Parenting

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Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Boyfriend's Daughter's Strange Behavior

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 3 years. With that being said, let me tell my tale.

His daughter is 10 and she lives with my boyfriend full time. Her mom lives out of state and only sees her on holidays. They divorced about 3 years ago. The daughter lived with mom for a year and begged to move back with dad. His daughter is unusually clingy. No one can get near dad or have a conversation without her standing by. My boyfriend has no adult relationships with anyone. The few he did have she acted as if they were her friends.

We separated a few times because it became too tough for me to deal. Recently, went on a vacation to Disney World with my family and nobody could talk to him or get near him with out her hanging onto him. He couldn't sit next to anyone or take pictures with anyone else. At one point I rubbed his hair and she started rubbing his back.

I understand it takes time for children to adjust but she is not adjusting. I worry for her mental health because she acts more like his wife. It's disturbing. He doesn't see it. I just think she should go see someone or talk to someone. It's debilitating to both of them. As long as she is part of EVERY aspect of what he is doing she is fine. But as soon as he has a conversation or attempts to socialize with anyone else she becomes very detached and clings to him as if to keep him away from anyone else.

He is a great guy and I would like to get them both to see this is not healthy.

Advice, please?

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