Why You Can’t Reject Your Step-Parent Forever
My parents are divorced and both are now with new partners—serious partners. My mom is re-married and my dad basically is, having lived with his new partner for nearly 13 years. When my parents first split up, I was 15 years old—that’s not exactly an age group that welcomes change. My life was already turbulent enough between my hormones, my first boyfriend, and pre-college application prep. I was in no mood or mental state to handle not only my parents splitting up, but then also finding new partners within two years of their divorce. I didn’t make things easy on any of them—that’s for sure. But I didn’t feel they were making things easy on me. But since then, I’ve grown up. I’ve built a life of my own. I have a partner of my own. The happenings in my parents’ lives don’t directly and deeply affect me the way they did when I was younger. That’s part of the reason I’ve accepted their new partners, along with many other reasons. If you’re rejecting your parent’s new spouse, here are things to consider.
You want time with him, right?
If you want to spend time with your parent you can choose between, let’s say, X amount of time or half that much time. If you make him choose between seeing you and being with his spouse, he’ll be forced to split his time in half. That means you just don’t get to spend as much time with your parent, all because you won’t accept the spouse.
Your parents aren’t getting back together
Your parents are not getting back together. I promise. This isn’t like in those charming Disney movies about lovely, adorable couples who have just grown apart a bit and find their way back to each other. Divorce is serious. It’s laboursome. It’s thought-out. It’s expensive. It’s hard. A couple doesn’t go through it unless they literally have no other option and cannot stay together.
Do you want your parent to be lonely?
You’re so busy trying to ostracize your parent’s new spouse, but have you thought about what would happen if you succeeded? Your parent would be alone. All alone. By himself. Night after night. You’ve moved out. He’s divorced. He’d have nobody. Is that what you want for your parent who you claim to love? Do you want, selfishly, that he’s alone most nights of the year just so that on the few nights you visit him, you don’t have to deal with his new spouse?
And if he were alone, he’d be needy
Also, remember that your parent’s new spouse does jobs you don’t want to. She takes care of your parent. She makes sure he takes his medications. She keeps up their social life (as the female partner usually does). Men don’t do a good job of keeping up their social lives after divorce. If your parent didn’t have this new spouse around, you’d be doing all that work. Be grateful for her.
One day, your parent may be sick
Your parents won’t be young and healthy forever. One day, your re-married parent will be sick. He may be in a hospital for a long time. You and his spouse will be there, together. That’s a time you’ll want to feel united.
You’ll need open lines of communication
Even if your parent isn’t in a hospital, if he has a condition, you need open lines of communication with his spouse. She’s the one with the immediate information and the important updates.
She loves someone you love
Your parent’s spouse loves him. You love him. You probably have more in common than you realize with somebody who also loves your parent.
She won’t make an effort forever
Your parent’s new spouse may be making an effort with you now in spite of you shutting her down and being cold to her. She probably pities you, knowing your family situation hasn’t been easy. But just know she won’t put up with you being mean to her forever. She may give up on you one day, as you’ve given up on her so early. When that day comes, it will feel sadder than you realize.
You’re creating more distance
You may think you’re protecting some bond you have with your parent by rejecting his spouse, but you’re actually severing it. You can’t really stay close if you reject this massive part of his life (his new spouse).
Put yourself in her shoes
Imagine what it would be like if you were in her shoes. In fact, imagine what it would be like if your parent rejected your spouse or serious significant other. Do you realize that your parent has that option and yet, is kind enough to embrace your significant other? Don’t you owe him the same courtesy?
Respect her for taking you on
Hey, it’s not easy to date or marry someone who had a family before you came along. Your parent’s new spouse must really love him to take that on. She agreed to take you on, before even meeting you. You gotta respect her for that.
She has some financial say
This should not be a major factor, but the reality is that your parent’s new spouse will have some say over how your parent spends his money. When you want your parent to co-sign on a house for you or lend you money, you’ll appreciate it if his spouse has your back. She won’t, however, if you’ve been cruel to her for years.
One day, she’ll be your last connection
If your parent passes away before his spouse, then she’ll be your last connection to him. She’ll have memories and photos to share. She’ll have the home they lived in together. You’ll want to have a connection to her, so you can feel close to your parent.
She can be an ally
I can’t even begin to count the times when you’ll be in an argument with your parent, and want somebody on your side. Sometimes, his spouse may take your side when your parent is being stubborn in the way only he can be. His spouse may talk reason into him.
You won’t win this fight
You may not have considered this but, there’s no winning this fight. Your idea of winning would be that your parent just…leaves this spouse. That’s not going to happen and you know it. So you can either drop this fight, or continue to have it forever, but nobody is winning it.