Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “His Ex’s Daughter Always Comes Before Me!”

​​It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I’m in a relationship with a man who continues to put his ex’s daughter before me. The daughter is 30 years old with a child of her own, but yet my boyfriend still allows her to count on him to be a father-figure to her and to help her out with money, fixing her car, allowing her daughter to spend the night at our place and taking her on trips. I feel like my feelings don’t matter. I’ve had numerous conversations about this, and he tells me I’m wrong because he help raise her from a child to an adult. Help! Am I wrong for feeling this way? — Second to His Ex’s Daughter

It sounds like he is this woman’s primary father figure. As he has told you, he raised her from childhood to adulthood. I’m not sure why you think that bond should be erased because the parents split up or because the daughter is no longer a child. Did you stop feeling like your father’s daughter once you reached adulthood? Did you stop feeling like you should count on him? Look, if you aren’t OK with the relationship your boyfriend has with the woman he raised as his own daughter or you feel he isn’t meeting your needs, you should move on.

My boyfriend of ten years got a new job two months ago. There are only a handful of people who work at his place of employment, and he only works there two days a week now although he will soon be working there up to six days a week. One of the co-workers is a younger, “stacked” female. She recently showed him where her tattoo was removed (near the groin area) by lifting up her shirt. That, I thought, was inappropriate. She then went on vacation, came back, and told my boyfriend that she had broken up with her boyfriend because she caught him cheating. My boyfriend, who has a hero complex, proceeded to buy her a $200 gift certificate to a spa to make her feel better after the breakup and because her birthday was coming up. He claims it was from him and their boss. He also told her: “Since we can’t touch you, we got you a gift certificate to a spa. Hopefully, you’ll get a happy ending.” I am upset that he did that and he thinks I’m overreacting. What do you think? — Overreacting?

You’re not overreacting. The “gift” was inappropriate for a variety of reasons and the comment he made was predatory and offensive. You need to move on from this guy who doesn’t respect you and doesn’t respect women in general. He’s gross.

I’m currently 17 years old, but I turn 18 in September and my boyfriend is 29 years old. I was wondering what you think about the situation. He says he loves me and wants to have a future with me. I met his kids and everything. There’s just something I am concerned about: Why did he pick me out of all the females his own age? What do you think? — Just Seventeen

He picked you because a 17-year-old girl is much easier to manipulate and control than a woman his own age. He is taking advantage of your naiveté, and though a relationship between the two of you may not be illegal where you live, it is morally and ethically inappropriate. If he really loved you, he would want you to continue enjoying your adolescence instead of saddling you with the burden of planning a future with some old dude and his kids. He doesn’t love you; he loves the idea of having someone who will help take care of his kids and clean his house and have sex with him all for the low price of free. Move on.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

13 comments… add one
  • anonymousse June 15, 2018, 9:00 am

    Please, LW3. This man would not be dating a teen if he had any good intentions for you or your best interests in mind. Please think deeply on how wrong this is.

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  • Kyo June 15, 2018, 9:07 am

    I agree with Anonymousse. LW3. Run, don’t walk, away from this man. Men do this, because they know women their own age wouldn’t put up with them. You are a smart young lady to question this man, aka a forest of red flags.

    LW1 I think you have deep seated insecurities that you may want to seek professional counseling about. I do think you need to move on and stop causing issues from this man while you seek healing and I wish you good luck in your journey.

    LW2 I think you know that you have needed to move on for a long time. I bet this isn’t the first time or would ever be the last issue with a 10 year boyfriend. He’s cheating on you, at least emotionally, gaslighting your correct call, a creeper and spending money that shouldn’t be spent. You probably just wrote to get validation to find the strength to move on. Look, you can do this. You are stronger than you think. Being alone isn’t the end of the world. It’s liberating. Let him go and heal. Love YOU. You are worth more and better treatment.

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  • AlexisCaru June 15, 2018, 10:14 am

    LW1: I kinda hope theirs something missing from the story or details you aren’t sharing because it really sounds like you’re jealous of a relatively normal father/daughter relationship. Does he cancel plans with you to run to her? Not take you on vacations? Not help you with your car..? If he’s treating you well, you guys spend time together, and he sticks to your plans while still involving his daughter and well as his grandchild (?) then your jealousy is absolutely unnecessary… the father/daughter bond doesn’t just disappear when you hit a certain age..

    LW2: Kinda creepy…. I would feel at odds about this too, a 200$ spa certificate and hope she has a ‘happy ending’ because they cant ‘touch’ here… uuuumm MOA MOA

    LW3: WWS!!!!!

