Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Takes His Former Step-Daughter on Shopping Sprees and Won’t Introduce Me To Her”

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a little over a year. He was previously married for ten years to an older woman who had children. He’s remained close to the ex-step-daughter, eleven years after his divorce. He’s now 41 years old and she’s 29. He takes her to concerts and shopping sprees and dinners. It’s not often — every couple of months — but often enough. When I ask when I’ll meet her, he replies that she’s busy with work, etc.

I feel really weird and uneasy about the situation — she’s a grown woman and not a little girl. I keep wondering if they have a mutual attraction between them? Is this wrong of me? I feel like she uses him because she has a boyfriend whom she has a child with who has a great job and she has a great job, so why does she need my boyfriend to spend money on her?? I don’t say much, but I get stand-offish when he goes to see her because I feel sick to my stomach.

I’m not sure if she’s jealous of me and that’s why she won’t meet me or she knows I’ll see through her BS. I have an almost hatred for this girl (woman) and I’ve never met her. Am I insecure and jealous or am I rational in my thinking? — Stand-Offish

No, you’re insecure and jealous, and I’m sure THAT is the reason you haven’t met the stepdaughter yet, not because SHE is jealous of YOU. You’re acting standoffish, you’re sick to your stomach, you say you have a hatred for this woman and that you can “see through her BS.” Gee, I can’t imagine why your boyfriend is keeping you away from her. Woman, get a grip! He helped raise this person from the time she was eight years old. He was married to her mother until she was 18. Those are some serious formative years during which he was a father figure to her. That bond doesn’t disappear simply because your boyfriend divorced her mother or because the little girl became a woman.

Furthermore, she doesn’t “need” your boyfriend to spend money on her. That isn’t what their time together is about. It’s about the two of them honoring the father-daughter bond they share and just being together. That you’ve made it so much more than that to the point that you hate this woman — who has a boyfriend and family of her own — says a lot about your character and self-esteem and confidence in your relationship. The only exception I can think of is that you have some other reason to believe your boyfriend isn’t being faithful to you or doesn’t have good intentions. And if that’s the case, your feelings should be directed at him, not at his stepdaughter.

If he’s actually attracted to her and THAT is why he continues seeing her every couple months, that’s really gross. She’s practically a daughter to him, he was married to her mother for ten years. I’d feel sick to my stomach if I were dating someone predatory like that. If you truly believe your boyfriend is like that, girl, MOA, ’cause that’s just nasty. If you think it’s the stepdaughter preying on your boyfriend and using him for shopping sprees and stepping all over your turf or whatever, I am urging you to grow up and get it together. You are being irrational and you probably owe your boyfriend an apology for projecting all your insecurity and jealousy onto his innocent relationship with his stepdaughter.

I desperately need some advice on getting through to our 21-year-old daughter, “Caroline,” about her boyfriend! Caroline is very sick with cystic fibrosis and, due to her illness, she really didn’t date in high school, so this is her first love. Her boyfriend is so controlling; he has her on video chat 24/7 when she’s not with him, and she has to go over to his house almost everyday by cab. Every time we try to do family things — dinner, movies, girls’ pedicure day — without him, there is a big fight about it. God forbid if she doesn’t answer his phone calls fast enough — she gets yelled at.

Caroline has no friends who come around anymore and I am so scared for her. My husband and I don’t know what to do because our daughter defends this 23-year-old boy with a part-job (5 am to 11 am), who doesn’t have a car and lives with his 80-year-old grandfather. We have had so many arguments over him and his controlling what she can and cannot do. Our daughter was sick and admitted in the hospital recently for fourteen days and the boyfriend didn’t come up there at all. Of course, our daughter defended him, saying he has no ride! We have tried to explain to him how sick she is, and he doesn’t get it. Now she is mad at me. She just got her driver’s license and we were going to give her my old car until a big fight yesterday over having a celebration dinner with only family. Caroline’s boyfriend flipped out about that and said they have plans, so our daughter didn’t go to dinner with us!

