Boyfriend has a daughter? 'Awkward?'

georgiapeach92February 5, 2012

My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 4 years. He is 11 years my senior, and has a daughter (7) from a previous relationship. This may sound bad, but I don't know too much about the situation. I know he and the mother share custody, but I don't know if they were previously married (though I creeped through Facebook and she has his last name???)

My boyfriend definitely wants more children with me, and I don't resent his daughter in any way, however, I am a little bit 'disappointed' I don't get to be his first, y'know? Like I guess I've always had this daydream that I'd be the first with my husband, and I'd be the one to bear his first child.

I'm ok with not being his first, but will he think of me differently for not being his first? Like, will our (his and my) children be treated separately from his daughter now? Ideally, I'd like him to treat all of our children (including his daughter now) the same.

Also, it's very difficult because his daughter is only 13 years younger than me. I would love to step into the position as another 'mom', but I don't want her (the daughter) to feel uncomfortable with me because I'm only 13 years older than her. Anyone have some advice for this kind of situation?

My boyfriend and I are currently long distance, while I finish school. I won't be thoroughly involved in his life, or his daughter's, for at least another 2 years. I'm just soo so worried I'll be portrayed as the evil step mom, or the young gold-digger using her dad as a 'sugar-daddy'. And I don't want her to 'hate'/resent her future siblings, or think she means less to me than they do.

I guess what I'm just asking for is advice. Anyone experienced with this situation? Or something similar? Will my boyfriend be uncomfortable with it? Will his daughter? What about our future children? Or am I just getting in way over my head? HELP

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Is it weird for her (the daughter) to 'bounce' back and forth from her mother's and father's? I know her mother has another child (with another man), so do you think she (the daughter) will issues or feel like she's not 'included' in either of the families she's a part of (i.e. her mother's family, and her father & i's family)? I just don't want her to feel like she doesn't have a complete family, y'know? Any advice how to raise her as being included?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:41PM
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You say you have been seeing this man for 4 years. And your planning on marrying him? yet he hasn't told you details about his only child and who is actually raising her or if he was married before? Sounds like you two sure need to know each other a lot better then you do.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 8:56PM
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There are several red flags I see here.

You are 20 years old and have been dating a 31 year old man for four years now.
That means you were 16 when ya'll started dating. And him 27.
For how long has this relationship been a long distance relationship?
And for the next two years you say it will continue to be a long distance relationship?
I seriously doubt that this 30 year old man is being faithful to you.

And thinking that you are going to "raise" this girl is so wrong. Try to put yourself in your BF's daughter's shoes. How you would like a lady only 13 years older than you, whom you barely know, wanting YOU to consider HER your mother? When she already has a mom?

A couple of other things It sounds like you don't know a lot about your BF and his daughter, which is complicated by the fact that you have a long distance relationship. It is hard enough having a blended family, you are going into a blended family that you have not spent a lot of time with in person, you are very young, have never been a mom before, and there are so many things you don't know about your BF.

You don't know the situation with the biomom, is she a psycho? Will she tell BF's daughter horrible things about you and make her hate you? Is your BF broke all the time because he has to pay a huge amount of child support?

My advice is that you spend more time getting to know your BF and his daughter in person before you even think about marrying him and being a step mom.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 10:34AM
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But I Loooove him!"

OK - I'll drop the snark.

You're 20, in school (college, I presume) and located a long way from your boyfriend. You've been dating him for 4 years, which I take to mean that you have not been dating a variety of other guys for the past 4 years -- which basically means you've hardly dated anyone else, kinda ever... And sorry - but you kinda have to wonder about a 27 year old father who dates a 16 year old girl. If that didn't freak him out (even if you're unusually mature for your age), then there's something wrong with his point of view.

This particular relationship has SO MANY complications! He's far away, much older, already has a kid, and hasn't shared the core details of his life with you. (And why the He!! haven't you asked? After 4 years, it is your business.)

I know life's not a game show, but WHY would you choose 'the box' when you haven't even peeked at what's behind the curtain?

Use your time in school to date others and see what else is out there. As Amber says, odds are really, really high that he's not being faithful to you anyway. So use your situation to bring things out in the open, suggesting that you both see other people and use this enforced time away to make sure that you two really are meant to be.

