I think I have a problem and I want some advice from parents; I think there is no one better to talk to. I have already talked to my dad and mom, but that was not very helpful.

My problem is, I'm 20 years old, and I date a girl who is 3 years and 10 months younger than me, and somehow, there is a lot of resistance from her stepfather about our relationship. We know each other and became friends, for six months we have spent lots of time together and with our friends. Her mom and stepfather knew everything and had no problem with it, but we started liking each other, and then I have became her boyfriend, here the problem began.

She told her mother about us, and then her mother told to her stepfather, and he is very angry about it and now he prohibited us from seeing each other. I tried to talk to him, but he avoids the subject. We have both been very careful in our conversations, but five months have passed and he is still pissed.

I really love her, we are very good friends. We dont have problems with each other, and her mom help us sometimes, lying to her stepfather that she is going out with friends that doesn't include me. Yesterday her stepfather said to her that if she was lying she would be in trouble.

I live in Brazil, go to university, have a nice job for my age. I've never had a girlfriend before, I'm not the kind of guy who like to date girls just for fun if it doesn't seems to lead to a concrete relationship, however, I look OK to me, but not to him.

The fact is, I dont know how to get through to him with words and make him more confortable about us. If you a are father or mother maybe you could help me with this. I've been worried for several days and I'm looking for answers all over the internet. Sorry for any language mistakes.

Update: What I want to know is what you, fathers and mothers, expects from us, sons in law, who wants to have a relationship with your daughters.

Update: Her stepfather is 10 years older than her mother.

  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this isn't about parenting
    – user3143
    May 18 '15 at 22:52
  • Did you ask the stepfather why he objects? And to what? (e.g. that you're with her? or that you have sex?)
    – user3143
    May 18 '15 at 22:53
  • P.S. Don't worry about language mistakes. SE is English-only, but very very welcoming to people for whom English is not a first language (such as myself :) - as long as it's clear you made an effort to post a good question (and that is clear in your case :) at worst, people will overlook any language errors, and at best help you by fixing them via edits..
    – user3143
    May 19 '15 at 1:10
  • 1
    For an opposing view, I used to be in almost this exact situation and the in-law (mother in that case) eventually came around and now we're married with kids. It doesn't answer the question of "what to expect" but it might give some counter-noise to all the "stop seeing the one you love the parents disagree".
    – Erik
    May 19 '15 at 9:25
  • 2
    @Atsby age of consent varies
    – Acire
    May 19 '15 at 10:21

What I want to know is what you, fathers and mothers, expects from us, sons in law, who wants to have a relationship with your daughters.

I don't have daughters, but I hope to some day. But I'll write my answer neutrally: my expectations would be the same for sons and daughters and whatever gender their romantic interest is.

I would expect those who want to be romantically involved with my children to respect my wishes. If I don't want you to see each other, then I would expect you to not conspire with my spouse to secretly meet with my child.

Secretive behavior such as this is divisive. It needlessly pits family members against each other. In your scenario, the father's wife and his daughter and you are all lying to him.

I can't cite you evidence, but I believe that when people are engaging in such secretive behavior they give off non-verbal cues that make it clear that something is "not right". The father may not know what's going on, but he may know something is going on. To me, the father clearly suspects something, or he would not have just only said, "If you're lying to me..." to his daughter! That's the kind of thing you say when you have a feeling there's lying going on.

I would consider such behavior a complete and total violation of trust and interference with my family.

Now, if both children were younger teenagers, I might be inclined to be more lenient with the relationship in general. I know that for teenagers it can be very hard to make mature, rational decisions in the face of such powerful emotions. It's biology. So, I'd have some allowance for that.

However, I would not make the same allowances for a 20-year-old adult making the same irresponsible or disrespectful choices. I would expect a higher level of maturity. A 20-year-old should not be behaving the same way my 16-year-old would.

If it's not yet clear, I would also expect honesty from my child's romantic interest.

Ideally, I would have raised my children well enough that by 16 years I would be able to mostly respect their judgment on choosing relationship partners. However, in my mind, that likely means they wouldn't choose a person that is:

  1. Significantly older than them, considering their younger ages.
  2. On the opposite side of the "adult age" line.
  3. Willing to help them undermine one of their parents

If you want a relationship with this young lady, then I think you need to change your approach and your behavior.

I would stop seeing the girl, immediately.

However, I think phone calls, texting, emails, IMs, whatever, can still be acceptable. As long as you're ending the possibility of physical interaction.

You may also try to build a genuine relationship with the mother. Instead of using her as a wedge to divide the family, you could simply get to know her. If she likes you well enough, and trusts you enough, she may be able to slowly convince the father to allow you some in-person contact with their daughter.

You may have to give this a lot of time. Trying to rush it or force it to happen isn't going to persuade the father. Rather, it's going to make him dig in his heels and be more resistant! Tempered romance doesn't need such immediate gratification.

If you want to show him you're a respectable adult capable of being responsibly and romantically involved with his daughter, then you need to behave that way. Even if he won't be able to observe you right now, you'll be able to point to your behavior in the future and say, "I know you were worried, but you had nothing to be worried about."

  • 2
    Agreed! If you're starting out by not respecting his wishes, even though you don't understand and/or agree with the motivation, he will never fully accept you. You want to eventually get married and have a family with her — do you also want an extended family where someone is resentful and bitter and continues to make you feel unwelcome at holidays, parties, etc.? That's a worst case scenario, but it will be avoidable if you take the time to build a strong foundation of respect now.
    – Acire
    May 19 '15 at 11:41
  • When he denied to accept our relationship, we started acting this way, but five months after, I had to saw her, if you can understand me. Anyway, I think your answer is really good, and I have talked to her that I was looking for some "how-to experience" and we decided to follow your suggestion. Thank you very much.
    – hamboldt
    May 19 '15 at 12:54

What I want to know is what you, fathers and mothers, expect from us, sons in law, who want to have a relationship with your daughter.

Patience, empathy, and more patience.

Your young lady is approximately 16, if I did the arithmetic right. Her step father may feel that spending a lot of time with someone older will push her into a different stage of life prematurely. He may want to give her the gift of a full childhood.


It's not about having a relationship, it's about having a relationship with someone the right age. A 20 year old should be pursuing girls who are at least 18 years old, and I think you might know that's the stumbling block here. And saying you think he sounds jealous doesn't sound like the whole truth either, if you're really trying to understand the father.

  • 1
    This post sounds a bit judgemental, consider reading up on the Stack Exchange guidelines on the tone used in your answers, specifically point 1: parenting.stackexchange.com/help/be-nice
    – Erik
    May 19 '15 at 17:46
  • 1
    I think you make some valid points, but you are mostly attacking the OP here. I've edited your answer to remove the accusations. Please try to make your answers substantial without accusing the OP of things you can't possibly be sure of. Finally, sources for definitive statements (at least 18) are always appreciated. Thanks. May 19 '15 at 18:19
  • 1
    Where do you get the hard age limit from? Is that as much of Brazilian cultural expectations as it is American?
    – user11394
    May 19 '15 at 18:27
  • If it helps, her stepfather is 10 years older than her mother.
    – hamboldt
    May 19 '15 at 19:37

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