Please, please tell us how to get through to our daughter! I am scared I am losing our daughter. I can’t sleep from worry. — Losing my Daughter

 
Well, you are, in a sense “losing your daughter.” She’s 21. She’s actually past the age typical of flying the nest. The thing is, our children never really belong to us. We get the extraordinary gift of getting to raise them, but they only ever belong to themselves, and our job is to help them realize that and to give them the age-appropriate tools to learn to be independent. I know that is complicated when you have a child who is ill or has special needs, but the goal is still the same: to raise your child to be as independent as he or she can be. That means loosening your grip a bit. Certainly, by the time a child is 21 — and not really a child anymore — you have to let her spread her wings and take flight. And, hard as it is, that means watching her make some mistakes. You cannot protect your child’s heart from being broken and you can’t save her from making bad decisions. What you can do is love her fiercely and provide a comfortable place for her to land and an open embrace for her to turn to when she needs it.

When you continue alienating your daughter and giving her boyfriend ammunition to turn her against you, you risk truly losing her. You risk giving her the sense that you are no longer the safe place to turn when she needs you. You need to back off and let her experience this relationship even when it hurts you to see her go down a path your fear will bring her pain. You need to keep your opinions about her boyfriend to yourself (or at least limit the negative things you say to her about him) and try, instead, to show support that she is experiencing what she thinks is her first love. That’s a big milestone for anyone — and, not for nothing, it’s often a milestone that is followed up with new relationships.

Let her experience more independence. Give her room to make bad decisions. Unless her safety is at risk, you have to let go a bit. She might get hurt, she might lose all her friends, but if you show her support now, and include the dumb boyfriend in more family events, she will be more likely to turn to you when she needs you. She will be more likely to defend you against anything her boyfriend might say to manipulate her or turn her against you. You have to loosen your grip a bit to protect the relationship you have with your daughter. It may seem counterintuitive, but behaving the way you have been is only going to serve to push your daughter away faster. It may help to think of it this way: Every time you argue with your daughter about her boyfriend, you are validating every negative thing he has said to her about you. So, stop. Quit fueling the flame. Sacrifice some time with your daughter now to save your future relationship with her. Even if it means watching her pursue a relationship with someone you can’t stand. And keep your fingers crossed that the flame that’s burning between them dies out, she heals quickly, and everyone can move on.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

41 comments… add one
  • norabb

    Norabb March 1, 2018, 12:04 pm

    WWS x 2
    .
    Lw2, it seems to me your daughter has two controlling forces in her life, and that includes you. She gets yelled at by her boyfriend when she spends time with you, and when she spends time with her boyfriend she gets yelled at by you! This girl must get no peace! Leave her alone, let her handle her illness and love life like an adult now, or risk losing her to his manipulation.

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    K4 March 1, 2018, 12:16 pm

    I think I have to disagree with you on LW 1, Wendy. She may be acting jealous but I feel that if the boyfriend actually included her and let her come on these outings then she could see their familial bond and realize there is nothing to worry about. I think I would be put off if I was a serious fixture in my partner’s life but not not introduced to his children or allowed to go out with them. That is just weird.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros March 1, 2018, 12:21 pm

      Being disappointed to not be included is one thing. Assuming your boyfriend is romantically involved with his daughter and becoming so enraged with her that you hate her is a whole other story. They’ve been together a little over a year. I could see someone waiting many months before introducing a girlfriend to family, which means that she’s gone from 0 to absolutely enraged in six months at the most. I’m not sure that I’d want to invite someone to dinner who hated my kid. I don’t think it would go too well.

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    • Lucidity

      Lucidity March 1, 2018, 12:26 pm

      It’s not like the boyfriend sees his step-daughter weekly, she says it’s every couple of months – so they’ve seen each other, what, 4 – 6 times since LW and boyfriend started dating? This is their family time, it’s not strange that they’d want to spend these infrequent visits alone. If the LW’s relationship with her boyfriend became more serious or they married, then it would be reasonable to occasionally include her.

