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Avatar universal

Clingy adult step daughter

My fiance and I have been together for 5 years now (engaged for 1 year).  I have 2 adult children (out of the house) and a teen son 17 still at home.  He as one 24 year old daughter who is very happily married and pregnant with baby #2.  We see them about once every two months due to work and distance between us, although occasionally my fiance will make the trip up on a day off by himself to visit and return the same day.  I've always supported him.
Our relationship has been great between all children involved.  I couldn't believe our good fortune!  His daughter often telling me how glad she is that I am with her father.  Recently we had a vacation with his parents, brothers and their wives....  
As soon as his daughter and family arrived on the scene she seemed to need to be in constant contact with her dad.  I have grown accustomed to her holding his hand on walks when we are all together or linking her arm through his (although I found it strange as my upbringing was not as tactile).  On this trip, much to my dismay I watched on a number of occasions where she draped her legs over his on the sofa.  He would massage her feet.  Next she sat 1/2 on his lap 1/2 on the arm of the sofa and stroked his head. Daughter also did this with Grandfather...stroking his head and cuddling on the couch.  For over 36 hours I couldn't get near my fiance alone to talk or even connect and by bed time was too angry to bring it up.  Okay not angry but hurt, and likely jealous.   I wish now that I could have watched her husband's reaction but I was only seeing red and he was very busy providing child care to their 18 month old daughter.  
Does anyone else think that at 24 years of age she ought to seek affection from her husband instead of dad?  Am I over reacting?

This discussion is related to Clingy Older Children.
7 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  Well, yes.  In my opinion, you are overreacting.  You made a vacation between family about you.  This is her father and her grandfather  and as you said, she doesn't see her dad all that often.  She's pregnant and probably a little more needy than usual.  But even if she isn't, she doesn't see her dad that much and you see him all the time.  So, yeah, you are overreacting.  AND, if you make this into an issue so that your fiancé feels criticized about his daughter, that could backfire against you.  

good luck
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comment.  Before we left I made a mental note to stay busy there and give him space with his family, knowing the clinging would happen.  I didn't expect my reaction to be so strong.  I did not make waves there at all just occupied myself.  Next time I will pack some extra fortitude!
973741 tn?1342342773
Sounds like a great plan (packing the extra fortitude).  It can be challenging to take that step back but in the long run, it is a small price to pay for what is overall a good relationship.  I'm sure family vacations are not THAT often.  Plan a nice vacation for just the two of you to make up for it.  good luck
134578 tn?1602101550
When my adult sisters and I went on a trip with my dad and his girlfriend one time, she was glued to his side at every waking moment.  We came from all over the country for this vacation, and none of us had a chance to have a private conversation with our dad the whole time.  Did I want to talk to him about my marriage or life challenges with his girlfriend listening?  I did not.  There was no natural flow that you have at family reunions, of talking and then breaking up into other groups and talking with those.  Dad's girlfriend had also changed the locks on the family house (where we all grew up) and did not want us to have the key, despite the fact that we identified it as home -- our old bedrooms were still there with our high-school things in them.  She was critical of what she labelled our "need" for our father and said "She only has eyes for her dad," as though something creepy was going on.  She was very jealous of my mother, even though Dad and Mom had been divorced for a while, and would tell my Dad he couldn't come to family gatherings if Mom was going to be there.  I should have seen the writing on the wall before going on the trip, she guarded Dad so closely (literally with her arm entwined in his and leaning on him, the whole time except if she was in the loo) that none of us got to even casually ask Dad how he was doing in general.  (She would have answered for him.)  It was very, very difficult.

Next time you all get together, make yourself a list of fun activities, and do them.  People might be attracted to go with you, and if not, go yourself, and have fun!  It will allow everyone to shake out and talk to each other or not, and will give you a good time.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry to hear that your step mother has made "home" less that the comforting place it always should be.  I am learning everyday that blending families is far from easy.  Feelings get hurt and sometimes those little conversations that could help don't happen.  Have you asked your dad for some time alone with him?  Sometimes [as in the case with me, the main man in the picture didn't have any idea that there was someone being ignored] Since my trip I have spoken with my fiance and my children about some ideas moving forward.  I have let my fiance know that while I have no issue with his relationship with his daughter I do have issue with being ignored especially to watch her ignore her husband and cuddle with her dad.  I should mention that there were a few eyebrows raised at her need to cling to her father and grandfather.  Totally acceptable for a young child but in my opinion not a married woman.  Next time around we have agreed to make sure to connect at some point during the vacation to be alone.  Even if it is just a short walk or cup of coffee just the two of us.  It's important that ALL relationships have the time and the respect they deserve.  That means parents with their children AND children need to respect the relationship between their parent/step parents.  Both require time, space and nurturing.  
I really appreciate your point of view of the subject.  Father daughter relationships are probably more difficult than mother son relationships to navigate when there is a new person stepping into the family.  I wish I could relay that I am not there to "steal" her dad at all.  I simply love him and want to be with him just like his child does.  I suppose women tend to be more jealous and protective of their relationships and that's why you can find endless chats about evil step mothers/daughters and very few about evil stepfathers/sons.  
I will give space as I have in the past to his daughter, just as he does when I am with my children.  I'll be sure to include myself appropriately after some time as I also have earned the right to be included in the family vacation.  I wish you the best of luck and hope that you get some one on one time with your dad soon.

973741 tn?1342342773
You do sound very thoughtful cloud.  I hope it all works out for you!  peace
134578 tn?1602101550
Thank you for your condolences about my stepmother, though time has passed on this.  She and my dad were married for years, and her desire to be with him every single minute didn't ever change, but she has since died.  In fact, he is now married to a woman who doesn't do that.

You said "I do have issue with being ignored especially to watch her ignore her husband and cuddle with her dad" -- my thought is, of course he should not ignore you.  But whether she is ignoring her husband or not, is her husband's job to take issue with rather than yours.  

Let's say she *is* doing something unusually clingy, not just being glad to see her father.  But it was only 36 hours out of your lives together.  It sounds like your fiance has his hands full dealing with it, and doesn't need you getting angry and saying that when the family has come a distance to get together, he must attend to you alone.  You have plenty of other time with him, I assume?

Anyway, a quiet word in his ear not to encourage her to be so demonstrative in a way that seems inappropriate to you might do the trick.  Any more than that, you'll look competitive or jealous.
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