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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1678
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I have been dating my boyfriend year now. s son likes me,

Customer Question

I have been dating my boyfriend for a year now. His son likes me, doesn't have a problem with me. But his daughter, I have met, but she doesn't like me being around when she's here. Granted, I am living with him, and he tells me I have to leave when she comes. I pay rent to live here. And I know it's about respect, but she comes up 24/7 and I have stuff to do here at the house. But if course, I have to leave. I love him, but I'm tired of fighting for his time and attention. I need help.
JA: The Psychologist will know what to do. Is there anything else the Psychologist should be aware of?
Customer: No.
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Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Dr. Jackie, an interpersonal communication researcher/professor and relationship expert. And first, I want to tell you how sorry I am that you are dealing with such a tough situation. Secondly, I want to say that you surely are one of the most patient partners! Many women would flat out refuse to leave and be respectful. Your actions are extremely respectable--almost to a fault!

That said, I'm guessing your boyfriend has the lease or mortgage in his name, right? So in that sense, it is "his" house. However, legally you may know that that is your residence now too. Since you even pay rent, that is all the more reason it is YOUR house just like it is your boyfriend's house. No one should dictate when you can live or be present in your own home. I know you are being extremely respectful, but you are not receiving respect in return. What if you are in the middle of a project or cleaning or doing laundry or whatever task it is--are you supposed to just throw everything down and leave? This simply is not fair to you.

You know what I'm guessing? Not only is your boyfriend expecting too much from you, but I also think he is blind to how manipulative his daughter appears to be. Just showing up whenever she wants to is not appropriate. She apparently is at least a teenager if not older. She is old enough to understand that it is your house too and that you have been doing everything possible to be respectful to both of them. However, enough is enough. You have been together for a year. If she does not like you, that is one thing. But it sounds like she may be intentionally just showing up to "prove" to you that she is really in control. In other words, she KNOWS that when she shows up, you leave. She does not want you around. But it gives her MORE POWER and CONTROL over her father's time and attention to just "show up." The more she can inconvenience you, the more power she gains. And the more she wears you down. The more she wears you down, the thought is that you eventually will give up, break up with her dad, and then she won't have to compete for his attention.

Having said all of that, I think you need to have a long, serious talk with your boyfriend. Be honest with him about how you feel. I truly think he is out of line. And if he truly loves and respects you, he will listen and try to understand your feelings. You can show him what I wrote--that may help him to see it from a relational expert that his daughter is manipulative and controlling--and that he is ENABLING her by going along with it!

My hope is that you two are able to reach an agreement that you both need to sit down with the daughter and explain that you are entitled to live in your home and be there as you need to be or want to be. She is not. And maybe the three of you can agree that unless it's an extreme emergency, she needs to schedule visits with her dad ahead of time and work around your schedule. Certainly if it's an emergency and she needs to talk to her dad, that would be the exception. But as a rule, she has to respect your schedule and when you typically are at home.

I hope the above makes sense and is helpful. Please let me know if you want to talk more, have more questions, or would like more direction. I will also give you my contact information so that you will have it in case you want to make an appointment to talk with me on the phone or via Skype.

Take good care,

--Dr. Jackie

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