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  • Alan Jacobs

Stepfamily Life: Discussing Expectations Can Create Stronger Relationships

When it comes to stepfamily life, there’s often a glaring contrast between the reality of day-to day-life and your image of what it could be. Sometimes the gap between these is very wide, yet there’s usually no easy time, place, or way to share your expectations with your partner.

In many cases, most of your expectations about marriage will come from the family that raised you. Or, you might want your union to be like your friends’ parents’ marriages, or your next-door neighbor’s family because they always seemed so happy and conflict-free. That said, remarried couples also bring expectations from their first and second marriage.

In this excellent blog posting, Terry Gaspard writes that many stepparents blame themselves or the relationship itself once disillusionment sets in, rather than reevaluating their unrealistic expectations. When this occurs, partners can play the “blame game” and position themselves against each other, not beside each other.

However, if you and your partner can have an open dialogue about your expectations, the common concerns and disillusionments can become normalized and not seen as due to the flaws of either spouse.

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