Even though the bond between your daughter and boyfriend may be purely innocent, I think you are right to be concerned. As a therapist who specializes in trauma, I have heard way too many stories of sexual abuse. Some affection is normal, but I must admit that what you are describing here sends red flags up for me. I’m also curious how he relates to your boys. Does he also demonstrate physical affection toward them? This may be your best guide, in that he shouldn’t be treating them differently, and if he does there may be a problem.
Like you said, your comfort level may have been affected by your own upbringing. If your father wasn’t physically affectionate you may have a low threshold. However, a teenage girl seeking male attention and a fairly new “father figure” who seems eager to give it, could be a recipe for disaster.
I think it is best to speak to your boyfriend again, but be much more firm in what you expect and what you are comfortable with. I also think it’s a good idea to speak to your daughter and ask her if his affection and attention ever make her uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times a client told me that she felt that her mother should have “seen the signs.” You may end up offending them both, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts