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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Extensive experience fostering family relationships through consultation / counseling.
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My boyfriend ( we are both 50) is struggling with his relationship

Customer Question

My boyfriend ( we are both 50) is struggling with his relationship with his daughter. He has been divorced about a year and his 18 year old daughter will no longer talk to him or have anything to do with him. He is very upset about this. She blames him for her parents divorce and says she can never forgive him. This has put a huge cloud over our relationship as he is often sad. I want to know if there is anything I can do to help him cope with this situation.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

I'm sorry to hear your boyfriend is going through this and how it's affecting your relationship. You mentioned that you're not comfortable giving him advice on what to do. I wonder, however, if he would like to hear it. You've been together long enough for you to see how this is affecting him and you obviously care about him a great deal. Being together means you respect one another's opinions and ideas. While it's wonderful that you're there for him by listening when he's upset, it's perfectly OK to ask him whether he'd like you to help him to come up with some ideas for what to do. By asking if he wants your advice, you'll know if he's comfortable with you helping him and it will show him that you're thinking about his problem as your own.

Keep in mind that the divorce is relatively recent and his daughter is still young. This may improve with time (and her maturity) on its own, but there are certainly some things he could try in the meantime. A sincere letter that simply states he's sorry she's hurting and he loves her would be a good first step. The letter could include an open invitation for her to call if/when she wants him in her life again. Even if the letter doesn't receive a response, a similar letter could be sent periodically just to remind her that the invitation stands. Hopefully over time she'll come to terms with the anger she's feeling and be open to rebuilding a relationship with her father. While you might suggest doing something like this, ultimately what happens is completely up to your boyfriend and his daughter.

In the meantime, I'd suggest you do what you can to provide support for your boyfriend. Check in with him on occasion about how he's feeling, ask if there's anything you can do to help, and continue to do things together that you enjoy to keep his spirits up. Be open and honest with him about what you're seeing. He may not realize if he's sliding into a depressed mood or if he needs some extra support to help him through this. I wish you both the best of luck!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am curious if this is common (for older children to be so angry that they are willing to give up their relationship with their parent) in divorce situations. My children seemed to be able to accept my divorce. It might help if I could tell my boyfriend that he is not alone in this situation.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It's been 6 months since you replied to my question. I received and email saying that I could ask a follow up question.


I followed your original advice. His daughter did respond to his letter with a phone call. She told him to never contact her again. Our question now is, do we honor her demand or should he continue to tell her he loves her and is open for a relationship again when she is ready? Thank you.

Expert:  Jennifer replied 5 years ago.
The letter he sent -- It said he is open for a relationship when she is ready? If so, I'd respect her wishes for now. She knows the offer stands. After some time has passed, you both may feel the need to attempt contact again or to simply send another note expressing the fact that the offer still stands. This will be particularly true if something happens down the road that might warrant notification (change of address, illness, etc.).

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