(Closed) Adults with parents who re-married: Step-parent or Parents spouse?

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
  • poll: What would you call this man in my situation?

    Mom's husband

    Step Dad


  • Post # 16
    185 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2018

    I am divorced and started dating my now fiancé when my kids were (11 and 4) they are now (20 and 13) and they have always called him by his first name. He has two adult children (28 and 32) and my kids refer to them by their first names as well.

    When people assume that fiancé is their dad they correct them and say “that’s my step-dad” even though we are not officially married he has been in their lives long enough and they feel close enough to him to refer to him as that.

    Fiancé and I have ALWAYS LET THEM TAKE THE LEAD, in their relationship with fiancé and for the most part it’s gone great ! I

    Post # 17
    1047 posts
    Bumble bee

    My parents never divorced, but my inlaws divorced when DH was 19 or so. Father-In-Law got remarried a year later. My DH does not consider his father’s wife as a step mother or her kids as his step siblings. Reason being she didn’t help raise him and he didn’t grow up with the siblings. 

    I also cringe when FIL’s stepson calls my husband his step brother. 

    Post # 18
    1385 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2017

    My DH’s dad remarried when he was 15. He calls his stepmom by her first name but if talking to someone who doesn’t know her he refers to her as his stepmom though I don’t think he sees her as a mother figure to him.

    Post # 19
    7641 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    When I think of a step parent I think of someone who was around when you were a kid and helped raise you.

    My Father-In-Law remarried a couple of years ago and DH always says she’s “his dad’s wife.” To me, it would be weird if he called her his step mom.

    Same with my grandpa’s wife (widowed in his 50s). It would sound so weird hearing my dad refer to her as his step mom. She is always “grandpa’s or dad’s” wife. 

    Post # 20
    43 posts
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I’d just say my mum’s partner to simplify things.

    Post # 21
    5866 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    IMO if the preson comes into the family when you are still a kid then they are a step-parent or step-sibling.  If they come into the family when you are already an adult then they are “mom’s husband.”  The relationshipo is much more like in-laws than like a step parent.

    Post # 22
    1547 posts
    Bumble bee

    I’ve never heard anyone refer to their parents spouses as other than “mom’s husband/boyfriend” etc. only other people refer to them as step parents.

    Post # 23
    775 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2015 - Backyard

    I voted “mom’s husband.” My dad remarried when I was 15 and I still refer to her as my dad’s wife (much to her dismay, but that’s her problem). My dad’s wife will be a grandmother to my future child/ren however. People get to decide for themselves how they relate to others and it’s nobody’s business to tell you otherwise!

    ETA: it’s not a matter of closeness for me, more that I was too old for her to be a “mother” figure at that point in my life so I don’t think of her as a stepmom. 

    Post # 24
    1297 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2018

    My parents haven’t divorced yet and neither of them are in a relationship, but their partner would have to be extremely special for me to consider them a parent – I’m 29 and as far as I’m concerned a parent is somebody who raises a child into adulthood so I feel a bit past that point.

    That said, Fiance was 17 when his mom remarried, and we consider her husband to be his stepfather. Personally I feel that the stepfather has been more of a parent than FI’s biological father. I guess we call his father’s wife stepmom even though she isn’t a big part of his life, so perhaps it’s because they too married when we were teenagers.

    ETA – we would consider any step-parents to be grandparents if we have kids, but again, I would hope they’d all play a part in raising our children.

    Post # 25
    2257 posts
    Buzzing bee

    View original reply
    BeeDD :  Not to pick on you, but this is the logic that really puts step parents in a tough spot.

    “ETA – we would consider any step-parents to be grandparents if we have kids, but again, I would hope they’d all play a part in raising our children.”

    So– them being in your life at [insert random age here] isn’t appropriate enough to warrant their actual title of step-dad/mom, but when you pop out kid– they are automatically supposed to be Grandma/Grandpa and shell out time/parenting/ emotion/ funds towards your child. 

    Like I said back on page 1– I don’t care if my step kid never calls me “stepmom”… but I think it’s harsh to just be like “oh well they married my mom when I was 20 and they are NOT my dad!!” UHHHHMMMMM, that’s a big, fat pile of DUH. I know no step parents who think they are *actually* the biological parent of the kids. Most just try to fit in with the family and cause as few stressors as possible, because it’s already tough to come into a well established family unit. And then to see some of the responses here from grown adults (I’d never call him/her that because they are NOT my parent!!!….. But when I have kids– they better be good to them!!) Mmmmk. 

    Post # 26
    1297 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2018

    View original reply
    fromatoz :  That’s a fair point and one I hadn’t thought of. I guess I assumed that it’d be easier for a step-parent to feel affection towards a child than an adult – i.e. theoretically the relationship with a grandchild would be easier and happen naturally, but I suppose that isn’t necessarily the case.

    Post # 27
    2257 posts
    Buzzing bee

    View original reply
    BeeDD :  Yeah and I totally agree with that, and I think if you pull stats on successfull step parent / step children relationships it’s something like ages NB-8 are considered “ideal”/ 8-17 are volatile and 17+ is just kinda of “meh”, obviously that isn’t the scientific study word for word haha… but it rings true that different ages you’re introduced to your step children result in a different type of relationship.

    I know several step parents who entered the picture as adults and have had a similar situation to what you’ve described. They marry their partner, and their partner has grown children who don’t feel a strong connection to them or who make a point to keep some boundaries in place (which it to be expected), but the minute the grandkids come along— they expect the step parent to do all of these parental tasks towards their children, when they barely get the common courtesy of being referred to with any sort of affection, or at least respect, for their role in their partners life. So, it can suck to feel like you’re supposed to NOT try too hard/ back off/ be aware of everyone else’s feelings and them BAM– ok, now you’re insta-grandma and you’re expected to be grandmotherly.

    FWIW, I do think most people are unaware of how to handle their roles in their new family– and I’m sure there’s a lot of mistakes made. I know I’ve made a ton… and I didn’t fully comprehend what it meant to be a step parent until I became one– so I definitely sympathize with others out there. And now that I am one, if I meet another one– we talk about the nuances and hardships of the role.



    Post # 29
    439 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    Similar to the others before me, my dad remarried when I was 22 and I refer to her as my dad’s wife. My mom agrees with that choice and the logic that it’s not like I lived with them or had a parent-like relationship. They were together (but not married) when I graduated college, and my dad didn’t bring her along. 

    For what it’s worth, my brother’s kids call her by her first name. 

    Post # 30
    3459 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    Good question and good distinction. I am from a long line of step families. My maternal grandfather has been married many times and my mother and aunts always referred to the ladies as “Daddy’s wife.” My paternal grandfather married his wife well before I was born, but because she wasn’t any type of mother figure to my father, I just grew up calling her “Miss Firstname” and never thought more of it. Actually, at my father’s funeral, I overheard someone behind me describing herself as “the deceased’s stepmother” and I legit couldn’t figure out who that might be until I turned around and it clicked, lol. My mother is remarried, and I consider her husband my stepfather primarily because I was young when he came into my life. Even though it wouldn’t be quite accurate to say he “raised” me, he’s been around a long time so it’s appropriate for him to have a familial title, IMO. As for my husband’s child from his first marriage, I married her father when she was four. However, by design, I’m not any kind of “mom” to her, step or otherwise so I expect to be thought of as a “Daddy’s wife.” Funny how things go full circle like that.  

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