Oh this is an interesting relationship. On one side you have a man who has a son that now lives under another man’s roof. This man’s son will be raised, in large part, by another man. Will be heavily influenced by this other man. Not to mention the fact this other man now has a relationship with his son’s mother. A woman that he may or may not wish to still have a relationship with.
Not exactly the foundation for a healthy relationship.
The “other man” doesn’t have it very easy either. How many men do you know that are forced to have a relationship with a man that was at one time in a serious relationship with his wife? Also, how much should he parent his stepson? Is he stepping out of line when he adds his input? Is he being too easy? Too hard?
This isn’t Rocket Science!
I found myself in this very situation 8 and a half years ago the day that I was introduced to my stepson. I met his mother, Clarissa, four months earlier and had been dating her for a few weeks when we decided it was time for me to meet her son, Reece. It was December 26th, 2005. He was eighteen months old.
At first things were a little difficult with Reece’s father. A lot of arguments between Reece’s mother and father. Things moved pretty quickly between her and I. We were engaged within eleven months of dating and married one year to the day later. We also moved Reece to the suburbs, a little further away than his father would have liked. Things were uneasy at best.
But there was one thought we all had in common, “It’s all about Reece.”
Everything we did was in his best interest. We never discussed it or came to any kind of agreement. We all just had the same mindset. The same philosophy. Everything needed to be done with the best interest of Reece in mind.
The Melting Pot
It was Thanksgiving, 2008. Clarissa, myself, Reece and his father just sat down for our feast. Reece’s father was talking about some money issues. I had very similar issues earlier in the year but had landed a second job at The Melting Pot as a server. I told him I could try to help him get a job there if he wanted. This conversation would change our relationship forever.
Within a few weeks we were working side by side helping each other out during our shifts and drinking beers together after work. We bonded. We formed our own relationship and now we didn’t just care only about Reece, we actually cared about each other.
We no longer work together but the relationship between Reece’s father and myself is still in a very good place. Tatum, my daugher, who is now 3 absolutely loves him! He treats her like a Princess just as I treat his son like a Prince. We are an extended family and he is one of my closest friends.
Things to Consider if You are a Stepfather
- Form a relationship with your stepchild’s father. Some children do not have any male figures in their lives. How lucky is your stepchild to have two! This must be your philosophy.
- Your wife and her ex WILL fight. NEVER speak negatively of his/her father in front of your stepchild. Defend him and say only positive things about him when they are present.
- Treat your stepchild the same way you treat your “own” children. Love them, teach them, discipline them.
- Your opinion on raising your stepchild matters. Allow the parents to make decisions but be comfortable with discussing thoughts and ideas with them.
- NEVER BE JEALOUS. Jealousy will kill you and your relationship. You must have faith in your relationship with your wife. You must allow her and her ex to have a relationship together. This will benefit you and everyone involved more than you can imagine.
Good luck to you. Remember, it’s all about the child. Everything we do must be done in their best interest.