Why won't my boyfriend introduce me to his daughters?

It has been two years now, and there's always a different reason.

By Cary Tennis
Published June 13, 2007 2:25PM (UTC)
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Dear Cary,

I have been dating someone for two years but have known him for over 10 years, having met him in the gym.

When I ran into him again two years ago he'd been engaged for three years but was unsure if he was making the right decision with that particular person. We started seeing each other again. We saw each other almost every day and recently began talking about living together, even though I have yet to meet his two daughters or anyone in his family.

The first reason was to give it time after he broke up with his fiancée. Lately, when I ask him about when we might meet he gives a different reason each time -- until I finally told him I did not want to continue to see him if I didn't meet his girls. Now he is willing to introduce me to them but I am feeling he is only doing this to appease me, not because he really wants me to.

What is going on? Why hasn't he introduced me to his daughters (not as his "girlfriend" but as his friend)? I am mystified by this. We are not children -- I am over 50 and he is 48. Am I wasting my time wondering?

Their Daddy's Friend

Dear Daddy's Friend,

So what happened was I had my reply to you mostly all written but then my friend D. called and I thought, this is a friend and I am a good person, and a good person answers the phone when a friend calls so I will answer the phone and so now I have to rewrite the whole thing because apparently my friend D. lives in some kind of "real world."

"Two years?" she says. "Two years?!"

So I'm all like, Why does he have to introduce you to the daughters anyway, and what if there were no daughters, what would you do then, and D. is all like, Well, two years, for Christ sake, I'd drop him. One year max, she says, on the daughter-introducing thing.

So I'm like, Well, it's complicated and she's like, Whatever.

So I'm all like, What if his daughters didn't exist, what would your beef be then? Is it about the daughters or is it about something else? What if he had a lake house and hadn't invited you to the lake house? And does he have to invite you to the lake house? Who says? And D. is all like, Man, after two years, either he's got plans to bring you into his life or not, and if not, then you should break up. And if you're thinking about moving in together but you haven't even met his daughters yet, then whoa.

Like, really, whoa.

That doesn't mean this relationship is over. I don't know what it means, frankly. I am just listening to Bach's Sonata No. 1 in B minor and trying to keep my head screwed on straight, because it keeps unscrewing and dangling off like a cartoon head.

But let me have my say here too, OK? Now that D. is off the phone, I will say this for the men in the world: Well, my dear, a man has certain things, certain considerations, certain processes he has to go through, certain cycles of reconciliation and getting used to ideas. So maybe he is going through all that and even though two years seems like a long time it's not really all that much time geologically speaking.

It may be that you simply need to be patient. There may be a fear that he really screwed up by ending his engagement. There may be great pain there. There may be shame there. He may fear that his daughters disapprove of his ending his engagement and will not be kind to you. We do not know. So it may be good to practice some patience in this matter.

However, this may also be a sign that this is not a man you want to be with. What kind of man do you want to be with? And what do you want to do? Do you want to get married? Or do you prefer to live together? That is, would living together be a prelude to marriage? What are your plans in this regard?

All these things are important and worth thinking about.

Other things come to mind as well. Does he like to talk about his daughters? Has he shown you pictures of them? How old are they? Does he have a good relationship with them?

And there is something else here worth thinking about. Why do you want him to introduce you to his daughters only as his friend? If it is important to meet them, it is important because you are his girlfriend, no? So I would think you would want to be introduced as his girlfriend.

These and other questions appear to be important. But then it may well be that I am living in a kind of cartoon world.

(Is my head on straight? It feels like it's kind of dangling off to the side like a cartoon head. Honey? Can you come here and look at my head?)

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