      If the LW’s insecurities are coming across to the boyfriend at all, I can completely understand why he’d be hesitant to introduce them. WWS.

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      • avatar

        K4 March 1, 2018, 3:51 pm

        It is strange if you have been together for so long but have not met your boyfriend’s children; grown or not. I am not taking anyone’s side- we dont know which one is making things weird. But I still think that a meeting could have squashed a lot of the BS. Besides the daughter is grown, if LW made a fool of herself before, at or after them meeting, THEN boyfriend could shut it down and I am pretty sure daughter would be just fine. The daughter isnt 12.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2018, 3:59 pm

        Well, it’s also possible that the stepdaughter isn’t in the picture at all anymore and the boyfriend is using her as a cover when he’s spending time with other women. That would also explain why he doesn’t want the LW to meet the stepdaughter. But I think if the LW is as insecure and jealous and hostile in person as she comes across in this letter, it makes sense why the boyfriend is concerned how she might treat his stepdaughter if he introduces them.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 1, 2018, 12:17 pm

    LW1: I’m sorry, but your accusation is disgusting. Based on the time line you gave, he was her step dad from age 8 to 18, give or take. He’s her dad. Dads and adult daughters do things like go to dinner or concerts or whatever. It’s very disturbing that your immediate response is to assume your boyfriend is in a romantic relationship with his daughter. The ridiculous part is that you assume this, yet your problem is that you’re jealous. If you honestly thought your boyfriend was having/wanting a romantic relationship with his daughter, why would you want to be with him? It would mean he was a disgusting creep and she was a victim, you realize that right? I think you need to talk to a counselor to figure out why you have such severe jealousy (to the point of hatred) and why your mind jumps to the idea of a dad-daughter romance. And honestly, I think you might need to just break up. It’s hard for me to envision you solving this within yourself quickly enough for your relationship to endure this.

    LW2: Try not to alienate your daughter so that you’ll be around if/when she decides she wants to make a change.

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  • avatar

    csp March 1, 2018, 12:43 pm

    LW1 – I am wondering what terrible men you know. This is a HUGE accusation. I am 36 and my dad and i went to the movies and dinner and he paid. I am married with a good job but he still likes to treat me. He and my mom will buy me and my child gifts just because they are thinking of us. There is no motive behind it but he wants to be part of my adult life. If you think this is real, then you need run fast. What you need to evaluate is what makes you feel concerned. Maybe you need to have the conversation about where your relationship is going. The length of your relationship doesn’t equate to actual intimacy. I think you should talk about what you want and where you want your relationship to go. Say to him that you want to be part of his life, to meet his step daughter so that you can have family dinners and holidays. Do you want to be part of his full life then ask him for it.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant March 1, 2018, 12:56 pm

    I dunno Wendy – LW2’s boyfriend sounds abusive.

    Needing to monitor her at all times, freaking out if she wants to do anything without him, yelling at her if she doesn’t answer his calls immediately, none of that sounds good.

    That said, what can the parents do about it? I’m not really sure that trying to clip the wings of their adult daughter is going to get her out of that relationship, but I fully agree they should be concerned about this guy.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 1, 2018, 3:32 pm

      Right. There’s nothing the parents can do, so the wisest thing to do is stop alienating the daughter and giving the boyfriend credibility and validity when he talks smack about them, which you know he’s doing.

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      • avatar

        LisforLeslie March 1, 2018, 5:20 pm

        Exactly -it’s very difficult to tell a young person that they are in an abusive relationship, especially if it is their first love. Although we recognize the red flags, it’s very hard to see when you’re in the middle of it and you have no basis for comparison.

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      MMR March 1, 2018, 5:25 pm

      It’s definitely abusive, but I think Wendy addressed that in her second paragraph. Their relationship is still at the “red flags that should be heeded” stage, she’s not living with her bf or in any immediate danger. The worst thing that could happen would be that she decides to move in with him which is considerably more likely if her parents are trying to meddle in her relationship.

