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Trying to find Symmetry

DevilDog95's picture

I currently reside alone in my home but have had a G/F for a year now who stays over several nights a week.   I have an adult daughter who is in college.   The child comes home on college breaks and resides with me also at the home.   The daughter and G/F for the most part generally get along and communicate well with each other.    They have many similar interest and are somewhat simlar in nature as in very sensitive and emotional.   Prior to the G/F, it was just the daughter and I for many years and the daughter became very accustomed to things as the G/F puts it, her and I against the world.   

The G/f and daughter have recently not been getting along and somewhat standoffish to each other.   The daughter thinks that 'things are not the same' since the G/F has been around recently and says that she is a 'guest' in her home.   The G/F thinks the relationship is contingent on if the daughter will allow and that a 19 y/o 'calls the shots' and she also feels that the she is also a 'guest' only in the home and that the daughter doesn't allow her to have 'her space' within the home or respect boundries.    

A lot more I could write into this but I didn't want to vom,it too much out of the gate.    

Just tired of balancing two seperate emotions from 2 different people.    Absolutley love them both, but somehow I need them both to understand that I love them both and they both feel appreciated and that they get noticed and I spend quality time with them both while I still have a full time job with OT hours.   

GrudgingSM's picture

So honestly, I think that you might not be able to fix their feelings for them. your daughter feels like the home is her space (as it was all growing up!) and it's hard to adapt to a new dynamic. And GF feels like it's her space because she's the one who's there a lot now (which is understandable!). It takes time to adapt to a new dynamic but the only consistent and permanent resident is you. You can't fix their feelings, and honestly they both seem like valid feelings, and they just need a minute to work through them and get used to the new dynamics (your daughter accepting more that you GF is a partial resident in your place and will have her own take on things, and your GF recognizing that your daughter spent years in that home and is used to a certain dynamic). make sure you check in with their feelings when they're sharing space/time, but I don't personally think it's a thing you can fix. Each is going to frustrate the other sometimes, but as long as its not destructuve or disrespectful, they might both just need to give a little and adapt.

FWIW, if you and your GF get engaged and want to move in together, consider a new place, one that you can both make your own. I understand your daughter's feelings, but as she finishes college and lauchnes to her own life/place, you also have every right to move on, too. However, a new place will help establish you and your partner as a couple and create a new dynamic of your daughter visiting rather than her coming home and your partner as an occassionally unwatned guest.

caninelover's picture

with both GF and child.  The daughter needs to understand she is the child and is expected to grow up and live indepently.  It is her family home and a place to spend time with you but she is NOT entitled to call the shots about house rules etc.  And she needs to respect that adult couples require alone time without children present or involved.  She also needs to understand that your adult relationship with GF is not about her - that you can love and parent daughter regardless of GF and daughter's relationship.

GF does need to respect that the daughter still resides there, will be home from time and time, and needs quality 1:1 time with her parent.  But, GF and daughter should not be expected to be 'family' or even like each other.  It is mandatory however that both respect each other.

It is difficult to be in the middle and my SO feels the same way - but many of the issues are him refusing to push the now adult SD23 to be respectful to me in our home.

tog redux's picture

I don't know - if you plan to have a long-term partner, you might want to set some limits on your adult daughter feeling like she owns you and the home.  GF feeling like your daughter "calls the shots" isn't a good sign.

caninelover's picture

is contingent on the daughter's 'approval' is also not a good sign.  GF needs re-assurance that you can manage your legally adult child without requiring the child to 'approve' of your adult relationships.  

tog redux's picture

Exactly. Daughter gets no say in whether dad dates someone or what changes that woman makes to the home. No - GF should not go in and clear out DD's bedroom and make it an office, but beyond that, DD has zero input into what her father and his GF do with their space.


advice.only2's picture

It appears you enjoy having two females fighting over you...which is gross since one of those females is your daughter.
Look up mini wife syndrome and read up on it, you have created a mini wife and are now upset because it's impeding on your ability to have an adult relationship.

tog redux's picture

Yes, this. I don't get why these men don't see that if they ever want a partner, they'd better stop trying to be "neutral" and set limits on their kids.

