Visiting Girlfriend's Parents

Updated on July 06, 2010
S.P. asks from Saint Paul, MN
21 answers

Some background first:
My daughter's father and I have been apart for 8 of our daughter's 8.5 years. He currently lives with his long-time girlfriend and her son. We have a generally positive relationship, and I truly like his girlfriend. The five of us can easily go out to dinner together and have a good time, we can talk about issues that come up, etc. Once a week, we have family night - where the three of us (her dad, me, and our daughter) get together and have dinner, play games, etc. I say all this so that you know that the two of us have worked hard to be "together" while living separate lives for the sake of our child. My daughter spends 2 nights a week at her dad's house and one full weekend day in addition to our family night. He pays some child support, though not nearly what we need or what I have asked for. However, we were never married and we have no court order about anything.

Over the last couple years, the relationship between my daughter's father has gotten much more difficult. It has become clear that we have differing underlying values about sex and relationships - my own being much more conservative than his. Things like navigating overnights at his girlfriends (before they were living together) were not terribly wonderful discussions. He feels as though he has to ask permission to live his life and I feel like he doesn't respect who I am and my fundamental beliefs because he keeps pushing these issues. I honestly don't care what he does when our daughter isn't there - but I feel strongly about what is being modeled.

Last night, we had a long, very unproductive, at times very angry discussion about a specific issue that has come up. He wanted to take our daughter for a weekend (one of his days and two of mine) to his girlfriend's parents house. He feels that because they are nice people and it is a safe situation that I should have no rational reason not to want our daughter to go to their house. I feel as though it is inappropriate - that he is pushing his girlfriend's family into our daughter's life. At the end of this discussion, he asked if I had talked to anyone about this situation and what they thought. I had talked to three people, and they all agreed with me. He had also talked to several people, and, not surprisingly, they agreed with him. Of course this makes sense, since we choose friends who are similar to us and because of the way that each of us would present the situation.

So, I've tried to take all the emotion out of this discussion here - and I'm wondering what others think who are not on one of our sides. Any thoughts?

Also, I don't really need the judgement about my prior relationship with her father - so please keep that to yourself. I have changed and grown in the time since I got pregnant, and I have also matured and simply become comfortable with my more conservative self- which I once tried to hide because I found it distasteful and unpopular. I don't have a problem with their relationship, after all - it is between adults - only with the role that my daughter plays in it.


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answers from Minneapolis on

I have been a stepmom for over 24 years to two wonderful young people. For the first 3 years of that time, I was not married to their father (then we were). My extended family - parents and siblings - included my stepkids as if they were my own from the very beginning. We attended family gatherings and visits whenever we could. I would have been disappointed with my parents/siblings if they had expected me to visit without my family along! My stepchildren's mother was unreasonable in many areas, but did not object to, and even commented on, how nice and accepting my family was to the kids.

Your ex and his "long-time girlfriend" and her son and your daughter are a FAMILY. Be glad that his girlfriend's family wants to be in your daughter's life. This does not take away from what you have with your daughter, it adds to her life. A child can not have too many involved, interested, adults in their life.

Please don't jeopardize your good relationship with your daughter's father by making this an issue. That you and he can relate well is the most important thing to your daughter.

BTW - I'm confused about how you state that you and your daughter's father were never married, and yet you seem to disapprove of his unmarried current relationship??

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

this is only my opinion, but here it goes: if it were me and my daughter's father was serious with his girlfriend, i'd be happy she (the girlfriend) wants to include your daughter (or her boyfriend's daughter) in family outings, even if it is with her family. if they get married, your daughter should have the opportunity to be a part of it all. most stepmoms do not want stepkids included, try everything to keep them away, and causes a rift in the family.
your morals and beliefs are yours, and you cannot change his beliefs and his morals. your daughter will be exposed to both, and will make her own decision which suits her life best as she grows up.
i honestly think you should let her go. this can be taken as a positive step from your part, show the girlfriend, who may become your daughter's future mom that you accept this and want your daughter to be a part of their lives.
just my opinion.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Nice try!

Since the two of you never married it seems a bit hypocritical for you to judge what's being modeled in a long term relationship with the woman your former boyfriend has been with for a long time.

While you may have tried to take “all the emotion out of the discussion”, you have not succeeded and it does appear that you would like to still be in control of your child’s father. If you truly like this woman why would you not let your daughter visit her parent’s home? It doesn’t sound like a safety issue, it does sound like a control issue.

Generally when people start introducing significant others to their family, there could be a marriage in wind. The girlfriend would officially become your daughter’s step-mother and her parents could be another set of grandparents.. I think that maybe what is really troubling you.

