Q: I have been dating a much older man for four and a half years now. We get on great and are happy except for his daughters. They are a similar age to me, in their 40s and they find our relationship “disgusting”. Their mother died in a tragic accident about 30 years ago so they only have their dad. I am not welcome at his family events and I feel that my boyfriend doesn’t stand up to his daughters enough. We have split up twice, because of his daughters’ objections, but I begged him to come back to me. I have only met his daughters a couple of times and the atmosphere is hostile to say the least. What can I do about it? I believe their dad deserves to be happy after all he lost his wife. What on earth can I do to improve things for all of us???
A: Well they sound like charmers, don’t they? Talk about wicked step mother, these are more like wicked step-daughters. While it must have been very painful to lose their mother in their teens there is no excuse for not considering their own father’s happiness, especially three decades on. Have you been able to talk to the girls on a one-to-one basis? Has your partner expressed to them how much he feels for you? Has he told you how he feels? Four and a half years is a long time to date so you obviously have a strong relationship especially under this extra pressure. I think it is time to ask your partner to put his daughters straight. It could be that they are more concerned about their financial situation, than the memory of their mum. I’m sure they were less concerned about leaving ‘poor old dad’ in their teenage/ twenties and started love lives of their own. They need to grow up and stop playing the martyr. I imagine that they must have had boyfriends that their dad considered unsuitable but he let them get on with their choices and make their own mistakes, and was no doubt civil to the boyfriend concerned. You already have a successful life of your own, with your own assets. Maybe you could discuss a financial agreement with your partner if your relationship looks like it is to be made more permanent? Blended families are much more common today. Usually problems occur between children and a new step-parent, not between adults. You deserve a loving relationship with someone who really wants you. I am not suggesting that he write his daughters out of his life but you need him to take a stand and leave the door open for them to compromise. If he is not willing to include you in his family life, you may want to consider moving on, however painful that seems. You are not a second class citizen.