Looking back, what was it that attracted you in the beginning? Why did you commit to a life of stepparenting and stepcoupling. What were you thinking!?
Other than blind love, good sex, security, and money, I suspect that some of you married out of pity for those poor children whose parents got divorced. The idea that you could help out by giving the kids what they were missing was appealing. Certainly, you thought, you could be a better mom than their “real mom” who’s absent or part time. Also, you were impressed by his parenting… the love and special attention he gave to his kids. How touching.
But further down the road…what attracted you in the beginning… now turns you off and makes you angry. It’s not working for you, and it’s not working in your marriage. All that attention toward the kids…probably from guilt… is becoming the deal breaker in your stepcouple relationship. You feel left out. Your ideas of stepping in to play mommy didn’t work out at all. The stepkids don’t want you wearing parenting shoes, reserved only for Mom and Dad. You’re powerless. Most of the time they don’t want to listen to your rules. Furthermore, your partner accuses you of being mean and too strict with his kids. And so it goes…
So again: WHY did you commit yourself? The answer is pure and simple: You loved this man! You wanted to be his partner, friend, lover, supporter, co-parent, and love of his life. You couldn’t imagine life without him. If that meant that his kids (and yours too) were part of the deal, so be it! You signed on. With the strength of the couple bond, you committed to raise the kids as a stepcouple. And if you’re like most of us, you had no idea what you were getting into or how to play the game. It’s a journey and its called stepcoupling!
Stay tuned. We’ll continue to talk about how to be a stepcouple without getting emotionally invested in things you can do so little about. We’ll talk about using the power and sweetness of the adult relationship to stay together and give the kids a positive legacy to grow up with.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Join the discussion 3 Comments
Fortunately for me, pity for the children was never one of the reasons I chose to marry my husband. I never had a grandiose view of what my role in their lives would be. My decision to marry him was 100% about loving him and wanting to share life with him as a partner (him being a good dad did factor in, though).
I look forward to your advice on staying focused on the “power and sweetness of the adult relationship.”
“Frankly, A.J., you sound like you’re doing just FINE in keeping your relationship ‘sweet’. You’re partnering and sharing your life with the man you chose. Good for you! The only thing that comes to mind is a warning to not over possess him. He needs time with his kids and they need time with him. Regretfully, I made mistakes here, and I see it in my clients. We sometimes don’t want to let go of precious time together…but we do have to share with the stepkids.
Thanks for the comment, A.J.
[…] And Susan’s piece called “What Were You Thinking?!” […]