Stepdaughter Making Sexual Advances - FamilyEducation
Stepdaughter Making Sexual Advances
02/22/2011 at 00:37 AM

I am extremely conflicted. My wife has some untreated mental health issues and refuses to seek help. Her ability to function has slowly deteriorated over the last year or two. I have tried to get her to seek help, but she refuses. She is severaly depressed and lashed out at just about everyone (very mean and nasty). She has a family history of depression and chemical imbalances and already has had a suicide attempt.

Her family knows about her issues and has tried to help me but they also have been unable to convince her to seek treatment. She rarely interacts with me or the kids in the house (mine, hers, and ours). She will sit alone for hours and ignores the rest of us to wallow in her unhappiness. Per the law, she is not currently presenting as a risk to herself or others, so we are unable to force her into treatment.

As an outgrowth of this, her underage teen daughter has been more of a mother to the younger kids in the house than my wife has. My stepdaughter has taken on more chores and duties around the house. Her mom/my wife has been generally mean and unsupportive to her needs and her biological father is frequently out of town on business, and she does not have much of a relationship with him. While hardly ideal, we have been able to scrape by in far from ideal circumstances.

Over the years, my stepdaughter and I have become very close. Given the situation, she and I have spent a lot of time together and had many heart to heart talks. She has had a difficult time fitting in at school. She's seen all I have tried to do for her, her mom, and her siblings. This has turned into a solid bond that has proven to be a blessing and a curse, as now she has taken to having a major attraction to me. My stepdaughter is a wonderful and beautiful young women, but she won't stop hitting on me.

She has told me on multiple occasions her desires, has become extremely flirtacious, parades around in nothing or next to nothing, and hangs all over me all the time. She knows I don't have much of a relationship with her mom and uses that to tempt me.

TO BE CLEAR, I am not a pedophile and have not acted on her advances and have no intention to. I have tried to explain to her that such a relationship is not possible.

I keep hoping that this is just a phase and that she will find someone her age to pursue. But her crush has impacted her desire to hang out with her friends and classmates and pursue age appropriate relationships. The more I turn her away, the harder she tries to seduce me.

As the stepdad, if I were to bring this to the attention of my wife's family or my wife's ex, I almost certainly will be viewed as a total pervert and the aggressor, no matter what actually happened.

I have no family to talk to and this is not exactly a topic to discuss with friends. I can't talk to my wife this as she literally lives in her own reality at this point (not that that would be a great idea in the first place).

At this point I have no idea what to do. I feel completely lost and totally frustrated. I don't know if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, but at least I was able to get things off my chest.

Hire a nanny, full time live in. NOW! You need a chaperone present partly to protect YOURSELF from unwarranted charges that you have made advances to HER. Her mom has mental health issues--so it may be more likely that the daughter will also have mental health issues. In fact, that may be contributing to the present situation. So you need a witness there, anytime the stepdaughter is there. If the nanny is taking time off, you need someone else to come chaperone, or else you or the stepdaughter need to stay at another house. Also, the stepdaughter will benefit by having less of the responsibility for managing the household. She can have the opportunity for normal teenage stuff if she doesn't have to take care of everybody and everything.

If a live-in nanny isn't practical, you still need to hire household help, and your stepdaughter absolutely must go live with her dad or another relative. You are at risk of false charges (and worse, real charges) of sexual misconduct. You could be completely appropriate and still end up in jail. Take action immediately. You should also get her to a family therapist ASAP. Talk to your personal physician about your concerns and get a recommendation.