Unless you join the military, there will probably never be another time in your life when you will be so surrounded by single, eligible men with virtually no baggage! With them, you would be the first and only...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 5:38PM
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"That means you were 16 when ya'll started dating. And him 27"

Uhmmm....aren't there laws against that? Where where the OP's parents during this? I have a soon to be 15 year old, and if a mid-20s guy was perusing her, oh boy would the two of us sit down and have a long talk...most likely followed by a call to the police if he didn't agree to walk away and not look back.

Yeah, any 27 year old father dating a 16 yr old is just beyond comprehension....

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 8:22PM
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"Uhmmm....aren't there laws against that? Where are the OP's parents during this?"
I bet the OP met the BF online. Kroopy, I just found out my 13 year old has a boyfriend that is in high school. (she has been hiding it from me and the only way I found out was by spying on her cell phone) If a girl wants to date a guy older than her she will figure out a way to do it without her parents knowing. Heck, I did the same thing when I was a teenager, sneaking out my bedroom window at night to see a boy.

OP, I hope you don't think we're coming down too hard on you. We just don't want you to make a mistake that will affect the rest of your life, like having a kid with a man you barely know.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Before I took another single step, I'd find that divorce decree.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 2:30PM
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I am not in any way planning to marry him right now, or anytime within at least the next 5 years. I'm just asking for advice to see if it's even worth it. I met him when I was 17, yes, and he was 27 at the time. No, we did not meet online, and had absolutely no sexual relations until well after I turned 18. My parent's did not meet him (or even know about him) until last year; no, they aren't pleased, but they're attempting to support me (/probably hoping this won't last much longer!)

The relationship has only been long distance for the past..year and a half I'd say.

And I absolutely understand I won't be 'raising' the daughter. His daughter is the main reason I'm asking this question, so PLEASE do not insinuate that I am 'wrong'!! I don't want to offend her because I know that would be horrific for someone merely 13 years older than myself to step into the position of 'mom'. That's why I asked, I want to know if it's even possible for us to workout without making her miserable. I can imagine her parents not being together will already 'taint' her life in a way, and I don't want to mess it up any more.

I only posted this question as a way to get feedback/advice if anyone has been in this sort of situation. I would definitely say I'm in love, but I don't want to continue with this relationship, and let myself fall more in love, if it's only going to end in heartache and resentment from his daughter. I genuinely want the absolute best for her, even if that means I can't be with him, that's okay; however, of course I'd love to have them both in my life. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but basically, I want to be with both of them, but not if it's going to put too much of a strain on my life, his life, and especially his daughter's life.

Again, of course I'm going to spend much much more time dating him and getting to know his daughter before we even think about getting married. Again, at least 5 years. I don't want to push it, but I don't want to commit myself to years of falling deeper in love if this entire situation is doomed from the start.

I really appreciate all this advice, though! But I do not appreciate the added insecurity of the 'really really high' chance he's being unfaithful, and the what would a 27 year old father want to do with a teenager' thing...I'm not a complete idiot, these thoughts definitely cross my mind daily and have led to many arguments and fights between us. And I don't know that he's being faithful, and I don't know why he would want me, but I've already fallen for him so there isn't much I can do. Adding on these worries does not help it all. But thank you for your concern, and I will definitely discuss with him possibly taking a break and dating around. Then, when the time comes, if we still would like to be together, we can give it a try.

But again, I thank you all (well some of you) for your advice and this has definitely been an eye-opener. I will be confronting him about the entire situation with his daughter and her mother. I'm just somewhat of a spineless person, avoiding confrontation at all costs, and I remember at some point asking him about it and he became extremely awkward and uncomfortable, and then distant for weeks afterward. But you all are right in that I deserve the right to know what's going on and what's happened. And I will definitely re-evaluate our entire relationship. I think a break might be nice, because like you said, I need to experience college and dating around just like most others.

Thank you again.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 12:14AM
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I applaud your willingness to address uncomfortable issues and not bury your head in the sand.

Some other considerations:

Each child is unique and there's no telling how any particular child will respond in a given situation. In some respects discussion of possible results is futile without knowing the girl very well.

Not to mention you don't know the circumstances of her father's and mother's relationship before or after splitting, nor do you know how he has approached your relationship with his daughter. It's not just a matter of how much or little you know but also how much or little she knows.

I might suggest the bigger issue right now is communication between him and you. As you acknowledge there are big gaps in your understanding. I would also be concerned that when approached for information regarding this critical element of his past life, he withdraws. That is not a communication pattern that bodes well for the future.

