Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
marilos87
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Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby marilos87 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:17 pm

Hello Scarleteen,

I’m having some issues with my boyfriend right now. He has an 11 y.o. daughter from a previous relationship. Her and I get along great and my family loves her. The only problem is that he never lets me or my mom watch her when he can’t find anyone else to watch her. He then often takes it out on me that he couldn’t do whatever he had to do because he had to watch his daughter. The thing is that she’s 11 and she really doesn’t need to be watched. She sits in her room all the time reading, writing, watching tv, etc. and when me and her hang out in her room I’ll do her hair, I’ll paint her nails, I’ll watch movies with so if I ever did watch her that’s what I’d do with her. I’ve even offered to let her come over and bake cookies with me and my mom. Anyway, if you ask my boyfriend why he won’t let me watch her he’ll say something along the lines of “I don’t want to put the burden of watching her on you”. That’s understandable, I guess. I wouldn’t really be watching her though, like I said earlier, she knows how to occupy herself and I know how to cook if she gets hungry if that’s what he’s worried about. I feel like he doesn’t trust me. He’ll let his parents watch her, his sister watch her, and he’s perfectly fine with her having sleepovers at friends houses and having her friends parents watch her but if I want to watch her he won’t let me. The sad part about this is that she always asks him if she can come to my house (she loves my cat) but he always says no. Even my mom has asked when she’s coming over again. It’s been almost 2 yrs since the last time she’s been over. What’s my boyfriends deal? Am I overreacting or should I be concerned about this?

Heather
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Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:46 am

I'm sorry to hear you are having more conflicts with him, Marilos.

Perhaps obviously, the only person who can know what your boyfriend's deal is here so that you can (and we can) is your boyfriend. I don't think this is something where you should or shouldn't have concern -- I mean, that really doesn't matter. You are concerned and this bothers you, and those are just the ways you feel, feelings I think are valid, especially since:

He then often takes it out on me that he couldn’t do whatever he had to do because he had to watch his daughter.


It sounds to me like what you need to do here is ask him to sit down and talk about this with you. You'll need to say the kinds of things you have said here and then ask him if he can talk about why he doesn't let you watch her. You might also want to let him know why you want to. It sounds like one part of this, especially looking back at your history, is probably just about wanting to have a relationship with her of your own, which is certainly understandable given that you two have been together at least a year or so, right? I suspect this also has to do with you feeling trusted, and might also be something that feels like a bigger issue because of the age difference between you (like if you feel like he isn't seeing you as a peer). Either way, it sounds like an honest, in-dpeth conversation about this is overdue.

I'm a bit concerned that you say he "takes it out on you." Can you tell me what that looks like when it happens?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

marilos87
not a newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:18 am
My pronouns: She/her
Location: New York

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby marilos87 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:14 am

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the reply. I have tried talking to him about the situation but he usually zones me out and that’s the end of the conversation.

As for him taking it out on me when he has his daughter for the weekend. One instance was back in June when he wanted to go on a bike ride with some friends but he couldn’t because he had his daughter for the weekend. I was completely fine with him doing the bike ride but he kept texting me saying “you won’t let me do anything” or “you always get mad when I want to do something without you” blah blah blah. That same weekend was also his sisters bday and his family was having a small party for her at their house. I wanted to go to the party but he would not let me go no matter how many times I asked. I had no idea why. We ended up getting into a huge fight over this. He texted me the next day apologizing saying how he was taking out having his daughter for the weekend out on me. I knew dating a guy with a kid would be hard but I thought it would be hard in a different way like drama with his daughters mother or something. I definitely never would’ve thought he would take something like this out on me.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

What do you mean he zones you out? Do you mean he tunes you out? That he ignores you when you try and talk about this until you stop? If so -- pardon my directness -- you know that's super not-okay and totally disrespectful of him to do to you, no matter what the conversation is, right?

What you're describing about his behavior in that second paragraph doesn't sound to me so much like the challenges of dating someone with a child. It sounds like the challenges of dating someone who is themselves ACTING like a child.

In other words, I personally find his responses to this -- and what sounds like his response to you trying to resolve some conflict -- really emotionally immature. TBH, it's not uncommon in my experience for older guys who date younger women to be drawn to younger women because the guys aren't actually at the level of maturity people their own age are. It sounds like this guy may not be at the level of maturity you are, flatly, even though he's got almost a decade on you.

