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I hate feeling like I have to compete with my boyfriend's 6-year-old daughter

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Question - (22 February 2006) 12 Answers - (Newest, 9 April 2007)
A female , anonymous writes:

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over a year. He has a 6 year old daughter that I seem to get jealous over. I feel really bad when I start feeling like that, I don't know what to do.

I hate the idea of being second in his life, even though I know that his daughter should be first. We do not live together but every time he says that he is getting her I get pissed off. The mother of his child also hates me and talks bad about me to his daughter so that doesn't help either. He baby talks with her and treats her like a baby, it makes me cringe. For God's sake he still wipes her butt after she does number 2. And he barely deciplines her like I would if it were my child. She is whining and bratty half of the time and it makes me insane.

I know that he is about to propose to me but I think I need to get past this feeling before we consider getting married. Sometimes I find myself just wanting it to be us and just us and I dont know how to get past that. I wish I could just be cool with him having a daughter but I never wanted to date a guy with a child it; just kinda happened.

I get the feeling that when we have children they wont be able to compare to his daugther, like they wont be good enough or as important to my boyfriend. Is this uncommon and how do I get past this? HELP!!!!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 April 2007):

i understand your frustration. you probably love the guy. but listen to this: i am a stepdaughter of an alcoholic bitch who is a psyco and abuses me and my sister in everyway possible. i am letting u know ahead of time as she gets older she will be more rebellious. why? b/c she is the daughter of divorced parents and its really hard on her. ever since my stepmom came into my life, my dad seems to not talk to me or my sister anymore. he even gets so angry at us and hits us for no reason (sometimes). so plz be patient, or my advice: FIND SOMEONE WHO HAS NO KIDS!!!!

WHY:

-because you wont feel the naturality of having "your own" family"

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 May 2006):

This is so common. I struggle with the same problem, only mine has 3 children. He told me tonight that he was tired and left my house early. I called him when he got home only to find out that he went to pick up his children after he left me. I found myself literally hating them wanting him to do the same. Problem is, I know better. I have a daughter of my own and if he was feeling like this about her, I'd be livid! You aren't going to just get over this. You need to find an outlet for your feelings. This isn't about the kids. This is about your own codependent ways that you have to work on. It wouldn't matter if it was work, friends, or his family, you would still feel the same way. The reality is that you are not competing. You and his daughter aren't even in the same category. However, if he is constantly blowing you off to be with her for fear that his ex might get mad, you need to talk. Tell him how much you care for him and you would appreciate if he could try to keep his plans with you. Of course, things come up and plans do get changed, especially with children. Good luck.

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A female reader, willywombat United Kingdom +, writes (29 April 2006):

willywombat agony auntGood to know that you can give objective advice female anon below.....*insane freak like her mother is*. C'mon.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (28 April 2006):

I feel exactly the same. I have been with my boyfriend for three years and we got engaged a year aog. We have lived together for a year and a half. All I can say is try your best to get on with her. Remember your kids will be better because they will be brought up by the both of you, not some insane freak like her mother is! If you manage to look past his daughter's faults and get along it will strengthen all relations, and you might actually come around to the situation. Also the older she gets, the less likely she is to be around anyway. Hope this helps.

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A female reader, Aunt Audrey United Kingdom +, writes (12 April 2006):

Aunt Audrey agony auntFirstly you have taken on a man who fathered a child before he met you, you must now consider your life with him with that in mind. He may well end up your husband and the father to your children, but that will not mean he is no longer this child's father, he will always be.

I understand that it is sometimes difficult coping with another woman's child, and how to discipline her when she is in your home or spending time with you both will need to be discussed, I dissagree with people that say step-parents should have no say in these matters, it often leads to problems later when other children come on the scene.

Your boyfriend probably feels guilty about the situation his child is now in and overcompensates, he is trying to ensure their relationship remains intact, a hard task when you are part time parent.

