Belfast Telegraph

No escape from her clingy dad

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems

Dear Fiona, My girlfriend is extremely close to her dad and says it’s because her parents divorced when she was a child and he’s got nobody else.

He’s constantly round at our house and says he feels alone if he doesn’t speak to her regularly. She even answers his calls during sex, then feels guilty as she was brought up as a strict Catholic so it puts her off it. Everything we do has to fit around him but I haven’t said anything yet.

Your advice, please?

Frustrated Boyfriend, Larne

Dear Frustrated Boyfriend,

This relationship is clearly unhealthy but responsibility lies equally between them. It’s a case of enmeshment within a co-dependent relationship.

Psychological co-dependence is when two or more people weave their lives inextricably around one another.

They’re enmeshed because they need the other person to provide their sense of identity, purpose, and value but guilt, shame, and control are usually also in the mix.

Enmeshment shows itself in families where the child children come to be increasingly relied on for comfort or solutions to the parents’ struggles.

You need to tell her your concerns in no uncertain terms because she needs to clearly understand your perspective and be made aware of the unhealthiness of their relationship.

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