Call it quits bc of BF's daughters??

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-1999
Call it quits bc of BF's daughters??
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 1:08pm


Would therapy be good for teenagers and father?

I started dating my boyfriend 7 ½ years ago.  After one year, he asked me to

move in with him.  I lived with him for two years before I moved out.  We needed space.

He's 12 years older than I, has been married twice with a son in his 30's, and two teenage girls (15 and 16) from his 2nd marriage.  I have no children.

In the beginning, things were wonderful, of course as they always are.  Not just with us, but his girls.  They were a lot younger back then.  When we started dating, I was like the new toy.  They would jump all over me when I came over and he had them.  A little wild, I wasn't used to that.  But I went with it.  I was so crazy about him, and loved the thought of an instant family, as it appeared they were crazy about me.  We all got along well.  They started asking me odd questions for girls of their age, like my weight, what kind of car I drove, what town I lived in.  I'm sure this was from their mother, but I wasn't worried.  It was her that ended the marriage to be with the man she is now married to.

Back then, I knew we were going to be where we are today.  My boyfriend coddled the younger one to no end.  She started getting in between us, wouldn't let him hug me, wouldn't let him walk me to the car.  The signs were clearly there.  And when I moved in, she only got worse.  She came into our bedroom to tell me that it wasn't my bedroom, it was Daddy's, I was only staying in Daddy's house.  I was pretty taken back, didn't say anything as I was shocked and speechless.  I know what it was going on.  She was jealous.  I spoke to my bf, thinking he needed to spend quality time with them.  He was more persistent that I try harder to bond with them.  The more I tried, the worse it got.  I would come from work, go into the bedroom to change, and the two of them would be in bed watching tv.  They refused to make eye contact with me, wouldn't return my hello.  Every day he had them was like that.  I would have to gather clothes and change in the bathroom.  Finally I had a talk with my bf, telling him that I didn't think our bedroom should be the room of choice for them to hang out.  I needed my own space, a sanctuary to go to.  He complied and they started using the living room.  I continued to try and smile when I walked in from work, say "hi girls", try to make conversation, "how was school".  Nothing.  My bf's impression was they were just kids.  Of course it got worse, especially with the younger one.  If I got a haircut, she would have a nasty comment about it.  If I asked them to pick up after themselves, I was "bossy".  I continued to try.  I took them out to get our nails done together.  Took them shopping, out to lunch, bought craft stuff to do with them.  But could never break through.  The younger girl even told me that she doesn't like me and everyone knows it.  I spoke with my bf.  He said "That's just the way she is" or "she's just teasing you".

Two years of this and it just blew up.  I ended up moving out, temporarily as he just wanted to see what would happen.  I still tried to keep in contact with the girls through texting.  My bf asked they try and communicate with me.  So the younger one sent me a text telling me she doesn't love me, but kind of likes me, and she doesn't want me living there 24/7, but I can come visit.  I replied back telling her that it was between me and her father, which I heard made her cry hysterically.  Unbeknownst to be me, she was at a friend's house that day.  Although she wouldn't show anyone the message, I looked like the horrible adult and felt awful about it.

