General Question

shego's avatar

How can explain to my fathers girlfriend that I'm not her child?

Asked by shego (11042 points ) March 29th, 2010 from iPhone

I am almost 23, and my father is back in the dating world. But the lady he is seeing is trying to control everything I do. She doesn’t live with us, yet she is trying to have my father give me a curfew. I’m not a child and my father knows that. But this lady has never had children. She also thinks my father will propose to her, but he is not sure yet. But the main problem is, she is trying to have me call her ” mom” instead of her name. I don’t like it, and I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but like I said before, I’m not her child, I’m my fathers daughter.
I have tried to tell him what is going on, but I know he is lonely, and I don’t want ruin his companionship.
Please, help me. I don’t know what to do.

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65 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Please, she’s being unreasonable and you have every right to wonder ‘wtf’ – I’d say talk to your father about it, he’s the link that matters.

meagan's avatar

Talk to your father. Does he not think these things are strange, too?

janbb's avatar

Oh wow, that’s a toughy. You certainly don’t need this woman running your life or having you call her “Mom.” I would talk to him in the context of what you will and won’t accept from her in your relationship with her; not telling him what to do about his relationship with her. If he is unwilling to say anything to her, tell him that you will need to talk to her and tell her what your reaction to her controlling behavior is and that you need her to stop it. I would definitely keep your Dad in the loop and tell him or even ask him if he wants to be there if you are going to talk directly to her. You have a right to set boundaries with her.

zandrace's avatar

You need to talk to your father right away.

From the sound of it, she is extremely controlling and chances are she has already worked her way into some of your fathers matters as well.

Huge red flags. Have a real heart to heart with him.

shego's avatar

I’m not sure to be honest with you, I don’t want to hurt him, by questioning his decisions. But I’m really hurt because to me, I feel like she is insulting me. My mother passed away last year, and my mother and father had been divorced for two previous years.
But I have tried to talk to my dad. But I think he might be “blinded by love.”

JeffVader's avatar

Now, thats unacceptable. You need to have a sit down talk with the two of them to establish some boundries!

jfos's avatar

You should stress that the problem is not in him dating other women, but in the expectations that this woman has made public.

You can be respectful to her without calling her “mom”. As for the curfew, that’s strictly between you and your father.

SuperMouse's avatar

Are you comfortable enough with this woman to speak to her? I can’t help but wonder the reasoning behind everyone saying to speak to your father. Maybe this woman is slightly overzealous about wanting to be a good step parent and a nice heart to heart between the two of you can take care of things. If that doesn’t work then talking to your father might be a secondary course of action.

Some of the women my father has dated – including the woman he eventually married – asked me to call them Mom. His current wife even wanted my boys to caller her Nana. That is not going to fly with me, not out of disrespect, but because this woman is not my mother nor is she the grandmother of my children. She is a nice enough gal, but that does not make her my mom. I made clear to her that it was an issue of respect to my late mother and I prefer to call her by her first name or if she prefer “Mrs. Smith.”

Seek's avatar

I am not a fan of controlling behaviour, and I firmly believe it needs to be nipped in the bud. If it gets a foot in the door, the problem only gets worse from there.

Do not ask your father – tell him to relay your issues to his girlfriend, and inform him that if he does not do so in “X” period of time (say, by this weekend), you will be forced to inform her yourself. Tell him you are only waiting out of respect for him.

Then. if he does not talk with her, follow through. Tell her exactly how you feel (being as distant and polite as possible): “You did not know my mother, but she was dear to me. She is my mother, and my only mother. I am now an adult, and I expect to be respected as such.”

john65pennington's avatar

Your father is the key to this situation. and, this is one of the main reasons that new relationships do not work. controlling advice from a non-blood relative can be a major problem. you dad is the key here.

You are 22 and still living at home? you are an adult. you know this. taking advice from a stranger can be stressful, since your dad is in the middle. if your dad does not want to defend you, then you are going to have to defend yourself.

Give your dad the first shot. if this does not work, then its time for you to go into action. giving your dad the first attempt to correct this situation, will be favorable for you. at least you gave your dad the first opportunity to make right…......a wrong. john

liminal's avatar

I am of the mind set that you keep your relationship with your dad separate from that of his girlfriend. Unless your dad is asking you to call his girlfriend ‘mom’ it is a situation between you and her.

