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Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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im dating a guy who has a 18yr old daughter. him and his wife

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i'm dating a guy who has a 18yr old daughter. him and his wife got a divorce 13yrs ago and they both have this one daughter as a child. as a single dad with one daughter, he spent a lot of time with her when she was growing up. she is away at a college now but she wants to come home every weekend if she can to spend time with her dad and she calls/texts him all the time during the day/night...she will even text him to just to let him know what she is doing at the moment. he coached basketball for her team for years so i understand they spend a lot of time training. it just seems that they are both very obsessed with each other. she will get mad at him over the phone for no reason then texts him the next minute to say she loves him..and that makes him feel better. i don't even feel he has time to take my calls/texts since she is doing that all day. they hug and kiss (on face) everytime she leaves to go some where. she doesn't really like the idea of him dating either. am i paranoid or is this a little weird? he didn't really date in the past so he can spend more time with his daughter... i think they bonded very closely over the years as a result. even if they did, isn't it time for her to move on be little more indepedent? i would appreciate any advice. i've been dating him for 1.5yrs now.
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Thanks for bringing your question to Just Answer, and sorry for the delay in response.


Your friend and his ex split up when his daughter was about 5 years old, if I did the math correctly. This is a hard age for a child to lose a parent--even though he spent time with her and coached her team, it isn't unheard of for the child to have some attachment issues. So yes, it's unusual, but not pathological (at least judging from the information in your note).


The biggest issue, however, is whether the amount of attention you get in this relationship is sufficient to meet your needs. To expect that the behavior between the two of them will change is to set yourself up for disappointment.


When the daughter finds a boy that she's really interested in, the texts & emails should slow down. In the meantime, if you want to stay in this relationship, your best course is to ignore their communications, and focus only on what is between you and your boyfriend. This will be hard, but trying to impose your ideas of what is an appropriate amount of communication and affection between them won't work.


The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. His guilt for leaving (the most likely explanation for his behavior) and her insecurity over him leaving her at such a young age is not likely to change, and he will likely always put his daughter first.


If what he gives you is satisfying, do your best to let all this roll off your back. If the daughter sees you as a "threat" she will step up her attention-getting behaviors. Ask him to turn off his phone during your private time together--that way, he can still communicate with her, but you don't have to witness it and the drama that follows.


If you don't think you can handle this amount of interaction between them, it may be time to re-evaluate why you are with him, and how much you are willing to put up with.


I wish you all the best in working things out with him in a way that works for both of you,




Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience: Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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