      The best thing for the parents to do is make sure they are giving her a safe space, and letting her have some peace when she’s with them instead of piling on. If she feels like she’s just going to get a big, fat “I TOLD YOU SO” or “LEAVE THAT AWFUL BOY” if she tries to go to them for support, she’s going to stay quiet and continue to be manipulated by this guy.

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    • avatar

      Ron March 1, 2018, 10:15 pm

      The bf seems controlling from the mother’s account.

      But then the mother is controlling.

      The mother’s tale is certainly colored, whether by dislike for this particular guy, or because she doesn’t want her daughter to date at all. She’s all over this guy for only working part-time, but he works 6-hours per day. Lots of under-25s in this boat as employers want to avoid qualifying for benefits. Lots of 23-year olds have to live with family.

      Mother doesn’t talk at all about wishing daughter had a better bf. Just tells her how awful her bf is and tells bf he doesn’t understand how sick daughter is. Would she accept any relationship for her daughter?

      Clearly, daughter wants to be as independent an adult as possible and have a relationship. She deserves to have that chance. This guy may be truly awful. Let’s hope she quickly learns from this and moves on to a better relationship.

      People with cf don’t have good life expectancy, and I think mother just wants to clutch her to her breast and shelter her for however much time daughter has. If I were in daughter’s shoes, I would want to experience some independence and an adult relationship. Wouldn’t you? Having to live your entire life as an invalid/child is to be avoided at all cost — perhaps even at the cost of a controlling, not physically abusive bf. She’s been trained by her mother to accept controlling and that her personal choices don’t matter. It’s natural that daughter rebels.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star March 1, 2018, 1:03 pm

    LW 1: Why in the WORLD would you stay with someone you think is banging his stepdaughter?

    Either he’s a disgusting pervert, or you THINK he’s a disgusting pervert. Either way, just break up. One of you is being a total a-hole.

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  • avatar

    Ron March 1, 2018, 2:01 pm

    LW #1 — I think it is totally your bf’s choice that you haven’t met his daughter. He is embarrassed to put his crazy gf on display to family. It raises questions about his choice to stay with you.

    LW #2 — your daughter considers herself to be an independent woman and half of a couple. Invitations to her alone aren’t received happily, so why do you insist upon excluding her bf? Likely she sees these family-only events as another opportunity for you to harangue her about her bf. Yes she is ill. You say that this was very confining when she was in H.S. and that she didn’t have romantic relationships. That is all the more reason for her to treasure this opportunity to spread her wings as an adult. Yes, she has a disease which reduces life expectancy. The natural reaction to that is to want to be free and experience life, not to spend her time wrapped in bubble wrap by you.

    And in response to an earlier commenter, yes the bf sounds controlling and verbally abusive. He also may see that his gf’s mother is trying to infantilize her. Actually, that could be the hook which allows him to control the gf by assisting her rebellion against her mother. If the daughter wished to be treated as frail and cosseted by Mom and not allowed a sex life, she would still be living with her parents. Apparently she is not. Getting a driver’s license is another step toward independence. Mother withholding a car as punishment is another attempt to pull her daughter back from adulthood.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant March 1, 2018, 3:11 pm

      I mean, I hope I’m wrong. And even if I’m not, definitely if LW2 tries to clamp down on her daughter it’s just going to push her more towards the boyfriend.

      But I definitely was surprised by Wendy’s advice, or at least lack of acknowledgement, that this relationship doesn’t sounds right.

      Demanding you get to be on every outing with your girlfriend is not normal or healthy. Demanding you be allowed to monitor her 24/7 on video chat is not normal or healthy. Freaking out and yelling if she doesn’t answer the phone also isn’t normal or healthy. Not for functional adults, but also not for love-sick teenagers (which arguably, the daughter and her boyfriend are at that stage).

      LW2 may totally be lacking in boundaries too – this young woman may have no sense of what a healthy relationship with boundaries looks like because she’s never had one with her own parents – but I was surprised that no one else seems to be super alarmed about the boyfriend’s behavior.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2018, 3:35 pm

        What part of my advice surprised you? The part where I suggested the parents loosen their grip on their adult daughter or the part where I urged the mother to stop pushing their daughter to a bad boyfriend by fighting about him constantly and giving validity to whatever negative things he’s likely saying about them to his girlfriend?

