Stacie Wilmat is a freelance writer and really enjoy writing about my life experiences. She decided to help out Smart Divorce Network and write some articles hoping they will help others that have been through some of what she has been through. She is a successful step child and have step children of her own. Feel free to comment on her articles and let her know your stories.
Zoosk, Christian Mingle, Match.Com-these are just a few of the popular dating sites that have been ruling millennials dating scene. It doesn’t matter if you are searching for a fling or a long-term relationship; the idea of dating after 50 has changed drastically with this generation due to the rise of online dating.
However, if you find yourself being unfamiliar with how social media works, using these tools can be a challenge to figure out todays dating landscape. It doesn’t matter if you find yourself single late in life or if you have yet to marry, dating after 50 can be difficult for most everyone. For me, being a single mother, soon to turn 52, with both my children still under their teen years, this can be one scary step.
While all the traditional ways of dating do still exist, let’s face it, times have changed. It’s a big scary world out there and getting to know someone over the internet is even more challenging than running into a person at a club and talking face to face as it once was in our younger days. Remember when clubs existed? That’s like looking at a pay phone and having your children ask you “what is that old thing”.
There are plenty of apps and dating sites to pick and choose from giving you options so that you can be careful in picking the ones you feel comfortable with. Don’t make the same mistakes as you read where other singles wish they had never signed up.
Here are a few tips for singles while learning how to date when you are over 50.
Assuming you should ask for a second date while on the first date.
Want to know what awkward feels like really fast? Assume that you both are having enough fun that you jump right in and ask for a second date while you are on the first date and they say, “Um, let me think about that”. Ouch! Never jump that fast on the very first date. Remember, your date may not be as comfortable on the dating scene as you.
While you may feel comfortable asking for a second date because you have enjoyed the first one, give it some time before you go in for a second step. Years ago before divorce, tense courtship and mistrust came along it was nothing to ask for round two, especially if marriage was on the brain. But this isn’t 30 years ago and today’s world is by far the same.
Putting yourself and your date in a situation where you’ve asked point blank for a second date puts you both in a predicament where it would be hard to say no. Imagine how awkward the goodbye would be if you were told “nope, not gonna happen” or how uncomfortable the remainder of the first date would be. Be patient for yourself and your date. Exchange emails and phone numbers so that you both can take time to talk and text getting to know more about the other before that next step is taken.
Listening Is As Important As Talking
With this being said, listening to each other is a must for both parties. Have you ever been on a date or just had a conversation where you felt as though you didn’t get one word in? Did you lose interest fast because you’ve sat there and heard someone’s’ entire life story without you saying one word? Listening has got to be a two-way street. You have to learn to talk just as well as listen. Don’t go on a date being so tense that you don’t join the conversation, leaving it up to your date to carry the entire evening. Let them know about yourself. Do you have children? Are your parents alive? (It’s best to leave out politics and religion until later). After reaching our 50’s, we all have so much to convey, but it makes for a much interesting date if listening is mutual.
Go With the Flow
This part is directed to both parties; however, women into their 50’s have a tendency to look to their dates as potential long-term partners. Most women say they do this because they aren’t interested in wasting their time. However, slow down, enjoy the ride. Nothing is wrong with going slow and really getting to know that person. As the saying goes, “to really know a person you must be around them when their internet connection is slow”. All kidding aside, you really don’t know a person until you have seen them in different situations. If you have already decided he or she was worth a date, take your time and see where it goes before jumping to judgement on the first date.
Leave the Past in the Past
This is where it gets tricky. You want to know this person better and you want to share your history with this person but you aren’t ready to lay all the cards on the table, right? We are all in different stages of our lives; however, those of us who are into our 50’s probably have a marriage (or two) under our belts or at least have had a couple relationships. Packing this luggage up and hauling it onto every date is really not necessary. When you do this you will see that the more luggage you carry the less you are able to concentrate on what is in front of you instead of what’s behind you. On your first date, maybe even the second, keep things light and casual. Talk about your interest and goals in life. Once you see things may be progressing into a more committed relationship then is the time to discuss the past if you feel it’s necessary. But while just dating, enjoy each other and have fun.