Things just got worse and we ended the relationship.  It was a few months until he contacted me.  We talked and wanted to work things out.  We loved each other and wanted to be together.  I thought for sure I can "fix" things with the girls.  He was at my apartment one Sunday morning when his older daughter called him.  She asked where he was and was upset when he told her.  Later that day, their mother calls telling him he needs to come over and talk to the girls.  I waited at his place for his return.  They both were literally crying over the fact that we were together.  They told him they felt I was trying to take him away from them.  When he pointed out all of the things I've done for them, they told him I was trying too hard.  I was so upset.  I couldn't believe my ears.  I saw it as complete manipulation.  But he is incapable of seeing the same.  They are his children, and he needs to consider their feelings.  How could he not see it?  They were contradicting themselves.  I was lost.  That was 2 years ago.  We stayed together for another year, but again the stress from the girls made it unbearable.  We couldn't move forward with our relationship because of their harsh feelings toward me.  I wanted to get married, but there were always issues.  I finally came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to happen and told him I can't do it anymore.  And we broke up again.  This time, after just a few weeks, he told me that he doesn't want to lose me, let's get married.  But once again, when I went to his house and the younger girl saw me, she went to her room and refused to come out while I was there.  Now she refuses to see him when I am around.  I wasn't invited to the older daughter's extravagant sweet 16 party.  Over 100 people invited and she didn't want me there.  I don't know how much more I can handle.  He tells me that he talks to them; he tells them that he loves me and when they are rude to me, they not only hurt me but they hurt him as well.  I don't think they care.  I think they are just mean kids who are choosing to dislike me, and I honestly wonder if that can ever change.  They've never done counseling, I suggested it on more than one occasion, he finally agreed last week but hasn’t acted on it.  When I asked him, he said he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.  I’m at my wit’s end, not sure how much more of this I can take.  Do I push for therapy again?


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 3:47pm

The problem is not the daughters but your bf.  He is putting up with this behavior from his kids knowing full well how it makes you feel.  Has he asked them straight out why they are acting like this?  Why don't they like you?  Do they act the same way with the wife's new husband?  Have you any idea why they are acting this way towards you, given that you've had a relationship with them for 7 1/2 years?  It seems odd that the relationship went from good to bad, so something must have changed at some point?  If any therapy is done, it should be with the girls and their father, but then you also need to be brought in at some point if you plan to marry this man.  Good luck, this is a tough one.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 5:29pm

I am not giving much hope to this relationship.  I think the time for therapy would have been when the girls were young and started acting like they disliked you.  Actually I think there probably would have been no need for therapy if your BF had acted like a father at that time and put in boundaries, like not allowing them to say mean things to you, not letting them hang out in your bedroom, etc.  They discovered early enough that they could manipulate the situation--after all, they got you to break up twice.  I think the issue really isn't with you since they liked you at first and it doesn't seem like there was any one particular issue, like you & their father disagreeing about something.  It was the jealousy, as you pointed out, so it would have happened to any woman.  Your BF made you do all the work here--what was he doing to try to make the situation better?  Did he ever have the talk with his DDs about what was happening?

I've seen this kind of situation posted about a few times over here on IV and it never seems to work out--by now these girls are probablay entrenched in hating you for no reason so even if you waited until they were away at college, I think you'd have a life time of them disliking you, which would make all family events awkward.  Your BF might be a great guy in other areas but he really didn't have your back here, so I think it would be best to break things off completely and hopefully you'd find another guy who didn't have the kid problem.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 6:55pm

I'm having a hard time figuring out when things were "wonderfull".  You say you dated him for one year, and then moved in.  Then you say, (The younger daughter) started getting in between us, wouldn't let him hug me, wouldn't let him walk me to the car.  The signs were clearly there.  And when I moved in, she only got worse. Therefore, before you even moved in, the kids didn't like you.   So things have been bad with his kids for at least 7 of the 7 1/2 years you've been together?? 

Your bf & his kids do not need therapy.  He is perfectly happy with his daughters the way they are, and they are perfectly happy with their dad, as long as you are not around.  For the whole time this has been going on, your bf has put his daughters first ( which I applaude), and made no move to change their opinion of you.  You need to move on.  Nothing here will EVER change.  Why you've stayed this long is a mystery.  Why be around people who clearly do not like you?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 12:49am

