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A Reader Asks a Blended Family Question and Ponders Soul Mates

Posted Nov 06 2009 10:02pm

Jennifer asked:  Hi Carmen, two ideas I'd like to hear about.. You've said before that your husband has other children. How do you handle being a step mom? I'm not a stepmom, but a step daughter and would be interested to hear how you work with that. And the other idea: I know you and your husband met and married fairly quickly. How did you know he was "the one?" What are your thoughts on soul mates and the like. Is it a matter of timing? do we have multiple "soul mates?" Just curious!

Part One: the Stepparent/Stepdaughter part. This will be (mostly) brief.

I don't talk about my step kids.

My husband asked me years ago to add my step kids to the list of off limit blog topics - for the record, those topics include politics, religion, my birth family, my husband's family and world peace. I probably could have ignored your question, but I didn't want to do that. Suffice to say that we all get along.

Now, BEING a person who HAS a step mom - that I can talk about. It's my own privacy issues, my own borders - and we all know that I have none of those. (Plus, I have clearance from my step mom.)

I genuinely like my step mom. Often, when I call to talk to my dad, I'll spend twice as long talking to her as I do my dad. She is close to my own age and we have similar views on many things. I was sad when my parents divorced, 19 and young and stupid, and I took it out on both of them. I'm happy to say that both have forgiven me and we are pretty close.

I don't think that takes anything away from my relationship with my own mother. I think, and God knows I could be TOTALLY off base here, that often people feel as if they should choose one person from a marriage over the other. (I am not going to discuss infidelity/who cheated/who was wrong/who was right in ANY relationship - for I was not inside ANY of those relationships and I have ZERO concept of why any relationship fails. It's not for me to say.) Being a step daughter and having step kids gives me a very interesting perspective on both situations and I really try hard to respect the boundaries on both sides. Try to be the step parent/step daughter that I want. Most of the time, I am probably a miserable failure.

I will say it's insanely interesting for me to have daughters, step grand daughters and a half sister - ALL THE SAME AGE.

Now, for part 2. :)

Historical background: I turned 20 November 14, 1989. I met my husband November 18, 1989. I was engaged to my husband November 30, 1989. I married same said husband December 16, of, yes, 1989. To this day, I canNOT tell you why we married so quickly. We just did. It felt right and it felt good and it felt like it would work. As far as soul mates, I'm not sure. I dated someone for years and years and was convinced that we were "soul mates", destined to be together forever - but then something happened and we just weren't. To this day, I don't know what it was.

I think that marriage, and, really, any relationship that you have requires work. Way, way, WAY more work than you ever think it will take when you are imagining walking down the aisle in our princess gown. (Caveat: I did not have a princess gown. I did not walk down the aisle.) I think that there is more than one person out there for any of us and so, no, maybe I don't believe in soul mates.

But I do believe in love.

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