That Naughty Subject of Sex
Ok, let’s face it, men and women will differ on this topic as usual, but, people aren’t joining dating sites and getting out into the dating scene simply to find a card playing buddy or someone to go hiking on the weekends. Although, sexless relationships are a growing thing with today’s seniors, making companionship the number one reason online dating sites have becomes so popular. Having an active sex life is still important to those of us in our 50’s. Most women will use the term, “I’m not jumping into bed with you” as a warning that, “I want to be friends first” is important to her. And, that’s ok. Closeness is as important as getting to know each other is in the beginning. There is a huge difference between men and women when it comes to sex. Men have sex with a woman to find out if there is a chance of a relationship. Women have sex with a man because she believes the relationship already exists.
One thing we can all agree on is the human mind and body is made to crave stimulation. That stimulation can be a beautiful thing when two people find it in one another. Take your time and enjoy the fun while getting to know yourself as a single person but also allow yourself you open up to other adults. You may find it easy to step back into the dating scene or you made need a little easing into it. Whatever your situation is, be cautious of others, be even more cautious of yourself and these new feelings you are about to experience, all while having the time of your life.
What is it about dating, sex and being single that places a taboo sign over someone’s head which scream’s, “I am single I must be desperate”? Just because a man or woman is single doesn’t mean they are desperate to get a date or keep a partner in their life.
Once the ripe age of 50 hits, most people are very well set in their ways, know what they want in a partner/spouse and aren’t desperate enough to have to date everything that comes along. Then there are the “life suckers”.
“Life suckers” are individuals they prey on those in the mature years simply because they know all of the above paragraph. The younger men woo the older ladies, and well, you get the picture.
Dating, sex and being single can be better than it was when you were first married and sex was brand new. Now, you have experience under your belt filled with knowledge that has built up over the years.
What about dating? Should I?
Ok, let’s say you have been divorced awhile and there is a friend of a friend that has noted they would like to go out with you. Here are typical emotions you will feel;
- “Oh, I am too old to even consider dating. Dating is for kids not people my age”.
- “Oh my gosh, he/ she could date any younger person they desired, why me”?
- “Everybody will laugh at me assuming I am doing all sorts of things if they see us out”.
If you are single after a lengthy marriage, dating is going to feel awkward. You knew everything about your spouse, their likes and dislikes and it’s scary to start over.
When you or the one you get involved with have children, navigating thru the relationships new rules can often feel as though you are the center of mass confusion.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is going for looks. After you have been married awhile, had some kids, looks should be way down the list of things that make a person “a great catch”.
Remember the saying, “A great body is good for one night but a great mind and heart last a lifetime”. Before there were children things may have been different when you were playing the field as a single person.
Once you become a parent, dating, sex and being single has to be different in your eyes. Things that are of importance should be
- Does he/she have a stable life?
- Does he/she show signs of possessiveness?
- Does he/she have children of their own and are they involved in one another’s lives?
- Do they have a good career with stable finances?
- Do the children seem tense and nervous when the parent is around?
All of these are signs you need to look for. Looks are nice but let’s face it, looks fade with age; having a solid person emotionally and even financially are keys to security. No one person wants or needs an extra person’s baggage from emotional issues and financial disaster.
Sex-How will I know when the time is right?
Dating someone new and experiencing those “new” butterfly feelings can and will feel as though you have struck gold as well as feeling scary. Someone new is seeing all your body flaws while experiencing sex with you for the first time since your divorce.
The pressure is huge when you begin experimenting in sexual behavior after a divorce. For women, this can be a “make or break” of a relationship especially if her partner doesn’t take the time to make her feel comfort and arousing at the same time. The first sexual encounter could be awkward if it’s both parties first time experimenting sex with someone other than their spouse.
Jumping into sex prior to getting to know the person usually is a mistake. Now you are on different turfs with feelings exposed. Women, you need to be the director of your sex life. Never allow yourself to be pressured into having sex, this usually leads to resentment and the end of what may have been a great relationship.
Engaging in sexual activity for the first time with someone new will not only feel scary, it’s going to feel extremely strange. Your emotions will be exposed as well as the most intimate side of you both, often leading to hidden emotions to surface.
Some great tips to remember if you are starting to mingle with dating, sex and being single.
- Take time to date before you explore your sexuality. Once sex has occurred, the relationship takes a major turn where emotions, raw emotions are exposed.
- Be prepared by buying products you haven’t bought in a while, such as intriguing night clothing, condoms and lubricant.
- Talk about your sexual needs, desires and fantasies prior to having sex.
