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Boyfriend enmeshed with adult daughters

(45 Posts)
Brooks Fri 23-Jun-23 15:20:56

I am dating a man who was widowed three years ago (his wife had cancer for over a decade) and he is the father of four adult children. His three daughters all live within half an hour of him. He told me he is too enmeshed with them and is working on boundaries. He has one failed relationship because of this.

We live 3 hours apart and truly enjoy each other’s company. However, our dates are limited to five or six hours on Sundays, 2-3 times a month. He spends every Saturday with his daughters and their families and goes to church with them on Sundays.

When we go out, his Apple Watch is constantly alerting him to the fact that they are texting him. They all use the Find My app on their iPhones and they want to know why he’s so far away and what he’s doing. He tells them he will talk with them when he gets home, but they continue to text him.

He cancelled our last date because his son-in-law got sick and his daughter asked him to babysit. We were talking about meeting this Sunday and he told me he thought it could work but he needed to check with his daughters first to make sure they didn’t have plans.

I really like him, and I understand his family being overly concerned to a degree about his well-being after losing their mother. I think they may also be worried because he is a successful business owner, and wonder about the motives of anyone he might date. He told me he can’t retire because he needs to be able to take his family on expensive trips and they can’t afford nice things if he doesn’t pay for them.

I’m at a loss. The things I respect and am growing to love about him are the very things that are problematic.


Anniebach Fri 23-Jun-23 18:22:26

I could never have chosen to spend less time with my two daughters for a relationship

Smileless2012 Fri 23-Jun-23 18:34:19

It sounds as if it's more than that Lathyrus. Dates are limited. His Apple Watch constantly letting him know they're texting him. Constantly wanting to know where he is and what he's doing. Unable or maybe unwilling to retire so he can pay for expensive trips and buy them things they can't afford.

His choices of course but having lost one relationship because he knows he's too "enmeshed", it's not looking good for the future is it.

Calendargirl Fri 23-Jun-23 18:36:58

I assume they know about his relationship with you?

Also, you say he has four adult children, but you only mention the three daughters.

Is the other offspring a son?

Forlornhope Fri 23-Jun-23 18:37:03


I think you know this is not an ordinary situation. His daughters have no right to keep tabs on him !
Run away and please don't look back !

Sound advice!

eazybee Fri 23-Jun-23 18:38:59

I don't think it is the spending time with the daughters and family that is the problem; the OP isn't being included, they are checking up on him constantly and he is spending very large amounts of money on them.

He is setting boundaries before the relationship has had time to develop and because she likes him I think the OP will get hurt.

AreWeThereYet Fri 23-Jun-23 18:39:31


I can’t help thinking that if the poster was saying I like to spend time with my daughters and grandchildren and the man I date is unhappy about it, then the answers might be quite different 🤔

To me it's not so much the time he spends with them as the fact that he won't even turn his phone off/ignore it when he's on a date. Or maybe I misunderstood the OP. The odd text or call is one thing but it sounds like it's constant. Even someone on parole only gets checked up on once a day.

Lathyrus Fri 23-Jun-23 18:43:04

Oh I think she will get hurt too. And I think he’s too enmeshed with them. I don’t think it sounds healthy at all but I couldn’t help being reminded of reverse posts were most of the replies have been along the lines of family are the most important and don’t give in to him if he doesn’t like it.

Lathyrus Fri 23-Jun-23 18:45:07

Oh I have lots of (female) friends who get constant texts from their adult children especially group Whatsapp.

Come to that my partners phone is constantly going bling bling with the Bowls club group☹️🙄

Anniebach Fri 23-Jun-23 18:55:46

Their mother was ill for ten years, died from cancer , three years is not a long time to recover from this grief.

Lathyrus Fri 23-Jun-23 19:10:17

Agree Anniebach.

I think daughters especially can be quite shocked by how quickly men move on to a new relationship.

He’s already had at least one that must have been quite soon after his wife died.

pascal30 Fri 23-Jun-23 20:47:34

If he hasn't introduced you to his family he probably knows that they will make life difficult for your relationship... and of course he will most certainly choose them if there are conflicts.. it doesn't sound promising.. I'd be looking elsewhere, where you can be a fully accepted partner

VioletSky Fri 23-Jun-23 21:00:35

How long have you been together?

Have you met his children?

Are you sure he is otherwise single?

Seems strange he has you on such a strict schedule

Norah Sun 25-Jun-23 17:35:42

Thinking a bit more - it matters not what his children do/say, what matters to you should be what you want out of a relationship.

Saturday dates may be fine with him, checks his box.

Not everybody wants the same sort of relationship.

Harris27 Sun 25-Jun-23 17:40:21

Take it or leave it but I think you might have a battle on your hands if this goes further. Up to you.

eazybee Sun 25-Jun-23 19:49:05

The OP wouldn't have posted if she wasn't concerned, checking out if this is normal behaviour. I would imagine they met online as they live a distance away from each other, so the man must have been seeking a relationship. But once he has found one (again) he is setting boundaries, and thinking it is all right to check with his adult daughters first before he agrees to a date is rather insulting.

Esmay Sun 25-Jun-23 19:59:30

I'm so sorry , but this is never going to work out .
It's not fair on you .
Please walk away and find someone who has time for you .

Ladyleftfieldlover Sun 25-Jun-23 20:07:43

It won’t work. Walk away.

Esmay Mon 26-Jun-23 10:35:36

It's all a question of balance .
Most people have children from previous relationships :

I watched my extremely traumatised neighbour give up a fiancé after ten years of incredible sadness because her son acted up .
Her husband had dumped her after a few weeks of living in the US for his sexy young secretary .
She used to sit in her kitchen howling and really not functioning . It was wonderful to see the joy this new guy brought her and he was so nice .

And someone in my family was sworn at , embarrassed at work and threatened with physical assault by the daughters of her boyfriend .

Their parents had split up years before and they were determined to get them back together .

So this man has to keep working to please his daughters and nothing is allowed to compromise it .

How selfish .

Curtaintwitcher Mon 26-Jun-23 10:43:50

If you are looking for a man who will put you first, this one is not the right choice. 'Love me, love my family' is obviously his motto.
One of the difficulties of being older is that everyone has a family and you are expected to be part of that. I wonder if his children disapprove of him having a new relationship?