I agree with everyone else.  This problem is because your b/f isn't giving them any discipline, any rules.....and doesn't back YOU up at all.  The only thing I see in your post where he did ANYTHING at all to make them change was when he told them that they should stay out of the bedroom.  I will bet that the Mother, even if she was the one who ended the marriage, is putting ideas in their heads, too. Not because of the father, but to make sure they don't like you more than her.  Also, are you two planning marriage at all?  There might be more respect if it was seen by them as a permanent relationship rather than Dad's girlfriend.  In a relationship like this, even if you're married, it is up to their father to discipline them, not the step-parent. I thnk more than therapy, they need discipline and rules.  Respecting their elders, no matter WHO they are would be a good start.  And their father needs to lay down some house rules.....they are to respect you, they are to do what you ask (i.e.pick up your clothes).  They are to understand that it is not ONLY their father's home, it it YOUR home whether they like it or not.  These girls need to be given rules, and if they don't like them, then they shouldn't be able to stay in your house.  Soon they'll be grown and iiving lives of their own......and you'll be alone, if things aren't changed.  Dad needs to be a  PARENT.  And if they mouth off to you when he's not around, then he needs to be told, and he needs to do something about it.   

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-1999
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 10:10am

He tells me he talks to the girls, telling them that he loves me and when they are mean to me, it hurts him.  He has asked them why they don’t like me.  They felt I was taking him away from them.  But when he pointed out all of the things I’ve done for them to try to bond, they said I try too hard.  They’ve said I was too bossy, which I could see where they would get that.  My bf is a slob, and they’ve never had to clean up after themselves when at his house, so the house was always a mess.  I moved in and tried to make it a home.  Tried to get the place in order.  They didn’t like the change.  I had him backing me on this, but the girls knew it was coming from me.

I also know their mother didn’t care for me.  Even though she cheated on him, I know there is a bit of jealousy there.  It’s gotten back to me that her family has made quite a few nice compliments regarding me, I was athletic, did a lot of running and yoga.  I heard that a few of her family members said something along the lines about how pretty I was and how did he get me, in jest.  And I often get compliments when out and about which the girls are present for.  I’m sure all of that didn’t help.

But yes, ultimately, I know it’s my bf’s fault.  He had the guilty parent syndrome.  The girls would come into bed with us in the morning to watch tv, snuggling up with their father.  I would get close and try to cuddle with the younger girl.  She jerked away, giving me this nasty look.   She was a huge grump in the morning, especially towards me.  He, seeing this, would pick her up and coddle her, saying “do you want me to make you something to eat?  Let’s go downstairs and I’ll make you breakfast.”  I tried to tell him I didn’t think he’s handling the situation right, I believed he was letting her know it was ok to treat me in that manner.  But he’s way of thinking was he was showing them and teaching them unconditional love.  I saw what was coming.

We’ve been trying to work things out because we do love each other very much, and we have discussed marriage. I know the girls won’t be happy.  That’s why I’d like them to get into therapy to talk about their deep rooted issues.  Perhaps they will realize they have no reason why they don’t like me.  I know things won’t change drastically.  But things are literally hell when they are around.   One doesn’t talk to me at all, just giving me nasty looks, and the other will talk a little, but looking elsewhere to prevent eye contact.  I’ve discussed these issues with my BF.  He wants to work through them, as he wants a future together.  But after I see them, I’m at my wits end.  And it’s gotten to the point that when he even mentions the younger girl’s name, I cringe. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 10:21am

I think if anyone goes to therapy it should be you & BF first.  He created this situation and he needs to hear the opinion of a neutral person.  Maybe the therapist will want to include the girls, I don't know.  And maybe after talking to the therapist you will decide this isn't right for you.  I just think no matter how great this guy is otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for a lot of heartache.  My kids didn't really like my 2nd DH (who had psych problems, so I don't blame them) and I always felt I was in the middle, but I'm sure it wasn't fun for him either to know he wasn't liked.  I contrast that with other relationships I see where people with older kids are getting together and at least the kids treat the new BF or GF nicely even if they don't look at the person as a parent figure.  I just think there is too much history here and they aren't going to change, until maybe much later when they are adults themselves and more objective and out from mother's influence, if she is the one saying bad things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 12:33pm