- Expect sex to be strange and even scary in the beginning. Opening up to a new person can be difficult.
- Depending on your previous sexual desires in your marriage, this may prove to be the best sex you ever had. Let your wants and needs be known. Start a conversation via email or text discussing one another’s desires can be extremely erotic and you are being open and honest without feeling awkward face to face.
- Let your bodies do the talking, explore one another.
I just thought I had experienced it all
It is very important that you be true to yourself if and when you are ready to tamper in dating, sex and being single. Write down what you expect out of the next relationship. Your likes and dislikes may have been hidden in a marriage.
Men, talk to your new lady friend and make sure she knows if you feel pressure of performance to make her aware that you both are experiencing the same scary emotions.
Discussing the fears will not only make you closer, you both will feel on equal grounds when sex does happen. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to discuss what it is you want in your sex life.
Talking and exploring might open doors that have remained closed for many years. Embrace your body and your partner’s body and you just may find you missed out of something all these years.
Divorce is a topic that many people will have to address in their lifetime. Unfortunately, almost half of the marriages that are created will end in divorce. Coping with this new found reality can be taxing in both an emotional and physical manner. Here are some tips on how to move on after divorce.
Take Time Out to Grieve
The end of a marriage is similar to a death. This is because the hopes and dreams that a person had for their married life have come to a sudden and abrupt end. There needs to be a time period to grieve this loss. People often make the mistake of trying to find someone new very quickly. This can be a rebound relationship that can hurt people as well as their children if they have any. It is crucial when trying to learn how to move on after divorce to be able to take time to reflect.
Leave the Toxicity at the Door
Some people think that the best way to know how to move on after divorce is to seek revenge. It is important for people to leave the toxicity at the door. Pain and hurt feelings are often the cause of many people wanting to even the score with their former spouse as a way to seek justice for past wrongs that they believe were inflicted on them. It is a good idea for people to minimize any verbal or written contact with their spouse unless it is for legal or personal reasons such as a custody arrangement.
Do Not Broadcast Your Divorce on Social Media
Social media has allowed people to over share information. When trying to find out about how to move on after divorce, people need to avoid making any status updates or comments about their divorce proceedings or former spouse. This can create an environment where friends and family members feel awkward because they are learning too much information about what has gone on.
A marriage is between two people. Whatever happened should stay private even after the divorce is finalized. Do not force people to take sides. This is not a war and people need to understand that the dissolution of a marriage does not mean that you stop caring for people in your life.
Visit a Therapist
A therapist can help people learn how to move on after divorce. When a person goes to see a therapist, they should ask a few questions about how to move on after divorce. These are:
- How can I not repeat the same mistakes that led to my divorce?
- What do you think I should learn from this divorce experience?
- How can I make the divorce easier on myself, my kids and my former spouse?
- What do you view is the real reason my divorce occurred?
Therapists are excellent at being able to clearly break down what their patients say. Going through a divorce can be a shock to the system. Many people develop depression and other forms of social anxiety. Meeting with a therapist can help people get information about how to move on after divorce so that they can begin to pick up the pieces and move on with life once again. People do not have to feel judged and it can be much better than speaking to friends and family members who often feed into the drama and can make the situation even worse. The end of a marriage can start a new chapter in life for people. It is important to be able to know this mentally which is why a therapist can be so beneficial to meet with.
Keep the Kids Out of It
Many parents use their kids as pawns to hurt their spouse. Some people will even ask their kids to act as private detectives and report back about what the other parent is doing. Kids have a hard time adjusting to new schedules, homes and custody arrangements. Holding on to hatred and hostility is terrible for kids. Parents need to be able to focus on learning how to move on after divorce. This can help to protect children so that they do not have to feel like they are having to choose one parent over another.
Do Something Nice for Yourself
People can benefit a great deal when trying to find ways to learn how to move on after divorce by doing something for themselves. Some ideas include the following: starting a new career, enrolling in college, getting a new hairstyle and wardrobe and starting a new hobby. People need to stop focusing on the past and try to carve out a new life full of exciting new possibilities for themselves. With these tips you can effectively have a plan about how to move on after divorce.
It goes without saying that everyone is aware what divorce is – and its adverse side- effects. However, not everyone has undergone divorce. Coping with divorce is not a cup of tea. Divorce is difficult and the involved parties find it hard to concentrate on the days’ work which renders them unproductive. It is one of the most painful things that a human being can undergo. In most cases the affected individuals, including children, go through a period of stress. Worse still, they could be hit by an extreme case of apathy, leading to depression.