It also sounds like he just treats you flat-out badly sometimes, and makes excuses. Like, it's not okay for him to treat you poorly because he chose to be a parent and has to be one sometimes because he made that choice. It's not okay for him to treat you poorly, period, but suggesting that's reasonable is garbage. It's not. It troubles me that he is aware of his crummy behavior, but does not seem to be making any effort to behave differently. Instead, it sounds like he's just aware he acts like he does and thinks that's okay.

Can you give me a sense of how this relationship is for you as a whole? On the whole, most of the time, do you feel respected and valued? Do you feel like you're treated like an equal partner? Do you feel seen and heard? Do you feel like you're with someone who cares deeply about you and wants to be sure their actions aren't hurtful in any way? Do you feel like this relationship benefits your life and makes you happy most of the time?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

marilos87
not a newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:18 am
My pronouns: She/her
Location: New York

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby marilos87 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:38 pm

Sorry for the late reply.

Yes, when I say he zones me out, he does exactly what you described. I know it’s bad but his dad does it to his mom and I always think to myself if she can stay with him for 40+ years then I could do the same with my boyfriend.

After looking up his behavior online many times and seeing a psychologist, I have determined that he is a bit immature and childish.

I am happy in this relationship to a point. I’m definitely happier with him than I was with my ex boyfriends. The only time I’m really rethinking the relationship is when we’re arguing because he decides when and if I’m on what he likes to call “punishment”. Punishment, to him, is when I don’t get to see him for a few days because of my supposed bad behavior. The morning after an argument or the night of an argument usually results in me having major anxiety because I never know what’s going to happen the next morning. It’s either I’m on punishment, I don’t hear from him for a few days, or I text him first and he’s very cold with me so again I have to wait a few days to hear from him again until he’s ready to talk to me. It’s always on his terms, not mine.

Is it common for guys to want space or be left alone after an argument? I’ve seen it with my own parents but my dad will usually close the door to his bedroom and within a few hours he’s out of his room asking my mom what’s for dinner. With my boyfriend sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it’s two days. I think only a few times has it been an hour.

How do I handle his “silent treatment” when we move in together? Because he gets pissed at me when we’re fighting and I don’t leave right away. How’s he going to handle me not being able to actually leave when we live together? I mean I suppose I could go for a walk or vise versa but like I was saying earlier, he has a tendency to stay mad at me for a day or two so I’m not sure if going for a walk would do us any good. We always joke after a fight that I’ll probably be the one who will have to sleep on the couch when we live together during a fight because of how stubborn he is when we’re fighting but the closer we get to buying a house together the more true that gets...which isn’t a bad thing but sometimes I wish he wasn’t so stubborn and would just talk to me.

Also, my boyfriend and I are currently arguing right now because months ago I told him my parents were going to be out of town for a wedding and that I was going to be home alone all weekend. This weekend is also his daughters bday and his favorite band is in town. Guess what he chose to do? Yes, he went to the concert even tho he promised he would spend the night with me and his daughter at my house this weekend so I wouldn’t be alone but he completely forgot and now he doesn’t know why I’m upset. Any advice on how to be a normal person and not panic whenever I have arguments with my boyfriend?

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:46 pm

Marilos, I hope it's okay for me to engage in some real talk with you around this. Just one thing, all by itself, that you described in this last post has me absolutely at "OMG, Marilos, Get the heck out, get out NOW." And that's without even taking into account some other things, from this post and others before, that have had me thinking this relationship sounds crummy for you at best, and outright emotionally abusive at...well, at worst for now. Abuse usually escalates. :(

I have a lot I'd like to say and talk to you about, but it's all going to be better as an ongoing conversation. I really hope you're down to have that conversation with me, because I'd like to have it with you. I'm strongly concerned you're in something that's bad news and have been working to cement yourself even more to it, which is -- from where I am sitting -- extra bad news.

When you say things like that his mother tolerated his father's emotional abuse -- and that intentional "zoning out" is exactly that -- for more than 40 years so why shouldn't you? My answer is, "No one should be any years tolerating emotional abuse, not his mother or you. You shouldn't set yourself up for decades of emotional abuse because OF COURSE YOU SHOULDN'T, no one should." When you say he's better than your exes, it sounds to me like how your exes treated you must have REALLY sucked -- and I am so sorry for that, Marilos -- if you think some of what's happening here is no big or okay.

