Boyfriend has a teenage daughter?

Gingy12June 26, 2012

I came across this forum when I was googling, and wondered if anyone here has been in a situation similar to mine. I'm a fish out of water!

I grew up in a very traditional family. My parents are still married, and there are actually no cases of step-children anywhere in my extended family. I am only 27 (very young by California standards!), been single for a long time and focusing on my career. At this point in my life, I would probably not consider dating a father. I want children in the future, but not until I get married and have been for a while.

I met a great man about a month ago, and the relationship became very serious very fast. We have a strong connection unlike either of us have experienced before, and seem to want the same things for our futures. However, I just learned that he has a daughter.

His daughter is 14, the result of a teenage pregnancy back in the 90's. She has been raised by the mother's family in another state, almost like an adoption but not technically. He supports her financially as she needs, but has little contact with her. The last time he saw her was six years ago. When he has made efforts to be more involved in her life, she lashes out and he pulls back. He says that he doesn't interfere with her family's life and they don't interfere with his. He claims that she would have no effect on our relationship and vice versa.

I'm aware that continuing this relationship would not make me a "stepmom". But I'm very confused about the entire situation. My imagination runs wild. What if she shows up at his place wanting to move in? Doubtful, but I suppose possible. And what happens once she turns 18? Do many of his responsibilities disappear?

I just don't want to get to deep into something that could be bad for anyone involved. But I also don't want to walk away from what could be a healthy and stable relationship just because I'm afraid of what I don't know. Thoughts?

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The first question I would ask myself:

What kind of guy makes a child & doesn't stick around to be in the child's life?

Guys make lots of excuses but the bottom line is that in every jurisdiction, a father has a right to see his child & the obligation to financially support his child. The fact that his attempts were rejected tells me that he wasn't around when she was young, he may have hurt her repeatedly, etc. My daughter's father wasn't in her life & for a long time, she gave him the benefit of the doubt. It wasn't until after he lied to her several times, got her hopes up & disappointed her and made no effort to really be a part of HER life... she wrote him off. (and what I saw him doing was trying to get her forgiveness so he could feel better but what she really wanted was for him to think of her first, not himself) She's now 22, legally removed his last name from her & wants nothing to do with him.

Whether she would have an effect on your relationship is up in the air. She could show up needing something. It sounds as if he is fine with not having a relationship with her and thus feels her existence isn't going to have an impact on your relationship... but as I said up front, what kind of guy makes a child & doesn't live up to his role as a father? Yes, he may send money but children need parents & love & guidance, etc. What kind of guy doesn't mind having a child in the world that he knows nothing about? His absence from her life is probably going to impact HER life more than he's allowed her existence to impact his. To me, that is a very selfish person, not someone I would want to have more children with.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:57AM
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--" And what happens once she turns 18? Do many of his responsibilities disappear? --"

Many? What responsibilities towards this child does he have now besides sending what I'll assume is court ordered child support payments?

His 'many' responsibilities may or may not cease depending on what exactly is in his court order. Did he agree to assist child after age 18 via higher education fees ect? If she turns 18 say her senior yr of high school does his court order say 'that is it'?

What if she does arrive at his doorstep when she is 18 and free to come and go as an adult? Will the door be open to perhaps try and have a adult to adult relationship with his daughter? Be closed because she blew him off at age eight?

Fast forward in 'what if' and say you continue with this guy you've known a month. You get married (or not) and a child between the two of you is born. What happens if the relationship does not last? Will he just send court ordered support money and blow off all other contact with your child (and call it 'many' responsibilities) or will he be around to actually visit and build a relationship with yet another child?

No matter how wonderful I might think a guy is to have a noncommitted relationship with, I'm not sure I'd be willing to get serious fast (if ever). Considering that children seem to be a part of your desire in the future
I think you need to look really long and hard in how the guy has been towards being father material so far. Sure he was young back in the 90's. He might even be telling himself he did what he thought was best for the child at that time. But I'd really question the last 14 years and his now attitude of he's had 'many' responsibilities and now when she reaches age 18 he's done...she won't bother him, he won't bother her...--"He claims that she would have no effect on our relationship and vice versa"--

This could be your own child in this role in a few years. While the current child may not effect your relationship with this guy any future child very well could be a rinse and repeat if the relationship with the guy does not last. On the otherhand, who knows? Maybe the guy has grown-up, matured, would make great father the secondtime around and be intent on not only supporting but actually assisting in the raising, caring and loving of any future child. I would not race into getting too serious too've known the guy a month.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 8:30AM
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While I do share some of the points of view of the previous posters, I am a guy and probably look at the situation from a slightly different perspective.