When a divorce occurs, the way forward is very difficult to chart. No one is certain of what next to do; the partners may even consider getting back together in rare cases. Most of the take it as a spilled milk and start a new life altogether. During the (mostly) heart- wrenching process of separation, some words can be said – which cannot be taken back. So, time for the million – dollar question: how do the affected people from pick up the pieces of their lives and go about coping with their divorce?
Coping with divorce
So, it has finally happened. Everyone has moved out and is starting to build their lives once more. Here are the things that may come in handy when going through divorce.
1. Accept that it has happened
This is the most fundamental thing that you have to do for yourself. It may not be any easy thing to deal with as it sounds. Most people may undergo a period of denial for a time span, depending on how their marriage was working – and the circumstances surrounding how the divorce or separation papers were served. The partners who had a shaky marriage relationship to begin with, takes a shorter time to accept the reality, since it will feel like a burden has been lifted off their shoulders.
The hardest hit people, however, may be the children, who may feel that they are to blame. Therefore, a way to rationalize them is to prepare them for the impending separation, making sure that communication is never cut off from them. They should also be absolved of any blame, if indeed they were not to blame. Therefore, everyone should accept that it has come to pass, even if they did not see it coming.
Partners whose marriage seemed to be working often take a long time to accept that it divorce. Accepting that you are not the first to go through divorce and probably you won’t be the last goes a long way in coping with divorce. The challenge with accepting what happen is shifting blame to yourself and thinking that if you had done this or that the situation would have been better. Dwelling on that may be hurtful to anybody – but since it is a mutual thing, just let it pass and accept it.
2. Recognizing that becoming emotional is okay
Another process of divorce is to recognize that being emotional is alright. Allow yourself some time to feel sorrow and weep for the relationship that was. People may fear becoming emotional and these may affect them in the future, if they keep on bottling it up. Emotions may sometimes be intense during this time.
It is okay to feel sad, bad, exhausted and frustrated the feeling will go away over time. A feeling of anxiety about the future is also okay. It is part of the grieving process to be angry as well. Shedding a few tears here and there will prove to be helpful in the long run. They are instrumental in getting over all assortment of feelings of loss, including coping with divorce.
The reason for this is that divorce may seem to symbolize a loss for all those years you spent together, building the relationship and facing the world together. As with any significant loss, it is normal to feel deeply wronged by the ‘universe’. There are five stages overall: being in denial that divorce could happen in your family, feeling angry at the partner who are divorcing and at yourself, bargaining and asking ‘what if’, depression and finally acceptance. Cry a river and let all the pain be washed down the bridge.
Remember that you still have a future. When in a marriage or any relationship, people have their expectations, plans and dreams. They may have spent a long time looking forward to the realization of these goals, never having made a contingency for whatever will happen if the marriage goes to shambles.
Letting go of all those expectations may be the hardest, but it is time to move on. Yes, the relationship may have gone to dust, even if everyone is seeming civil about it. You still have a future -and now is the time to go for it without fear. The important thing is to know that the future may not be as you had pictured it.
3. Not going through divorce alone
Divorce requires sharing how you feel with an understanding family member or a close friend. Being isolated from people who care pulls down the process. Isolation concentrates the stress level which leads to depression and may lead to worse problems like resorting to alcohol or feeling worthless. Joining a support group is also another possible solution. Consider seeking help from a professional.
There are also online forums made up of people who listen, care and offer some healthy pieces of advice about divorce. They are made up of people who are undergoing the same thing – or those who have already been through marriage. The world is full of people with good hearts, who can give you moral support and help in the recovery process. Yes no matter how bad things may look, there are people going through worse. Sharing the burden will help ease the pain.
The great thing with life is how easy it is to make friends. If possible, join a local club, where you will be able to meet new people and make friends who will help with divorce. Cultivate these friendships and make the most out of them, since sometimes, people may lose even their social networks during the separation process.
Divorce is somewhat easier if you can let go of the friendships that no longer matter; especially the shared friends who sided with the other party during the process. However, take care not to be overwhelmed by feelings of bitterness when approaching these issues.
