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Adult Step daughter – bad life choices, bank of mom is closed, and wants to move near us

Dragonfly6's picture

My boyfriend and I have been together a year and are planning for marriage with the appropriate prenup as we both have been married before. We are compatible in many different ways and more so than any other man. He is retired military. He has 1 child, a daughter and she is 30. He and is first wife divorced amicably. He was a career military man. Good provider but not really totally involved with her raising.

For the past 10 years the daughter has had 4 children under the age of 7. The first 3 with a man who is incarcerated, and parental rights terminated. She gave birth to her last child 2 months ago with the current live in boyfriend. They are supported through social programs and part time work. For the past 10 years and up until 6 months ago they had been living with his ex’s mother. My boyfriend has indicated he is unhappy with her life choices, that she calls only when she wants money. He has told me he has provides support for some of the grandkids activities – football, gymnastics through the exwife, but never any regular support. He has expressed concern about his ex’s enabling behavior and I knew when he had said his ex ended the lease where they were at and moved out that sooner or later she would turn this way.

They are on the east coast and we are on the west. She wants a new start. All 6 of them (her, boyfriend, 4 kids). We have talked about this. I have asked him, have they saved money to move (no), do they have a plan (no), have the researched the area (no). He had a conversation with them and asked these questions. He is adamant that he will not support them, they will not be living with us and not able to help them move.

She had the granddaughter call to ask about getting a bike (great training on how to ask for money from grandpa) she went on to talk about moving in with us, and buying clothes and getting a job to pay the rent. I am sure you can guess what kinds of conversations are happening in their household.

His daughter had borrowed $500 from him in January to make rent. She was to pay him back from her tax return. It bothered him to do this and did decide to do it anyways. I know he loves his grandchildren and wants to help them succeed. I understand and accept that. I am concerned if he will be able to hold boundaries with her and not enable now that she no longer has the “bank of mom”

We had talked about getting married later this year. I have not said anything to him but in my mind all of this is on hold. I will be observing how this is going to be handled. If the words and actions align. In my mind he is a package deal, which I was good with, and I am willing if we have a united front and strong boundaries. I have seen where these things can wreck marriages and lives. Though I love him deeply, I have worked too hard and too long to have that happen here.

He had said he would pick me over his daughter and grandkids. I told him that was a kind thing to say and I hope it never comes to that. In essence it should never happen. It is his area and I will be supportive of him until it affects our household or our lives.

Thoughts here? I am debating drawing a line in the sand. I know there is an engagement ring coming, his family knows, and we have discussed wedding venues. I am thankful this has comeup now before we get married so I can see how it will be handled.


lieutenant_dad's picture

Put off the wedding for another year past your original wedding date. See if he can hold boundaries for 18 months instead of 4-6. That will give you over 2 years together, and you'll be able to see what kind of man he actually is with his kid. And you'll get to see what kind of shenanigans the kid will pull to get Daddy to open his wallet.

If you're planning forever, then give it more time. If he asks why, tell him that until his DD is more settled that you're just uncomfortable. That you need more time acclimating to being with a divorced father. He'll either understand or he won't. It's better to find out now than later when you're more financially, emotionally, and legally tangled.

Dragonfly6's picture

That makes sense and thank you. This has just started, her reach out with the grandkids today. He told me he sees it for what it is. Manipulation by her and that she is not even hiding it. I know he can see it as I want to see if he can keep the boundaries. I believe that he can but only time will show if that is correct.

hereiam's picture

You have only been with him for a year, which is not that long. I absolutely would not be marrying him any time soon. 

Loving the grandkids is one thing, picking up the slack for his daughter, is another.

My SD27 is a loser who has made bad life choices. My DH gives her no support financially, he refuses to enable her behavior, even with grandkids involved (she has 3 kids). Her kids are not his responsibility to raise, financially or otherwise.

Your BF's daughter wants to move closer for a reason and she already uses her kids to manipulate your BF. Is he going to be able to resist that for the long run? "But it's for the kids!" That's what she will be saying to him, and that's what he will be saying to you.

He may say he would pick you over them, but how long before the resentment sets in?


Dragonfly6's picture

Yes, that is her exact reason for moving to be closer and use manipulation. As I mentioned above, he KNOWS what she is doing. He can be diciiplined and firm with boundaries (miltary), I want to see if this can hold in the long term.

Dragonfly6's picture

Time will tell if he can hold the boundaries with her. She is transparent in attempts which is interesting to observe from what she has said, her posts, and what my boyfriend has mentioned. I believe I will generally need to stay out of it and be supportive of him without offering unsolicited advice. It is his circus if he chooses to go there. He had mentioned a few days ago that he was considering going out for a visit. I am in the middle of a career transition and he is retired. I do not think this is a good time to go and would be better to wait and see if she does research, starts planning, and saving cash. If he brings it up again I will suggest we wait until fall and things are settled as we have so much going on right now..

There could be a chance that it will move a different direction also if he holds firm and she sees she cannot get him to support her. If she drops off again it will be another reminder to him. The unpaid $500 loan from Jan was a test according to him. How he responds later will be telling.

