Stepfathers are twice as likely to leave their wives, a new poll suggests.
Sixty-one per cent of former stepfathers surveyed said they were the ones who had left, more than twice the average number of biological fathers who initiate divorce (30 per cent).
The anonymous poll of stepfathers in several countries by Stepdadding.com suggests that many feel unappreciated and say they don’t understand what their wives expect from them.
Almost two thirds (61.54 per cent) of the former stepfathers said feeling unappreciated and arguments regarding how to raise the children were key factors in the breakup. More than 38 per cent, meanwhile, cited “arguments or turmoil”; and almost two thirds (30.77 per cent) said a sense that the role was undefined, the kids being ‘out of control’ and problems with the children’s biological father were key reasons.
Another contributory factor for some stepfathers was: ”being overwhelmed by having an instant family”. Only 18 per cent of the stepfathers had children of their own.
One told the researchers:
“I thought I knew how to do it (be a step-dad) but I didn’t.”
Stacey Wheeler of Stepdadding.com said:
“In four of five of these families the only new addition is the step-dad.”
He said the 61 per cent break-up rate was “shocking”
“Just a few generations back the Stepdad’s role was better defined. When a man married a single mom it was typically assumed he’d function as the father in the home. He know his role. Today -things have reversed. The Stepdad’s role is undefined. It’s no longer safe to assume. Many moms and Stepdads have different vision of the role the man will play. Couples who don’t make sure they’re on the same page usually run into problems later.”
“It’s hard for a guy to succeed when he’s trying to do his best version of “Stepdad” but his wife has a different vision. It’s easy to start feeling frustrated. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When couples talk about the role the Stepdad will play, they can reduce the turmoil and avoid hurt feelings.”