4. The Power of Positive thinking
Thinking positively helps in the coping process. It helps in breaking away from the clutches of apathy and restores self esteem to healthy levels. It allows you to start growing anew, with a completely blank page to write and a new lease in life. Perhaps there was a reason behind the separation – maybe it was a way of breaking away from a stifling and harmful relationship. If possible, start the process of accepting that life is no longer the same, straight away.
Again, there are numerous stories online of people who have gone against all odds and became better people after undergoing the separation. Deciding to move on or not is a personal choice though. It is a matter of being open to new things, meeting new people and even putting some effort into realizing the lifelong dreams.
Positive thinking is not only a necessary but sufficient. There is a story of someone who was divorced and lost a job; and instead of wallowing in self pity, he took a friend and rode for 11000 miles, from San Francisco to the end of the road in Alaska. You do not have to do the same thing. Who is to stop you from becoming the best you ever could be?
However, do not be too hard on yourself and life. Take life easily and not too serious. Simply seek to engage in new and mind blowing activities to take your head off the issue. You can do these with your friends or even your family members as they too may be going through what you are.
5. Take a Break
Mental health experts have a great suggestion for what to do after a divorce. One of them is to take a break, allowing yourself to operate at a pace that is less than optimal for you. Sometimes, the duress that people undergo, both financially and mentally, is too much even for the strongest of us. To regain energy, virility and some sense of confidence in life, it is imperative to relax for sometime and regroup.
After this period, hopefully, the outlook in life will be better. Keep off the wagging tongues of some people who may seek to victimize you in bitterness – if possible, cut off these type of obnoxious individuals. Stay inactive from activities which may bring you further duress, making it possible to survive while laying low. It may seem implausible, yet people end up feeling refreshed and looking forward to the future. And talking about the future:
If it is possible, set aside some time daily, that you can use to nurture yourself. For instance, you could go for a nature walk, hit the gym, cook healthy food or develop a closer relationship with the hobby that you are happy practicing. Thus, you could create a system whereby the end goal is to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
Pay attention to your own needs. Speak up about what you feel is good for you, even if the ex may object about them. Do not feel guilty about them, and talking about them is a great step in starting out again.
6. Listen and Reassure the Innocent
The divorcing couple is not the only party which is trying to find ways of coping with divorce. Even the kids may be going through a rough patch themselves, what with the harsh nature of the legal system to one party or the other. Sometimes, they are made to choose which parent they would like to stay with; which may prove as a harrowing process.
To counter this, it is important to be close to them and ease the process of divorce, during these hard times, regardless of their age. It is a great idea to listen to their fears and concerns, and to tell them they played no part in how things ended up. If anything, they should be encouraged to grow above the mild stigma associated with divorce in some cultures.
Helping the kids with divorce is, in itself, a process. Here are some pointers that may prove useful when helping and talking to them:
- Try to maintain their routines. Do not let the separation come in the way of what they used to have prior to the separation. Help them remain on track and be unaffected as possible. If you got 50% custody, this will be quite easy as you can set a time and place to meet and do some activities together.
- Offer discipline that is consistent. The fact that parents are now separated may bring forth a complex issue, since they are being raised in a different manner. It is important to give some rules that are consistent for both parents, and not contradicting them. For instance, if the kids are still young enough, they should have bedtimes that are agreed upon by both parents.
- Do not involve them in the conflict. As tempting as it may be, do not talk in a negative manner about the other parent in front of the children. This will immensely help them to cope with divorce. If possible, or applicable, let them know that you support their spending time with the other partner.
- Let them know that you have their back. Make promises that are realistic to them, and ensure that you keep them. Most importantly, do not let them know too much about how you feel about the whole divorce process and what it means to you.
The Bottom Line
Coping with your divorce is the beginning of a long process of healing. It may be hard, yet with some effort, you can do it – and walk out of it unscathed, or with as few scars as possible. Remember to learn important lessons about yourself and relationship in this life- changing event.
You’re not my Mom
The struggles with a blended family are often the struggles of being the step-parent trying to establish a relationship with step daughters. Especially, if the father had been a single father raising his daughter’s prior to your marriage.
The stigma of the step parent is a mighty one mainly because of the portrayal of the relationship between step parent and the child being anything but pleasant.
Although this is the typical stereotype, having a healthy relationship with your step daughter is critical in the security and happiness of your family. Not an easy task being 60% of second marriages fails due to turbulent relationships between a step parent and step daughter.