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      • avatar

        ele4phant March 1, 2018, 5:09 pm

        So I was suprised that there was no acknowledgment or validation that yes, this guy is concerning. You as a mother have a right to be concerned here.

        Perhaps the end all advice should be the same – if you push too hard you’re going to push her right to him – but the way I read this was that you felt she was just overbearing (which she could be but that’s a separate issue) and if she just lighten up the reigns it would resolve itself on its own. Which it may not. He may further isolate her, it may escalate.

        To my read, this isn’t a normal crappy teenage boyfriend who if you just step back your daughter will eventually figure out on her own what a bummer he is.

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      ele4phant March 1, 2018, 3:26 pm

      ALSO – while it would be one thing if the daughter had bought her own car and her parents decided to confiscate the keys, by the same token, she’s not entitled to a free car.

      If her parents don’t want to give her a car, that is their right, for whatever reason. If she wants to be an independent adult that lives on her own and pays for her own car, then she should do that on her own. That’s what real adults do.

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  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue March 1, 2018, 4:29 pm

    re LW1, i think she’s more upset that her bf is spending money on the stepdaughter more so than she’s not allowed to join. She mentions how the bf often treats the step daughter and how the step daughter and the girl’s boyfriend also make good money. I think LW1 is more upset that he’s not spending that money on the LW more than anything. LW1 you are not entitled to his money or for him to take you on shopping sprees. The fact that he does this for his step daughter is a pretty normal thing for a father figure to do.

    I agree with Wendy that you sound incredibly jealous and bitter. If this relationship is what’s making you act crazy then you need to MOA.

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  • avatar

    Snarkastic March 1, 2018, 4:53 pm

    Re: LW2

    This boyfriend is clearly emotionally abusive and y’all are like, “Chill out! She’ll figure it out herself! You’re so controlling!” You can’t tell her what to do, but I’ll be damned if someone was treating my daughter this way. Initially, I would have tried to include him in more stuff to get to know him, but this behavior he’s exhibiting is beyond the pale.

    It will be hard to convince her that she can not only do better, but find anyone else, because she probably sees her illness as an extreme detriment. The truth is, for some, it will be a negative, but for others, they will be able to get past it. Let her know what a great person you think she is, that you have her back, and that she CAN do better than this guy. She can find a normal person who actually respects her. Just help her see that without making any commands.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant March 1, 2018, 5:16 pm

      Right?! I feel like I’m on crazy pills.

      This guy seems like super bad news. Will clamping down on the daughter help? Probably not, it’ll probably make it worse.

      But jeez – telling LW2 to just lighten up, let her daughter be an adult and she’ll figure it out on her own also doesn’t make sense to me.

      Refer her to a domestic abuse hotline or professionals to get advice or something.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2018, 6:52 pm

        I didn’t say the daughter would figure it out on her own. I said that as a parent you have to let a child grow up and be independent and make mistake, as much as it pains you. I said that if she continues alienating her daughter by shit-talking the bad boyfriend she will only push the daughter to him. The daughter won’t feel she can turn to her parents when she’s heartbroken or when or if things becomes even worse. Kinda shrugging on your attitude and advice here. Domestic abuse hotline?! The couple doesn’t live together and there’s no history of physical or verbal abuse. We’ll have to agree to disagree here. Your advice sounds kind of bonkers to me.

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      LisforLeslie March 1, 2018, 5:27 pm

      The best thing I’ve found is to ask very innocent questions.
      “Do your girlfriends have similar experiences with their boyfriends? Is this the new normal?”
      “I miss you. Maybe we could go out to dinner just the two of us and catch up.”
      “Have you talked to ? I miss ”

      And then no matter the response -just say “OK” with no judgement. No argument. Nothing.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 1, 2018, 5:36 pm

      I think its possible to be supportive of the daughter and lead her to this answer without being derrogatory of the bf.
      When I think back to my first boyfriend, who was similarly awful and isolating for me, and I think back to when he dumped me and it devastated me… I am so glad that my parents had not spent the past 2 years talking shit about him. Because when it ended I felt like I could cry to them and be consoled by them and not have to fear “I told you so.”

