30 - We are courting for 9 years
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 30. Dear Dr. Smith

I have been in a relationship for nine years. We are not married and still courting. That is not the problem!! The man, who I am involved with, has a daughter. She is quite disrespectful to everyone in the household. K, the daughter, is 24 years of age and acts as a 12 year old.


We have discussed her behavior many times but he does nothing. K doesn't have an active social life and likes to stay home for a FEW weeks at a time. She does not perform basic hygiene activities such as bathing, washing dishes, or cleaning the house.  She doesn't work but goes to school when the mood hits!


Also, she prefers to search your personal belongings and keeps her belonging "under lock and key". If company comes over, then she prefers to stay in her room away from the company. When pressed to come out of the room, K prefers to acknowledge her father only in the room and ignores the other people. She has had jobs but they do not last beyond three months.


I am not a Doctor but I see sights of depression and other issues. The man in the relationships has another daughter and we get along. However, K constantly places her older sister in the role of matriarch. K has a healthy relationship with her hair, ONLY. It is growing very well.


What is to be done? Should I run?

Please advise!



Dear Advise Seeker,

Thank you for sharing your concerns and questions. Unfortunately, you have a wrong diagnosis of the situation. Your emphasis and concern is on K when she is the least of your problems. Remember, K is an adult, therefore she is free to choose how she wants to navigate her life and that’s really not your business. You are right about one thing, you are not a doctor and therefore, you should stay out of the diagnosis and assessment business.


Your real problem comes in the casual and complacent way you announced your relationship, and the faulty conclusion you drew. You said, “I have been in a relationship for nine years. We are not married and still courting. That is not the problem!!” Who are you fooling, yourself? You are in a relationship for nine years with a man who already has two children and you are still courting? What are you courting?


The way your email is constructed, one cannot help but conclude that you are co-habiting with this man. If this is so, don’t you think that this is a bigger problem than K’s behavior? Is it possible that part of her withdrawal is as a result of the home environment? And even if you are not living in the home, you seemed to be more present than absent.


I recommend that you consider the following questions:

1.     Why are you courting for so long?

2.     Who is afraid to make the commitment and why?

3.     If you are co-habiting, is it possible that K is disgusted with it?

4.     If your partner is not willing to relate appropriately to K now will he do it if and when you do get married?

5.     Are there reasons for K to disrespect you or her father?

6.     Maybe your partner does not need to commit to you in marriage because he is getting all he wants without a commitment. Something to think about.
I judge you not I just question your “nine years and counting and where you place yourself in the home”


Have a blessed day.

Dr. Smith