"what kind of guy makes a child & doesn't live up to his role as a father?"

OK while this true, there may have been circumstances that you don't know about that make his actions not that of the "knock-em-up and run" monster that people may think. You stated that "She has been raised by the mother's family in another state"...the family may have stepped in from the start and made it difficult if not impossible for him to be involved with the child. They may have hated each others guts and decided it would be nearly impossible at that age to peacefully have him involved. Who knows, it may very well be that he ran away from having any involvement with the child, which I agree is a sh*tty thing to do. I would suggest really having a long talk with him about why he is not involved with her, and only if you truly believe him and are comfortable with the reasons, would I not cut my ties with him. But like I said, I would not necessarily run from him just because of this...people grow up and get more mature. I had my kids in my 30s and cannot even think about not being in their lives as much as possible...but my god, I cannot imagine what I would have done if I got someone pregnant in my teens....even though I am a good guy and a good dad now, teenage boys are not known for their decision-making skills. The thoughts of it delaying or ruining my plans for college and a career may very well have led me down the same path.

I wouldn't stress all the other "what if" stuff until you come to terms with understanding why he is not part of the child's life. And remember, you are not involved with the person he was as a teen, you are involved with him now. We all make mistakes in life. I look back at some of the things I did as a teen and just want to dig a hole in the ground and vanish...I am just grateful that none of my mistakes involved creating a child. It sounds as if he has made attempts over the years to make things better, and has also not tried to dodge his financial responsibilities, these are things that do show some positive character traits...lord knows there are enough deadbeat dad's around, it's good that he is not one of them.

I'd be cautious, but hold off on making any quick decisions based on some "black and white" morality issues....things are rarely as simple as they seem.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Apply the brakes.

When you/I/we find ourselves in a whirlwind romance, when the other person seems to be a *perfect* match, when we find ourselves thinking about "happily ever after" within a month of having met someone...
apply the brakes.

These are all danger signals, & countless people, mostly women, have had some very nasty shocks for going with their hearts & not analyzing the situation critically.

You just found out he has a daughter, which may be because he knows he can't keep her a secret from you forever;
I'd bet that that he has lots more "history" that he isn't telling you.

You're going by his claims alone, no verification from other sources...
& his claims are pretty much that nothing is his fault & people are just *mean* to him.

It sounds like this guy "swept you off your feet", which is a method con artists use all the time, because it works every time.

Regular guys don't sweep women off their feet, they don't mirror our every preference/goal/taste, they don't keep such things as daughters a secret until they're talking about a shared future.

When someone tries to make you *act* faster than you can *think*, that person wants you to do something that is good for him *& bad for you*, something that he knows you won't do if you stop to think about it.

Apply the brakes.

If he reacts angrily, or if he's bewildered & hurt, drop him & run.

Any reasonable person can grasp that someone would want more time, more information, more verification, etc.

Be careful.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Yep, of course he is some evil con man.....deep down all us men are, out to ruin the lives of unsuspecting damsels who open up their hearts to us. about taking the ball and running with god. The OP sounds like a rational, educated woman who is just looking for some guidance, some opinions...not some little girl from the farm that needs to be protected from all the big bad wolves out there....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Thank you all for your opinions! I do realize that in the end, it comes down to my decision. But hearing different points of view helps. He understands that I'll need time to consider all this, and while we have decided to continue getting to know each other (more slowly now), he is giving me the space and time to figure out how I feel about the situation.

I met him through mutual friends, and I don't believe he is a bad man at all. I'm just not sure that this situation is a good fit for me and what I want. That's what I need to decide.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:43PM
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didn't say a thing to or about you, mk, don't know why my post rubbed you the wrong way so much that you blew up.

OP does sound like an intelligent person;
I did not, nor would I ever, refer to her or any other woman as "some little girl from the farm" etc.

I never said "all men" are *anything*.

& I don't know what on earth anybody on an online forum could offer besides guidance & opinions.

I don't think people post on such forums because they have good men in their lives, working every day, changing the oil in the car, making sure everybody has a roof over their heads, communicating honestly & openly & effectively...