Yep, more time needed.



disrestep's picture

You have only been with this guy for a year. The way he has and continues to bail out his overgrown, adult, mooch off daddy DD is definitely not going to end when her loser self, her loser BF and gskids move near you. I bet it will only get worse. He just gave DD money a few months ago. Yes, you need to draw a line in the sand asap.

Think about it: Do you want to live near these losers and have a pack of gskids running amok in your house all the time? And..what about all the babysitting you and DH and will be asked to do? What happens when your DH is spending most of his free time with the gskids and it interferes with your marriage?And..what happens when gskids need braces, sports equip., help paying for medical costs, food, party supplies, First communion money, school clothes, a new pet, college funds, paying for restaurants. Ugh, the list can go on and on and guess who is going to be paying for it? Yup, your soon to be DH.

Honestly, you have some choices:   Run, run and never look back.  Put off your marriage date for as long as you can.  Not marry this guy and just date him.  Find someone else without kids.  Don't move in with him-if you have, move out.  Marry him and become a gskid babysitter and miserable while your DH continues to be Bank of Daddy to his loser adult spawn, BF and gskids.

It sounds like you have a good head in your shoulders. I know it is hard when you are in love. When I met my now DH, he was paying for expensive gifts, trips, auto insurance, phones and data plans, restaurant outings and parties and lending money to his adult brood. They expected DH to pay for these things and more, yet they all worked and made a good living. A long story, but DH no longer pays for anything for them or the gskids. Adult skids disrespected DH one too many times. Everyone is different and your BF may continue to fund DD and brood for the rest of his life.

My best advice to you is simply just be honest with your DH. Tell him how you feel. Let him know what is not acceptable. His DD is an adult and quite frankly she needs to be supporting her brood, if that means she has to work 3 jobs. They are her children to support, not your BF's. I'd stop feeling sorry for the gskids and your DH. When he hands money over to the gskids he in essence is handing money over to his DD, who in reality, should be paying for these things to begin with. Your BF is not a mind reader, so don't expect him to know how you feel and what your expectations are. 

Read some of the other posts and see what can happen when a spouse continues to bail out adult skids and gskids. Do you really want them moving in with you? I say that because I bet they will and I bet there is more to the story, like your BF may be giving them more money than he tells you. If he knows what she is doing then why did he just lend her $500.00? Do you really know how much money he hands over to the gskids? His DD is using the gskids to manipulate your BF.

Good luck in the future.

hereiam's picture

I believe I will generally need to stay out of it and be supportive of him without offering unsolicited advice

This is the best way to know if how he handles her is genuine. Trying to make (or even nudge) someone do something (or not do something) never works in the end, and does not let you know what their true intentions are. If they are just trying to please you or if they really mean business.

I sleep well at night knowing that my husband truly does not want to enable his daughter, and he does not resent me because I have "put my foot down". It is his choice, his belief system.

You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders.

Siemprematahari's picture

In my mind he is a package deal, which I was good with, and I am willing if we have a united front and strong boundaries.

His daughter is 30 years old, the ship has sailed when it comes to him being a package deal. His daugter is a grown @ss woman with kids and I do hope he remains strong in his boundaries. I think you should wait and see if he doesn't cave in. Only time will tell. You are right in staying out of it and seeing how this all plays out. This is a good strategy to see if your BF is a man of his word.

Thumper's picture


IF your boyfriend was not a push over his adult daughter would have told her dad: we are moving to x city, we have jobs lined up AND secured our housing.

That is what mature adults do.

Some words of advice ....DO NOT agree to allowing them to stay with you until they find a place. Not even 1 night pre-signed lease.  Reasonable folks don't just pack up and leave without a plan in place. Especially with kids... Times have changed and depending on your states laws they may have squatters rights and then YOU have to go to court to evict.


I hope everything works out smoothly. GoodLuck!!!


Dragonfly6's picture

SO agree with your statement on MATURE adults.....

I will be having a conversation on how I feel and what I will and will not accept. It is better to have this handled now rather that later. In a way, I am glad this came up now. This is the one area in our relationship that I can see blowing it up.

Dragonfly6's picture

WOW! Awesome commentary and points! I have read the posts here and am VERY aware of what can happen. I love him deeply but WILL not get into a mess. I agree she is a grown ass woman. What I meant by a package deal is that she will always be his daughter and those grandkids will also be there. He needs to hold boundaries with her since 'bank of mom' is closed.

According to him, any of the support he has done has been things for the grandkids. It has not been a significant amount of money and he had been connecting with his ex instead of sending money directly. The x and he have a good relationship and I have NO issues with that situation, though I am dissappointed she enabled the behavior and the reproduction. This money in January was a change and I suspect SD figured the opportunity is there.

He had a conversation with his daughter and grandkids yesterday and we discussed it afterwards. He knows what she is doing with the manipulation and indicates this is not going to work on him. I have witnessed him being firm with boundaries with his family here and with a now x friend. He has the ability and time will tell if he can.

