My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2 years now, I truely do love him and he loves me. The only problem that we have is that he has a 4 year old daughter. I knew that he had a daughter when we first got together but I assumed that it would not bother me. He dated his ex for a very brief period of time (4 months) and she got pregnant and left him. She attempted to say the little girl was not his, he fought for his rights, and got visitation and pays child support. He is an awesome dad!
Then I came into the picture and started pressuring him because I am insecure about his ex, he started spending less time with his daughter and not seeing her and avoiding her mother at all costs. I realized how unfair this is and attempted to break up with him (several times) so he can be the father his daughter deserves, but he will not let me go. He tells me I’m the only positive thing in his life, and that he will do anything to make it work.
So, how do I deal with his daughter and ex? I feel like I will always come after them and that he will always be attached to his ex. Even though he reassures me he won’t. I feel like he will never be able to love our future children as much. I even had an abortion because I was so insecure about about our situation (and did not want be attached, and was scared that if I can pull him away from his daughter then maybe some other girl will be able to pull him away from my kid), and now feel guilty. I resent his little girl. She is super sweet and smart and she loves me very much, but it is so hard to deal with everything. I am always jealous and resentful, and make him feel guilty and torn. Any advice?
A: Before you can be a loving partner to this man, you need to do some serious growing up. It’s understandable that at only 20, you are insecure and immature. But that doesn’t make your attitude and behavior okay.
The reality is that the very qualities that make this man worth loving are the qualities you hate. Unlike many guys, he didn’t walk away from his responsibilities. He loves his little girl. He’s been there enough that she loves him. He’s an awesome dad and he wants you in his life. This is a man most women would give anything to be with.
But you’re so competitive with his past that you want him to erase it. Instead, you need to be embracing his daughter and developing a civil relationship with her mother. If you in fact stay with your guy, you will be coparenting his daughter. You, your boyfriend, and his ex will need to make joint parenting decisions that are in her best interests. In many ways, she is the first child in your family. Should you go on to have a child of your own, he or she will be special in his or her own way — as your first birth child. The man you’re with won’t love that child less, just differently — just as all of us love each child in our family a little differently.
If you can’t sincerely and wholeheartedly wrap your head and heart around loving your boyfriend partly because he loves his little girl so much, let him go so he can find a woman who won’t make him choose.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jan 2012
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Jealous of Boyfriend’s Ex, Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/11/jealous-of-boyfriends-ex-child/