*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Finding the right partner to get married and raise a family is no easy thing, but what can you do you do if your spouse is amazing but they have a kid you can't get along with?
Is that a good reason to give up on a relationship, or should you keep trying regardless because you care about your partner?
Where is the limit where stepkids' behavior becomes rudeness, and how far can new spouses correct them if both parents are opposed to it?
My friend Blake has been married to her husband, Jonas, for seven years.
They don't have kids yet because they decided to focus on their careers for a while, but Blake is considering becoming a mom within the next three years.
In the meantime, the couple's life has been filled with arguments because she didn't just move in with her husband but with his daughter as well. Jonas's daughter, Gina, was in kindergarten when Blake married her dad.
"Back then, we got along just fine. She played with me and showed me her toys; I made her meals and taught her how to look after the plants she liked," Blake said.
Unfortunately, as time went by and her stepdaughter started school, things changed a lot. The little girl who used to be so friendly to her began demanding her meals; she didn't say thank you and refused to help with any chores around the house.
"I told Jonas it was useful for her to know about housework, and I wouldn't give her any difficult chores. I just wanted her to step in and know that's what a family's about too. But he says she doesn't have to, and since then, she pretends not to hear me when I ask her to help with anything. And if I insist, she will just shout and then go and complain to my husband," Blake said.
Gina also invites several friends during the weekends and expects her stepmom to cook for everyone or to order food before they come.
"I can't set any rules on who she calls over to my home, and most of those kids are very loud and throw food everywhere. I need at least three hours after they're gone to clean up the living room and the kitchen," Blake said.
Gina's mom is still a part of her life, and they see each other two times a week. Sandra, her mom, brings her presents each time she comes, and she's not very friendly to Blake either.
"I actually think Sandra told her to stop being nice to me while she was growing up because she was great the first year, and then she started disliking me for no reason. And when Sandra's around, she will be rude to me; her mom defends her and says it's all about me, that I don't know how to talk to her daughter. And that I can't understand how she feels because I don't have any kids of my own yet. That's just wrong, and allowing her daughter to keep shouting at me is annoying," Blake said.
She's talked to her husband about it, too, and pointed out Gina doesn't have any manners when she talks to her, but he doesn't think it's an issue.
"She's just going through a difficult stage; I don't think she wants to be mean. Maybe Blake just asks her to do too much or doesn't listen to her. She never shouts at her mom or me," Jonas said.
There have been several arguments since then, but each time she wants her stepdaughter to be more careful about how she speaks to her, both her husband and Sandra criticize her.
"She shouts at me; my husband and her mom say it's my fault. And it doesn't matter if she's doing it in front of them. They refuse to correct her behavior. I don't know how long I can stand this. Even her grandparents resent me. It's tiresome," Blake said.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Jonas and Tina's mom to ignore her behavior and constantly blame her stepmom for the shouting? Should Jonas be more firm with his daughter and make sure she shows proper manners when she talks to her?
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