looked away and saw a couple doing the same thing. Then the daughter started complaining about her butt on the hard chair (even though I had offered her a cushion and she said no), and my boyfriend gave her his coat and they laughed and he made comments about her butt. When she came home from college, he went to see her, like, three times in one week and invited her to lunch and gave her a gift. Also, he changed my birthday plans to include her and said we could do my birthday another day. The day she left, he had to see her off and told me he was going to go visit her soon. It turns out that a week later he scheduled a day with her. Then he spent last weekend with the other daughter. I had to ask him if he wanted to plan a day with me. The one girl at church thought the daughter was his girlfriend because of the way they acted. Color me confused. — Jealous of his Daughters
I’m guessing your boyfriend is a divorcé and his daughters live with their mother most of the time (with the exception of the 18-year-old who is in college now), so his time with them is limited — or at least more limited than it would be if he had full custody. Given that, their behavior together seems pretty normal. They’re close. They enjoy being around each other. He makes his daughters a priority. He has fun with them and they have fun with him. When the older daughter is home from college, he wants to see her as much as he can. He’ll even take her out to lunch!! And maybe buy her a gift. And perhaps even see her off when she leaves and then make plans to go visit her at her college. OH MY.
Look, if you’re jealous, you’re jealous. It’s understandable that a woman — or man, for that matter — would feel pangs of jealousy when she isn’t Numero Uno in her boyfriend’s life. But that comes with the territory when you date someone with kids — even if those kids are teenagers. But just because you’re jealous doesn’t mean your boyfriend’s behavior is wrong or confusing. It’s actually quite simple: he loves his kids and wants to be there for them. And who knows what their history is like. Who knows what happened in their shared past to affect their relationship. Maybe he was a crappy father when they were younger and he’s trying to make up for it now. Maybe he feels guilty that he and their mother aren’t together. Maybe, like most parents, he’s realizing how quickly they’re growing up and wants to make the most of what time he has with them before they go off and make adult lives of their own. The bottom line is the guy wants to make his daughters a top priority and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can’t handle it, fair enough, but maybe this just isn’t the man for you.
There are men out there who don’t have kids. Or, if they do, they don’t care so much to be there for them like your boyfriend does. Then again, a guy who doesn’t care to make time for his kids probably won’t be the sort of man you can count on in the long run. Oh, he may make sure your first or second birthdays together are special. But is he going to be there down the line when you’re sick and need someone to care for you or when a loved one dies and your heart is broken or when you get laid off and need a shoulder to cry on? I wouldn’t count on it. A guy who sees his 18-year-old daughter three times in the week she’s home from college might be there for you though. I’ve definitely seen worse ways of illustrating loyalty, dependability, and character.
(He should have asked you first about altering your birthday plans though).
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].