New_to_this's picture

I think this response is the most direct and accurate response, even if it's the one that's hardest to digest. You now have a college aged adult that no longer lives at home. She is the one that should be slowly transitioning to a guest in the house and an adult with her own life. You have a girlfriend and I assume you may expect to live together at one point. She should be or becoming your life partner.

DevilDog95's picture

Thats gross.   Was looking for legit input but I guess this is a problem somewhere.   No 'mini-wife' wanted.    Even the sounds of that are Gross.           

tog redux's picture

Read up on it - this is legit advice. You are allowing your daughter to act like your partner - that's a problem, and it's not uncommon when it's just one parent and one child in a home. Your GF is signaling that to you and you are instead trying to "balance their feelings".

caninelover's picture

in your home, that is how they SHOULD be feeling.  They are in college, not home 100% of the time anymore, and should be thinking of their own life after college.  Not living in Daddy's house.  The fact that your daughter is seeing this as a problem is signaling that she feels entitled to be on 'equal' adult head of household role instead of acknowleding that you and GF, who spend the most time in the house anyway, should be setting those rules and the tone of daily life in the house.  I am older, obviously, but when I go and visit my parents I am a guest in their home.  I am there temporarily, bring a suitcase and leave with that suitcase.  I would not tell my parents how to use/decorate rooms for example.  I would not insist I have my own unused room kept as a shrine to me when I visit.

Life partners are different from children.  The love with a life partner comes with a committment to building a life and future together, which also includes making a home for both of you to enjoy.  Your GF is pointing out the 'you two against the world' mentality that is a barrier to her from having a meaningful place in your home and life as a partner.  It is not about balancing their emotional needs, it is about setting clear boundaries and roles (e.g. daughter is a visitor/guest and if GF moves in she lives there).

It is real thing that divorced fathers tend to overcompensate and protect/coddle their daughters in particular.  It isn't meant to gross you out but rather have you start thinking about differentiating the roles each of these important people can play in your life, in your home, and with each other.  Sorry if the input seems harsh but we are a bit jaded here.

advice.only2's picture

What is stated is legit input. You allow your daughter input into a dynamic that she should have ZERO input in. Your daughter does not pay rent, does not pay bills and does not share your bed, therefore she gets ZERO say in who lives in YOUR house.
You are letting your DAUGHTER have equal partnership in your relationship with your GF!! That's not how a healthy adult relationship works. Your GF should never have to question her place in the relationship with you. So read up on mini wife syndrome, and take a good long look in the mirror of how you intend to change these unhealthy dynamics you have been fostering.

Merry's picture

When my DH and his adult daughter are in the room together, I describe it as having no oxygen left for anyone else. I've also felt like the side chick instead of the wife. Let me tell you it is awful, and if you don't figure out how to prioritize your adult relationship your girlfriend won't be your girlfriend for long. It would be interesting to hear her side of the story.

STOP thinking of this as two emotional women. Oh, please, that is so condescending and dismissive. You wouldn't be happy either if you felt excluded and ignored. Start with your GF. What, specifically, would she like to see changed so that she feels like your full-time partner, even when your daughter is around? What does she want and need?

Then on to your daughter. You don't stop loving her because you love your GF. You don't stop being her Dad. But you are NOT her peer and buddy, and you have your own life separate from hers. She doesn't get to "call the shots" when it comes to you and your GF, or even just you. That's not to say you shouldn't spend time with her separate from your GF or enjoy each other's company and the apparently loving history that you share. That's all cool. But it sounds like some boundaries need to be established.

