Woman on stepsister: "Mom and I don't want her to live in the house; dad asked her to stay"

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Getting married two times and having kids from both marriages can take a toll on communication and love when they all live in the same house. And sometimes, siblings might side with just one parent while trying to avoid living with their stepbrothers or sisters.

Should they be able to make them leave, or does the home belong to everyone who has at least one parent there?

My friend Patrice has been married to her husband Robert for 20 years. They had one daughter together, and he also had a daughter from a high school relationship.

"Tina, his daughter, lives with him because her mom didn't want to take responsibility. She left as soon as she had the baby, and we haven't heard from her since. My husband didn't want to get any money from her, so we all became a family to avoid any more disagreements," Patrice said.

One year after they got married, Patrice learned she was pregnant, and the couple soon welcomed Brielle. With only four years difference, the two girls could play together, and they shared some toys, but Patrice wasn't always comfortable with this.

"I didn't want them to think they're both my girls because they're not. And for Tina, I'm just a friend, not her mom. I never wanted to be a stepmom or even a mom except for my own child. And anytime I saw Brielle get too close to her, I sent her on a sleepover to a friend's home or just bought her some toys for her own use and told her not to share them," Patrice said.

As time passed and the girls grew up, these differences became more obvious. Tina ended up doing almost all house chores and the dishes whenever Patrice didn't get the time and had to work late.

"There's no need for Brielle to do the cleaning or cooking. She's focusing on her studies. It will do Tina good to be responsible and look after the house. She'll get married one day, and then she'll thank me, I'm sure," Patrice said.

Since Brielle started her first year of high school and Tina is now in college, the mother and daughter have begun to consider a different idea.

Brielle and Patrice feel that Tina has lived long enough in their home and that it wouldn't be a bad idea for her to rent something and learn how to be on her own.

"I'm not being harsh, but she needs to look out for herself. She can consider me a friend, but I'm not her mom. And the sooner she understands she has to earn enough money to depend on herself, the better," Patrice said.

Brielle, her sister, feels the same way, and she wouldn't mind having the extra space to study or give parties at home once Tina is gone.

"Mom and I don't want her to live in the house; dad asked her to stay. He may think he needs to support her all his life, but that's not true. Mom said she could work full-time, so why shouldn't she? Family is not about creating connections where there are none. I might be nice to her, but mom explained to me since I was little that we're not related. And this is my parents' home, not hers," Brielle said.

When she found out they wanted her to leave, Tina was confused, particularly because she'd been doing all the chores and running errands for her stepmom and sister. She talked to Robert, and he said he knew nothing about it.

"He said it's up to me if I want to rent a place or keep living here, but I feel they don't want me around anymore. And there's this tension, and arguments start unexpectedly. I don't like it at all. I constantly get the feeling I disturb them even by having a room here because they want to use it for something else," Tina said.

For now, Tina continues to live in her dad's home, but she's trying to find a job that will pay her enough to rent an apartment with two other friends. Robert was ok with that, but he reassured her she didn't have to hurry.

What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Patrice and Brielle to try to make Tina leave, or should they behave more like a mom and a sister? Should Tina stay anyway because her dad said she's welcome there for as long as she likes?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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