Let her go for the visit..Keep your good relationship with her father and his girlfriend.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with the other posters - let her go. If you truly like the girlfriend and you are comfortable with her, I'm confident her parents are good people to be around (if only for a weekend!) as well. Surely she wants to "show off" your daughter a bit, after all she is an important part of her life. Rather than seeing this as a negative, try to see it as a positive; you and your ex are raising such a nice child that other people also want her to be a part of their family. I can think of a lot of 8 year olds who I wouldn't want around. There's always room for more positive adults in a child's life. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Have you already met her family? If not, perhaps meeting them would be a good thing to help ease your mind. Do you think that her dad intends to marry the gf? If so, then your daughter REALLY does need to start bonding with the gf's family.

I agree with the other posters about not being able to control what he does, even when she is there. You have obviously discussed it with him, and I am sure you did a good job laying out your position rationally, as you did here. My moral code seems to be much closer to yours, so I totally get your concerns, but unfortunately we can't force adults to do or not do anything. Your job will be to continue to model the morals and behaviors that are appropriate for adults, and to address any issues your daughter brings up to you, or that you notice needing to be addressed, in a calm, rational, loving manner. You will need to find a way to (a few years down the line) to have a discussion with your daughter about her dad's choices and lifestyle, without sounding judgemental. It's such a fine line to walk, and you may not get it right on the first try, but you sound like the kind of person who will be able to figure out a good way of discussing it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You were never married and had a baby and it did not work out, your not a couple but co-parent your daughter. It sounds like you get a long very well and your daughter has two loving parents.

I mean did your fundamental beliefs change?? It only good when its you who is making decisions? He is doing what you were doing before you got pregnant. Your daughter seems soooo well adjusted here.

Seems more like a control issue with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him taking your daughter to meet her parents for a few days. Nothing at all. He would be pushing her family on her if they just started dating. But she is a long time girlfriend. Its not inappropriate what so ever.

Dig a little deeper to see what is the REAL problem with this. I think you might come up with he has moved on a long time ago. He does seem like a great dad. He does the family outing with you and her every week!! wow ...not many dads would have continued this. His girlfriend is very understanding. So why rock the boat now.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I haven't read any of the other responses. I also consider myself very conservative in my beliefs.
After reading your post I honestly don't think it's a big deal for him to take his daughter to meet his girlfriends parents. I mean if they were married the parents would technically be her step grandparents and you wouldn't keep her from them then. I understand the part about you feeling that he is not being a good role model but remember, you're the one who changed your views not him. You won't be able to change him. I think that as long as you don't feel that your daughter is in any type of danger you should let her go. You could ask that your daughter doesn't see them sleeping in the same bed, but again you can't put that demand there. As you said you are two adults and you are both living your seperate lives.
You have your daughter most of the time, so you can really set the stage for what is appropriate behavior and inappropriate. If your daughter ever asks or comments about her fathers relationship with his girlfriend, you can tell her what you expect of her as she grows up.
Let her go with him and don't sweat this one, there will be bigger issues to tackle in the future.
Best wishes,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm on the let her go side. It's not like he just meet the GF and wants to rush your daughter into anything. You should be happy that the GF wants to include your daughter and treat her like family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i don't get it. his gf is already in your daughter's life. very much so. so why is there a problem with her parents being there also? too many folks who care about your daughter?
i totally get being squiffy about sleepovers before they moved in together. but this isn't even close to that issue.
seems to me that you have an excellent working relationship with your daughter's dad. i can't imagine why you are jeopardizing it over this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I take it his girlfriend doesn't sleep at his house when your daughter is there, and that this is what would be different about her traveling to the girlfriends' parents' house? No, wait, I see that isn't the case, they live together. Honestly, I don't see why just changing the setting (to her parents' house) should make a difference. I do think it is fair to ask what the sleeping arrangements are, but only for your daughter. I don't think you need to be 'eyes shut' about her dad's actions either, but you can't dictate them. There are certain things that are always inappropriate for children to see, regardless of what the adults' beliefs are. However, it sounds like her father understands this. 8-yrs is not too early to teach your daughter about sexual relationships are, what your beliefs regarding intimacy are, and that these are decisions that she can make now to guide her into adulthood.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am having trouble understanding why this would be an issue. This is not a cut or a dig, but you yourself have said that you guys have worked hard to form a good (maybe stretching it) relationship with each other for the sake of the daughter. Why wouldn't there be a time when her (the gf) parents wouldn't be a factor in that "good" relationship.

