Boyfriend’s Daughter Wants To Be His Wife

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

How do i deal with my boyfriend’s 37 year old daughter that treats her father’s relationship with her like husband and wife? it is like she is in love with her dad and wants to be his girlfriend and not his daughter. She does everything that a wife/girlfriend would do and constantly lies and manipulets stories and situations with her dad. She has a history of this with anyone he has dated. Her mother and him were never a couple so its not an issue of wanting her dad to be with her mom.

A: The simple answer to your question is that you don’t deal with this situation. Your boyfriend needs to do it. My best guess is that his daughter is too dependent on him and she is therefore threatened whenever he gets into a relationship. The fact that this has gone on for a long time and in reaction to other relationships besides yours suggests that your boyfriend is either oblivious to how unhealthy this is or he is getting something out of it as well.

Something this long-lasting is hard for people to stop on their own. I suggest you talk to him about going into family therapy with his daughter to help them extricate themselves from this patttern of interaction and to reestablish an appropriate father-daughter relationship. If he won’t do this (or something else to take charge of the situation), I’m sorry to have to tell you that I don’t think your relationship will last. His daughter is far more practiced at asserting her needs with him than you are. I hope he values his relationship with you enough that it motivates him to take action.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Boyfriend’s Daughter Wants To Be His Wife. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/12/boyfriends-daughter-wants-to-be-his-wife/

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