I am a 25 year old European who moved to Malta about 2 years ago for work purposes. I met my girlfriend, who is Maltese, about 9 months ago and we’ve been together ever since.

We had been dating for about 5 months when I got to meet her parents. As any guy would be, I was quite nervous when I got to the door. I was very much into her, and I was determined to be a part of her life, so this had to go well for me. She opened the door and her mum very warmly greeted me. I was then taken to the living room where I found her dad on the sofa.

I’ll never forget the way he had looked at me. He glanced up and down at me. He was obviously making his mind up about me right there and then. He then got up, shook my hand and just said, ‘All right?’.

He then let his wife do most of the talking as we sat down for a barbecue in their garden. She was very polite and friendly to me, but all he did was remain silent with a frown on his face. If he did speak, I always got the feeling that he was trying to undermine me with his comments. He asked certain questions about my job which to me sounded critical. I earn a very good salary and I have quite a good position for someone of my age, but nothing seemed to impress him. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt that day. Perhaps he was tired, I said. I also took into consideration how hard it must be for some dads to converse with their daughters’ partners.

However, his attitude hasn’t changed much towards me. I have now known him for 4 months, and he still treats me as if I am beneath him. I am quite intimidated by him, as he is a very successful man and I will go so far as to call him bad ass. He is a very cool guy with some very cool stories from his past. He is also an ex-athlete, and if he weren’t so cold towards me, I’d have a lot of respect for him. But even our shared love for Olympic sports won’t let me get through to him.

I have never experienced this kind of behaviour from a father before. A few years before I came to Malta, I was in a serious relationship with another girl, whose father was very relaxed and allowed us our privacy, and we got along very well. So I suppose this is a bit of a shock to me. Most dads from my country are not as possessive over their daughter, since most of us move out at 18. I don’t know if this is how many Maltese fathers behave, and I doubt he has a problem with me being a foreigner. He actually appreciates my country’s history and geography – this was probably the one time he had something nice to say about me.

I love my girlfriend and I think she is a wonderful, funny and intelligent woman. And that is exactly what she is – a grown woman. I don’t see why her dad has to have issues with her sleeping over a few times at my flat, or why he has to know exactly where we are every time we go out. This one time, she was sleeping over, and he called her at 2am, asking her if she wanted him to pick her up! I had once picked her up to take her out for a romantic dinner at a very high-end restaurant. He asked me where we’re going, and when I mentioned the restaurant, he said, ‘You’re taking her there? It’s not the best place on the island.’

I don’t know what to do to win this man over. My girlfriend is a typical daddy’s girl and she worships him. They have a very close relationship and he can do no wrong in her eyes. I’ve tried telling her that I’m not feeling comfortable with her dad’s attitude, but she very quickly shrugs it off because she forgives him everything, even his rudeness. I know her mother likes me very much because she’s very affectionate towards me and my girlfriend has said how impressed she is by me. But she almost seems to like having an over-protective father. She can be quite spoilt by him, and she actually finds it funny that I try so hard to show him that I have good intentions. But whose side is she on, really? She does get annoyed when he calls her when she’s with me, but she soon forgets about it and finds it ‘adorable’, to use her own words.

I do not expect my girlfriend to sever ties with her father. On the contrary, I would like us all to get along. They are very kind and generous people, and I know her father is a good man. But could I please get some credit or acknowledgement here?