That "punishment" thing? That's flat-out, deep emotional abuse. This isn't about what guys do, this is about what emotionally abusive people do. When people acting in emotionally healthy, not abusive ways want some space or a break, they ask the other person to give them that, and they do it as self-care, and sometimes even as care for the relationship, providing each person some downtime for self-care, not as a punishment. You don't even have to ask, "Does he see it as punishing me?" because he has made as clear as possible that, yep, that's what it is about. He calls it that outright. :(

That's someone both treating you like a child and abusing you like a child (doing that kind of thing to children is also abuse). That's NOT a way that emotionally healthy people treating other people in emotionally healthy ways behave. That's abuse. You ask how you handle that when you move in together? My answer is that hopefully you don't, because hopefully you do NOT move in with someone who has shown you already they are and will be emotionally abusive. Getting out of an abusive relationship is already often really hard when you do NOT live with someone. It's a million times harder when you do. Honestly, I ask you, just as a relative stranger with empathy and care for you as another human being, not to make that choice and further cement yourself in something that's clearly super unhealthy.

Like I said, there's so much to talk about and say in here, but I don't want to bombard you. But if you do want to talk through this more, I'm here for that.

However your exes were, or it was in your family, or how it is with this guy, I can tell from how you've been talking, and even how you've been experiencing/framing some of this relationship with this guy not, that it was/is probably pretty crap in a lot of ways. And I feel like I can tell that you don't know -- or maybe know in your head, but don't totally feel it -- that you deserve intimate relationships DO MUCH BETTER than this. Without emotional abuse; without powerplays and dramas (like creating conflict between/about you and his daughter) created by someone else to keep you from having any real power and equity in the relationship of your own.

You deserve not to be asking any of these questions you've been asking on the boards about this relationship, like how you can learn to live with abuse or with constant fighting, how you can get your boyfriend to demonstrate any positive feelings for you, how you can get your boyfriend to even just listen to how you feel without shutting you down in every way, including outright pretending you aren't talking when you are (!). We can't fix or change people so they don't act like this: when we find ourselves involved with people like this, behaving like this, we gotta know however bad it is now is probably the BEST it will ever be, and if we don't want it to get even worse, we gotta just get gone. I know that sucks, and I know it can be and feel really devastating (even more so than emotional abuse, especially emotional abuse you thought was just normal). But what it also does is clears the area so we can be in relationships that are healthy and equitable and where we can be asking better questions than you've been asking, you know?

I'm in your corner. You deserve the good stuff, not this stuff.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:17 pm

(Btw, Marilos, I recognize that this kind of conversation can get really intensely personal and feel super vulnerable. If you do want to continue it but this medium feels extra-full-of-oof, let me know. I could schedule closed chat time or make it work with our existing chat schedule if those days/hours work for you.)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

marilos87
not a newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:18 am
My pronouns: She/her
Location: New York

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby marilos87 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:36 pm

Yes, I’d love to talk to you about this off this medium. Let me know when a good time is for you.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:40 pm

Of course. I can work today for another hour, if now is good for you. If not, I could make time tomorrow around this time or earlier, and we have chat scheduled already for 2-5 PST on Tuesday, which I could show up for...?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

marilos87
not a newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:18 am
My pronouns: She/her
Location: New York

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby marilos87 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:45 pm

How exactly does chat work?

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:49 pm

You just open up a window through the link, and it's a private conversation between us. In non-chat times, times like this where we're opening it up for a single user, I'd just pick your window up and then not take others.

If you want to do that now(ish), that link is here: http://www.scarleteen.com/webim/client.php?locale=en

That's also the same link for chat any time when it is open. I'll wait around here for fifteen minutes or so in case now is when you wanted (I couldn't tell).
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6566
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Boyfriend won’t let me watch his daughter

Unread postby Heather » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:31 pm

Hey, Marilos, our chat hours are almost over and I have to head out for the day. I hope you're doing okay, and didn't make it for mundane reasons (and it's okay!). Feel free to drop a line here if you want to pick this up again and want more help.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead


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