It’s really, really important to remember that you are the adult and she is the child. You are not competing with her for your boyfriend’s attention. You need adult attention. She needs the love and attention every child needs.
I do not think this child is jealous. I think she is traumatized. She is only two and has lost her mother. Separating her from her mom may absolutely be the right thing to do but a little baby doesn’t have any way to understand that. All she knows is that her mother has gone away. It sounds to me like she is clinging to her daddy because, in her baby way, she doesn’t want to lose him too. You and your boyfriend need to talk to a therapist who can help you learn how to help this little girl feel more secure. If you two go forward in this relationship, you will need to do some serious work together for her to understand and learn to relax and to accept you into the family.
In the meantime, go slow. You are not going to be able to turn this situation around during a visit so it’s better to not push for change. Start out by just being a friendly person in their lives. She needs time to learn that you are not a threat. You and your boyfriend need time to learn what it’s like when you are on the same couch, not on line. By all means, wait for your turn for your boyfriend’s affection when she is napping or in bed for the night.
Please be patient with the situation. Going slow now will pay off in the future.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on February 2, 2007.