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My boyfriend and I recently became engaged, after dating and living together for 8 years. He has three adult children from his first marriage.

His youngest child, who's 26, acts more like his wife than his daughter. She is constantly hanging on him (especially in public), calls him repeatedly throughout the day to tell him she loves him, shows up when we're on a date - or even out with our friends - and she either hangs on my boyfriend, sits on his lap, or (worse) hangs on all his male friends, to the point where many of the wives/girlfriends don't want her coming around us anymore. Nor will she let any female talk to him. She wedges herself between her father and any other woman in the room.

I never understood why she doesn't really have any friends of her own age, and why she wants to hang around with a bunch of older people, including her own father.

For years, I've been keeping all this bottled inside, hoping that she'll eventually grow up. She lives in a house that my boyfriend owns, she works for my boyfriend (he owns a business), and I see no prospects for a bright future for her. He is constantly giving her money and buying her things, like cars and phone and her health insurance.

Last year, I tried to tell him how I feel: that I'm concerned for her future, I am concerned that she'll never form a healthy relationship for herself, and that she needs to get her own life and a career that's her own. He listened to everything I had to say, and he apologized and said he feels guilty for putting his kids through a divorce twelve years ago. He said he realizes he "goes overboard" with her. I also told him that they act more like boyfriend and girlfriend than we do, and he apologized over and over. He said he has to act that way with her because she gets "angry" if anyone finds him attractive (including me). I find that bizarre, because if someone found my father attractive, I would probably be flattered, not angry.

Anyhow, for a few months, I saw an improvement, but now it's worse than ever.

About six months ago, I met someone at work that I became interested in. I began an affair, and my boyfriend found out. I broke off my affair, my boyfriend and I tried to work things out, and he gave me a ring a few months ago when I told him I'm tired of not being a priority in his life.

After we got engaged, he had to go and sit with his daughter, one-on-one, and tell her the news of our engagement , and she did not take it well. She tried to talk him out of it, reminding him how horrible his divorce was with her mother (who, by the way, she's very close to).

Since we've become engaged, his daughter is worse than ever. I don't know if I should just break this off for good. It sickens me to lose him, but I don't know what else to do. I just got hung up by him, because she was calling on the line and he can't keep her waiting or she'll get angry and start swearing at him.

I had an affair at work, I think, because this guy was telling me all kinds of stuff I needed to hear. My boyfriend doesn't talk about anything but his daughter, and I guess I got tired of hearing about her 24 hours a day.

I don't want to lose him, but I just don't know what to do at this point. I am very sad. We've been together for 8 years and I can't imagine my life without him. I just want her to grow up, or move away, or get her own life. I would be a lot more understanding if she was a child, or a teenager. Does anyone think she'll ever become independent? I don't know if I should keep waiting. A few of our friends have asked me to ask my boyfriend to not have his daughter come around us anymore, but I don't know how to tell him this without embarrassing him.
I'm going to be blunt here, and please don't take this the wrong way, and I of course could be wrong, but this sort of sounds like there may be some kind of sexual abuse at some point in her past. I'm NOT saying it was necessarily him, maybe a teacher, an uncle or something. But she is unable to relate to men, even much older men, in a way that is not sexual. And 26 years old is simply too old for her to be sitting on his lap. Their relationship sounds sexualized, and your boyfriend, even if he isn't the one who caused it, he is enabling it. She should be in therapy, and he should be encouraging her to be more grown up, more independent and more appropriate with him and his friends. Instead, he's encouraging her to continue to behave the way she has been. Like I said, I could be way off base, here, but there has to be some reason why she thinks this is how a girl should behave with her father and her father's friends.

In any case, it seems he's more worried about making her angry than he is worried about losing you. That's a shame. He's doing her no favors by indulging her when he should be getting her some help. I know you've invested 8 years in this relationship, but you really have to consider and think long and hard as to whether that alone is a good enough reason to stay for the rest of your life having this guy's daughter be his first, most important girlfriend, embarrassing you in front of all your friends and co-workers, family, etc. by having her behave so inappropriately and him letting her, and always coming in second to her or third behind her and her mother. The only thing worse than wasting 8 years on a relationship that ends, or should end, is wasting 8 years and one day.

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