How to connect with my boyfriends teenage daughters?
January 5, 2015 8:25 PM   Subscribe

OK, my question is.... how do I connect/ bond with them without trying too hard, acting like someone I'm not, being too much of a friend?!?! I want them to talk to me, trust me ect. I could go on and on ... I'm concerned I try too hard?!

I've been dating my guy for over a year now and have had serious conversations about him putting a ring on it ; ) Anyways, I'm 28 never have been married nor do I have any kids. My guy is 39, has been married(has been divorced for 6 six years and his ex had a another kid and just got remarried) and has 2 teenages daughters.The youngest is 13 and the other is 15. I love them both and think they are great and I'm confident they feel the same about me (if they didnt, there would no talk about getting married).
posted by jk9119 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could you give some examples about the kind of trying too hard you're worried about? It's difficult to know what that means in such a general sense.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 8:53 PM on January 5, 2015

I love them both and think they are great and I'm confident they feel the same about me.

Sounds like you've got the main bases covered. Is the problem that you feel self conscious around them or something?
posted by alms at 9:10 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

You might like this previous question.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:15 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I want them to talk to me, trust me ect.

Um... too bad? Talk to them and give them opportunities and invitations to talk to you. Simply spend time with them and be available. That's all you can do, just like with any other people. You can't force an intimate relationship. You just have to wait and be open to it.
posted by zennie at 9:39 PM on January 5, 2015 [17 favorites]

Time. Stability. Consistency. Respect them and their boundaries. Go slow. Don't push it. In the meantime, concentrate on your BF, not them.

My answer is this is NOT important. They have a mom. Being their "buddy" isn't going to make dad "put a ring on it" any faster.

Let it all go. Be yourself. Pushy won't win this one, you'll just look fake. Let it go.
posted by jbenben at 9:44 PM on January 5, 2015 [13 favorites]

Just be yourself. They'll sniff out 'trying' in a heartbeat, and hate it. Do your own thing, while around them, and don't be a dick.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:02 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Trust is a long haul. They didn't pick you. You just showed up one day. So you just have to put in the time. Be around, offer support but not advice when it seems like it's needed and wanted.

The plus is that they don't seem to hate you. But to be loved and trusted? That may never happen. Go forward knowing that and be surprised if it turns out another way.

Your focus should be on their father. Work on that relationship and acknowledge you can't control the others.
posted by inturnaround at 3:22 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Listen to them. Ask about them.
Expect nothing, including do not expect answers to your questions.
Be genuinely concerned. Give them your time.
posted by Flood at 4:04 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

As a child of divorce, etc, myself -- I'd very much echo Flood's advice to "expect nothing". If you get on well with them, that's fantastic -- but you have to accept that you may never be their 'mom' or like their mom to them, and that's completely fine. For that matter, not all kids are willing/able to have fully open, 'ideal' relationships even with their natural parents -- and that's also fine.

As long as you be a good person, a good partner for their father, and respectful of their capabilities and their boundaries as maturing people, then your relationship should develop to the full extent that it can, whatever that extent might be.

Something else to bear in mind: divorce is difficult for children. So is remarrying/new parental figures. Even if they get on with you perfectly well they may harbour various grudges, jealousies or other issues that might erupt during the period of their growing up, especially if some conflict arises between you. That is also something you have to respect and not resent, even if it hurts you. Just the way it is sometimes. As long as you continue to be a good person, partner and family member then such things can usually be reconciled in time.

Best of luck, it sounds like you have a good attitude and are looking out for them!
posted by Drexen at 4:19 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Echoing what others have said (as a child of divorce and divorced parent). Mostly, listen! Don't lecture. If you have a story to tell, tell the story, but don't do "and the moral of this story is...". Just tell the story.
posted by idb at 6:58 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

They're pretty old already. It's too late for you to be a real parental figure in their lives. As this point, I think it's more important that you just don't let your relationship with their father disrupt their lives too much. It's good that you want to be have a great relationship with them, and if that develops naturally then more power to you, but in the end I think a civil, peaceful relationship is really all that's required here.
posted by sam_harms at 9:31 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't force it too much, but a fun low-stress thing might be picking out some kind of experience for you all (or just the gals) to do together. Prowl groupon for one of those guided painting classes, mani:pedis, or something fun like that. Maybe pick one out together?
I'd focus on using it as an opportunity to talk more with them & deepen your connection, it's not about what you do, but the shared experience. If it's too fru-fru you may give off the "buy your love" vibe.
posted by rubster at 9:46 AM on January 6, 2015

I love them both and think they are great and I'm confident they feel the same about me (if they didnt, there would no talk about getting married).

This doesn't make sense. If they loved you and thought you were great, this question wouldn't be here...but you STILL want this dude to "put a ring on it".

You are 28, the daughters are teens. You want them to talk to you and trust you, which I am assuming does not happen since *THAT* is what you want.

This does not happen that easily. You need to show them that YOUR allegiance is to THEM and not to YOURSELF.

Can you do that? Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:51 AM on January 6, 2015

Hi! When I moved in with my partner, his kids were 6, 8, and 13. They're now 13, 16 and 19 (no that math isn't bad, we're just right around some birthdays). I'm a dude, so they were also going through the oh-dad-is-gay transition at the same time they were going through the and-now-we-live-with-his-boyfriend one. Also we have an almost 20 year age gap. SO, there was a lot going on.

Notes I would have passed to myself when I first started a stepdad:

You're going to get different levels of resistance from each kid. They're different people at different stages of development. Just go with the flow and don't worry about everyone being on the same page at all times. You'll grow into comfort with one another.

You will have no problem relating to the younger ones, but the older one is already a bit set in his ways and will be more distant. Don't worry, though, because the older he gets the more he'll see you as a peer for having stuck around and been diligent with him during his bullshit teen years.

When in doubt, take them out. There's so, so, so much less pressure to be brilliant and inspiring around children if you just get out of the damn house and take them (alone, in pairs, all together) out somewhere--anywhere! The beach! A diner! A bike ride! A record shop!

Don't talk under your age in an attempt to seem like you're on their level. In case you've forgotten how that felt yourself as a kid, they can smell it a mile away and it's disingenuous and unnecessary.

Do talk your age, and express your expertise on things. Let them in on the secrets of adult life by just being yourself around them, and they will look at you like a wise peer instead of an out-of-date interloper (example: these guys' faces when a French tourist clumsily asked for information from us in broken English, but I answered in French and the two of us had an animated little non-English conversation--the youngest asked me afterward, "do you know ALL the French words?" and to this day, years later, we all drill French words as an inside joke).

You're younger than their dad, so don't hesitate to be your age and not his. You are a valuable bridge in time between the two and that will serve all parties well (e.g. you probably know more about their social media universe than their dad does).

Social media in general is your friend. It took me a long time to do this, but we're all friends on Facebook/Insta/etc. Kids that age essentially live their public lives on those services. It's not only good to be aware of what they're doing, it's good to let one another have little window peeks into each others' universe of friends, views, events and so on.

Lastly, enjoy it! There's no right way, and my golden rule is simply "Don't be an asshole." Seems to have worked fine.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:15 AM on January 8, 2015

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