Dear McKoy: I have been living with my boyfriend now for the past eight months and recently his 13-year-old daughter who lives with her mother started visiting. This is a new experience for me because I have never been with a man that has a child, more so a teenager daughter. I don’t know if I am wrong and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but my boyfriend seems to have a strange relationship with his daughter. If we are watching television on the sofa, he lets her put her head in his lap and massages her, and sometimes he lets her sit in his lap. There are times when he would hug her close and kiss her on the lips. I can remember one time when he playfully slapped her on her bottom. She doesn’t seem like someone who is being abused because she adores him so much. I hate having these thoughts because he is a fantastic man in so many ways, but I can’t stop myself from feeling this way. I really don’t want to be involved with a man who has this kind of intimacy with his daughter. I was molested by my stepfather and I’m aware that this is a factor. But I don’t want to dismiss whether or not what I’m feeling is legitimately worrisome just because I’ve been assaulted. I truly need some feedback from others. Do you think I am overreacting?
Dear Sonya: This is an unacceptable way to express affection for his daughter. She is 13 years old, therefore she is developing. I am not saying he has bad intentions, however, he should know right way to display his affection for her. I think should tell him in a calm and honest manner that you noticed how he expresses his devotion and that it’s best to avoid physical touching. This isn’t to say that parents shouldn’t use physical loving gestures with their adolescent children. For example, quick hugs and kisses on the face or forehead are entirely acceptable. Hopefully, he’s acting in a well-intentioned but naive manner, rather than because of some unmet personal desire that leads to the type of physical intimacy you describe. If you speak to him and his actions do not change, then you can make a final decision on what you are willing to accept in the relationship.