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I feel crazy posting this to the internet but I need some advice so, what the hell. Sorry it's so long lol

My boyfriend has lived with his family for years, including his 3 yr. old niece; who is just about his favourite person in the world. I moved in with them about 5 months ago, until that point he had such a strong relationship with his niece that they slept in the same bed. Now, I love children, I claim everyone's kid as my own regardless of whether I know them or not. However, from the point I moved in, my boyfriend's sister-in-law made it abundantly clear that she didn't like me and, in turn, didn't want her daughter to like me. This has changed somewhat over the past few months to the point where his niece is now obsessed with both of us, and follows me around just like she'd been doing to him for years. I know that ocassionally he gets jealous thinking that she loves me more than him, but I get jealous that he loves her more than me... or would love her more than our future children. I will admit, I'm a very needy and affectionate person; my bf knows this and he makes me feel loved almost 100% of the time, but sometimes when his niece is around he shows an utter disregard for me. Just an example: yesterday night we had a shower and then got in bed, his niece comes and climbs into our bed, my boyfriend starts to fall asleep.. I'm weird with sleeping and he knows that, I have to have the lights off and usually the tv on, cuddled up with him. She's in between us so I gently said "Babe, if you're tired then let's go to bed." He half-heartedly asked her if she was ready for bed, she didn't answer and he continued snoozing. I nudged him again and told him that I was ready for bed too, so he moved his niece from in between us and laid back down, thinking she was annoying me.

It's basically just the fact that she's a toddler and gets to do whatever she wants, she's spoiled to death ; seriously, she cries if you tell her "no." She constantly wants mine or my boyfriend's phone, using it until it dies, or she wants to watch cartoons on our t.v. or draw in my notebooks. Basically she wants to be the center of attention in everything, and I have no freedom to do anything because I feel rude asking my boyfriend to get her out of the room so I can change clothes or go to bed.

Also I forgot to mention earlier an don't know where to put it now, but he always holds her, plays with her hair and calls her cute names. He explicitly said to me "I'll love ours just as much," which bothers me because I feel like his niece and his daughter shouldn't be in comparisson. I wonder if our daughter will end up feeling the same way that I do or if he'll act the same with our daughter but still not me. Perhaps it's just that he knows that I know he loves me, regardless of the attention he gives me while a child wouldn't understand that.

Not sure if y'all can offer me any advice or if this was just a large rant, but... Thanks, either way.

Edited by SavviMammi666
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I find it odd that an adult male shares a bed with his little niece - is this a regular occurrence? 

It might be one thing if she crawled in after a bad dream or some such thing, but I would be very wary if this is a regular habit. It speaks to a lack of appropriate, healthy boundaries. It fosters an unhealthy attachment in the child too, who doesn't know better. 

You're seeing how this family operates. If you have expressed concerns and your boyfriend doesn't want to compromise, then you need to re-evaluate whether you and he and compatible long-term. Dating someone is very different from starting a family with them. If your values are this far apart, you can imagine what lies ahead if you two tried to raise a family. 

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She isn't a toddler, she's a kindergartener - a school aged child.

btw, its really weird that you are taking showers together at this house living with the rest of the family. If you feel that its okay - all of you have really porous boundaries. 

I honestly would move out - go live with your parents, a platonic roommate or yourself.  

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7 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

 

It might be one thing if she crawled in after a bad dream or some such thing, but I would be very wary if this is a regular habit. It speaks to a lack of appropriate, healthy boundaries. It fosters an unhealthy attachment in the child too, who doesn't know better. 

 

That is her Mommy's job, not her uncle's.  Is her dad also in the home. If not, is the boyfriend acting like the fill-in husband/dad?

 

 

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How old are you two? How long have you been dating? What are the future plans for when you will marry and/or when you two will get your own place? What are the traits that have made you want him for a lifetime partner? Is he financially stable? If he's overly involved with family to the detriment of your relationship, don't expect that to change. If someone needs to change in a major way for you to be happy, he's the wrong partner.

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@MissCanuck
Before I moved in she primarily slept in his bed as I understand it. Her mom is frequently very rude to her and her dad seems to just tolerate her. It's been told to me that they're only together because they had her. She's very clingy and dependent and it's not hard to see why. I don't think our values are that different, as I said, I love this kid too. I'm mostly having trouble with feeling like I'm left out of the family because the sister-in-law barely wants me to interact with her daughter.