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  • JD June 15, 2018, 10:30 am

    10 plus year age different isn’t a big deal, LATER in life. At your age it is a huge deal. This man is basically a predator. Perhaps it isn’t illegal but it just about it. Imagine how you would feel if it was your child. I am sure it is difficult to picture that at your age but it is just wrong. Besides sex and perhaps child care you have nothing to offer a man his age. That is not an insult to you, you shouldn’t have those things at your age. A REAL man finds ADULT women attractive, not children. You are in fact still a child and this man is a full adult. You need to run!

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  • dinoceros June 15, 2018, 10:49 am

    I feel like Wendy needs a generic response she can copy and paste to all the women who are upset that their partner is treating a person they helped raise like family. LW1, your boyfriend seems like a kind person. You should let him go and find a less selfish person. You need to focus on dating people who do not have kids (biological or otherwise) that might take attention away from you.

    LW2: Look, he’s either a cheater or a wannabe cheater. No one who is actually invested in their relationship would be running off buying gifts and exchanging suggestive messages with some other person. People also don’t just suddenly become like this. He’s likely acted like this with other people and just was able to hide it from you.

    LW3: I’m glad you’re asking this question. A lot of people like to just believe their love is so special that there can’t be anything else at play when a fully grown adult man pursues someone who is a teenager. At best, he’s super immature and knows he can’t get/keep an adult woman who expects their partner to be mature/willing to commit/etc. Someone who picks out a teenager because they don’t think they’ll be ready for much commitment or expect them to act like an adult. At worst, he’s trying to manipulate you and picked a teen because he thinks you’re naive and he can eventually intimidate you into what he wants.

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    • AttacKitten June 16, 2018, 2:52 pm

      Ditto on your idea about a macro for people jealous of their partner’s relationship with previous partners’ children they’ve helped raise. For pity’s sake, what a letter right before Father’s Day. I hope HE moves on and finds someone that appreciates what a wonderful sense of family and responsibility this man has, instead of acting like a pouting teenager that isn’t the belle of the ball. Unless she left out a LOT of weird info, this is just petty, selfish and really missing out on what sound like admirable qualities.

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    Moneypenny June 15, 2018, 12:05 pm

    I’m 33 and my dad still helps me with my car and has also given me a loan. This guy may not be her biological father but he helped raise her and in his eyes (and hers) is still a father to her as an adult. From what this LW is describing, he sounds like a pretty stand up guy to me!

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      Moneypenny June 15, 2018, 12:06 pm

      Also, major ICK to LW2’s boyfriend. That is so gross and inappropriate.

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  • Autumnrose June 15, 2018, 12:31 pm

    LW 1- That’s his child. End of story. LW 2- A few questions 1. Are you wanting to be a wife one day? 2. Has he ever done this before? BC the thoughts that come in my head is if you do want to be someones wifey and had hoped it would be this guy, well 10yrs is long enough to play house without commitment – see where I am going? And secondly, regardless if this was a first or not – his actions were more than inappropriate. Quick frankly, id be mortified if my husband did something like this. It would be world war 3 in my house. LW 3. You are 17!!! YOU should have nothing in common with a 29yr old. That is unless you are dating an extremely immature man or borderline pedophile.

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    • Autumnrose June 15, 2018, 12:32 pm

      Not Quick, meant quite frankly**

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  • anonymousse June 15, 2018, 12:35 pm

    LW1- he treats his “adopted” daughter well. That is a GOOD thing. A commendable thing. He’s an honorable man. Instead of seeing this and realizing what a good man he is, you’re jealous he spends money and helps someone else.
    You are the person with issues in this scenario, not him or his daughter. Get help or move on to a childless man.

    LW2- it’s absolutely disgusting that he talks about this young woman in that manner (stacked!) and gave her that gift certificate with that vile comment. He’s a pig. A gross pig.

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  • Sarah June 15, 2018, 8:43 pm

    LW2: Gross. He must have a fantasy of being with her, something along the lines of, “I’ll dump my girlfriend and get with this girl, but since I was super-respectful and didn’t touch her, I’ll definitely be the good guy in all of this.”

    The whole thing has creepy, sexual undertones. It definitely feels like cheating, even if his penis never entered her vagina. Run.

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  • Sarah June 16, 2018, 7:22 am

    LW2 your boyfriend sounds like a lawsuit/HR liability at work. Your boyfriend is making it sound like this girl is into him, BUT what if she isn’t? What he is twisting things/making shit up and he’s a giant creeper at work? the person all the female employees avoid and warn new staff about?

    YUCK. He’s gross. RUN

    You can do better.

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