If you are thinking of marrying him you should really start to make some effort to bond with her. Take no notice of what his ex has to say about you, it's probably jealousy, and his daughter is too young to understand the dynamics of adult feelings. She will only repeat things parrot fashion.

You cannot blame his daughter for being in this world, and you should support and encourage their relationship, he will think more highly of you if he can count on you to be there for both him and his daughter.

She has obviously been through a tough time, when parents separate it cannot be easy for any child involved. She is no threat to you unless you make your boyfriend choose between you both, then sadly I think you will lose.

Say you get married to him and have children and things went wrong and you split, how would you view him if he just walked out on you and your children without a backward glance and moved on to the next woman, without wanting contact with the chilren you had together again? would you not feel for your children and the father they have lost, would you not resent him for it?

If you intend to stay with this man, please find it in your heart to give his daughter a chance, you may find given time you grow to love her, it will not happen over night and it will not be easy, but if you want to keep this man you should at least try.

If you know you cannot find the space in your heart for her, you have to let her father go, there are plenty of women who would willingly take on the challenge if you can't.

There is no reason to believe that your boyfriend would love any children you have together any less than he loves his daughter, they would all be his babies.

He sounds like a good man to me, and a good father, give him some credit and less of a hard time.

Good luck!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 March 2006):

First of all i would like to say to willywombat - if you have never been in this situation then how DARE you make comments like that. My boyfriend has 2 boys aged 6 and 8 and i feel sort of the same way. Its horrible when he feels guilty and i am the one having to do the telling off and he baby's them, trying to explain things to them when they are wrecking MY house!! My bf has even confessed to me that he "needs to by tougher" with them and he feels bad when he lets them get away with things but he STILL does!! And to be honest, it is only right to feel a bit left out. Also, i have to say, if he wiped their bums i would be very very worried!!

I think you will also find that 6 year olds are NOT babies. My bf's certainly isn't and he KNOWS he is competing with me, when he doesnt get things from me he twists bf round his little finger and gets what he wants, and bf knows this but finds it hard because of all this "guily feelings"! The 6 year old is very conniving.

I also hate feeling second best, but i know that my bf loves me as much as his boys so i deal with it, but that doesnt stop me feeling this way towards them. So before you shoot your mouth off, think first.

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A female reader, willywombat United Kingdom +, writes (27 February 2006):

willywombat agony aunt This is something you must overcome if you want to continue to have a place in your mans heart. For heaven's sake his daughter is SIX YEARS OLD!! She is not even aware she has to be in competition with her Daddy's new partner yet! And it is also perfectly normal for some kids of that age to need a little help in the toilet department....why are you even bothered about that.

Your BF babytalks her because (and get this ) SHE IS HIS BABY!! She is his little girl.

As for you having children, God help them and you. I dont know what sort of ideal child you think you are gonna have!! Just imagine for a second, that you and the BF split up andf your poor kids end up wwith a step-mum like you. Would you be comfortable allowing your kid(s) to spend time with her knowing the way you feel and the pure resentment you hold for her?

No person with views like yours should be let near kids as a step parent...when you evntually have kids of your own you will realise how precious they are. A six year old is a baby still and her Daddy can treat her any which way he please if it is his kid. He probably has a lot of guilt for not being there 100 percent of the time. They are little for such a short time and he is probably regretting the very short time he has with her.

I realise this view point will upset a few people, but quite frankly - tough!

You are an aduly and you should deal with your feelings now instead of behaving like an immature adolescent. I want my bf to myself and I want him NOW!! You are projecting all your insecurities about this girls Mum, your bf's previous partner onto this innocent little girl. So, sort out your feelings of jealousy and inadequacy and start treating this kid right. Or get on out of his and her life and let them find someone who doesn't see this sort odf life situation as a big competition!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 February 2006):

well done for speaking out and addmitting how you feel about this girl.

