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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Clashes With Dad Over His Teenage Girlfriend

DEAR ABBY: I'm really uncomfortable about my father's new relationship. He is 50 and dating a girl who is 19 -- only two years older than I am. She went to my high school.

I think their age difference is disgusting. He knows how I feel about it, and he doesn't care. We fought, and I told him I wouldn't talk to him anymore. I would rather live with my mom full time than spend half my time at his house.

I haven't seen or spoken to him in more than a month, and I am hurt that he would choose his girlfriend over me. My father and I were never super close, but we had a decent relationship. I looked up to him.

Without him in my life I feel like something is missing. I have tried to get over how I feel and force myself to accept the situation regardless of how uncomfortable it makes me feel, but I just can't! I have lost respect for him. I feel like he is a pervert.

How can I take his parental advice seriously or listen when he tries to discipline me when he is dating someone my age? It makes me wonder if he treats his girlfriend like his daughter and tries to parent her, too -- which is just creepy. What can I do to feel better? -- HATES DAD'S TEEN ROMANCE

DEAR HATES: I would love to know how that girl's parents feel about this love match. Your father may be flattered that someone so young would have a romantic interest in him. Being with her may make him forget that he's 31 years older -- past middle age -- and think he's a cool young dude again.

When there is that great an age difference, the older person is usually the one calling the shots, and the balance of power in the relationship is unequal. If your father is parenting her, it may be because she needs a "daddy" and it makes him feel important.

You'll start feeling better as soon as you accept that you can't control what your father does and realize that his relationship with your contemporary may not last. In the meantime, focus on your studies.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Love & Dating | Teens | Aging