      If LW2 can, she should model a loving relationship. LW2 should remind the daughter that she’s smart and beautiful and deserves to be happy, to counteract this dude’s messaging. But other than that, unless there’s something seriously unsafe going on, LW2 needs to let her daughter make mistakes and learn from them.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros March 1, 2018, 7:59 pm

      People aren’t saying the parents need to chill because they think the boyfriend is good. They’re saying it because if they don’t chill, she may shut them out too and have no support system. It’s the same advice everyone gives to people whose friends are in abusive relationships. Just because it’s her parents doesn’t mean they have the ability to force her to stop seeing him.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie March 1, 2018, 5:28 pm

    Oy that last one was supposed to be “I miss your friend. I miss (something nice about that friend).”

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 1, 2018, 5:55 pm

    LW1 It is odd that he’s never introduced you to his step-daughter. Why be secretive? Are you jealous about any woman in his life who isn’t you or has this slowly grown over time because he keeps her a secret?

    The other thing I wonder is why you think they might be romantically involved. Do you see him getting ready to see her in the same way he would get ready for a date with you? Is he making sure he’s wearing the same cologne he wore for dates? Is he wearing his sexiest clothes? What is happening that makes this feel off to you? Is there anything happening? Ask yourself what your gut feeling is based on and go from there. Could he be using this as a cover for seeing other women?

    In the end, if you don’t trust him you need to move on because you need trust to have a solid, happy, successful relationship. You obviously don’t trust him. I think it comes back to why be so secretive. Why hide a grown daughter.

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  • avatar

    Jessica Emelia, LCPC March 3, 2018, 2:38 pm

    LW1 – to answer your question, there is really not enough evidence here to support your reported feelings of intense suspicion and jealousy. Spending occasional time with his step-daughter seems like healthy nurturing of an important relationship. “Every couple of months” when you’ve just been dating him a year means he’s seen her a handful of times, which is nothing that seems alarming. The only part of the letter that stands out to me is that he, according to the way you worded it, seems dismissive of the idea that you’ll ever get a chance to meet her, and that’s the part I would like to learn more about. He could be harmlessly waiting to see if your relationship continues to grow before introducing you. The more sinister interpretation is that he doesn’t want you to meet her and is being intentionally vague and dismissive. From the amount of information we have in your letter, it’s too hard to say which is which. But it does seem as though you are feeling insecure in your relationship, and that’s the root issue here.

    LW2: I feel some here are being rather dismissive of your concerns. Your daughter’s boyfriend does seem to be exhibiting warning signs of abusive, controlling behavior, and you have a right to be concerned – trust your instincts.
    This situation is, unfortunately, paired with your daughter’s first romantic experience and a natural desire to want to assert her adult independence. These natural, healthy needs need to be acknowledged and met while being symbolically disconnected from the unhealthy relationship she is actually experiencing. In other words, she needs to identify she is an adult who can make her own decisions – including assessment and decisions on whether a relationship is right for her or not. As long as she is involved in a basic tug of war between her parents and her boyfriend, you will represent her childhood, while he will represent her independence. The fact that she has a life-long illness has probably only further added to her sense of dependency/desire for independence, as well as your desire to care for her closely.

    Some other source of guidance may be helpful here, like a friend or counselor – for both you and your daughter. Although again, your daughter’s decision to confer with another source must be self-directed, as this too will be an assertion of her independence.

    For you, it’s not unlike dealing with a child with an addiction. It’s painful to watch someone harming themselves, but you cannot control them. You also must not enable the behavior. You allow her to face the consequences of her actions, so that she can come to terms with her decisions and the results. I recommend you do further reading on these ideas to help you. It’s not easy – which is why you need additional support as well.