If you intend to stay in this relationship with your GF and if you're discussing moving in together or marriage, I strongly recommend that you get a place that is not yours and is not hers. That gives you a fresh start in a new place without ghosts from the past or expectations of a perpetual shrine to the childhood home.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

For 10 years, it was "me and my kids against the world." They are now in high school and college, and i've started transitioning in how i feel about their roles and mine.

My son lives at college and visits some weekends and holidays. I don't drop everything for his visits. I ask him to call and let me know before he comes. He knows that i have things in my life that are important, and as he gains his independence, i gain some too. We relate to each other a little differently, but it's ok, because he is feeling different and more adult.

My daughter is in high school, and even though she still needs me a good bit, i'm transitioning her to being more independent as well. She knows her needs come first but not necessarily her wants. Looking back, i may have started a little late with that, but, in the beginning i just really wanted to be the best parent i could be, though divorced.

You can't treat your daughter as the "woman of the house" anymore. She doesn't even live there full time. You don't have to feel torn between two women. You have one kind of relationship with your daughter and another with a partner. If you don't start making those transitions, you will end up with what we call a "mini wife" - a daughter whose role confusion leads to damage to any relationships you have with women in the future. 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Let me get this straight your princess does not like the GF now that she stays over more often. The princess feels that the GF is stomping on her territory, and that territory includes you. Let the games begin.


IDontCare3117's picture

Everyone is assuming OP's daughter is the troublemaker.  For all anyone knows the GF may be the one who is trying to mark her territory.  

It would be helpful if OP gave some examples of daughter and GF do that annoys the other.  

Tried out's picture

There is an assumption on ST that the SK is always the cause of any problems. Advice is given based on that belief. I get that, but this is not always the case. 

Additionally, it would take an unusual biological parent to believe their child is just "visiting" when they  are home from college over Christmas holidays, etc. It's disruptive to suddenly have this kid/adult back but it's part of being a parent.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I'm a bioparent, and my son actually does consider his campus apartment his home now. He feels he has moved out and become more independent, and, he has. I didn't change the way i feel about it overnight, but there has been a gradual change over the past 1.5 years he has been away at college. And the thing is, he is ok with it. If you frame it as he is gaining independence as opposed to losing his place of "man of my house", it's not a negative. 

caninelover's picture

Once I left home for college, although it didn't happen overnight, I felt less and less like the family home was my home.  Once I graduated and got my own apartment, I definitely referred to that as home and my parents' house was just that - their house that I would visit to spend time with them.  Granted it was different than a hotel as I had memories there, but most learn gradually that home is where you hang your hat.   Now my parents would never say no to a visit, but if they mentioned they were redecorating something and I said I object, they would have (rightfully) put me in my place.

Kaylee's picture

Most of us go into these relationships with an open mind, prepared to meet our SO's children, and get on with them. When I first met my ex, I remember going to his house for the first time....I was excited to meet his daughter, she was the same age as my son, (20 at that stage)

She refused to come down stairs, locked herself in her bedroom until I had left. That was a red flag I wish I'd heeded.

We're not out to slag off stepkids at all. It's just that most of us here have had negative experiences which is why we are here.

Why are you here and what do you hope to get out of this forum Tried Out?

Movingonisbest's picture

Kaylee,, the thing about it, is these men know how horrible their adult kids are. Yet they  mistakenly believe a quality woman is going to come into their life and accept any crap their adult kids dish out. I made it clear to my ex from the beginning that I do not tolerate people's unruly family members. I also let him know I only date men who have adult kids, and the adult kids have to be independent. So rather than be a man and realize we weren't right for each other, or better yet make his adult kids be independent and responsible, he decided to lie to me until he just couldn't cover things up anymore. Blatant disrespect and selfishness. 

So while I am sure I am not the only woman who left him mostly because of his adult kids and his poor parenting of them, he let me know I said things to him that no one had ever said to him in his life because they "knew better." I told him the bloody truth about him and his adult kids. an understatement.

