DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is in his mid-40s, with a 21-year-old daughter. He paid for her to study cosmetology. During that time, he paid all her bills. Well, she finished school and moved back in, and she now says she’s no longer interested in beauty as a career. She has never worked a day in her life. She totaled her car, and he asked that I help her find another one. Last week, she had the nerve to ask for $400.
My boyfriend is going through a financial struggle, and because of that, he’s a little stressed. He still gives me $100 a week just in case I need anything. Now he wants me to let his daughter use the car he lent me so she can go see her boyfriend on the weekends. His ex-wife doesn’t help with any of their daughter’s expenses. I’m 28 with a 5-year-old, and thankfully my boyfriend is very involved in my child’s life, but I feel that his daughter is putting a strain on our relationship. He wants me to marry him, but I’m concerned his daughter will never get her life together and we will always take care of her. What should I do? -- Possible Step-Daughter Problem, Jersey City, New Jersey
DEAR POSSIBLE STEP-DAUGHTER PROBLEM: Step back and take a careful look at your situation. You and your boyfriend’s daughter are close in age while different in circumstances. It sounds like your boyfriend is doing the best he can to care for his daughter, who is just becoming a woman. Without her mother’s help, this has to be difficult. It sounds like he is also trying to do right by you and your child.
I recommend that you take a few deep breaths and stay quiet for now. Navigating a young adult is a challenge. It may take his daughter a while to figure out her path. If you step in to make comments, it will likely cause a rift between you and your man. Let things unfold as they will. Then you will have to decide if you can live with reality. If your boyfriend’s daughter needs ongoing support, it is likely that he will provide it.