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Could our relationship be over because of his daughter ?

Linda1224's picture

I’m having trouble with my boyfriend’s daughter, a lot of trouble.. we’ve been together for 2 years, she was two when we got together and she’s almost going to be four. At first her and I had a great relationship, we bonded really quick and everything was working out well. She would get often get jealous about her “daddy” and me but at the time I didnt really care because I thought she was going to get over it and well, she didn’t. At first he would only have her a couple of days but now he is trying to get full custody and she is already living with us and I’m pretty sure he is going to win. As much as I try to like the idea of being a family, I don’t. She is disrespectful, she never listens, she screams and yells at me, she’s rude to other people and she always wants to be the center of attention (she even likes negative attention). I can’t lay down with my boyfriend because she gets in between us (and he lets her all the time), I can’t kiss him because she gets mad, I can’t hug him because she wants him to hug her, I can’t hold his hand because she wants him to hold her hand AND IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY. Even when we are trying to have a conversation she gets in the middle of us (or anyone) and starts screaming or telling stories so that she can get all the attention. She doesn’t want anyone holding other babies in front of her (like her baby cousin) because she gets mad and starts crying. She even starts acting like a baby and stops talking and just cries and cries because she wants the attention that the baby is getting. We never have time for us, she is always there and maybe if she was a little bit different I wouldn’t really care. Her dad gets mad if I make comments about her bad behavior or if I say something about how she’s affecting our relationship. I love him with all my heart, but I never thought that his daughter could completely ruin our relationship. What should I do?



twoviewpoints's picture

Four year olds do not ruin adult relationships. At the ripe old age of four this child is the product of the parenting she receives. She is exactly who and how her parents have geared her to be. 

Not a very pretty little sight, is it? The kid is four, she can come out of this a well adjusted civil little kid, but she certain not not , at age four, do it on her own. Cue your boyfriend. 

The child has lost (losing?) her mother. I'm sure there are abandonment issues, insecurity . She has a new lady in her and her father's life, and a Daddy who won't correct her ill behavior and appropriately parent the kid. But you blame the child. 

Most parents who want adult time and a break from their kids, hire babysitters and have date nights. They don't blame a child for never having alone time. They create ways to make alone time. 

Is the child in daycare and/or attending pre-school. If not, she needs to be. She needs interaction with regular socialization with her peers. She needs to see how other children act and respond to authority and she needs that break from you and Dad just as much as you need it from her. At still three years old the child needs a routine, a schedule, consequences for ill behavior, guidance in proper behavior and role models to show her the way. 

Life with a child , especially one this young, will never be like life of a childless couple. Nor will a child just simply know how to behave and be a participant of a family and household without proper parenting. On top of both those two things, the adults in the home/relationship must be on the same 'page' to set rules, guidance , acceptable interaction and participation. 

Is your boyfriend up for couples counseling? Parenting classes? The possibility of potential therapy for the child as she struggles with future abandonment and/or loss  of her mother? 

Linda1224's picture

I try to teach her manners and put her in time out when she does something wrong, but it’s mostly me doing this. I don’t see anyone else in the family trying to dicipline her. We don’t have a babysitter because he doesn’t “trust them” so his mother is always taking care of her which I think is not a good idea because they spoil her so much, and also they won’t take her during the night or so just for us to go have a date. She doesn’t go to daycare or pre-school, she stays home with me when I can take care of her (which happens a lot during summer) or with her grandma. Everyone let’s her be the center of attention, her grandma is always saying things like “go show your beautiful dress to everyone” “did you see her dress?” “Did you tell her how pretty she is” “hey did you guys know that she knows how to do this?” “Pay attention to her, she’s more important than the movie, she’s trying to show you something” “don’t hold other babies while she’s around” just little things like that that I really can’t take anymore because now the little girl does anything just to get everyone’s attention. 

Mom’s a drug addict so she will only see her during the weekends when court is over. I tried to be “mom” for her but my boyfriend would leave everything to me, like getting her ready, cleaning her mess, all that stuff and I didn’t like it because I felt like it wasn’t my responsibility. 

We have talked about couples therapy but he’s just not sure...

GrabitAndGo's picture

The child isn't your problem.  Your boyfriend is.  She acts the way she does because he lets her.  If he doesn't want to parent her effectively, there's nothing you can do.  Whatever you're seeing and experiencing now will only get worse as time goes by.  He's sending you a clear message she's his priority, and he's going to continue to let her be front and center.  Do yourself a favor and believe him.

The Triangle's picture

This happened in my world and ss 15 is STILL acting like this kinda.  Def will get worse if it is not handled.  Not to mention who knows what bm is doing to perpetuate this as well.  Good Luck!

Linda1224's picture

He tries to stop her sometimes when I tell him that I think that’s wrong, but I think he is getting tired of it and just feels like I don’t want the kid, which is not true. 

thinkthrice's picture

You seem young and have the world ahead of you--find a nice man with no children.

fairyo's picture

I left theX because of his daughter- she was lazy, entitled, enmeshed with him, immature, controlling, dull and not a little stupid. 

