Any advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2003
Any advice?
6
Thu, 10-30-2003 - 12:04pm
I have a 15 y/o daughter from a previous marriage, and I currently live with my boyfriend for the past 1-1/2 years. My daughter and I were on our own for a long time, and we have a very close relationship. Lately my boyfriend and I have been having some problems, which we have decided to try to work out. However, my daughter is very angry with him and actually told him she does nto want him here. They used to have a very close relationship and we all got along great, just over the past couple of months there have been the problems, and I think she is acting this way in an attempt to protect me, my boyfriend says she is trying to push him away to have me all to herself. I love them both very much and want out household to be stable. also of note, my daughter has had a lot of problems with her real dad, and really doesn't trust men in general. Now she says she can't believe I want to stay with him, I feel so torn between them I hate all the tension. Any suggstions?
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Thu, 10-30-2003 - 2:14pm
"I think she is acting this way in an attempt to protect me..." What exactly does your daughter say she wants to protect you from?
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Thu, 10-30-2003 - 4:41pm
Dont get me wrong, I didn't mean to imply physical abuse, just an instinct by her to protect me from being hurt.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 12:20pm

I think personally that your first loyalty here is to your daugther. now its possible that she is being manipulative, and that you and she have an "unhealthy" relationship, etc etc etc ---- and OTOH its possible that this guy is not right for you. its not an easy thing to deal with (I know first hand, I am in the process of getting divorced from my second husband, I have a child from a first marriage and its been very difficult for him). that doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a "life" but it does mean that you have to be very careful about who you let into the home where your daughter lives.


why is she suddenly angry at him? what happened between them? are you discussing "personal stuff" with her?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 4:53pm
If your dd doesn't trust men that much overall, then it would have taken a lot for her to trust your bf to begin with. So, as long as things were 'good', he was trustworthy. Now, she seems to think he is not ... she needs to have some help in learning to understand that relatoinships are not so black and white. Understanding where *she* is at, and figuring out how to meet her *there*, is one step here & some discussions with her are needed (more on that in a bit :-).

I think you're right that she is likely trying to protect you since she has likely seen that the problems with your bf have been upsetting to you. Assuming that the issues with you and your bf are not abuse of anything-related, and he genuinely wishes to try to work things out with you, I think you need to have a real talk with your dd and explain how every relationship can and will go thru tough times and that committment means hanging in there and working things through; that tough times test that committment, it doesn't break it. That there are certain problems that you would walk away from - abuse being one. Having a real talk with her about relationships in general - what to expect, learning how to differentiate between what you can and can't live with, forgive AND forget or just forgive and move on; how love can exist in the midst of turmoil; how misunderstandings and wrong expectations play their role in problems in relationships, and so on is important. More so now b/c of the issues she is seeing in her own home and how they are affecting her, but also as part of teaching her as SHE grows into the age where she will begin dating and making her own choices.

If you have been talking to your dd about the problems you and your bf have been having, you need to change courses (i.e. as you might with a friend; acknowledging there are problems isn't the issue; letting her see you dramatically upset where she feels the need to comfort or help you is different). It's very unfair for an adult to involve a child in adult problems and it will definitely create the role reversal of child protecting the adult. However, if she is just aware of issues due to arguing and tension in the home, addressing the fact that there is tension and telling your dd that yes, things are a bit rough right now, but you are working through them helps to ease her fears that you *need* protection from being hurt. In a way, she is as much protecting *herself* as she is *you*.

As for your bf, you need to address his telling you he thinks she is trying to get you to herself. There cannot be the mentality of 'divide and conquer' or 'strife and division' being played out here. Your issues together will only be intensified if he takes this route, not become resolved. He has to be willing to see how YOURS and HIS issues WILL affect her. SHe lives in the home; it's unavoidable.

If you two truly want to work thru the problems you need to learn how to provide a united front insofar as both of you needing to reassure your dd that you both care for her as well as one another. She is pitting herself against him. He is responding by trying to pit you against her and make you think the dd is doing something wrong in trying to 'get you all to herself'. You both need to be in agreement that she is separate from your issues together by spending time with her individually and all together; by talking to her, reassuring her and letting her know irregardless of what she says or *feels* right now, that you both still love *her*.

I don't know what the problems are. But if may benefit your dd to talk to a person with a special interest and expertise in working with teens who can draw her out to talk about how she feels without her feeling like what she might say will either hurt you or worry you as she works thru the various issues her relationship with her bio father have caused her and this most recent problem area with your bf for her own sake. Depending on the problems, being willing to go in and talk together as a family and gain an emotionally uninvolved 3rd party's clearer perspective may well help all 3 of you to see things differently and give you ways to respond to situations that benefit one another, instead of dividing you.

Good luck. I hope things work out for all of you!

cl-kkiana

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Thu, 11-20-2003 - 4:31pm
I think your instincts of her wanting to protect you from getting hurt emotionally are probably right. She wants mom to be happy but she has been there with you through her father and through your problems with the boyfriend. You need to remind your boyfriend that he has only been with you for a year and half...she has been a part of your life since her conception and will continue to be a part of your life until you die. He might not be although the both of you might have other plans. I would talk with your daughter and praise her for her caring so much and thank her for wanting what is best for you (although you might not think so...LOL) and I would tell the boyfriend to ease up, your daughter is part of your life and you and she are a package deal whether he likes it or not.
Avatar for heartsandroses2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: ciemom
Fri, 11-21-2003 - 11:37am
You're in a tough spot, but with communication it could all work out. I think that you need to talk with your dd to reassure her of her place in your life, thank her for her concern and, unless there is any verbal and physical abuse going on, gently explain to her your feelings for BF and both of your willingness to make this relationship work. Then, you need to explain the same things to your BF - he needs to know that you and dd are a package deal. That doesn't mean his needs or wants don't come first EVER, and it doesn't mean that your dd 'wins'. It means that you all have to work together as a family.

It is unfair for your dd and your BF to expect you to split your feelings in half. The fact is, if you and BF are living together, then essentially, you are playing house - and if you're playing house, than that means you should be behaving as a family - a family unit does not play on each other's emotions, they are not in competition and everyone is entitled to feel loved and important. And, it is not solely YOUR job to make this happen. You all have to work at it together.

One thing that helped my step family (I am remarried with two dd's from a prior marriage) was a little bit of family counseling wherein we all had the opportunity to talk about our feelings without being yelled at or glared at (LOL). Our counselor then taught us how to have family meetings wherein we could air our grievances and discuss family trips and weekend plans, etc - it wasn't always about major family problems.

Try to schedule alone time with your dd, have play dates, let her invite friends along on family outings and activities. Become a family unit. It's not healthy for her to consider your BF as a houseguest and that's what she's feeling when she says she doesn't want him living there. And if your BF shows any signs of hesitation about accepting you AND your dd as a package deal, then I'd definitely have second thoughts about this relationship. No way would I ever date or marry a man who didn't want to share in the parenting of my children or a family. No way. If he loves you, then it shouldn't be a problem.

Through communication, patience, cooperation from BF, and love, you can achieve the common goal of peace and joy in your home.

Hugs and good luck.