Frankly, I HATE my ex's wife. She's vindictive and undermining. Her parents however, treat my daughter like she's everything. They buy her things, spend time with her and love her. And I cannot find fault in that for my daughter.

I am not sure how long your ex has been with the new girlfriend, but if she's a fixture in your daughter's life, it's only natural that her parents would want to be a part of your daughter's life too.

And I can tell a parent of 2 children with 4 sets of grandparents...there can never be too much love and care bestowed upon them.

I say give them a chance. If it fails miserably, then it won't happen again.

For the record...I know what your feeling. And I too, have felt the same way.

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

If this is a long-term and live-in girlfriend, then their relationship must be pretty serious. I don't understand why you have such a hard time with the idea of another famiy being involved in your daughter's life. What happens when the two of them get married and have children of their own? Would you expect your daughter to be treated differently than the other children in that family? I would surely hope not. What happens if and when you get into a seriousl relationship wiht another man...he will likely have family right? Would you exclude her from all activities that involved his family? I highly doubt it. I mean, unless they are complete losers, what harm could come from someone else loving your child?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi Penny. I re-read your post a couple of times but can't get what your concern is. You said you like your ex's GF, you all hang out together happily, your daughter seems to enjoy them. But you did indicate that as of late you and your ex are seeing opposite side of things? What things? Is it the living together w/out being married, or that he wants to involve your DD with his GF's family or is it that he is taking her on 2 of your days? You are the primary keeper so you could spare the two days, it's his choice to live with the GF not marry, and I am not judging but before you matured and started really embracing your true beleifs you did have a child out of wedlock, you can't contradict that behavior with your DD dad, she'll eventually think you are a hypocrite, the GF family is probably an extension of who the GF is and it sounds normal that your ex would want your DD to get to know them as he is serious with his GF. Unless you left out vital information, looks like it's a go from most of us that it should be ok. Take the three days and treat your self to spa time, or just hanging and reading. There are so many bad mom/dad relationships you should be thrilled on how all of you are doing and keep growing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I sympathize with being morally conservative, especially in the presence of a child. But you had a child with someone who is different than you and there is no changing that now.

I commend you for the relationship you foster with you ex on behalf of your child.

I think that if she's already seeing them live together, then let her go. There i sno big deal there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You have an un-coventional family, who will sometimes be put in un-coventional situations. Thats just how it works. I don't think it has anything to do with being conservative. I know you said there were other issues regarding sexual situations and parenting but I honestly feel those are seperate then the one you are currently concerned about. Your ex's GF is now a part of your daughters life, let her go. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

unfotunately you have to let go-also you dont have to be married to get child support.your child is going to experience a whole different life with daddy-i went thru this myself-it was hard-but you have to trust his judgement-she will let you know if things didnt go well or if she didnt feel safe.its great your keeping the drama out of her life-and you all get along really your ex...but mostly trust your daughter..good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Like the others, I don't understand why you are opposed to your daughter visiting the GF's parents if the GF and your daughter's father already live together anyhow and your daughter spends time at their home. It seems perfectly natural to me that the GF's parents would be part of the equation too, and I'm actually surprised your daughter hasn't already visited them. Unless you have other specific reasons for not letting her go (safety concerns, they smoke in the house and she has asthma, whatever), then I say let her go and be happy for her. I don't think dad is pushing the GF's parents into your daughter's life; it's a natural and normal evolution of the relationships here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Because this woman lives with him her parents are already a part of your daughter's life. Unless you feel your daughter will be unsafe, you should let her go.



answers from Salinas on

Just another person who doesn't really understand the problem here. I think it's awesome that you and your daughter's Dad get along for your daughter's sake but don't risk that relationship by being strangely controlling. I'm left trying to guess why you do not want your daughter to meet the GF's parents? You may even be unknowingly getting in the way of them actually getting married, they may be bringing everyone who will be a part of their new family together before the big move of making it official. Isn't that what you want...or is it?!?



answers from Houston on

The way I see it, this girlfriend is your daughter's family. After all, you said "long-term" girlfriend. They live together. I see it as she is her step-mother, honestly. Most people I know, who have step-parents, the children KNOW and LOVE the step-parent's family just as their own. She will be gaining new grandparents through this experience, why deny her that? This may not be your family, but, it has become your daughter's family, you have to cut some ties and let it happen.


answers from Saginaw on

I don't see the issue either, unless your worried about her seeing her dad sleeping in the same room as his gf. Otherwise its a trip to meet his gf parents, I don't see the big deal in that? I say let her go....even if that is the reason.

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