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KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
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I am 47, divorced 3 kids, 20 & 17(twins). My boyfriend is

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I am 47, divorced 3 kids, 20 & 17(twins). My boyfriend is 43, divorced 1 kid, 23 and pregnant. I posed a question to him about us yesterday.   I told him I believed that when people have children, that the relationship won't work unless the two people put their relationship first and all the kids are equal and come second.   He says that even if we get married, his daughter will always come first.   I'm trying to wrap my mind around what he means. He said he put her before his wife when they were married. He wants to talk to his friends about this. I asked him what friends and he said "it's private". I thought that was a weird response. He now seems quite angry with me. He said that he has been "pulling away" from his daughter anyway. She lives with her boyfriend and the baby is due in a couple months.   I pointed out that 6 months ago he was going to force her to live at home with him and stay in college. I thought that was insane. He still thinks it was a good idea.


-How long have you been together?


-Is this threatening your relationship?


-Are ou planning to get married or just talking about it?


-Have you told him how you feel about the situation?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We've been together over a year.

I think his relationship with his daughter would likely threaten any relationship he had with another female.

I don't think he has thought about marriage. His daughter is his first and foremost. I don't think he could reconcile his life to marriage if it meant that his daughter would not come first. I don't think he could utter the words "foresake all others".

I told him how I feel yesterday on the phone and we continued the conversation last night. He acknowledged that as a parent, he is over indulgent and that his daughter lacks some worldly experiences. He acknowledged that she is the most important relationship he has and that he even put her above his relationship with her mother when they were married. He acknowledged that he has played a parental role towards my kids, but when I asked him if my kids and his kid would ever be "equal" in his eyes, he said, "no." He said it's too late for him to change his relationship with his daughter. I told him she's not a baby. Her needs have been met. She's 22 maybe 23, I forget. She's going to be a mother soon. I told him no woman would want to be with a man who put his adult kid first and asked his partner to step aside. He disagreed and claimed that being a good dad should be a woman's concern and pride. I pointed out that being a good parent also means you dish out a little tough love now and then. I pointed out that a child's character is more important than getting your love tank filled. I said I would lay down and die for my children, but none of them are my partner in life. They either have or will have their own partners. I pointed out that I have no problem with my kids refusing to speak to me for any length of time if I have denied them something I do not feel is appropriate. I pointed out that I have made sacrifices for my kids that he has never made for his, nor would he (material things). He acknowledged all those things were true.

He seems to be pundering it all. However, I've seen him with his daughter. Tears come easy with her. I know he thinks she's just a sensitive little thing. I initally thought she was fragile or even unstable, but I have come to believe, after a series of things, that she's more manipulative and self serving than that. To me, she seems to be immature, unsophistocated and spoiled. She's polite and soft spoken, but seems to have two basic elements to her personality: clueless and/or coniving. He has said more than once that she has a lot of her mother's qualities.

The father of his daughter's unborn child is not educated beyond high school. He strikes me as what some would refer to as "redneck". He's polite but narrowminded and seems to be extremely unsophistocated. He has not married her and I believe he will be requesting a paternity test, and probably for good reason. They go to the Baptist Church every Sunday. He vehemently dislikes President Obama, loves blood sports and from what I understand once had an affair with her mother. I can't help but think they are two absurd hypocrits.   

My oldest daughter is two years younger than his daughter. My daughter also came from a small town with parents with limited education(s). Both I and my ex have 2 year degrees. My daughter has embraced education, embraced college life, embraced the chance to have and be and know something more than a trailer on her boyfriend's grandaddy's land and whatever is on t.v. that night. His daughter wants her life to be narrow and small. My daughter wants to grow.

If his daughter were like mine, wanting to leave, educate herself, explore life, make her OWN money, take charge of her life, than I am sure I would not feel this way. I'm sure I would just love her. I have trouble respecting any woman that deliberately gets pregnant without wedlock. (I work in child support enforcement so I'm a little critical of that kind of behavior; trap the man, make everyone feel sorry for you (eyeroll)).    

So yes, I have told him how I feel. He acknowleges it. He denies little of what I say and only to the extent that he believes the relationship with his daughter is and should be primary. He just rolls with whatever else is going down at the moment.   

I think my big problem with him having such a strong tie to his daughter is that she's such a half ass, that at some point, she'll be back in his house, with her illegitimate babies and if we're together it will be OUR house, OUR money, OUR lives she would intrude on and that would suck! Well, it would suck for me. He would probably love it.



Sorry I am late answering your question was having issues with seeing your question and kept getting an error page, I think it's more that he feels he has to take care of his daughter because she cannot take care of herself neither emotionally or financially. What he feels he is doing is taking care of his responsibilities whereas you see it as a hindrance because he should make her grow up and go back to school and get her education and find a job but he cannot make her do what she does not want to do, especially now that she is pregnant, I believe you are right about her being manipulating and conniving but he has to realize that and see that. What you are going to have to figure out is how much of this you are willing to put up with and how long you are willing to wait. He may never be ready to show tough love or make his daughter accountable or her boyfriend for that matter.


A good parent makes their children accountable and doesn't give up their own happiness for them, he has to find a happy medium between the daughter and his life with you and if he isn't willing to treat your children as an equal it will affect them in the long run, children are not stupid they can read people and how much they like or dislike them and your children will eventually see that he treats them differently than his own children. Just the fact that he said he is too old to change now means that he isn't planning on changing anytime soon, also the fact that his first marriage was pretty much the same as now should be a warning to for you, he seems comfortable the way things are and doesn't want to change it for anyone. You need to realize that either you put up with the way things are or you leave and find someone that has and wants the same things as you do. He isn't even willing to compromise in any way and at least he has been honest with you so if you do decide to marry him you already know what you are getting and it won't be a surprise. Are you willing to have to deal with this the rest of you life if you decide to stay with him or even marry him. Even if you gave him an ultimatum you would already know what his choice would probably be. It's up to you to make the final decision to stay or walk away and find someone that will put you and your children that are in the household first.


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