If you both are 100% committed to pursuing this relationship (now or later) then counseling might be helpful in teaching you how to talk to each other and resolve issues in healthy and productive ways.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 4:30AM
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Georgia, I'm not saying YOU are wrong. It sounds like your heart is in the right place.
I am only saying that thinking that you are going to "step into the position as another 'mom'," is the wrong attitude to have towards your BF's daughter. Thinking that you can step in and be this girl's step mom, that this girl will view you as any kind of authority figure, is not going to happen. If that's not what you're thinking then just disregard what I've said about that.

"I'm just asking for advice to see if it's even worth it"
All you have to do to see if "it's worth it" is read some of the posts on here from other step moms and see how they're doing.
Marrying a guy who has a kid only 13 years younger than you is setting yourself up for many problems. And there is no advice that will fix those problems, because the problems will potentially be caused by your BF and his daughter, whose actions you can't control.
There is nothing you can do to make her respect you, there is nothing you can do to make your BF make his daughter respect you.

The chances are very good that because you are only 13 years older than her that she will feel she doesn't have to listen to you.
I know the fact that you've never been a mother before should not be held against you, but you can bet if the daughter does not like you she will throw that in your face as well.
And the fact that your BF got extremely uncomfortable when you asked him about the situation with his daughter and the biomom is not a good sign either.
There are so many potential problems in this relationship that I would say No, it's not worth all the aggravation.

Glad to hear you are considering dating other guys before you decide to settle down with this one. I really do wish you best.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 10:26AM
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"My boyfriend definitely wants more children with me, and I don't resent his daughter in any way, however, I am a little bit 'disappointed' I don't get to be his first, y'know? Like I guess I've always had this daydream that I'd be the first with my husband, and I'd be the one to bear his first child."

Giving up that hope/dream is "settling". You're too young to settle. You are young enough to have this with someone that has no baggage... and the chances of being successful are going to be better if you find someone with no/less baggage. He may be a great guy but when you are young & give up a dream that could be a reality with someone else, can lead to resentment as it goes on... and the more aggravation you have to deal with (with his ex, with his older child, and ultimately with your children not being first or being treated differently... by him and his family), the more likely it will come to fruition that you will resent him for it and feel a loss. It would be a tragedy for you to be 30 & feel you wasted your 20's dealing with the problems HE created... and worse if you then have children with him that have to deal with it too.

Honestly, the tone of the OP is that you are willing to settle and if you were my daughter (my daughter is 21), I would tell her to keep looking and find someone that is EVERYTHING you want... including being able to experience having children with FIRST. (Now, I don't think that applies to everyone because not everyone has that desire to be the first wife or give birth to the first children... but when you know you do, do not settle.)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:38PM
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so have you researched that divorce decree yet?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 4:31PM
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My boyfriend and I are taking a 'break' until he is ready to discuss the situation which his daughter, her mother, and his past. @Reading, you are right, we are lacking in communication majorly, so again, we're taking a break until he's ready to communicate more, and I'm attempting to grow a backbone, and be a little more vocal with things I want (need) to know. And I never even thought of counseling! But if this relationship does progress, that is something I definitely think will be beneficial, not just for his and my relationship, but my relationship with his daughter as well.

@Amber, thank you! I didn't mean to seem biting, just when you said "wrong" I freaked, because I really don't want to come across to my boyfriend, or his daughter, as someone trying to take the place as another mom. I don't know what place/figure I will have in her life, which again, is why I asked the question, I know thinking I could be a stepmom is unrealistic, but I wouldn't want to be just a friend either. I want her to respect me, but know that I'm not trying to be a parent to her. That relationship would definitely be extremely complicated, but I suppose I'd be more of a 'mentor'? I don't know, any suggestions as to what my position would be?
I guess all I can do is hope for the best, and if the relationship progresses, do my best to earn his daughter's trust and respect. And hopefully she won't resent me.

@imamommy, it never even crossed my mind that I was 'settling', but you raise an extremely good point! 'Forfeiting' my fairytale is unfair to me, and ultimately, might be unfair to my boyfriend.

Thank you all again, it's helped worlds. Like I said, we're currently taking a break until he's ready to talk and take our communication, and relationship, to a more serious step. I appreciate your concern and advice! It's definitely been extremely enlightening and eyeopening. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Georgia - it's okay, no offense taken. I like your idea of being a mentor to the daughter, IF things work out.