People post because *something* just ain't right.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:46PM
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sylviatexas - It's just that I've been thru this with you on other posts, you are always so quick to assume the worst in men. I specifically remember you advising someone to not only get a criminal background check on someone before a first date, but also talking to someone's ex for a character reference...which i still think may be the most paranoid, ridiculous advice I've seen on this board.

I have nothing personally against you....I guess I just sort of take offense to your presumption that most men are these evil people that have bad intentions in their dealings towards women. Sure they are out there.....but there are many good men out there that resent being viewed at suspiciously for nothing they have ever done.

"I don't think people post on such forums because they have good men in their lives, working every day, changing the oil in the car, making sure everybody has a roof over their heads, communicating honestly & openly & effectively... "

Uhmm really....then why am I here? I have a good, honest hard-working woman in my life for 4.5 years who is a great mom to her son, and a good friend to my kids. By your assumption, there must be problems with my relationship with her....or why would I be here? NO.....I am here because this is a STEP-FAMILY forum, and it's nice to talk to others raising kids in a non-traditional family situation and see the issues they go through and how they deal with them.

I'm sorry that something in your past probably causes you to have such a negative opinion of men that you feel it necessary to be so suspicious of us, but I can assure you we are not all bad....there's actually some of us that are nice people.

The OP will be can tell from her posts she is probably not one to "be swept off her feet" and make stupid decisions....the fact that this news has caused her to stop, think and gather information pretty much shows that.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:12AM
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There's a world of difference between protecting your safety & happiness & "being suspicious of all men".

I appreciate the fact that you contribute, & I'm sorry that you seem to take personal offense at my cautioning people to be careful.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 12:26PM
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I just think you take it to an extreme level like I've never seen before.....hey to each their own.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I find myself in a 'similiar' position.

When I met my husband, he was upfront that he had no children, however he was with a young woman 12 years ago, 16 years now that became pregnant during their relationship. They were in a a rocky relationship. He didn't speak badly of her but just said it wasn't a good relationship and then all of a sudden came a baby. My husband was 23. The young lady was 19. He was with her through most of the pregnancy but close to the end, the relationship could not be saved. He moved out. She called when the baby was born. He went to the hospital and asked for a paternity test. (I don't begrudge him for this, he had walked in on her during the pregnancy with another man). She refused the test. She told him he was not the father. He told her when she changed her mind to contact him. He went on with his life. He called her a few times and was told by her mother they would file harrassment charges against him if he contacted them again. So he left her alone. He worked at the same school district where he had been working for the next 12 years. She never contacted him.

Well I did some research (on my own) and I found the girl. I posted about this. She looks identical to my husband. I know in my heart this is his daughter. But at this point in her life, what good would it do to barge in
And start using the 'I'm your daddy' phrase? He agreed she does look like him and his grandmother. But he doesn't believe she is his because he really believes her mom would have filed for child support or something.

I used to worry about this all the time. What if she contacts us? What about our children? What about our future children? What about my child that is his stepdaughter? And what about my in laws? They were devastated when they found out they weren't really going to have a chance at being grandparents to this baby. As time went on, I have stopped dwelling on the what ifs. Sure this girl may show up one day but I can't waste today worrying about tomorrow. She is almost an adult at this point and who knows what she has been told. What she thinks. Where her mind is and her feelings along with emotions of not having a dad in her life. It's possible she HAS a dad in her life. She might have been raised by another man.

It's just not worth dwelling over.

I agree with mkroopy-- there are so many other factors that can be involved here. No one knows.

My husband is an excellent father. He is an excellent stepfather. But 16 years ago, he didn't know that he could file for a court ordered paternity test. Well honestly I dont think he could. The laws have changed so much. He wasn't in a financial position to wage a custody battle against this you g woman. If it happened today, I have no doubt that he would pursue every legal avenue to make sure that he has the right to be a father to a child that might be his. But 16 years ago? I don't think he knew or had the ambition to go forth on that circumstance. He changed into a different person after that. He lived a more 'careful' life. He didn't put himself into that position again. He grew from that situation and became the man he is today. People grow. People change. Just as they can become 'bad' partners and become our ex's. They can become better people from the mistakes they make.

I don't worry anymore about this child that may be my husband's. I can't worry until the day my doorbell rings. Then ... I'll be back posting about adult stepchildren that are distant and hateful :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 10:35PM
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