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  • avatar

    baccalieu March 4, 2018, 4:09 pm

    I am surprised that so many people took seriously the suggestion that the boyfriend is having a sexual relationship with his step-daughter. Isn’t there enough real sexual abuse going on without inventing more? I took it for granted that LW1’s suspicions are unfounded, since her evidence for it is the fact that they have what she feels is a weird relationship, but that relationship is in fact totally normal and appropriate. That rather casts doubt on her judgment regarding this issue and she does not cite any other evidence. The fact that she hasn’t met the step-daughter (and he doesn’t seem very eager for the meeting) after a year is not in this case evidence because there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for it in the fact that her boyfriend has no doubt realized that the LW strongly objects to his relationship with his daughter and has good reason to believe that a meeting will not go well.

    I’m sure the meeting could be easily arranged, if, first, the LW stops “getting stand-offish” (Ugh! That must be fun for him.) when her boyfriend has a perfectly normal, reasonable, and in fact admirable, night out with his step-daughter, and second, if she actually positively arranges the meeting rather than dropping hints. (For example, just invite her to your house, or to dinner “Why don’t you bring Julie around for dinner before you guys go to the concert next week?” or “I’ve always wanted to see that show! I know you value your father-daughter time together, but would you mind if I come along just this once. It would be a great chance for Julie and I to get acquainted.”). There’s also the possibility that the reason he is not interested in introducing her to his step-daughter is that he doesn’t expect the relationship to last long, which, given her crazy jealousy I can understand.
    I feel a similar way with LW2’s letter (although somewhat less so). While Wendy could have mentioned that, if LW2 was reporting truthfully and accurately, it does sound like there maybe there’s some reason to be concerned about the relationship, we are dealing with a very biased and unreliable reporter here. Is it even possible to be on videochat continuously 24/7? If this is an exaggeration, it proves my point. Also, while insisting on being invited to all family events is a bit controlling, it seems like the parents are going out of their way to arrange “family only” events and to make it clear that if it’s a “family event” the boyfriend is not welcome, so I can understand him being upset. The recent example was that he got upset over the fact that they had a celebration of the daughter getting her driver’s licence and he was upset that he wasn’t invited. Well, why wasn’t he invited? What is it about that event that says “family only”. I would certainly expect to be involved in a celebration of my girlfriend getting her licence. In fact, I would expect not only to be invited but that I would at least help arrange it. When you add to that the fact, there isn’t really anything that the parents can do here anyway and, the fact, that they, unfortunately, don’t seem to regard their daughter as what she is, an adult who can, and has the right to, make her own decisions, I think that Wendy was absolutely right not to mention that the parents may have a point. It would have weakened the wake-up call that they needed to hear.

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    • avatar

      Jessica Emelia, LCPC March 5, 2018, 6:00 pm

      baccalieu ,

      I’ll respectfully disagree with you regarding LW2. While it’s clear we need more information than just a few paragraphs, it doesn’t seem reasonable or responsible to immediately characterize mom as “very biased and unreliable”. Just last week I met with a client who described a boyfriend who makes her keep her phone on at all times, even when she’s at work, with one headphone in, so that he can monitor what she is doing, her conversations, etc. This sort of behavior absolutely exists, partners keeping tabs on someone during every moment of their life.

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  • avatar

    Ron March 4, 2018, 7:19 pm

    Baccalieu —
    I don’t understand what you are trying to say. I read back through the comments and exactly nobody agreed with LW that her bf was banging his stepdaughter. The closest I could find, which isn’t saying that at all, is a poster who very reasonably asked why LW would want to stay with a guy she suspected was banging his stepdaughter. So, can you point to something in particular?