There was something I wanted to comment on - I think if you have to go to counseling before you're even married, to me that does not bode well for the relationship. I don't have a problem with counseling if you are already married and are trying to save the marriage, but I think that if you're not married and are already having so many problems that you need to go to counseling, then maybe the two of you don't belong together.

But that's just my personal opinion, I'm no marriage expert.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 10:58AM
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"...but I suppose I'd be more of a 'mentor'"

I think if you do wind up in this child's life on a permanent basis, based on the age difference, this is absolutely the best way to look at it.

On other thing...I meant to bring it up earlier...several people replied with something to the effect of "your BF is probably being unfaithful to you"simply because you are in a long distance relationship".....WTF is is that all about? I hope you don't put any credence into what some of the bitter women around here think, that no man can ever be honest and faithful to a girl if he has even the slightest chance to cheat on should just look at YOUR situation, and judge your boyfriend by HIS actions, not some preconceived notion. I have been in a long-distance relationship (75 miles) with my GF for 4+ years and have never even considered doing anything behind her back, and never would, despite the fact the we only see each other on the weekends, and (except for the fact that I am a lousy liar) could pretty much get away with anything I wanted. There are plenty of good men out there that are faithful to their women, it sucks that some scorned women would love everyone to think otherwise....

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:04PM
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I'm glad to have some feedback on being a 'mentor' (assuming we do take our relationship to a more serious place). I'd think/hope that being a mentor of sorts would probably be the most beneficial and less awkward route to take for his daughter, myself, and my boyfriend. Maybe serve as a...mediator/bridge between the two? I want her to respect me and see me as somewhat of an authoritative figure, but I also want her to know that she can come to me with teenage things or frustrations a girl wouldn't normal be able to tell her parents. When my boyfriend and I first discussed his daughter (a while ago), he seemed to assume that I would be a mentor for her and help calm him from being a ridiculously overprotective/clueless dad; and I agree, I think that is definitely a position I could fill if this were to work out. But we'll see, it'll take some time and serious thought & communication to see if this is where I want to go in life.

@Amber, I wasn't really suggesting coupling counseling, but more of an easement/adjustment counseling. And only if the situation needed it. Counseling is not only a 'fix' for bad things, it's also a way to PREVENT bad things; and the only time I would consider counseling, is if my boyfriend and I thought there might be a potential issue with his daughter. And it wouldn't be counseling to 'fix' a bad thing, but rather to help all of us ease into a new life. I imagine (IF we do get married...way later on) his daughter would find at least a little discomfort in having a 27 year old suddenly as an 'authoritative' figure in her 14 year old life. Plus, 14 is a difficult age for girls anyway. So if the situation seemed to need it, I think counseling would be a very helpful way in easing into the transition, establishing my 'role' in their family, and helping her to see I'm not looking to be a new mom or overstep my boundaries. Counseling would allow her to tell me what she wants/looking for, what I want, and what my boyfriend wants. But again, this would only happen if we were to marry later on and foresee a potential tension. So I'm going to have to disagree with you on the pre-marriage counseling being a bad omen.

@mkroopy, thank you for making me sane again! I'll admit I definitely fell into the doubt 'trap'. I am confident in my boyfriend's loyalty, but when several people suggest otherwise, I do begin to doubt slightly (also doesn't help that I'm a serial worrier about everything!) But you are correct, men (& women) can definitely be faithful and it's disheartening to see that so many people think otherwise.

So, just for the sake of pacifying anyone else's concerns...there is a very low chance my boyfriend is cheating, and if he is, then I will eventually learn my lesson, but I can't go about my relationship distrusting him. He works Monday-Friday from 11am-7pm, goes to the gym/runs errands, and then gets home at 11 pm. The only time he would be able to 'cheat' would be on the weekends, which is when he has his daughter, so he wouldn't be able to. I think he's much too busy and occupied with his daughter and me, that even if he wanted to, there would rarely be a time for him to cheat.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 4:19PM
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You call 75 miles Long Distance MKroopy? In my book, that's merely 'inconvenient', with 'long distance' reserved for 200+ miles where regular dates just can't work.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:49PM
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LOL Sweeby, thats all relative...I would define 75 miles as a GU (geographic undesirable)75 miles where I come from is more of a weekend vacation destination.....

