Most stepcouples begin their journey in romantic bliss – two lonely, horny people who attach to each other like magnates often while they’re still married to spouses, or after a miserable divorce…whatever.  It doesn’t matter.  They fall in love. They’re heavily seduced by the feeling. It’s ROMANCE – not based in reality…sorry to say. But it feels wonderful!!

They get married or committed to each, and then they’re no longer just two people in love. It now becomes a GROUP AFFAIR that includes each other’s children, ex-spouses, extended family, family pets and maybe even a baby due soon. It includes schedules, house juggling, sibling and stepsibling rivalry, jealousy, resentment and confusion on everyone’s part.

At this point they all say:

“We’d have the perfect relationship if it weren’t for his (or her) children-or the exes-or the parenting style differences-or the bills …blah, blah, blah” Again it doesn’t matter what it is that irritates; it just does!

They also say: “Look, when the children aren’t around, we talk, have fun, have sex, laugh, go out, dream about the future.  But when the children enter the picture, we fight.”

This awareness comes sometime after the honeymoon.  Most people believed it wouldn’t happen to them. This is where the rubber hits the road. It’s the beginning of honest stepcoupling and the journey from a romantic twosome to a solid stepcouple and stepfamily. All the research says it takes from 2 to 5 years for stepcouples and stepfamilies to adjust to the point where adults and children feel trusted, cared for and that they belong together.

Successful stepcouples first have to come to grips with the reality that their relationship is NOT about just two adults who fell in love and got married.  They need to accept that their stepcouple and stepfamily will always be a complex system of adults and children from different parents and pasts with different loyalties. Their stepfamily exists and endures BECAUSE two people fell in love, got married (or other committed relationship), traveled the stepcouple journey …and lived happily ever after…children and all.

Read Susan Wisdom’s next 4 blog articles about stepcouples who travel the journey and are able to adjust to the challenges enough to accept the whole package. Find out how they do it!

Susan Wisdom LPC
March 2009

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