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Tips on traveling with SO and his daughters


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Hi guys. Things have been going very well with my SO and me. (Thanks for your help along the way!) And at the end of this week we are going away on vacation along with his 2 daughters (age 11 and 14).


(Brief background: I’m early 40s; he is 50. We’ve dated for 3.5 years, but in the past 7 months, after a short break, things have become come much more serious and committed between us and it’s going great. I’ve known his daughters for about 3 years; we’ve done some activities together and have been away on a few shorter, long weekend style trips, sometimes with other mutual friends involved. But I don’t see a whole lot of them in general, because he usually has them 2 nights a week and I generally give him his father-daughter time during those days/nights).


Anyway, this will be a real, 10-day vacation. I’m excited but nervous. Looking for any tips from you guys in advance. For instance, I’m never sure how friendly and involved I should be with them, and in relation to their internal family dynamic, or if I should hold back more (my natural tendency, because I’m shy and cautious, is too hold back more, so as not to overstep my bounds — but I sometimes worry that comes across as too cold).


One specific question. I’ve been working (as some of you know) on being more openly physically and verbally affectionate with him — and just to act more couple-y with him in general (because he wants this and has asked for it, and I want it too). I’m making some slow, subtle progress. But I’m wondering what the best way to conduct myself in front of his daughters.


I really like his daughters and want to respect them, etc. I also really want things to continue to go well and move forward with my bf (he’s reiterated ,again recently, that we’re in an exclusive relationship and that he loves me and is taking our relationship seriously and wants to be with me for real and for the long term).


PS: Their mom recently started seeing a man (possibly the first person she’s dated since their divorce 7 years ago). It is still the early stages, but his daughters have reported to my SO that they’re psyched about their Mom’s new guy and really like him. (I’m just reporting this to say that it sounds like the daughters are in theory open to their parents being with new partners—I’d like them to be happy with me as well!)

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Well, congratulations on your trip. I would tell you to be yourself with the girls. You'll find out from their expressions and comments whether you are overstepping any boundaries pretty quickly. Just be prepared to switch your tactics if they don't like you touching them or doting on them.


As for your boyfriend, do not be affectionate with him when they're around. Even though the divorce was 7 years ago, the girls may not like it if you're hanging on their father. You can show your affections when you're alone with him on this trip.


Hope it goes well.

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Follow his lead on the physical interaction while the girls are around. What he's comfortable with should be a primary benchmark, as well as what the kiddos are comfortable with.


With the caveat: As always when kids are around, keep it classy. (Groping = not classy. A squeeze on the arm, a kiss on the cheek, etc = classy.) You can show affection in front of the kids. They learn a lot from relationships they're around - and casual affection is a good thing to show them is the norm in a committed relationship.


Any convos you and your significant other have about things like boundaries, etc. should be had while not around the girls. Unless you want to discuss with them their comfort level/boundaries/let them help you establish what kind of relationship you're going to have. But getting you and your mister on the same page should happen just between the two of you first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, everyone for the good advice! Just wanted to report back that I think it went really well with his daughters! Like, much better than I thought :). It really helps that they are actually really cool, smart girls and they share my bf’s great sense of humor so I really enjoyed hanging out with them. And my bf, who isn’t the most expressive guy, reported back several times that they love me and love hanging out with me. And I could tell it was actually true :).


The only real awkwardness (which it never occurred to me to anticipate) was being repeatedly mistaken for their mother or being referred to, in front of them, as my bf’s wife. (It’s a little extra weird bc people have commented before that they look like they could be my kids). But I think it was fine. Although any advice for gracefully handling this in the future would be much appreciated!


That being said, hanging it together with the girls for 10 days straight did have some effects on my dynamic with my bf... and I do have some ongoing concerns about that kind of stuff in general, but I’ll write about separately.

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