Seventeen-year-olds are good at triggering insecurities so stop being so easily provoked, says Mariella Frostrup
The dilemma I live with my partner of five years, who I adore, and his 17-year-old daughter. She doesn’t have many friends and never goes out, but she is a nice girl and has accepted me. She is sweet at times, but I get very wound up over little things and I dread her coming home. She gets moody and can be quite bolshy. She is close to her dad which is great, but it winds me up. For example, we went away for a couple of days and she was all over him, cuddling, putting her legs over his and always trying to be the centre of attention, which made me feel left out. A few times I have come back from work and found her lying on my side of the bed next to him chatting. I really don’t want it to affect my relationship with her dad, but she gets jealous when we show any sign of affection towards each other and that drives me mad. Am I being over the top?
Mariella replies She’s not the only one getting jealous, is she? But, importantly, she is the only child. You’ve known this girl since she was 12, so it’s disconcerting that you describe your relationship as being one of competing lovers, not a concerned adult or step-parent discussing behavioural issues in a kid you have a degree of responsibility for. The first thing you need to do is dispense with the delusion that you are locked in a battle for his affection. She is his daughter for heaven’s sake. His love for her would, and probably should, trump his love for you, so I really wouldn’t bring the level of debate down to a stark choice between the two of you.