There is no written law that we must love our partners children, they are oftern difficult at best and demons at worst, so you have choices, if you love him then just grin and bear her, as the years go on the contact may be less as she will have her own life to lead so wont want to spend as much time with dad and step mommy.

Or you can ditch him and find a bloke without kids this way when you have kids together it will be new to both of you and you will not feel you have to compete.

It is very hard to have a relationship with someone elses kids, but you are with there dad so you will have to decide if it is worth it or not, if you decide to stick with him dont be false with her , just be yourself.

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A female reader, ladybaby +, writes (23 February 2006):

The little girl's is whiney and bratty? They pick up on adult feelings and behaviour, and not wanting to be harsh, but could she be learning this from you and her mother?

Children are very sensitivie to adult squables and arguments, and she might feel anxious around you. Make her feel a part of your life - it may be hard, but if you love your BF then it's worth it. Get her to help you bake biscuits or have a girly day of watching Disney videos, paint - do whatever! Throw yourself into the role of a six year old and enjoy it! Spend time with both of them together. If the mother is slagging you off, talk to your Bf about this, and discuss confronting her on neutral grounds to sort it out. The first priority should be the little girl, not a bunch of grown ups acting like kids.

As for the bum-wiping, talk to your boyfriend about ways of rewarding her as she learns to wipe-bum herself. Give yourself a chance to love something that is half him? And you might get it all back ten-fold... (Oh and if he does propose a very cute bridsemaid to boot!)

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A female reader, mystify +, writes (22 February 2006):

mystify agony auntyou really should try and find some space in your heart for his little girl, she is someone he loves very much without taking away from his love to you, his loves for both of you are very differant, does he know you feel this way?

if you love him then you should know how awful it would make him feel to know you feel this way about his child, why do you resent her so much? is it because she reminds you of a life he had without you? all that is in his past but his daughter isnt and none of it , ( her being here her parents split nor her father being with you is none of her fault ) she is a young child and she must come first , as for wiping her butt,all children vary in development some are still in nappys at 5! but as parents we have to love them all the same , you are or are about to become a parent figure in her life and she will need your support and love, you say you feel your children wont compare to his daughter , i dont think this has to be true, and im sure your partner feels the same about thinking his daughter may never mean as much as the children you have together to you .

its difficult but i had a child when i got with my partner and he was terible to my child when we first met just as you say you feel towards your partners little girl , but i can tell you for every time he sent out a single negative vibe towards my child i overcompensated for him therefore doing more of the things you say you dont want! and now we have a child together its like my first child i deal with & my second child he deals with , i wish we could just be a unit but my husbands jealousy of my first made this impossible

i hope this helps you

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A female reader, mommyofthree +, writes (22 February 2006):

mommyofthree agony auntThis is just something you either have to accept and move on or you need to break up with your boyfriend. If you are feeling this strongly about it now, I can only imagine how you would feel if you were living with him when he had his daughter. His child will always come before you, ALWAYS, and if she didn't I would think he was an idiot. He is trying to be a good father, you should feel lucky to have found a man that actually takes care of his responsabilities. You also need to deal with the way he parents her, you have no authority or place to parent her in any way and giving him problems because she is whiny will only put distance between you. Honestly, only you know if you will be able to handle something like this, if you can't then get out of their lives before te little one becomes attatched to you and you break her heart. Good luck.

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A female reader, beenthere +, writes (22 February 2006):

i think this is quite common. I have a 6 year old from a previous relationship. I now live with someone else who i have a child with. I know he cares about my 6 year old but has told me that it hurts that he's not his and i understand that, just as my bf understands that he can never be as important to me as my children.

I expect you feel more anxious because of his ex and the way he treats his daughter. it's not fair on any of you, including the child, that you are put down by his ex. If you have children with him, i am sure they will matter to him just as much. You need to tell him that you feel this way. a 6 year old shouldn't be treated the way he is treating her and your bf needs a kick up the backside for doing so. Tell him you are prepared to be step mum to her but things have to change a little.

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