Just a simple no thank you and sticking to your boundary is enough. If she tries to drag your dad into the dynamic and he says something to you I would stick with keeping the relationships separate line: “Dad I love you, I see that you are happy to have found a relationship. In order to keep things clear between us dad, I would like to keep your girlfriend out of my relationship with you. If she has something to say about me I would prefer it if she spoke to me directly.” Give a quick hug and go about your day.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t understand how she can think you are her child – at 23 you are an adult. I’d never assume such a thing

dpworkin's avatar

I think I would quietly tell your dad that the next time she says anything to you that is not a mere pleasantry that you intend to ream her ass, but that you would like him to first warn her off.

If she doesn’t mind the warning, then I would let her have it with all of the angry force I could muster so that she would be terrified of opening her mouth ever again.

If you don’t do this, she will continue to shit on you every chance she gets. She has already demonstrated that she doesn’t understand the rules, and that she wants to stick her nose in where it doesn’t belong. You had better smack it good and hard, or you will be plagued by her as long as your dad can tolerate her.

davidbetterman's avatar

Just move out and be done with the both of them.

MrItty's avatar

Anonymously send her a link to this discussion board….

dpworkin's avatar

@MrItty She’ll never guess who it could have been!

MagicalMystery's avatar

@davidbetterman : i would not suggest she moves out until she’s ready, because that’s just giving the girlfriend “figurative room to move in.” she needs to learn that 23 is not a child to impose a curfew on and your relationship with your dad does not concern her.

could it be possible you’re staying out all night and your dad is complaining to her, and therefore your dad is indirectly asking for her help to reign you in? did she do it in response to a specific incident or did something occur between you and your dad that she may be trying to assist him with?

dpworkin's avatar

It doesn’t matter what may have triggered her behavior. She is shit out of line. No excuses.

SuperMouse's avatar

Those suggesting @shego speak to her father, can you give more detail as to why him and not the woman? I just can’t help but wonder why a grown woman should not speak to another grown woman about a behavior that bothers her. The man I am seeing has four grown children and I would be taken aback if he came to me with issues any of them had with the way I was treating them. I would want them to come straight to me to discuss these things. I also lost my mother and had plenty of experience with a father dating pushy women. Even in my early teens it never occurred to me to speak to my father about them, I went to them.

janbb's avatar

She really is way out of line and it is scary in terms of your Dad’s relationship with her as well as yours, but you can’t control his. Lots of red flags there. Maybe by establishing your boundaries with her you will help your father see her clearly too, but you can only determine what you will allow in her behavior towards you.

dpworkin's avatar

@SuperMouse Maybe you’re right. I thought it would have been a courtesy to give dad a chance to warn her before putting an M80 up her ass.

marinelife's avatar

I think @SuperMouse is correct, but I do think you should warn your dad that you plan to speak to her and what the substance of the conversation will be: that you will not call her “Mom” and you will not tolerate a curfew, as you are 23.

janbb's avatar

Yes, I think talking to her Dad first is important because she wants to not damage that relationship. He should know what is going on, but I do agree that @shego should be the one to talk to the girlfriend.

partyparty's avatar

Speak to your dada girlfriend about the issues you have… in a friendly and polite manner of course… but let your father know you will be doing this.

dpworkin's avatar

IMHO “friendly and polite” is the same as rolling over. This woman has issues, and she needs to be scared straight.

janbb's avatar

But you can try one way first, and then move on to more strong! It can be firm without being a smackdown, n’est ce pas?

partyparty's avatar

@dpworkin Don’t agree with you. Friendly and polite can be affirmative, without being aggressive.

dpworkin's avatar

Oy, @janbb, so much less satisfying.

@partyparty It’s fine to disagree. I think this woman poses a clear and present danger and is acting crazy. One doesn’t ask a mad dog not to bite, please. But, that’s just me.

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin True, but often more effective. Why, I’d like to smack you down sometime.

dpworkin's avatar

Oooh, please do!

janbb's avatar

Don’t worry, darlin’, the clock is ticking.

Judi's avatar

I haven’t read the other responses yet, but I feel I need to say this. You are 23 and your dad is trying to find happiness and a companion . Is there any way you can move out and be on your own at this point?
Your life is none of her business, but since you live with him, she probably feels a little territorial. (rational or not, she really can’t control her feelings, only how she chooses to act on them.)
If you could move out, you would save your father a lot of grief, feeling stuck in the middle between you and his girlfriend. That would be a wonderful gift to the man you both love.
As far as calling her “Mom” is concerned, you just need to say, “I don’t feel comfortable with that at this time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, it just means that I have reserved that title for my mother.”