If either of you know anything about child psychology, "guilty" parenting only makes for monster children.  Parents of addicts give them money for drugs......because they don't want the children to hate them.  Meantime, the children are going to kill themselves on drugs!  This isn't as drastic, but it's the same idea.  HE.......your spineless b/f, needs to put on his big boy pants and TELL these girls what is expected of them.  Meaning RESPECT for you.  No one says they HAVE to like you, but they need to learn respect for adults in general.  If they don't like a teacher in school......are they allowed to disrespect that teacher?  So, big deal, he had a " talk with them"!  He needs to sit them down and TELL them that you are important in his life, and they need to give you the respect that you deserve.  So, the house was messy when he was alone?  He's a man, and men can be slobs.  You're the woman of the house now, and you want ti clean, and I'm sure you put plenty of time in keeping it clean and neat.  Maybe their mother allows them to be messy, but that only means that she's guilty parenting too.  Children emulate the same-sex parent, and it's nice that the girls are close to their Mom, and still love their Dad, too.  But they NEED to learn that Dad has just as much right to "move on" as their Mom did.  If I were in your position, I would tell my b/f that if he doesn't get some spine and MAKE his girls behave, etiher that or ban them from visits until they accept you........then I'd walk.  Simple as that.  He is their Father and if he can't make them behave, then you're fighting a losing battle.  Right now, he's more worried about them loving HIM than holding on to you, which would require tough love, and accepting nothing less than respect for you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-1999
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 1:39pm

I know he is afraid his girls will block him out, as that is what their mother did to her father, which I knew, but not the reason.  Their mother didn't like her father's new wife and ended contact with him.  Learning of the reason freaked me out quite a bit.  She is a mother who has no issue with her children being disrespectful to adults.  Very sad.  I was raised completely differently.  I don't know how much longer I can give this.  I continue to wait to see if he will do the right thing, but I think it's time I put some sort of time limit on it.

Thank you all for your support and advice.  You all have reiterated exactly what I've been feeling.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 2:34pm

I am in your BF's situation and my DH is in yours.

We thought since my DD was only 6 when we got together, that the transition to the teens would be easier.  Not easy, but hopeful that the "you're not my dad" thing would be lessened because of how long he had been in our home.


The short version is the kids don't want to share their parent.  Period.  Especialy when BM or BD is in the picture.  Not going to get into how much is parenting and how much is normal pre-teen, teenage stuff.  

We waited 7 years to get married, and will celebrate our first anniversay next month.  He had aprehension until he talked to my DD14.  To be honest, even though she said it was okay to marry her mommy, deep down kids still wish their parents were together.  

It is a tough call, and only one you can make.  Granted, eventually they will move out BUT....they never go away.   

Come over and lurk on Making a Marriage Work.  We also have a section for 2nd marriages.   I am not going to tell you to end it all, but I will tell you that if you don't, you and BF will have a lot to work through and as the girls age, it will always be changing.  One problem passes and another one comes up.  It is a balancing act to focus on a marriage and raise kids from another relationship.  

If you are seriously considering ending things, do it cleanly and respectfully.  

Honestly, if my DH had a little one, I couldn't have done it.  I would have never, never let him move in with me if he had a little one.  Nor could I have moved in with a little one.  His were already teens when we met.  I think my DH was crazy to stay with me and even crazier to marry me.  Up until our marriage a year ago, I would not have blamed him one bit if left.  

And if my DH dies tomorrow, I will be single until my DD14 moves out.  Never again.  

Sorry for all my babbling on such a long thread.  I hope something in there is helpful.

Serenity CL making a marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-1999
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 2:57pm

I will check out those boards.  Thanks!!

I was thinking about talking to the girls one on one and try to break through.  The look/stare the one girls gives me really boarderlines on evil. I can't say that.  She is my BF's daughter.  But the stare she gives me is so harsh and mean, so hard to take and smile and be pleasant.