I left theX because of his inability to deal with above daughter- she said jump and he said how high? She was always aiming to drive a wedge between us but I blame his lack of respect for me, in the end. He just wanted me there as a buffer- now they have each other again and I'm sure they are hating every minute now they no longer have me to be the fall guy.

I left theX because I couldn't bear being part of that situation any longer- she is now 41 years old and has children of her own.  Be warned.

Linda1224's picture

I just wish he would see things from my point of view or talk to him about it without him being mad.

thinkthrice's picture

Defensiveness is a HUGE red flag!  Dodge a missile and find a man without a previously enjoyed family.

Curious Georgetta's picture

different views, perspectives, values, and priorities. That is not a failure on anyone's part. It is just a part of the process of discovering who the other is and how well you mesh.

The daughter is not ruining your relationship. The dad is not ruining your relationship. You are just going through the discovery process, and you have discovered things that suggest that your perspectives and priorities are different.

No failure just a lack of fit. He should not have to change not should you. 

Better to have made this discovery before you were so involved that you could not separate without too much difficulty.

There are many men with no children or men who will share your perspective on child rearing .Better to find one of them than to try to "fix" a man simply because you want him to "fix" something that he may not feel is broken.

You are young and life is filled with other possibilities. 

notsobad's picture

As others have pointed out, you don't have a stepdaughter problem, you have a DisneyDad problem.

Until your BF is ready to disipline and parent his child the relationship you decribed is the one you will be living for the rest of your life. The resentment will grow and you will not be happy with your life.

thinkthrice's picture

and you can't.  Obviously BF and BM don't care enough to properly raise their child.  It's much easier to "parent" by guilt and be the fun/cool parent...which is not doing the child any favors. 

We have a tried and true adage on this forum:  You can't care more about a child than the parents do.  Look at the example of adoptive parents who went through all the time, effort and expense to try to raise a child correctly despite their bio parents being a hot mess.  Almost invariably, the child at some point, puts their biological parent on a perceived pedestal and may even turn on the adoptive parent.

You are in a shakey game of good cop/bad cop and children are quick to pick up on this.   You inadvertently picked a decades long project full of misery.   BF wants you to accept 100% responsibility with 0% authority.  Many a SM has tried to make A Disney parent "see the error of their ways" and have failed, myself included.  And like you, I had to deal with TWO Disney parents vying to see who could "out-Disney" each other.   Please see my earlier blog re:  Red Flags because BF is waving several of them in your face.  Also google: "mini-wife."   I wouldn't wish this situation on any woman.  Again, RUN!!!  Consider yourself WARNED.



blayze's picture

Why are you worried about how he takes it? You’re dealing with his laziness and ignorance about how to control a FOUR year olds behavior...and you care about whether he takes it badly? I would curse his butt out and PLAN to leave over this. It’s that bad. I read somewhere that with some people you don’t get respect until you get disrespectful. Either he gets his daughter in line or he loses his woman. Stop caring about what he thinks and demand that he raises his daughter to be peaceful or you’ll peace out! 

GrabitAndGo's picture

I think you're refusing to see the situation for what it is.  The kid acts so terribly because the people around her not only accept her behavior, but encourage it (grandma).  Your boyfriend gets defensive and angry when you try to address her behavior with him, and he's pretty much let you know couples' therapy is off the table.  He doesn't want to parent his child.  

I reiterate - the kid isn't ruining your relationship.  Your boyfriend is allowing your relationship to be negatively impacted with his unwillingness to actually be a parent to her.  She's a product of his lazy attitude.  He has clearly shown you where you are on his totem pole of priorities.

Loving this guy with all your heart doesn't mean he's the right one for you.  Read all the stories on here from other people who got involved with someone who let their kids run wild.  See how well things HAVEN'T worked out for them in the long term.  Invariably the main theme is they ended up angry, resentful, and tired.  If that's what you want for your future, carry on.  You'd also do well to start stockpiling wine because you're going to need it,  

Nikkijean's picture

If you are the only one trying, and he gets angry when you bring it up, there is no hope.

I can relate because for 4 years i was where you are. Only difference is my SO and I agreed on what behaviors and issues we had to fix asap.  When I say we agreed, that was about all he did. It was a nightmare, i would take action and do my part, to end up having him side with his daughter, and being angry with me. Not only enabling her, he was also showing her she is allowed to disrespect and treat me like crap. This went on for years, and it was an issue from the very start.

She also had been only cared for by family, so spoiled,  who would rather let her get her way, because it was easier then dealing with the meltdowns and tantrums she would burst into. If you stay, and try to do it alone it will ruin you. I became angry, hurt, hateful, bitter and sunk into the deepest depression I could ever imagine.

I finally left, but i am paying the price. They sucked every bit of happiness out of me. It was exhausting every part of me. I am now struggling with depression, anxiety, lost my trust and faith in people. Lost my happiness, myself as a person and the woman i used to be. I will never get back to being the amazing woman i was before I met them. It forever changed me and my life. 

Yet that idiot claims it has all been fixed now, and wants another chance. Who can be that selfish and destroy a persons life, only to benefit himself and his needs? To demand another chance shows his lack of empathy and respect he has for me.  

Good Luck to you!!