Being a step mom and not stepping on toes
He had been a single dad raising two teenage daughters for a while, and I had been single for quite awhile and was the mom of a nine-year old son with autism and my six year old little girl.
Although we both had been single parents for some time, the age of our children and the fact that I had one with special needs grew to be a concern.
He had only had his daughters full-time for the past two years, where I had been a mom with mine all their life. So, the concern was there on my behalf as to how he and his daughters were going to take with me and my two young ones. Especially one with autism and being the only boy.
Things were great when we were dating. But, once we married and became a family, boy was there change with my step daughters. Some of this I take the blame, some, I lay off the girls, but a lot I blame on their dad.
What do you mean wash dishes?
I was raised in the south, in a home where we had chores to do, and we did them without asking any questions. My resentment started early in the marriage when I began to realize I not only became their stepmother, I became their maid.
My step daughters had no responsibilities around the house, and whenever I mentioned this to their dad, he went to their defense instantly. His reasoning was when they moved in with him; all they had to do was their laundry.
Well, this was obvious from the looks of the house when I moved in with them. Tension grew between me and my youngest step daughter. She is very close to her father, and he refused to do anything to ruffle her feathers in fear of her wanting to go back to her moms.
I backed off, and things within my marriage begin to crumble. I felt my children were treated unfairly not being given the same attention he gave to my step daughters, and I resented this, big time.
So, are you just THEIR mom, or what?
As you can probably guess where this led, the straw finally snapped, and my husband and I came to blows. Well, not literally, but, I said I was leaving, and he said, fine.
The day this happened just happened to fall on the day of my step daughters sweet 16-birthday party that I had done all the leg work to make special just for her.
After about one hour of sitting at home stewing, I decided it wasn’t right for me to miss her party whether I was angry or not. I also wanted to talk to her, one-on-one. The time had come that we both needed to be heard.
The conversation between my step daughter that day changed the direction of our relationship as well as everyone else’s in our blended family.
She had lost the relationship with her mother over time and felt all she had was her dad. Then, I came along and in the beginning I didn’t introduce my children to them, so, therefore, all she had seen from me was my undivided attention.
That is until I began to allow our two families to mingle; then we married, becoming one. My time was spent mainly with my two little one’s not expecting my teenage step daughters needed me as much as my little ones did.
Truth is, the children of a blended family need more love and attention than what we give them credit for. What we as adults are asking them to do is understand and accept grown-up problems, when they are still struggling with the grief of their family splitting.
Then you add other children that are receiving love from a mother that they aren’t receiving from their own anger and bitterness, and jealousy kicks in overdrive.
Through our talk that day with my step daughter, I realized she needed me as a mother to her as much as my children needed me. All this time I was trying not to step on her mother’s toes was really putting a wedge between myself and my step daughter.
Removing that step and just being a parent
What is important for step parents to understand is, kids need time with their biological parent, but they also crave one-on-one time getting to know and trust their new parent.
Step daughters are different with the new women in their life because they see her as a threat. Make sure you give your husband and your step daughter their time to do things together as they once did.
With that being said, make sure you carve out time to do things with just you and your step daughter that will make her feel you want to be around her too, and not just your spouse.
If your child is the step daughter, make sure she understands that your spouse is not the blame for the breakup of her family. Watching your own daughter become someone’s step daughter is just as terrifying.
How the new person in your life treats them is as critical in your eyes as how you would treat them. Demand respect from your spouse to treat their new step daughter as he expects you to treat his daughters. That mutual respect goes both ways.
The bottom line is to love one another as a family you married to become. When we married, I made sure I included all our children in our service so that there was an understanding we were two families merging to become one.
All six of us lit our unity candle together to remind us of this sometimes battle. But in the end, sharing our love with each other has become a beautiful thing and those “steps” have been easily removed.
When two become one
Blended families that once were individual families have many hurdles they have to cross. What was once two separate families each having their own history become one, they now have to establish its own memories. Below you will find common problems with blended families and how to overcome them.
For many children, this can be a frustrating battle. Blended family problems and struggles of the children rise when the life they once knew no longer exist. A new family and family structure now becomes their life. Now there are new names, most associated with the word “step.”
Rare families pull this off without repercussions within the family structure. Blending families allow a person that has no blood relation to the children involved the power to become a person of authority. Blended family problems can be a frightening and fragile situation that is draining on all those involved.
