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The Complexities Of Being Step Parent In Same-Sex Relationship

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When dealing with children from a past relationship, it can be especially tough when the new step-parent is the same gender as their partner.

Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a family that consists of a single household.

The statistics point to divorce increasing, marriage longevity decreasing, and of course the wider spread acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality – these all lead to an increase in multiple-household families, those in which the parents are no longer connected except through the children.

I myself was a child of step-parents. My mother and father weren’t together for very long due to “irreconcilable differences” (for lack of better terminology) and both were married to other partners by the time I was six.

I never really thought anything of it, and in fact I felt that I was better off with the two households than I would have been if my parents had tried to stay together “for my sake”.

That being said, I have a very limited amount of information surrounding same-sex step-parent situations, but it’s always been a subject that interested me.

I have a number of bisexual friends who have children from former relationships, and generally speaking these children seem happy as long as their parents are happy – and isn’t that what matters?

With that being said, there are a number of differences when lesbians and bisexual women have children from a previous relationship.

Sometimes, the parent of the child is bisexual, or recently out of the closet.

In these cases, the parent (and step-parent) will have to decide whether to let the child know about their sexuality. There may be some confusion when the child finds out that their new step-parent is not the same gender as the parent’s past partner.

For especially young children, they can grow accustomed to the idea faster – but some may not choose to share this detail if they feel the child is “too young” to understand.

For older kids, they may be able to figure it out on their own. This can be a good thing or a bad thing – it all depends on how you handle the situation.

If you are honest with your child, the entire process can be made easier. Of course, your decision to come out to your kids (or step-kids) is entirely your decision.

Some people have preferences to not date people with children – and you can’t force them to accept it.

This can be true regardless of sexuality, but many lesbians have a specific preference against dating bisexual women, and they may see your biological child as “proof” that you’re not “really gay”.

It’s not really fair, as bisexuality isn’t an automatic indicator of unfaithfulness. But the fact is you may face women who won’t date you simply because you have a biological child.

This can make it difficult for the single parent, but once they find someone who accepts their child as their own, it’s a magical experience.

Some single parents choose to instead leave their child out of the equation. Again, this is your decision, but it’s sort of unfair to your child.

If you refuse to acknowledge that you have a child, imagine how the child is going to feel when they find out about it (and it’s always a possibility that you have to consider).

In some cases, their other biological parent may stir up drama.

Of course, we hope this isn’t the case. Break-ups are already nasty enough without mudslinging. If your ex happens to get into your child’s head about your sexuality and how it’s “wrong”, the only thing you can do to address this is to live your life in such a way that your ex’s quips have no effect.

Thankfully, these days, your sexuality is unlikely to interfere with your ability to get fair custody of your child. Just keep in mind that a jaded partner can say some pretty hurtful things – and you shouldn’t let these things get to you.

If your ex-partner is the same sex as you, and you are not biologically related to the child, you could face extra problems.

Please don’t take this to mean that you should stay with a partner who is not good to you – we at KitschMix never recommend that.

However, unless you have already signed adoption papers, it can be incredibly difficult for you to prove that you have been a “parent” to the child.

If your ex decides to drag her feet through the adoption process, or changes their mind about your daughter being “your child” together, it’s entirely possible that you will have a long fight ahead of you.

Occasionally, the parent may blame their child when they can’t find a partner.

This is a completely different issue, and it’s definitely not fair to the child. I have known a few people who take it very personally when a partner leaves or rejects them because they have a child.

It’s important to remember that none of this is your child’s fault. It’s not his fault that you and his other parent separated, and it’s not his fault that your new partner doesn’t want kids.

Placing the blame on him is a form of emotional child abuse that is likely to lead to resentment later in your child’s life.

What can you do if you are a single parent looking for a same sex partner?

There are a number of people who specifically look for “RMF’s” (Ready Made Families). While the term itself has somewhat of a negative connotation, it doesn’t have to.

Some people are incapable of having children or they have a preference to adopt, rather than conceive. (I happen to fall in the second group.) For these people, your kids may be a godsend – as long as the timing is right.

Other people aren’t exactly looking to become a step-parent, but they don’t mind the idea. These people may not be specifically looking for what you have to offer, but they are open to the idea of having a child who isn’t related to them.

Wouldn’t you rather be with the person who would accept your child, anyway?

My advice to our readers is that you are open and honest with your children and your partners – and this can be especially true when it comes to their knowledge of each other.

Obviously your child doesn’t need to know every detail of your life, but they should know enough to not be blindsided if it comes up in the future.

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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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