Meeting SO's 18 Year Old Daughter – Advice?

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 2
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2004

Do you live together?  Have you spoken to her on the phone?  How long ago did her parents split?

For the most part, go slow.  Talk to her the way you would any other young adult, not child.  Minimize physical affection with your SO in front of her and otherwise let things develop organically. 

Post # 4
2049 posts
Buzzing bee

anonymous54321 :  I’ll comment, even though my future step child is a toddler, I’ve read a lot of books and online forums and see this situation addressed a lot. First of all, it’s #1 priority that your Boyfriend or Best Friend take the lead here. She is not a child, and she is capable of making decisions on her own about her like/dislike of you. Several factors come into play like:

Does she know how serious you and her father are?

Is she mature in the sense that she’s happy that he is happy outside of her biological mother? Or is she still missing her nuclear family?

Was your BF’s divorce long, drawn out and dramatic? Does she “side” with her mother or feel loyalty to her?

Are there house rules that your Boyfriend or Best Friend will enforce (ie not tampering with your things there) that she might take issue with?


I will tell you, and probably a lot of step parents will also tell you the same thing, is that you’ll experience a range of different emotions. From nervousness at the first meeting, to excitement of connecting with someone so important to your bf, to feelings of jealousy when you feel left out of memories and conversations, to anxiousness of how you’re being perceived. It’s not something that is formulatic, because everyone has a different experience with blending families.

Just go into it open minded and be yourself. My Fiance and I don’t make out in front of the kid, but we carry on like 2 adults in a relationship who love each other, and that’s ok. But, like I stated first, a lot of it rests on your Boyfriend or Best Friend. Will he include you a lot the week she is visiting? Will he introduce you two and then hang out with her mostly solo? Will he shower her with gifts and attention that seem out of character for him? Just be prepared to see a completely different side of your bf (and I dont mean that in a bad way, at all! I love seeing my Fiance be a great dad).

Good luck! If she is as pleasant as others describe her to be, you’ll do great. And if she isn’t, she is still young and these relationships take time to develop. Don’t be too hard or put too much pressure on yourself. Step parenting is hard, but it can be worth it!

Post # 5
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

She’s also in a vounerable position I think. Finishing her first year of college. I personally detested being proaded with constant “What are you taking? What are you planning to do? What’s your future?” questions. 

Sorry – no real advice. 

Post # 6
299 posts
Helper bee

Speaking from a stepchild’s perspective. I would say no to lunch, gifts, shopping, without her father at the beginning. Maybe have a day at the mall/lunch/movie with you and her dad, to get some college stuff she may need, or some new summer clothes.  Don’t try to push yourself to be her friend right now, just live your life like normal. She an adult, so treat her as one. Don’t come at it like “she will be my stepchild, I need her to like me”, more like “this is someone I would like to be friends with in the future”. You wouldn’t give someone you hardly know a present just because you’re meeting them for the first time. You would however, probably invite them out for coffee alone or dinner with a couple other people.  Divorce at 15 is really hard, as is just finishing college. Add to the fact that she is now in that weird place where you think you should be treated like and adult but at the same time feeling like you aren’t old enough to be one.  She may feel obligated to accept any invitation (since you did say she is very sweet and polite) 

Post # 9
2341 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Definitely minimise physical contact with her dad in front of her, nerves might actually make you do it more than you intend. Of course you have every right but it will feel odd to her at best, and at worst it can look like blatant territorial marking on your part. You are NOT rivals. 

Likewise try to avoid a lot of “your dad and I…”. Think of her as the friend of a friend brought along on a trip, Be friendly, but let your OH/her take the lead and don’t be too intense. 

She will probably be nervous too, so don’t read too much into poor eye contact or quietness. 

Having said all that, – I’m sure you’ll be fine!

Post # 10
260 posts
Helper bee

I agree on treating her as someone you would like to become friends with. At 18, she is an adult and she isn’t looking for a mother figure anymore. If you end up being close, it will be more like a friendship, definitely not a step mother-step daughter type of relationship. Good luck!smile

Post # 11
7814 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I actually think it would be nice to get her a small gift. Nothing crazy or over the top, but maybe something like a cool scarf or a fun clutch or something. Maybe ask her dad what stuff she’s into?

Post # 12
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

My stepdaughter, when meeting her…was in her 20’s. We had been together for 2 years just about before I met his kids. Now his daughter and I get along great…his sons, definitely not so much because they side with their mom. I didnt buy her anything or take her anywhere. I let my then boyfriend know that I didnt want to be left out, I still wanted affection, I wanted my opinions to matter etc… so he ran the show and including me helped her see that I was important to him. I love her to pieces and she trust me with our grandbabies and helps cook etc when they visit. We facetime almost every night. Good luck! Just be you…show her what her dad fell inlove with 🙂

Post # 13
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

anonymous54321 :  I think because you had the same major you can talk things like “how are you enjoying this specific thing” and “In my experience _____”. Then you won’t be pressuring them. And of course if it’s something they want to open up and talk about it then that’s great! 

I just worry about the “Why is this lady bugging me so much about the future” kind of thing. 

Post # 14
469 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

anonymous54321 :  i remember being in the step daughter in this situation. I think you should lay off a little on the shopping trips etc, she just met you and is getting used to you dating her dad she probably doesnt really want too much time with you to start with. Definately no presents. If you’re staying together make sure you give her some time with just her dad, and maybe have some other things for yourself to do without her or him. I also agree on the avoiding affection in front of her.

You want to sort of ease her into the fact that you’re around. 

Post # 15
640 posts
Busy bee

anonymous54321 :  I met my dad’s girlfriend when I was 18 (they were together 6 years after and never married though). 

Things that would or did annoy me:

1. Being jealous of the time I spent with my dad. If you live (or are about to live with your SO) you obviously see him a lot more than his child. Do not interefere with their alone time. Do not make this weekend about you. I would attend one dinner, have a nice conversation, and otherwise let it be known that you do not want to interefere with her realtionship with her father, and while you would love to spend as much time with her as you can, you also want to provide time for just the two of them. 

2. Do not be a controlling/ nagging girlfriend, but also do not hang all over her dad. Like most kids, they do not really see their parents as sexual beings, so you need to be conservative, while also showing that you care for her father and are supportive. 

3. Acting standoffish/ not being excited she is there. Dont be annoying about it, but its nice to show some general excitement of meeting her instead of acting like you wish she never came. 

4. I actually think a small gift would be fine. Something like a pedicure she can get, and you could write a little note saying she should drag her dad there and make him get one too, but of course you will be happy to take her if he wont. 

5. Do not mention getting married or the possibility of future child. This should all come from her dad when the time is right. 

You mentioned you have the same major she does, I think it would be fine to bring up at dinner and let her know you would be happy to give any advice or help her job hunt in the future. 

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