Parenting is difficult enough, but marrying and becoming a part of a “blended” family might be all the more difficult.
One woman experienced this years ago when she married her husband, who had children from a previous marriage, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor AmandlyWhyne was surprised, however, when she shared her true feelings about it with her sister.
After seeing her sister’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she should have approached the situation differently.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for being honest with my sister that I would not become a stepmother again if I knew how it would be?”
The OP became a stepmother 17 years ago.
“My younger sister (26 [female]) is dating a man who has two kids with an ex.”
“I (46 [female]) have been with my husband for more than 17 years. When we met he was a divorced dad of [two]. My stepkids are now adults, my husband is a grandfather, and I can honestly say it has not been easy, and I don’t think it was the perfect role for me.”
“I love my family, so I wouldn’t walk away from them now, but I also know there has been more heartbreak in our family lifetime than there has been heartwarming. I say this even with two wonderful children out of it and a happy marriage outside of it.”
“I was always the outsider, never really considered family by my stepkids, I’m not grandma while my husband is grandpa.”
“And even though there is no tension or fighting, just indifference, I’m not the kind of person who can’t have their heartbreak a little more realizing even after all these years they could walk away from me easily.”
“And while they’re not awful to my bios, they definitely don’t include them as siblings the way they do each other. It’s tough.”
“I don’t think I was the best suited to that side of this.”
When her sister asked about her experiences, the OP decided to be honest.
“So anyway, my sister and I always promised each other honesty. I’m so much older than her, and I tried to baby her a bit too much when she was a lot younger, which she hated.”
“So when she asked me did I have any regrets and would I do it again, I was honest.”
“And when she asked me if I thought she would be able for it I was also honest, that I don’t think she is, because she’s even more sensitive than I am, and she’s already going in with expectations that might not be met.”
“And now she’s mad and said I was an a**hole and I should have lied.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed how difficult it can be to find your place as a stepmother.
“NTA. You stated all your reasons so beautifully and I felt the same way with my stepchild. I met them when they were 7 and now they are off in college.”
“Growing up, I felt like we were close but as the teen years approached, a rift formed on their side. I got blocked off all their social media accounts and remain blocked.”
“I can text them and they will text back and seem like everything is okay. They will take the money I offer them in their time of need and they will give me polite thank you’s, but they just turned their back on me one day and I don’t know what I did or said. I am essentially a stranger who married their dad.”
“I never did punishments because they were not mine, just backed mom and dad. Never did or said anything that my husband or his ex didn’t do or say, yet I got tossed to the side. It’s soul-crushing to say the very least. I just give them their space now.”
“Your sister needs to understand the realities of being a step-parent, especially if both parents are involved in their children’s lives. It has wonderful highs but the heartbreak steals your breath away and crushes you.” – Intelligent_Manner62
“This. I have stepkids. One of their moms was just terrible. It was some kind of competition to her from day one.”
“She’d pit my stepdaughter against me and I’m going to be completely honest, it made me dislike my stepdaughter for a long time. Looking back I realize how foolish I was for being angry at a 12-year-old who was going through some rough s**t.”
“But at the time I was angry. I was providing a home, food, clothing, and the same support I provided my own children and in my frustration, I was angry at the wrong person. It was H**L.”
“My other stepdaughter? Her mother and I got along great. There was no animosity or jealousy. No talking about each other. I had a close relationship with that stepdaughter. She’s almost 18 and we are still close. (Haven’t been with my ex/her dad in about 12 years.)”
“It’s the luck of the draw. You might get the perfect step family situation or you might get the absolute worst.” – Critical-Dig
Others said it was best for the sister to hear the truth to make the right decision.
“NTA. You both promised honesty and you delivered on it.”
“Lying in this situation doesn’t make sense and would actually be awful. It was a lose-lose situation for you.”
“Be honest and she gets mad at you for not saying what she wants to hear. Lie and possibly get flack later on when she realizes the difficulties of being a stepmom” – lepetitoiseau622
“NTA. It’s about time a stepmother told it how it is. It is an extremely difficult situation to be in. I am a kid whose parents have been married three times EACH. Dad actually four. Step-parents are tough. I was horrible to a few of them.” – devlin94
A few advised not asking for the truth when you’re not ready for it.
“NTA she asked you point-blank if she can’t handle the truth that’s her problem.” – talia-gustin
“NTA – Doesn’t seem to me like you’re trying to dictate her choices or force her to do as you said. She asked for a question and you answered truthfully and with her best interest in mind. What she does next is on her, but you are not an AH for telling her the truth.” – -Alula
Though the truth can seriously hurt, walking into a complicated relationship without all the facts could surely hurt much more. The subReddit was pretty certain the OP was right with this one.