I will be asking him to be completely transparent with me on this process and delay a visit to them until the fall. Continue to ask her about her research, plan, and money saved. He likes to go into father mode of 'telling' and I have suggested a better option would be to ask about her plans and continue to reiterate no money and bank of dad is closed. I will go a bit farther and suggest letting her know that any money for the grandkids should go into a college fund and not gifts or programs. If she has qualified for services then there should be plenty of kid options, like headstart, in Maryland. It is on her to make this work, she is raising the kids.

I will also delay getting married. I know the ring is coming along with the proposal. We had talked about getting married this year and completing the prenup so I will have the conversation with him about my change in timing. We have had good communication and if this blows it up better now than later.

If he starts sending them money and then helps them to move over here without jobs, rental, and cash on their own then we will split. I know my worth and value and I will not join this circus.

Dragonfly6's picture

We discussed this situation today. It was an interesting conversation. I reiterated my concerns of them moving with out a plan and structure. I was clear that if this happens, unlikely as it is, they are not staying here. He wanted to offer a few weeks until they are settled. I said no, that is not happening. There was quite a bit of conversation and I want to put some high points- his statements-  here for reference and my personal documentation. To help me with perspecitve and could help others

Boyfriend comments  - that he can be a role model and help them - gkids to be producing members of society. My thoughts. - that would be nice if you have that much control over the outcome. You did not raise your daughter to be this way yet here she is. How can you guarantee that YOU can make this happen? Highly unlikely. Do you feel guilt because of this? You were gone so much? You have a bad childhood?

He says he is not like his x and will not be run over and hates manipulation. My thoughts - He has lent her $500 to make rent in January that she was supposed to pay back with her tax return. According to him this was a test to see and he would be done with it.....and we are here now so no you are rolling down that path.

He said "I have told her I will help her and not support her". - My thoughts - somehow YOUR statement are different and will now  change who she NO *dash1*.  I suspect his ex talked until she was blue in the face and it did not work. I truly believe parents who go down this path are not thinking, yes I want to cause stress and destroy my marriage to support my adult child who should be on their own. *fool*. 

Dont get me wrong, I truly love this man and we are so compatible in many ways. It is a beautiful thing. I am thankful that this has come up before we marry and have the opporutnity address this. I spent 17 years in my previous marriage with a true manbaby and I learned alot on my own and with therapy. I know I cannot change him and I will not settle for a circus in my life for the next 20+ years. He said he would choose them over me, but I don't know if that is a true statement in that if he enforces his boundaries and allows her to have consquensces for her actions there really is no need for a choice. If he chooses me over them and resents having had to make that choice, that is not something I would want either.

I will observe, set boundaries, and see where it plays out.


hereiam's picture

This would be a whole different scenario if his daughter was self supporting. Then, I could see him being a role model for his grand kids and just being Grandpa. But make no mistake, that is not all that she wants and because she cannot support herself, he is going to find himself in a situation. A situation that he maybe didn't plan on getting into but it will be a situation just the same. He already wants to offer her a place to stay for a few weeks. A few weeks? That is laughable.

He said "I have told her I will help her and not support her".

That is not what she heard, I guarantee it.

He thinks he can be strong but I have seen first hand how that crumbles when there are innocent, young, grand kids in the picture. He needs to let her do what she's going to do, ALL on her own. And if she can't do it on her own, she shouldn't do it. She wants, and expects, more than just a little help, more than just a good grandpa for her kids.

Dragonfly6's picture

Thank you hereiam, you have hit the nail in the head here.

I have read enough on this forum and talked with friends and family over the years on how these things go down. Yes, I believe he would crumble if you have innocent grandkids working it, espeically if they were near us. I feel bad for him but not bad enough to sacrifice the rest of my life and retirement if he cannot hold boundaries.

I have dealt with alot of things in my life and worked through my issues (codependence,caretaking, daugher of alocholics) with therapy and self reflection. I left my last marriage when I knew nothing would change and made the commitment that I would rather be alone the rest of my life than live like that or any other circus.

Dragonfly6's picture

We had some additional conversations on what that help looks like and I had some additional background on the life situation with her. I drew some very clear lines in the sand with him. He will be transparent in all dealings with her with me. They will never live with us, not for one day. Given the number of people it would cost for a 'vacation' here they will never come for a visit, either he and I or just he can go. Reasonable gifts for gkids and helping with some sports acitivities is ok. She and BF must have an acceptable plan - jobs lined up, housing, and cash saved for the move. He will not provide any cash. He will not support or help the financially or otherwise in essense become another parent.  I was also very clear that I am glad that this came up now before we got married and that we will NOT get married this year and will not until I am comfortable this will not come into our lives. I told him that the ONLY thing that will bring comfort is time and consistent boundaries from him. I said this is not what I signed up for when we got together, planned our life together and it is not a life I will accept. That caught his attention on how serious this is for me.

I remminded him and gave him examples of where his words and actions do not align. The $500 loan in January not paid back that he said was a test. There was a discussion of semantics between loaning and helping, nope not buying it. I feel better I have drawn hard lines here.

Depending on how things go over time I may decide this is not going to work for me. Again the only thing that will show if he can do it is time. If there starts to be consistent testing of boundaries, that will be another thing I will need to consider. I made the commitment to myself when I left my marriage of 17 years that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than live in an unacceptable life situation.