Divorcing Because Of Stepchildren (9+ Hurtful Reasons)

by April Maccario

So you got married to this guy who has kids, and now you feel like the family dynamics have changed. It’s not the good old step family life you had hoped for. Instead, your stepchildren have made you look like the bad guy. You’ve gone for family counseling, tried to be friends with the ex-wife, and maybe even held several family meetings. 

The truth is, no one can force anyone to like them, and in this case, the kids may be intent on not compromising. Adult stepchildren are even the hardest to deal with; if they aren’t happy with the marriage, they won’t hide their displeasure. 

Stepchildren ruining my marriage isn’t something I’d like to talk about, but as hard as the topic is, it has to be discussed.  

10 Ways Stepchildren Ruin A Marriage

1. They see you as a threat

They see you as a threat

Unfortunately, Disney animations like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as Cinderella, do not help at all in this regard. Kids have grown up to believe that step-moms are evil. So, even though you have good intentions, they’ll still feel like you have a few evil tricks up your sleeves. 

Once they feel you’re a threat to them, they’ll treat you like a stranger. Not feeling loved in your own home could spur up thoughts of leaving the marriage.

2. They try to hurt you

Some kids hate the idea of having more than two parents, they just want their mom and dad to be happy together. Of course, that’s not always the case. If there are more than two of them, they’ll try to say or do hurtful and mean things to get at you.  

3. The issue of divided attention and jealousy

Sometimes, your husband may end up giving his child way more attention than he gives to you, even without realizing it. In this case, there’s not much you can do. In a way, he’s justified - kids need attention. 

This could bring up feelings of jealousy on your part and if not addressed could grow into bigger issues. Debating this with him could make you seem childish and needy, even though in reality, you're a human being with needs too. 

4. Ex-spouses

‘’Baby mama’’ drama is not just the baby daddy’s biggest nightmare, but also quite scary to the woman who’s currently in his life. Some women tend to handle divorce or rejection very badly, they tell themselves that since they can’t be with the man, they would make him and his love interests miserable. 

Some women may stoop as low as using their own kids as a tool to achieve this. They may keep planting seeds of hatred in the child's mind while inspiring them to be a problem for you and your spouse. This could be a bit toxic and overwhelming and may end up tearing up your marriage.   

5. Finances

Finances

When two people decide to get married, they agree to be life partners. This means that every area of their life should be shared between both parties. Household rules change once both partners are managing the home. A budget has to be made for food items, rent, or bills. 

When the man already has kids, this could somewhat complicate things. He’d have to cater to his children’s needs first and depending on his financial state, this may prevent him from equally meeting up with shared needs. Pointing this out to him may hurt his ego or even cause more problems between both of you. Financial issues are very difficult to deal with in a marriage, talk less of one with stepchildren.

6. Parenting styles

Questions like, should stepmom’s discipline their kids? What type of punishments are allowed to be given? Are serious issues in most blended families. Most parents do not like any other person correcting their kids, they prefer to do this on their own. 

This is not realistic since they aren’t always around their kids. Sometimes, you may be the one watching them. Turning a blind eye to their misbehavior would be equally wrong. Getting your spouse to understand that sometimes you may have to apply tough love, is very challenging.

7. Blood is thicker than water

If you also have kids of your own, the truth is, he’d probably favor his biological kids over yours. He may try to secure their college funds first, their future, or even the best rooms in the home for them. If there are any arguments or misunderstandings within the family that should have been handled fairly, he’s more likely to defend his own kids. 

No matter how subtle this may seem, you and the kids are bound to notice it. If this goes on long enough, the biological kids will begin to feel entitled and probably arrogant towards you, while your kids would suffer silent negligence. 

8. Overcompensation

There’s bound to be a lot of overcompensation on your part especially early on in the marriage. It's only natural for you to want your stepkids to love you just as much as their father does. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and kids tend to figure out when they’re being bribed. The moment they notice your desperation, some of them would immediately use that to make your life miserable. 

9. The stranger syndrome

The stranger syndrome

You’re likely to feel left out when your stepchildren are around, it gets worse if they live with you permanently. There would always be inside jokes and memories between them and their father. This may leave you feeling like a stranger in your own home which is not an ideal family situation. 

Rather, the family is where you should feel most at home or more accepted. Depending on the character of the man you married, this feeling of being an outsider could tear your marriage apart, if he doesn’t know how to properly bring everyone together.

10. When they’re given too much power

When kids are given too much power, they tend to abuse it. Their minds aren’t mature enough for the weight of responsibility.  It's very common for parents of divorce to feel guilty. Sometimes, even parents who have lost their spouse or had a child a bit too early in life, tend to carry around the guilt of hurting their kids through wrong decisions. 

As a result of this, they end up giving them a little too much power. That could make them talk down on or disrespect you without batting an eye. Try telling this type of child to do their dishes, take out the trash, or even clean up after themselves, whew! I wouldn’t want to hang around for the insults either!

FAQs

How stepchildren can ruin a marriage?

Stepchildren are one of the leading causes of marital conflicts, especially in remarriages. Children are prone to feeling powerless when their parents get divorced or if they lose a parent. Sometimes, the only way they can feel in charge or in control is by causing conflict. This can cause a divide between both spouses.

Why do I dislike my stepchild?

It's only natural not to feel so much love and care for a child who is not biologically yours. For some problem kids, even their parents may struggle to love them. Just because you love the parent of the child doesn’t mean you’re going to love their kids. If they’re problematic, this feeling of dislike is expected.

Are you still a step-parent after divorce?

Since you have no biological bond with your stepchildren, you are not considered a step-parent in the case of a divorce. In most common cases, stepparents aren’t legally entitled to see their stepchildren, the only link that joins you to them is cut off after a divorce.

How do you deal with rude stepchildren?

Rude stepchildren are the responsibility of the parent who raised them, so whatever you do, don't try to overcompensate. Don’t try to shower them with gifts or money, this will only validate their bad behavior. Make sure you establish necessary boundaries early enough. 

Can stepchildren get married?

There are no scientific and health reasons stopping you from getting married to your step-siblings since you both aren’t related by blood. There are also no legal, moral, or ethical laws stopping this from happening. Although this may be uncomfortable for family members on both sides, it’s not considered incest.

To Conclude

I hope you found this article helpful. Remember, It’s possible to make a blended family work, but some problems are too complicated, they could literally tear a marriage apart. Sometimes, stepchildren are the source of these problems, so be careful. 

Don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comment section below and be sure to share this article with friends.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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