SuperMouse's avatar

@dpworkin, @shego seems fairly calm about the whole thing, so you must be referring to the girlfriend as a mad dog. She may just be clueless about step-parenting and think she is doing it right. @shego, is your sense that this woman is a loon or simply not using her noodle?

For the record, I have no problem with @shego explaining to her father that she is going to approach this woman, I just don’t think she should send him to do her bidding. I also don’t see that the approach has to be akin to shoving an M80 up the woman’s rear end, it could and probably should be a polite and pleasant conversation. The polite and pleasant conversation might even be more likely to elicit the desired results.

dpworkin's avatar

Well, I’m something of a rabid dog myself.

shego's avatar

@davidbetterman I would move out, but at the moment I don’t have a job, and my father gave me a place to stay and help him out.
But I respect my father very much, but I really don’t want to hurt him, by possibly hurting his girlfriends feelings. I just talked to my father and asked him about the curfew thing, and he said he won’t do it, but he said she wants it for my own safety. I guess she thinks that I’m going to end up doing drugs or something. I’m not, because all throughout highschool, I had plenty of oppurtunities but declined every offer.
So I guess I have to ” man up,” and let her know how I feel.
Thanks for all the advice! I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Judi's avatar

@shego ; Consciously or not, I really think she is trying to make things uncomfortable enough to encourage you to get a job and get on your own. She wants you out so she can move in. whether she will admit it or not.

dpworkin's avatar

@shego That sounds reasonable. You sound like a reasonable person. Just don’t allow it to continue once you have registered your first objection. No stepmother ever has parental rights, and she’s not even your stepmother.

njnyjobs's avatar

Use the “I am of your blood” card and explain to your dad how the “lady” she is dating may not turn out to be the same person he once knew. Either he has to rein her in or he may very well be in the middle of a teeter-totter.

thriftymaid's avatar

As an adult, why do you need to? You should be able to simply say it to her—“you are not now, nor you ever been my mother.”

trailsillustrated's avatar

simply tell her she has alot of nerve and to kindly step off.

jca's avatar

@dpworkin: parental rights would not be an issue even if this were not a stepmother, as the girl is 23 years old – an adult.

i think “friendly and polite” is a better way to start, as this may end up being your father’s wife, and you don’t want to ruin any chance of a decent relationship with her. Critics: mind you i said “decent.” i did not say “substitute for the girl’s mother” or “father’s wife being her best friend.” if you start off rude and aggressive, then you’re the bad guy. you can be reasonable and civil, also known as “friendly and polite” and see how that goes. there’s always time for aggressive and combative if all else fails.

Kraigmo's avatar

Is this woman religious?

TLRobinson's avatar

Talk to her, period. No mediation from your father will impact her “concerns” like you sharing your feelings with her directly.

She’s never had a child, so knowledge of how to treat an adult daughter is zero. You teach people how to treat you; teach her!

ninjacolin's avatar

“No, I’m not going to call you mom. But if you earn it, I may just love you to pieces one day.”

she sounds hilarious.

Trillian's avatar

Wow. I wonder if she has other issues. I was going to say something about “Well, you kind of have to obey rules and she’s worried about your safety, yadda yadda yadda.” Then I saw that you are 23.
Would telling your dad that his girlfriend is trying to get you to call her “mom” really) hurt his feelings? It’s the truth. I’d be more worried what else she has up her sleeve. If she pulls this card now, _and tries to set you a curfew, what else is she going to do.
It just seems to me that a person like this cannot be totally thinking right and she may very well be a little…. in need of some therapy or medication.
Wanting someone’s 23 year old daughter to call her mom when they’re not even married indicated a break or two in the thought process. He may want to steer clear of this person anyway. Lonely and sorry are two different things.

Bronny's avatar

oh how FRUSTRATING. Definitely talk to your dad, I second what was said before that she probably has control issues and he will ultimately not be happy. you shouldn’t tell him that though, allow him to reach that decision on his own- if he still has doubts and hasn’t proposed to her yet then he probably is smart enough to see where these doubts are coming from. 23 with a curfew??? haha, seriously?

