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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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I have been dating a man for two years. We introduced our

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I have been dating a man for two years. We introduced our kids about 4 months after we started dating. There are 6 total, but only two (both girls, same ages 11) that have recurring issues. We have chosen to date (seriously, monogamously) for the duration until the last child is a teenager on his way out the door. We've made this work thus far. Things with he and I and all of the other kids is great, BUT we have these two girls that can't seem to get over their issues. Actually, I thought they had. I feel (and witness) my daughter having found a happy medium where his daughter is concerned, but I have just learned that he has been dealing with ongoing antagonistic feelings behind the scenes with his daughter and he feels his daughter is being harmed by the interactions the two girls have. I was clueless. There is nothing overtly happening and in fact both seem to manage to spend up to four hours together before obvious issues of intolerance arises (that's progress, or so I thought). His daughter feels slighted by my daughter. If my daughter plays for two hours but gets up because she is bored his daughter will say, "well, she didn't play with me", or "she walked away from me". He feels his daughter wants more of an ongoing relationship (a friendship), while my daughter manages within the parameters of just the time the families spend together. That's it for her no outside interest in his daughter. I'm fine with that and thought they were too. I was blown away when he stated he "dreads getting the girls together". So, my thing is where does that really leave he and I? Do we just see each other just the two of us? Do we not bring the kids together (for five more years!)? Is that possible to create that type of relationship? I don't know how to move past that he's been feeling this way for so long. I had no idea the girls had not just come to a truce and were dealing with things. His daughter leaves most playdates or family gatherings "angry" or "hurt" he says and he says this has been an ongoing issue. Again, I didn't know this was happening in there house after we all spent time together. I am hurt, but scared because what I thought was an amazing thing is not so amazing I guess, but not because of he and I (we are an amazing fit 1:1 and see ourselves as completely committed to one another). Where do we go from here?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.

I understand what you are going through and I am sorry about this. I feel he should have been honest with you about it before, but I believe he probably had hope and did not want to hurt you. In my opinion since you both have such a wonderful relationship and have been dating so long I do not think that breaking off should be an option. It seems that maybe his daughter has issues within herself and adapting. She may end up having issues with any relationship her father could have if you were to not to see each other. By what you have mentioned I do not see anything really bad happening between the girls and believe his daughter may be overly sensitive. I am not disregarding her feelings, but I believe he needs to be there for her and talk with her about this as well as show her why it isn't as bad as she is feeling and how she can feel better within. Also, explain how the relationship can grow in time becoming a deeper relationship than just those few hours. Also, I agree with your plan of you all working it out together. I do not think you should change anything in your relationship due to this. I believe this is extremely fixable and his daughter just needs time to adjust. By her father being there for her and the both of you working through this it will help. Time also will be a big factor here. If you both are happy and see no true harm to his daughter as I do not see then I do not think anything should change other than the fact of him working with her as well as all of you together. As I had said this problem is within her and will come up in other areas in her life if it is not dealt with. By hiding her from issues instead of learning to deal with them and work through them will not be beneficial for her future. I do not see any "real" major issue that should cause major change of the situation. Hopefully your boyfriend will understand this as well. I would communicate with him and go from there to be on the same page.

I wish you all the very best and if I can be of further help please do not hesitate to reply.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should I continue to plan group events? To me, probably because it is fresh, I feel weird now going over to his house with my daughter in tow for an evening dinner knowing his daughter comes away with such a vastly different take on things in the end. Hopefully we can address this soon with them, but finding a minute with just the two of them is a challenge and may not happen immediately. In the meantime, do I just carry on as usual or should I just suspend family gatherings until this is resolved? Thank you for your time.

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.
I understand your concerns about carrying things as usual and why you would feel strange to do that. I think the best thing is to speak to your boyfriend and create a plan together. By stopping all together may seem like you do not want to be together and by continuing can make you see insensitve, so I do understand the situation you are in. By talking with him and letting him know how you feel and what you want as well as seeing what he feels will help you both create a plan that will work for everyone. I think lots of him talking with his daughter and continuing things together. Maybe even talking to your daughter, so she can be sensitive to the situation as well, but overall I feel things should continue on as usual as long as you both agree.
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience: I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
Jen Helant and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.

Hope all is well. Just wanted to follow up with you to see how things were going.

All the best,

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