Derek and I are both very much in love with each other and felt we had everyone’s blessings, so we probably moved the relationship forward a little faster than we would have otherwise done. I fear that Derek’s daughter became jealous, and scared that she may lose her father, when she saw that there was a potential for a real future for us. I’ve tried to reassure her that I don’t want to be a mother to her or her 17-year-old brother and that I’m not looking for a father figure for my daughter and my 15-year-old son. Both of the exes are still in the picture and active with the children. Her father and I have both tried to reassure her that he will still always be there for her and that she has nothing to worry about, but she is having no part of it, and now the mother is also hell-bent on our not being together. The daughter has even threatened to not be a part of her father’s life if he is with me, and the mother has said some very nasty things to him about me that hurt him so badly that he won’t even tell me what was said.
All of this has forced Derek into making a choice. He decided that he could not risk losing his daughter and mother, and he has chosen to end our relationship. We are both heartbroken, but he has built a wall around himself and completely shut down. He says that he raised his daughter and so made her the way she is and that now he has the obligation to deal with her. He also says that he doesn’t feel like he has the right to be happy as long as his kids need him. He isn’t even able to show these family members how much he is hurting because he is holding everything inside.
I feel totally betrayed because his daughter and I had a great relationship at the beginning and then overnight she completely flipped on me. I am completely lost and have no idea what to do from here. Do I accept it and move on or fight for our relationship? — Relationship Ruined By His Daughter
Is there more to the story here that we’re missing? Derek’s daughter went from introducing you to her father to threatening to never be a part of her father’s life if he continues seeing you? And that happened, apparently, very quickly? Sure, you could — and have — argued that she’s jealous and afraid of losing her father, but this is a 23-year-old woman; how much of her father does a 23-year-old woman really need on a daily basis? And what, on earth, would make Derek’s mother so hostile to you? Surely, she’s not afraid of losing her son when he’s already been married and raised two kids. Something doesn’t add up. Is he very wealthy? Is his family afraid you’re using him for money? What are the lies Derek’s daughter has been spreading about you? Does she believe you’re betraying her father? Is there any chance she believes the lies (as in, she isn’t making them up, but is being told them by someone else)?
I would make an effort to find out what exactly the daughter is saying about you so you can defend yourself and prove the accusations false. But if she and the mother don’t believe you and have decided they don’t like you and Derek feels forced to choose and he chooses them over you, then that says something about his character and it points to a possibility that Derek, on some level, may believe the claims against you. In short: It not only doesn’t bode well for the future of your relationship, but it also doesn’t bode well for Derek’s ability to fully commit to a future with anyone. He is saying loudly and clearly that his grown-ass daughter and his elderly mother control him. And that’s… pitiful.
Then when you factor in Derek’s wall-building, and his admission that he “made his daughter the way she is” and now has “an obligation to deal with her,” it all sounds so… fishy and defeatist and not like someone who is prepared to love openly and fully.
I know it sucks, but I think you need to let this one go. He clearly has some stuff he has to work through before he’s ready for a relationship with you or anyone. A grown-up, who has raised kids and has a long marriage and divorce under his belt, already should be able to stand up to people (even, and especially, his family), defend the honor of someone he claims to love, and fight for a relationship he says he wants. Unless he’s lying and he doesn’t actually want a relationship with you, and his daughter and mother’s behavior gives him an out that saves him from owning his own feelings and reservations about you.
At any rate, if there’s a fight to be had here, it needs more than just your participation. Derek needs to be the one to put forth some effort, and, if he isn’t doing that, then this isn’t something worth fighting for anyway. Being in love doesn’t mean squat if the person you’re in love with could walk away from you so easily, shrugging his shoulders in quick and pitiful defeat. Don’t you want more than that?
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].