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  • avatar

    baccalieu March 4, 2018, 8:13 pm

    Ron:
    I didn’t say they agreed with it, I said they took it seriously. I don’t think they should have even mentioned it except to ridicule it. Some were clearly doing that, but others seemed to be genuinely weighing up the evidence. And a number of people indicated they did think it was strange that she hadn’t met his boyfriend’s step-daughter yet which I took as looking at that as evidence in support of the relationship being inappropriate. The suggestion is obvious nonsense. ‘Nuff said. Actually, I was in error by mentioning it myself.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 4, 2018, 8:36 pm

      Why ridicule it when you don’t have any details? Why ridicule someone for asking for help? You don’t know the details. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt because she is the one who sees the guy and how he acts and how he talks.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 4, 2018, 8:32 pm

    @Bac I found his behavior to be secretive. Not introducing an adult daughter after a year of dating seems odd to me. He is either hiding the daughter from the girlfriend or the girlfriend from the daughter. In general, when someone is hiding you from a close relative your relationship isn’t going to go anywhere. If he won’t introduce them then the relationship probably won’t advance.

    We don’t know why she had the impression she had. She didn’t go into details. Maybe she was just jealous and it was based on nothing but time and money spent. Maybe she saw behaviors that didn’t add up except that they seemed to be the things he did when going on a date with her.

    I once dated a guy that I knew was playing tennis with a girl from work. Then I heard his tone of voice while he was talking to her on the phone and I knew he was involved with her. He was talking to her with a tone of voice he only used with me. A tone of voice I had never even realized until I heard it going out to someone else. I was right. He was cheating with her. They were involved in more than tennis. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she may be seeing or hearing something that doesn’t seem right, something that seems intimate in the wrong way. Many people know in their gut when their partner is cheating.

    I will say that if he is cheating on her she needs to be mad at him and not at the woman. I think her anger is misplaced. If she can’t trust him she needs to move on because, as I’ve been saying in the forum, trust is essential to a good relationship.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy March 15, 2018, 7:27 am

    From LW 2:

    “I actually just read your advice ,things have gotten very bad here.
    I agree with you on some of what you said ,about independence with your children.The big Difference is a normal 21 yr.and a Very sick 21 yr.old.
    Unfortunately at this time we are not speaking to our daughter even though she is still in our house.We have gotten into a big fight with our daughter who skipped a 1 day 12 of meds to Hang out with boyfriend. Some of your readers comments were for us to BACK off and leave our daughter alone.Well we did until she was so sick after no meds in her and admitted to the hospital. Now I am not sure what our future relationship is because our daughter is not speaking to my husband and I..and is continuing to run with the boyfriend. It’s a hit or miss with meds.Never Wanted to control our daughters life just make sure she lives passed 30 yrs.old .”

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    • avatar

      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 7:31 am

      Well….that’s her choice!

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      MMR March 15, 2018, 8:05 am

      I’m very curious how you reacted at the hospital. Did you give her a long “I told you so” speech? Did you rail against the boyfriend and tell her to leave him?

      Or did you ACTUALLY take Wendy’s advice and not immediately criticize her choices the second you saw her? THIS is where your behaviour could make or break your relationship with your daughter. THIS is what really counts. She doesn’t need you to tell her she’s made poor choices when she’s in the hospital and feels like shit. She needs you to tell her you love her without judgement allow her to experience the consequences of her actions instead of being yet another stressor in her life.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 8:08 am

        Exactly.

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      Ron March 15, 2018, 9:15 am

      I understand that not taking her meds is a very big problem, which will shorten her life. What I don’t understand is why she can’t both spend time with her bf and take her meds. Isn’t that something you and she can compromise on and you can facilitate logistically?

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      • avatar

        Ron March 15, 2018, 9:24 am

        It’s totally natural that you want her to live to be 30. It’s also totally natural that she wants to LIVE to whatever age. In response to comments that she is an adult and that therefore you should cut her some slack, you again focus on how very sick she is, as if that means she should be treated as a child rather than an adult. She doesn’t accept that and frankly she shouldn’t accept that. All children fight for their independence from their parents and for control over their own lives. Your daughter has come to this battle later than normal. You need to accept her as an adult woman who happens to have a terminal illness. She needs to accept that her health is fragile and requires medical management. Part of adulthood is taking responsibility for her own health.

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