The odd thing is that even after that, he still has tried to be in my life because at times he calls me nonstop. That lets me know he knew how horrible his adult kids are, and that he thought I was going to be a fool and accept him and their dysfunctional dynamic. Hell no! Never! Lol

advice.only2's picture

No I think pretty much everybody who responded sees that the OP is the problem.

IDontCare3117's picture

Everyone has been telling OP he needs to rein in his daughter, and that she has turned into a mini-wife.  I'm simply saying maybe it's the GF who is stirring up things.  OP hasn't given us any more information so it's hard for me to tell what's really going on in his house.  

Movingonisbest's picture

Well, if he isn't guilty of creating a mini-wife, why has he commented so little? His gf and his daughter aren't on the same level. No reason he should act like they are. These men creating these sick relationships with their daughters are pathetic.  How would he or any other fathers like him feel if their girlfriends had a mini-husband?  Like I told my ex, go find you someone who acts like she is in a relationship with her kids like you do with yours. Funny thing is I broke up with him over a year ago and he still won't go away. Wonder why he won't find someone who is more in line with his way of thinking. Lol

IDontCare3117's picture

I have no idea why the OP has made only one comment.  Why does anyone make a hit and run post?  I don't have a clue.  Do you?

Again, without more information I can't tell what's going on.  

SteppedOut's picture

This OP? Probably because we are not all fawning over him telling him he has done nothing wrong. *eye roll*

DevilDog95's picture

This mess is new to some people, useless comments arent necessary and dont care some fawning.    Just want people to get along.   Comments like this make people just keep to themselves and not open up.   

DevilDog95's picture

This mess is new to some people, useless comments arent necessary and dont care some fawning.    Just want people to get along.   Comments like this make people just keep to themselves and not open up.   

CajunMom's picture

 I live with it so I know personally. Oldest SD is a mini wife and I can't begin to tell you the troubles she has caused in my marriage. She thinks she has the right to dictate to my DH what we do with our time and things....all to her advantage. And our home is not even her family home. When DH and I were seriously dating and going to marriage counseling (due to a type of marriage we wanted in our state), our therapist had us read a book on romance and marriage. Guess who felt she needed to read the book, too? Yep, SD. Think that's right? Or mentally healthy? That a daughter puts herself on the same level as me and DH?? Or how about her telling DH to take OUR RV to a campground near her so "they" can hang out? 

Don't take the mini wife description as a bad thing. If this is indeed your issue, then ONLY you have the power to correct it with your daughter. Otherwise, you are going to have a very rough time, should your relationship with this lady go further. And if not, its going to impact EVERY relationship you have. So I say, fix it now. Good luck


Hesitant to try's picture

in the above comments. It does sound like any woman attempting a serious relationship with you may be rocking the boat in terms of the life/house/dynamic that your DD is used to. You need to discuss with DD that you are a full on adult and will be having your own, private relationships with other adults. And these relationships have nothing to do with DD. You still love her and support her as a father. BUT if you are truly feeling "in the middle" between these two women who both want you but don't like each other, you are way off base and setting all 3 of you up for failure. You are not the prize here, they are not fighting over you. This attitude (more often seen in men) really bothers me. You want to placate your daughter and keep her happy at home? Then do that and have your sleepovers at your girlfriends house instead. Keep this away from your home when DD is home on breaks. Do you want a healthy relationship with this GF, then build one together that doesn't put her in a position of competing. If you haven't considered these obvious solutions before, I suspect you kinda like this "cat fight" on some level. Hope that isn't true.

DevilDog95's picture

Thank you everyone for your input.   Took the route of communication and had an open meeting / conversation with them both to discuss our feelings and where we each stand.   

Familytime discussions are vital and hearing everyones input is clearly key in its success.  Even with a teenager that is about as open as closed book.   Again, thank you all.  

Hesitant to try's picture

Devildog. Hope the meeting went well and everyone can keep communicating!

caninelover's picture

Hopefully the communication continues and incorporates expectations for everyone in the new evolving dynamic.  Good luck OP.