Ludy's avatar

Look, you already tried to talk to your dad, take matters into your hands, i will do anything possible to get her out of your and your dad’s life, is better to be alone than being with bad company, besides you know he won’t be happy either if you’re not happy, that or move out.

ninjacolin's avatar

disagree with @Ludy. it’s stupid to try to exacerbate the situation.
your dad’s GF’s offenses aren’t intentional, they’re simply interpersonal mistakes. in reality, she’s only interested in things going well. you should be interested in that too.

there’s nothing to get upset at. she’s just trying to be likable and sucking at it. instead, communicate with her openly and honestly. she clearly needs help to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. she can’t learn/change by remaining uninformed.

filmfann's avatar

My solution would be a combination of @janbb and @dpworkin.

I would calmly explain that I was willing to be a friend to her, but that she was not my mother, and that the word Mother has a special meaning for me.
If that doesn’t work, nothing says “back off” like pepperspray.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It sounds strange, I mean a 23yr old is a grown adult ready to be out on their so maybe she becomes confused if you’re living at home where it’s easy to assume you’re still a teen. Ask your father to talk to her and make it clear your standing in his house and in their future as a couple. That should make it to the quick for all concerned.

shego's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Well I know it’s weird that I am living at home, and I can understand what your saying. I am back home because this last year has been very tough on me, I lost everything in a bad relationship, my mother, and my job.
But please don’t get me wrong I am trying to find a job. But until I find one I do a lot of volunteering.

But I have scheduled a lunch with her tomorrow, so we can talk.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@shego
Understandable but maybe from this lady’s perspective you’re still a child and it really doesn’t matter she know the details of why you’re at home. What really needs to happen is for her to know from your dad where she stands and how he considers your standing in the household such as “child” or temporary roommate. If you approach this lady first and state you might not really be interested in building a friendship with her and are no minor child to be pressured into giving over a sense of intimacy then she’s going to take the stance of being threatened by you and she’ll complain to your dad which puts him in an awkward position. If he sits down with her first and says from his observation it seems like she’s approaching you as a child rather than adult and he feels it’s a premature level of intimacy in your family then what will naturally follow next is an explanation of how serious he feels about her. Like I said, it’s a good way for everyone to get what they need: her off your back, her an idea of how serious he is about her and how much he wants her included in your family.

Bronny's avatar

wait a minute…maybe she’s enforcing the curfew thing manipulatively to try to get you to move out!!!! you might appear to be the only thing in her way from landing your dad! she could be playing you and acting like she wants you to call her mom etc for his benefit but really trying to create issues just slightly so that if you lose your cool, its you acting like a child and her only trying to get close. BE CAREFUL, I’m sure her only motive is to be with your dad and as another female you are DEFINITELY competition whether either of you realize it or not.

YARNLADY's avatar

Her rules and suggestions are premature, if she is not living in the house with you and Dad. However, she may soon be the “Lady of the House” and you need to be careful about maintaining a proper balance between being the step daughter and the grown daughter (freeloader).

shego's avatar

I’m not a freeloader @YARNLADY I do the best I can with what I have. And to be honest with you, if you saw my other posting, you would see that. So personally I find it inappropriate when I like many others have been effected by the current economy.

YARNLADY's avatar

@shego I’m sorry that I inadvertently made it sound like an insult – I meant from their point of view.

partyparty's avatar

@jca Yes I am in total agreement with you here.

Bronny's avatar

family is there to help you get back on your feet, no matter what age.

shego's avatar

So I went to lunch with my fathers girlfriend today, and I told her how I felt about her request. She is willing to work with me, and listen to what I have to say, and my concerns. She is happy with the fact that I am willing to voice my opinion, and that I took the time to talk to her.
So overall it seems that it went really well.

janbb's avatar

@shego Wowee whoee – good work, girlie!!

dpworkin's avatar

Mazel Tov™! Glad to hear it. I hope she remains reasonable.

SuperMouse's avatar

I lurve your solution @shego!!

Bronny's avatar

very mature of you, good job.

NeonGurl's avatar

He’s YOUR father, if there is something that is bothering you that involves his relationship with another than you have to say something about it before it gets too serious. There are many other women out there that you and your father will like. Why not take a chance and talk to him, he will not always be lonely. Who knows, he might find Mrs. Right.

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