Interfering in someone’s personal space and trying to dictate their choices is not done, especially when you haven’t even known them long enough! A netizen recently asked, “Am I a jerk for taking my teen daughter’s side over my girlfriend?”
We need to know your take on the matter.
The Original Poster (OP) is a 48-year-old man separated from his 40-year-old wife for the past eight months. They were together for 18 years and have four daughters aged 17, 14, 5, and 4.
“Despite our separation, my wife and I remain on amicable terms. She resides in our marital home, while I live in our rental property.”, says OP.
FOUR MONTHS AGO
Approximately four months ago, OP rekindled a relationship with a former college girlfriend who’s 47. They were together for five years back in the day but parted ways because she wasn’t ready to settle and have kids. She now has a 13-year-old daughter.
THE ISSUE AT HAND
A notable issue has arisen between OP’s eldest daughter, who’s turning 18 soon, and his girlfriend. His daughter is assertive, outspoken, and holds strong to her principles. She’s very bonded with her mother.
On the other hand, OP’s girlfriend is quite strict with her child. She sets clear boundaries, including computer usage limits, basic phones, and no TV during school days, and has various disciplinary measures.
“In contrast, my wife and I have been much more relaxed parents. Our kids have more freedom with their devices and social activities, and we’re more lenient regarding discipline.”, says OP.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT
Last night, a situation escalated. OP’s daughter, girlfriend, and her child gathered at his place after school. The plan was for the kids to finish homework, have dinner, and then for them to have a family game night.
However, his oldest was engrossed in Instagram and YouTube, which led his girlfriend’s daughter to request similar screen time.
When OP’s girlfriend suggested that his eldest put away her laptop to join the game, his daughter declined. OP’s girlfriend insisted, emphasizing the importance of family time. His daughter firmly reiterated her decision to abstain.
“As I entered the scene, my girlfriend, in front of everyone, said I should intervene. My daughter, clearly frustrated, asserted that my girlfriend isn’t her mother and left the room.”, says OP.
THE CONTRADICTORY VIEWPOINTS
OP told his girlfriend that while his daughter’s tone could’ve been better, he’s never imposed strict family time, and she was preoccupied.
“Upset, my girlfriend promptly left with her daughter. She later texted me, expressing her belief that I was permitting my daughter’s purported disrespect, and criticized our parenting approach. Am I a jerk?” asks OP.
YOUR GIRLFRIEND COMPLETELY OVERSTEPPED
“Everyone’s wrong; your girlfriend completely overstepped and should apologize. However, you have also probably contributed to a confused dynamic between your kids and your girlfriend so soon after your separation from their mother.”
YOU MADE THE CORRECT DECISION
“Not the jerk. You made the correct decision. Let your 17-year-old do her own thing. She was polite. This girlfriend needs to stay in her lane.”
YOU NEED TO SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
“Not the jerk. Your daughter is old enough to decide if she wants to participate in game night or not. Your girlfriend is overstepping. If you stay in this relationship, you need to set clear boundaries.
Your daughter was correct in saying the girlfriend is not her mom because she’s not. She has barely been back in your life, and she’s trying to change your family.”
HOW CAN SHE IMPOSE HER PARENTING VIEWS?
“Not the jerk. Also, what’s with ‘Our parenting approach’? Wow, that’s heavy after only four months. Your girlfriend already trying to impose her parenting views on your children is bad enough that to a near-adult on top of that, mostly because she can’t tell her child that different rules are currently in place for both sets of kids, is a red flag.
Nobody should think that after less than half a year, they can parent all kids the same way in a reconstructed family.”
TRY RECONSIDERING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
“Not the jerk. If your girlfriend can’t respect healthy boundaries with your children, consider reconsidering your relationship. My dad rushed into a relationship after his marriage to my mother fell apart with someone similar, which really strained his relationship with his children.
My oldest sister has barely spoken to him in 20 years. The way you stood up for your daughter was commendable. I wish my dad had your backbone.”
GIVE THIS EVENT SOME SPACE
“Not the jerk. It’s much easier to enforce structure and limitations with a single child than with a large family. Your girlfriend wants you to match her parenting expectations with kids that don’t belong to her. Give this event some space, and this should all settle down.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.