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Are you saving for a down payment on an apartment? How long before you have enough saved up for a deposit and first months rent?

Lots of places will accept tenants with proof of income and the first months rent. They'll allow you to pay the deposit over the first month. 

What exactly is the holdup?

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@Andrina

We've been together a year and I've been living here almost 6 months, we plan to move out once we've saved up a bit (we're buying a car first). Then we plan on having kids as we both want a family of our own. He loves kids, especially his niece and I have absolutely no problem with his affection for her, I just wish that he showed the same for me. Maybe he's tired from giving her attention constantly, because she is with us all day. I feel like moving out is the only way for me to solve this problem, I guess I just needed a rant to hold me over until then.

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Your description of a 3 year old (which IS a toddler) as "clingy and dependent"  is very similar to your own self-description as "very needy"; the only difference is that you are an adult (as I assume you are over 18) and this is a very young child.  Because of this you may want to re-evaluate if you are ready for children of your own.  Most (if not all) children require the majority of your attention and it doesn't seem you are ready to have someone compete with your own need for affection.

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@catfeeder

Honestly, I was unaware that she didn't like me until then. When my boyfriend and I first got together she told me that when we first met she thought I was very rude. I was helping them move because his mom is friends with my step-dad, basically she said while carrying a box to the car I'd bumped into her and didn't say sorry or anything. I don't remember this occurance and she's known for exaggerating. Once I moved in she complained about almost everything I did, especially if it involved her daughter. She, thankfully, has stopped causing drama since the day before Thanksgiving. But there have been multiple times where she was profoundly rude to me including letting me know (very loudly, on our front porch, no less) that she had a problem with me, the way i was raised and how I live my life.

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He loves kids, especially his niece and I have absolutely no problem with his affection for her, I just wish that he showed the same for me.

Taking the niece out of the picture, if you don't feel as though your bf gives you enough affection, doesn't that mean he doesn't meet your needs as a boyfriend? Do you hope/assume if you move out, that without a child to dote on, that he will transfer his shows of affection to you? if so, then you'll probably be sorely disappointed. Love doesn't trump a lack of must-haves in a relationship. If you're not happy, ask for what you want. If it's a reasonable request, a partner who cares will comply. If he doesn't care enough to please you, then he simply doesn't care.

Never make major decisions like moving in with someone until you've known them a solid year. That's the first mistake you made. Another was moving into another woman's home. There can only be one queen bee in the hive. No matter if you were helpful and pleasant, a non-family member in the home, such as in this situation, quickly begins to smell like rotting fish, so it's no surprise there is tension.

You never answered how old you two are. If it's under 25, know that the brain isn't fully formed until that age in the decision making area of the brain. You might think you're making the best decisions for yourself at the moment, but you might be wrong. You possibly need more life experience and more maturing to do. Slow your roll. From the outside looking in, there are too many problems and needs not being met to believe you two should be life partners.

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Communication. You and your BF need to talk, work on setting HEALTHY boundaries with his niece. Her mother needs to talk to your BF too if she wants to put a lid on this. This child needs to be in their own bed, and more time spent with her parents. Maybe come together and make the agreeable adjustments. Once you two move on his niece is going to go mad so now is the time to put some space between them and your bed.

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I'm not sure if you're from a culture where the whole family lives together, but personally I find your whole situation really weird. Even if you weren't living there, your boyfriend's behaviour towards his niece is inappropriate. He's not her father so why is he with her all day and sleeps in the same bed every night? It's her parents' responsibility to take care of their daughter, not your boyfriend's. He's allowed to be fond of his niece but he's literally acting like it's actually his daughter. He needs to step away and let her actual parents do their job. Even if their parenting is not 100% great, by always taking their daughter on, he's letting the real parents just slack off. In my opinion your boyfriend's behaviour towards his niece is not normal or appropriate. 

Also it's not surprising that you can't get any peace or privacy from his niece or sister, it's because you're living with them. You're adults and you need your own place. Your whole living situation seems very odd and dysfunctional to me. Especially if you're from a Western culture.

