What should I be thinking of when moving in with my boyfriend and his daughter?
February 10, 2012 12:19 PM Subscribe
I am moving in with my boyfriend next month, who has partial custody of his ten-year-old daughter. She and I get along wonderfully, but I still want to make this the easiest transition possible for her (and all of us). What possible issues or problems should I be prepared for?
posted by Neely O'Hara to Human Relations (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A little background: BF and I have been together for a year and a half, and we started dating about a year after his divorce. I didn't meet his daughter until we'd been together for six months, and it was a very gradual introduction - I've only been a regular presence in her life for about the last six months.
So far I haven't noticed her having any problems with my role in her dad's life - I just completely adore her, the three of us always have a good time when she's over, and I've even spent a little one-on-one time with her, which has been terrifically fun.
I think, however, that my moving in has the possibility of changing the dynamic somewhat. I've never spent the night when she's been over, so we'll go from me never sleeping over to sleeping in her dad's bed every day. (I asked him if he thought I should stay over before moving in permanently, but he didn't think that would be necessary, and I figure he's the parent, he knows her better than I do.)
I also have the tendency to be the "fun auntie" with my nieces (who are the same age), and that has been pretty much how I've been interacting with her as well. But I feel like now that we are increasing our commitment (we've sort of hinted at marriage but right now are both a little gun-shy after our divorces) and I'll be a permanent member of the household, being the fun auntie all the time might not be the most helpful role. Like I catch myself having a hard time slowing down our interactions when it's time for her to go to bed or do her homework. I've talked about it a little with my boyfriend, and he said that he would let me know if anything I was doing was interfering with his parenting, but he wasn't concerned.
I'm not terribly concerned either because I have such strong relationships with both of them, except that I'd like to be ready and prepared for the hard things that could come up. So far it's been nothing but a honeymoon period for all three of us, but she'll be entering her teenage years soon enough, and I'm sure we'll hit some bumps at some point.
I should also mention that he and his ex have an amicable relationship, and he makes it a point to always support her parenting choices and back her up. I also like his ex a lot, and she and I are friendly when we interact, so hopefully that minimizes a possible area of conflict.
So anyway, I guess my basic question is that even though things are wonderful now, what kinds of changes should I be ready for after I've moved in? I would love to hear from people who have been in my shoes, and also kids of divorced parents who had to deal with a parent's new significant other. How can I make it the easiest transition for his daughter?