|Stepfamilies: Then Comes Remarriage
Here it is. The big moment. Your mom is telling you that she and her boyfriend would like to get married. Maybe you're happy, maybe you're not. Either way, you're going to have some questions, such as:
Does this mean my parents' marriage is really, truly over?
Let's say things have been calm and peaceful between your parents for a while, but when your father announces he's getting married again, your mother gets hurt and angry. Or maybe you're the one who feels furious and starts making trouble. It's a normal reaction. After all, change is tough for adults and kids alike. The divorce was one big change, and now here comes another one.
If you're feeling this way:
Is this person really here to stay?
By the time your mom or dad has found someone new to marry, you may have built up a wall against him or her because you don't want to get hurt again. Maybe you've even tried to "test" this new person by acting out. That's totally normal. After all, why would we want another loss in our lives, especially after dealing with the divorce in the first place?
But it's important to trust your parent's commitment to his or her new spouse. If you're not sure, ask your mom and dad questions that will help you feel like it's okay to open your heart again, such as: "What's different about Joe compared to your other boyfriends?" or "When did you know that you wanted to marry Katie?"
How is my relationship with my mom or dad going to change?
Now that one or more new people are coming into your lives, will you lose all that? The fact is, things will change. You might not have as much one-on-one time with your mom or dad, because now he or she has a priority to the new partner and possibly responsibilities to that person's children. But it's also important that you and your parent keep doing the things that are special for both of you. Here's how you can help make that happen:
Still worried? Try to keep this in mind: in any family, there is always enough love to go around. If you have a younger brother or sister, you might remember feeling afraid that once your new sib was born, you wouldn't get as much love. But in the end, you did, right? Think of a new stepparent and stepsiblings the same way.
How does my other parent fit into this situation?
You can help your mom or dad be okay with it by bringing up this subject BEFORE problems happen. For instance, you might come home from a visit with your dad and future stepmom and say something like:
In other words, show your parent that you understand this stepparent is an ADDITIONAL person in your life, not a SUBSTITUTE, and help everyone see their similarities. If your parents are on good terms, you might suggest arranging a time for everyone to meet.
The bottom line is this: you may live with your mom and your new stepdad, but your father is also part of this new stepfamily. Your relationship to him, as well as to his parents, siblings, and other relatives, is still a big part of your family life. If one of your parents has died, you still have memories and/or a connection to relatives, so these people are part of your family too. Remember that all families grow and change, and your family is doing that in its own special way by getting BIGGER. It may be a little more complicated than your friends' families-but is that such a bad thing