*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Being a stepparent isn't an easy thing, and sometimes you might even realize you don't actually bond with your new spouse's kids. What do you do if you can't make yourself like them; is it ok to do everything you can to keep them away, or should you accept the fact that your marriage included their kids from the beginning?
Is it a grown-up thing to communicate as best you can with stepkids or just to ignore that bond and hope your partner doesn't remind you that you are partly committed to the little ones, too, once you tie the knot?
My friend Sarah is having a hard time dealing with the fact that she became a stepmom after she got married to Liam, her husband. She did know he had a little boy when she began dating him, but somehow she didn't think that was relevant and that she could still have a happy family without taking on a stepmom's role.
"I knew he was a dad, and I still liked him. I figured out I would find a solution to that. It's not like people can expect me to suddenly become a mom to a boy that isn't related to me. And getting married doesn't make him anything of mine," she said.
In the beginning, her husband tried to help his fiancee get closer to his son, but he soon gave up once he saw they argued a lot about it, and his son didn't feel too comfortable around her.
"She doesn't have a lot of patience with kids, but I'm sure this will change once we have our own children. I think it's more because she's not a mom yet; it's not that she doesn't like kids generally. And I can't force her to parent my son. He already has a mom, after all, even if she rarely comes by to see him," Liam said.
Unfortunately, being friendly with no pressure wasn't what Sarah was looking for. She was more interested in not having the little boy around.
"It felt like his being there was a constant reminder my husband had been with someone else, and that made me upset. I don't want to remember that every day. So, I talked to Liam about what we could do about that," Sarah said.
While he was sad to find out his son didn't get along with his wife, and she wanted to avoid him as much as possible, Liam did start considering a solution that could make everyone happy. And it turned out that boarding school was the only acceptable option for Sarah.
She was pleased to learn she wouldn't have to share each meal with her husband's son, Adam, but at the same time, there was still an issue she didn't think had been addressed properly.
"He sent his son to boarding school because I don't like him; he's still coming for vacation. I'm thinking of a way to stop that and have him stay over there or possibly just fly over to his grandparents' house. It's not like he needs to be here; this isn't his home anymore," Sarah said.
In the meantime, she found out she was pregnant, and the couple was excited to welcome a new baby. After she told him about the pregnancy, Liam began thinking about how to avoid upsetting his wife and have Adam stay somewhere else for vacations.
"We'll be having a baby soon, and I want my wife happy with no stress. And if Adam bothers her, it's time to think of other arrangements," Liam said.
How do you think this situation should be handled? Is it ok for the stepmom to make Adam go away from their lives completely and not want him around, even on vacation? Would it be better for the boy to move with his grandparents since his dad is getting less attached to him as he's getting excited about the new baby?
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