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My husband and his teen daughter have recently reunited in the past year. She is 17 years old and they have not had any contact in the last 11 years.

Background: H and his ex had a very bad relationship, multiple infidelities on her part and there is a huge ? as to whether or not my H is even the biological father. Regardless my H knew that he may not be the father and stayed. He accepted the responsibility and loved and cared for his daughter. They separated for good when she was 3 or 4 and he continued to be a huge part of his daughter's life, as his ex used him as a free babysitter while she went out and dated. Ex married a military man and eventually moved out west. My H wasn't able to see his daughter very often but he kept in contact by phone. Fast forward a few years, Ex sues my H for child support. Nothing wrong with that, but he was deeply offended as he was already providing monetary support willingly (what he could afford). H and Ex got into a huge fight and H threw in that daughter was most likely not even his. Ex ended all contact.

Now... This past summer his daughter sent him a friend request on facebook. It seems Mom and daughter have had a falling out and daughter was now living on her own and was reaching out. She, like any teen with absentee father, had questions of why he stopped calling.

Long story short....My H and daughter re-established their connection on Facebook, through texts and phone calls. We flew her out for the Christmas holidays.

The visit didn't go as I had anticipated. It was a great visit, they bonded and are probably closer than ever. But...I'm afraid they have entered an unhealthy attachment to each other and I don't know how to broach the subject with my H.

While she was staying with us, she only wanted to spend time with him. She was very possessive of him. She followed him around the house, she sat next to him on the couch....in front him on the floor if someone else was sitting beside him, and at times even on his lap. She would often cuddle his arm or hold his hand.

This made me feel like I was intruding every time I entered a room they were in. I felt like there was no place...room for me. I didn't want to make this visit a negative experience for either of them so I tried to keep silent. I am and was truly happy that they have found their way back to each other.

The night before she left, I lost my cool. I was so frustrated and hurt of being excluded and so angry at my H for allowing it. I apologized to both of them and let them know that my feelings are hurt. I took great care to let her know that it had nothing to do with her. They were my insecurities and stem from some other issues that I am not going to burden her with.

I am not proud of how I felt. I had such ugly feelings inside of me. I left alienated, he was cuddling with her and he never cuddles with me. He listens to her with rapture and readily puts away his cell phone and/or computer so they can just 'be' with each other. I was jealous. I can't bring that up, he will take it the wrong way. I am not thinking that there is anything inappropriate. They are father and daughter reuniting after 11 years. They are playing catch up. I understand that.

But I wish my H had set some boundaries. My other step-daughter was also with us for the holidays and she is 11 years old and she was feeling left out too. My H has always been affectionate with his youngest daughter but while oldest daughter was there he had no patience and was constantly reprimanding youngest when she tried to join in on their horseplay or cuddling.

I thought now that the holidays were over, some normalcy would return. But it hasn't. My H is texting/facebooking his daughter constantly (during all waking hours), when they are not texting he is talking about her. He's already arranged for her plane tickets for the summer. The whole summer.

I need help. This is a slippery slope. How do I talk to him about this?

Is it me? Or do you think it is an unhealthy attachment?
 

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How do you talk to him? Just like you wrote it out here.

Tell him your concerns and how you feel selfish even saying this to him. It's important that you tell him these things. Even if they feel silly.

If he's excluding others in the relationship...he needs to know.
 

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Just tell him. And stand up when you see it happening again.

I watched that play out in my stepmother's family - she found her longlost daughter she gave up for adoption and brought her 'into the family' - she cozied right up to her half brother (my stepbrother) and it was pretty disgusting to watch. Both the daughter's AND the stepbrother's marriages ended up in divorce.
 

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This happened to my father when he was reunited with his daughter (she's in her 40s) a few years ago. And my mom reacted kind of the same way you are. All I can say is that they seemed to try to make up for lost time, but after about 2 years it settled down. Now their relationship is much more normal, although my dad talks on the phone more often with my half sister than with me or my brother or sister. This bothers my mom, but doesn't really bother us. I have my own busy life and don't need to have my dad holding my hand every week.
 

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I have gone through this myself as a father reunited with a 21 year old daughter. What you're describing happened to me too. It's pretty much a natural bonding/honeymoon phase that eventually ends. They really are living in a father/little girl kind of fantasy right now. He completes her, and he gets back what was taken from him. This is not easy.

However, what you really need to be vigilant about is exclusion of you in particular. Young ladies can be ...shall we say 'catty'...and possessive of the men in their lives. She will probably try her best to cut you off and make your man feel like you're the problem. He must establish the boundaries of you being his partner and her being the child. If he continues putting her emotional needs and wants ahead of you, it will build resentment in your marriage. You need to be the centre of his universe, but this is hard for him to see that since he so badly wants to make things up to her and prove to her he's not a bad person and safe. He's also afraid of losing her again, so he sucks up to her.

Trust me, a guy who has been in, and still is, in that very predicament.

My advice? Bee supportive of him, but be clear on what makes you uncomfortable and why. Do not accept being excluded or treated rudely. You were there all those years she wasn't, and you should be respected for that. Understand this is a very long and tumultuous road you could be embarking on, but worth it in the end.
 

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How long have you and your husband been married?

How is his daughter supporting herself right now? I ask because I’m wondering about her now coming to her father to ask for money. Keep an eye out for this. You need to have a say in the use of community assets and income.

Why is this 17 year old girl living on her own? Did she finish high school? Did she leave her mother’s home for good reason? Or was she thrown out due to bad behavior like drug use, etc? I think that your husband might want to contact his ex to find out what’s up. You have an 11 year old. You definitely what to know why she moved out of her mother’s place this early.

First off you need to stop apologizing for a pretty rational reaction to their behavior. I’m not sure that a 17 year old young lady should be sitting on her father’s lap. I could be wrong but I grew up with 4 sisters and none of us would have done that at the age of 17.

I can understand that they are excited about reuniting. But she needs to be brought into the family. This might be the context from which you speak to him. Also getting some books on step parenting and/or seeing a counselor a few time about how to handle this might be a good idea.

Ex married a military man and eventually moved out west. My H wasn't able to see his daughter very often but he kept in contact by phone. Fast forward a few years, Ex sues my H for child support. Nothing wrong with that, but he was deeply offended as he was already providing monetary support willingly (what he could afford). H and Ex got into a huge fight and H threw in that daughter was most likely not even his. Ex ended all contact.
One thing that he needs to be ready for is when she realizes that his story on why he ended contact with her is just pure nonsense.

Was the court ordered child support more than he was providing on his own? When the exW ended all contact did he pay court ordered support? Or did he stop sending support.

Someday his daughter will realize that he could have sued for contact and chose to not do this. Thus he chose to just passively give up all contact with his daughter. When that question comes up the honeymoon will be over. There will probably be more questions. This is especially true If his ex finds out about the contact and the exW starts to poison the pool.
 

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I should also add that when my wife started voicing the exact same concerns you have, I didn't understand what the hell she was talking about. Her concerns sounded jealous and petty, but they were real. I was still in la-la land. Stick with it.
 
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