Many hard or angry feelings are often tucked away due to the children feeling as though they no longer feel as important as they once felt.
Many struggling emotions
- Jealousy of other step-siblings
- Jealous of the new spouse
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling powerless and underestimated
- Feeling of grief from letting of family history and memories.
A populated world of blended families
Today, over half the families living together live as blended families and blended family problems. Meaning the divorce rate has tripled over the past generation. Blended family problems are problems regular families seldom face. Merging two families together under one household can be a difficult life, but one that offers many rewards.
With 50% of all families, divorced and re-married with children being from a blended family has become common. Struggles and challenges not only come from the new family structure, but the problems from a divorce still linger. It’s rare that a divorce has happened with the two parties communicating on friendly terms.The roll over’s are blended family problems worst nightmare.
The bitterness lingers in the children involved causing bad feelings for one parent taking the blame for the divorce. Often the situation is the parent that remarried was the cause of the divorce. Most children blame the new step-parent for the breakup.
Keeping the doors of communication open
The relationship between the stepparent and the biological parent can go one of two ways. Either it can be a happy, harmonious one or it can be one filled with hatred and bitterness. Step parents often feel their voice goes unheard with everyday decisions. Decisions made without the step-parents input often causes problems and is another of the common problems with blended families.
It is a common tactic of step children to play the biological parent against the step-parent. Stepmothers feel rejected as an important decision maker when the father takes side with the child.
If the father had custody of his children before the blending of two families, he has a tendency of pampering his children. Daughters tend to be jealous of the new woman in the dad’s life.
Communication is an important necessity in a blended family. If this avenue closes, conflicts can and will arise. The door remains open, allowing conflicts and disagreements to consume the family time.
There remains a need for all adults involved remain mature and handle all situations away from the children. Adults can discuss things in a different manner when on a mature level than when pressured with the child’s presence.
If the children see the adults attempting to work on situations as a couple, they tend to feel their family is secure. If they feel threatened of losing their place in the blended family, there is a stronger need to lash out.
10 Ways To Overcome Common Problems With Blended Families
1). After a divorce, the idea of dating for some seems impossible. For others, the idea of being alone can be overwhelming.
After finding love again, there is the temptation of rushing into remarrying. While basking in the presence of finding new love, you need to lay a strong foundation for your children by taking things slow.
By taking things slow, this offers everyone involved the time they need to adjust to the new changes in their life. Approaching the subject on blending the two families while everyone gets used to hearing the word “marriage.”
2). Don’t expect yourself to fall in love with your future spouse’s children in a short time span. Same for your future spouse with your children. It takes time for love and bonding to take place. Give each other the needed time to get to know each other.
The more time spent together; the more feelings will prosper. Just because your partner adores their own children doesn’t mean you will overnight.
3). Experience real life as a blended family together. Engaging in activities that happen in everyday life is needed for the two sides to learn what life is like away from just doing fun stuff. Sure going to Disney or a water park is fun, and these are important, real life scenarios are important as well.
4). Making necessary changes both parents agree to handle prior to marriage. Both parents need to agree that it will be both parenting together and not just one doing all the work. Making the needed changes before marriage allows new rules to begin. Therefore, the new parent doesn’t take the blame.
5). Never give ultimatums. There will be many times you feel as though you are in the middle with the need to choose one over the other. Make sure everyone involved understands you want them all in your life and not one.
6). Demand respect! You can’t make people like one another if they choose not to. You can insist that people show one another respect. More importantly, demand respect for yourself.
7). Do not set your expectations too high. As a parent, you will give a lot of your time, love, affection and energy on your step-children in the beginning. Expecting the same in return is only going to cause you grief and heartache. Continue to do these things with the knowledge that someday it will be returned.
8). Always be supportive of the children and your new spouse in their endeavors. Children are likely to open up and offer communication if they feel your support and Cheer them on as their number one fan. Involve yourself in their activities showing you care about the things that are important to them.
9). Offer hugs as much as possible. Hugging your children comes natural. Stepchildren will want your affection too with time. Give hugs even when it feels like an unwanted gesture.
10). Never talk bad about the other parent or a new parent in front of the children. Making the children feel like you are attacking their biological parent is one way to close the door on establishing a bond.
Common problems with blended families will happen. Finding ways to put out fires before they become catastrophic is the key. Children want to feel loved, wanted and secure. Offering these things will make any blended family a happier family.
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