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:09AM
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I think you are making too much (too little?) of the 13 year age difference. When she is 14 and in high school, she will have teachers in their 20s. They are authority figures. To her, 13 years looks much longer than it does to you.

Do some reading on this forum as I'm sure you already have. The issues are much more complex than age difference.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 2:20PM
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LOL - OK I stand corrected, didn't know "long distance" had a strict definition....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Honestly, I think that the step-daughter issue is the least worrisome one in your story.

"I remember at some point asking him about it [his marriage, etc.] and he became extremely awkward and uncomfortable, and then distant for weeks afterward."

Georgia, sweetie, I don't mean to pile on, but I'm sure I'm not the only one seeing big, flashing red lights when I read that sentence. He may not be unfaithful to you. But this sure doesn't sound like he's being completely honest with you about something or other. There is something that made him uncomfortable and withdrawn, and it isn't just unhappy memories. To me, it sounds like there is something he is afraid to discuss truthfully. What happens when you ask him about, say, money, or where he spent his time? Is he willing to share information with you?

And I do admit that I am very skeptical of his judgment and honor given your age and his, as well as his parenthood, when you started your relationship. I too wonder where your parents, and for that matter his, were in all this.

Georgia, do you know his family? His friends? Or has he kept you hidden from them, and vice-versa?

It isn't just a question of having a spine. If you are uncomfortable asking even such a basic question as whether he was married before, and if so is divorced now, then this is not even close to a marriage-worthy relationship. Shoot, you shouldn't even have to ask; if he cares about you, he should tell you everything you need to know. People in love usually WANT to tell their beloved everything about themselves. I know you love him, and I'm not saying you don't love him enough or that he doesn't love you. But love isn't everything. It isn't even enough. I don't think he is being good to you. You deserve more respect.

I feel encouraged by what you wrote next:

"But you all are right in that I deserve the right to know what's going on and what's happened. And I will definitely re-evaluate our entire relationship."

You seem like a smart young woman. I'm glad you are "taking a break," and I hope you will not just mark time, but will truly explore all your opportunities and choices, including other men. Don't worry, it won't mean that you were wrong ever to have loved him. You don't have to regret it or feel you wasted time. But if you were my daughter, I would be hoping you would be moving on.

Good luck, honey!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:43PM
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My boyfriend and I have been together for just under a year. I am 21 he is 34 but age is not a problem. I am English and he is Polish which is again not a problem as he can speak perfect english. We have a lovely relationship and get on brilliantly. I knew that he had a child from a previous relaitionship who is now 5. The boy is lovely so polite and sweet and we get on great. My issues are that when we go out as a 3 i am forced to sit in the back of the car as his boy "must sit in the front" and to make matters worse they will talk in polish so i feel incredibly pushed out!! I didnt have a problem with this for the first couple of weeks as i thought that if i said anything it could alienate me from his son, however it is now irritating me. I love the relationship he has with his son its so nice to see and be a part of but i do feel like sometimes im being treated as the child. Last week they came over to the house that i share with my boyfriend and because his son wasnt feeling well and didnt want to eat they both left the dinner table and went to watch cartoons leaving me to eat alone with 3 full plates on the table and clear up after. Im nervous to bring this up with him as i feel he will just dismiss this as me being silly. The ex is not a problem as she is with a new partner and seems quite happy to have the alone time. what do i do???

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:10PM
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First thing is you should probably start your own thread because others may not find this. It's also what is known as "hijacking" someone else's thread, and is not polite.
But in answer to your question, if you don't feel important enough to your BF that you feel he will dismiss your concerns as "silly", why do you stay? While his relationship with his son is important, so should yours be as well. You should be able to discuss your concerns and have them taken seriously.
Talking in Polish when it's just the three of you isolated in the car is just rude. You should be able to say, "I feel pushed out when you do that. In the car it's not like I have the option of doing something else." If you see yourself in for the long haul you could ask them to teach you Polish and it could be fun for his son to help you.
While a child who is too ill to eat should not be forced to do so, the options IMO should be, sit quietly at the table while others finish their meal, or if too sick to do that, be in bed. Leaving you alone to go watch cartoons is thoughtless and rude.
If after raising these concerns your BF is dismissive, you really need to seriously consider whether you want to continue the relationship. It's unlikely things will improve for you if your BF thinks they are fine as they are and you will spend the rest of your time being low person on the totem pole.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 6:29AM
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