Edited by Tinydance
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19 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

I find it odd that an adult male shares a bed with his little niece - is this a regular occurrence? 

It might be one thing if she crawled in after a bad dream or some such thing, but I would be very wary if this is a regular habit. It speaks to a lack of appropriate, healthy boundaries. It fosters an unhealthy attachment in the child too, who doesn't know better. 

You're seeing how this family operates. If you have expressed concerns and your boyfriend doesn't want to compromise, then you need to re-evaluate whether you and he and compatible long-term. Dating someone is very different from starting a family with them. If your values are this far apart, you can imagine what lies ahead if you two tried to raise a family. 

The bit about the kid sleeping in the same bed really creeped me out.  Reminded me of Michael Jackson.   

This situation is weird and I do not understand why you two are not in your own place.  Do you both work?

Edited by Hollyj
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9 hours ago, Tinydance said:

I'm not sure if you're from a culture where the whole family lives together, but personally I find your whole situation really weird. Even if you weren't living there, your boyfriend's behaviour towards his niece is inappropriate. He's not her father so why is he with her all day and sleeps in the same bed every night? It's her parents' responsibility to take care of their daughter, not your boyfriend's. He's allowed to be fond of his niece but he's literally acting like it's actually his daughter. He needs to step away and let her actual parents do their job. Even if their parenting is not 100% great, by always taking their daughter on, he's letting the real parents just slack off. In my opinion your boyfriend's behaviour towards his niece is not normal or appropriate. 

Also it's not surprising that you can't get any peace or privacy from his niece or sister, it's because you're living with them. You're adults and you need your own place. Your whole living situation seems very odd and dysfunctional to me. Especially if you're from a Western culture.

I agree. I also was put off and honestly a little creeped out by your comment "Now, I love children, I claim everyone's kid as my own regardless of whether I know them or not. " -if I had sensed this attitude in you or if it was reflected in how you interacted with my child I wouldn't let you anywhere near my child.  It screams out unhealthy boundaries and real cluelessness of what it means to interact with and get to know an individual child.  You don't love children because you want to "claim them as your own whether you know them or not" - kids are individuals, 3 years old is basically a toddler and a toddler in a situation where the parents tolerate her of course is going to be more clingy than even a typical toddler. Just like an adult whose subjected to an environment like that might have a hard time.  

If you care about this child, back off.  She's not related to you, you're not the child's mother or stepmother and it is probably unhealthy for this child to be living in a house where her uncle is a surrogate father and she sees you with her uncle.  Kids don't get dating, they get attached so she's getting attached to you and you're not committed in marriage or even engaged to the father figure.  And you have this jealousy plus this idea that loving children is some broad statement to make and you love them by "claiming them as your own" - really unusual and kind of scary description and to me no, it's not just some sort of cliche because I think that's why you're jealous -you have this intense focus on children and this mindset of what it means to interact with a child in a healthful way and then you're resentful of the same child.  She knows this, believe me.  And that's not healthy for her either.

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22 hours ago, SavviMammi666 said:

@catfeeder

Honestly, I was unaware that she didn't like me until then. When my boyfriend and I first got together she told me that when we first met she thought I was very rude. I was helping them move because his mom is friends with my step-dad, basically she said while carrying a box to the car I'd bumped into her and didn't say sorry or anything. I don't remember this occurance and she's known for exaggerating. Once I moved in she complained about almost everything I did, especially if it involved her daughter. She, thankfully, has stopped causing drama since the day before Thanksgiving. But there have been multiple times where she was profoundly rude to me including letting me know (very loudly, on our front porch, no less) that she had a problem with me, the way i was raised and how I live my life.

You've mentioned more than once that this woman didn't want you living there.

Anyone in an existing household who didn't want me to move in would be enough for me to regard this as a hostile living situation. If I chose to live there anyway, I wouldn't expect to feel welcomed and 'at home'.

So what is the outcome you are seeking here? You attribute your discomfort to the child, but what do you believe can be done about that? At best, I'd negotiate with BF a time of day after which your bedroom door is closed to any visitors. If he won't agree to that, then that's your answer. You can decide whether to stay or go, but you cannot move into the home of others and expect ANY control over how they each choose to interact. 

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