One of my clients is a conglomerate of diverse enterprises. There are restaurants (wine gifts!), clothing stores, even a clutch of racy ‘Adult Shops’. At the centre of the Head Office of this group, sits a sweet young lady of whom I have become awfully fond, as it is from her that I collect my monthly retainer. This girl recently fell in love with a bloke and it seems that there may soon be diamonds and a gift registry at Boardmans. The lad has children from a previous marriage and my friend has invited me to luncheon for some advice, because I have experience in the matter of step-children.

Now, from our earliest and most beloved literature, we are introduced to the Stepmother. She is not kind; she is the epitome of evil. Snow White, Cinderella, all of them have one thing in common: without the Stepmother there would be no plot. (Nowhere is anyone allowed to complain that Cinderella was bringing mice into the house). I personally fail to understand how the dads put up with all the cruelty their second-wives inflicted on the poor children, but that’s beside the point here.

Psychology journals inform that children of divorce will inevitably harbour the hope of their parents’ reconciliation until their dying day. They are unable to hate their parents for causing the wrenching pain of a broken home. They do, however, have to express their hatred, which is where the Stepmother becomes handy.

I shall strongly recommend that my friend remains The Girlfriend. There will be lavish gifts and lots of slap and tickle; things which peter out quite quickly when one says “I do”. She will have every second weekend and school holidays to herself; she will always have her own, clean bathroom.

All of this will, no doubt, fall on deaf ears and love will have its way…



  1. Loved this.

    Have you ever seen the Parent Trap? . . . even girlfriends can be “excommunicated” by kids who desire reconciliation by divorced parents. 🙂

  2. Someone will always be blamed for the lack of reconciliation…the parents can either facilitate the process of developing understanding in the children or facilitate the blaming process…I say she should go for what will provide her the most happiness..given the brevity of life. But, it’s past my bed time so I shall pickup on this discussion tomorrow to see what folks think would be the best recommendation for your friend…good night dear Cindy. 🙂

  3. It’s a difficult situation, but I have cousins who adore their stepmother while still remaining loving to their birth mother as well. I am sure there were problems in the beginning when they were kids – I didn’t actually know them then – but as adults, they have definitely worked it all out.

  4. It is a subject that has been around for such a long time, I don’t have personal experience from this but friends around me have and I have seen much pain but also the other side, much happiness…bitterness can occur when there is no understanding between the ex’s and always the children who suffer!! Sometimes understanding the root of a problem can provide a guide when it comes to how to deal with that problem. When you’re in love, most of what lies ahead are not even thought of…no matter what you or anyone else say, will change her point of view. I however, wish them the best!! You go and buy those champagne flutes my dear friend…we all know that love always prevails!! Biggest hugs xxxxx

  5. My ex MIL is living proof of this. Her kids made sure that she never had someone in her life for long enough for it to become serious. Very sad for her as she is now alone. Nevermind that the dad was an adulterer and they knew! I work hard at making sure my kids do not do the same to me!

  6. At one point in my life, I was very enamored with a divorced man who had a 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son. I asked a friend (mother of the century in my eyes) her advice. “Don’t try to be anything other than a friend. You are not competing with their mother.” I found that GREAT advice. However, the 5 year old blew me away. Not only did she look and act like a miniature Goldie Hawn, she had manipulation down to an art. I did not think that a child could be so cunning. The relationship did not turn into a permanent one and partly because I saw this man’s helplessness in dealing with this daughter. About 5 years ago, he called me and she has drained him. She now has a high powered career in a banking firm and still comes to daddy with demands. Very very sad and I am so grateful that I listened to Maya Angelou – “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

  7. I have been on the recieving end of a not-so-nice step mother. My father only came on weekends, and on some weekends we would not see him. I was a quite, timid child (which I think I still am), who did not want to cause trouble. Some of the stuff that I went through I thought was normal until she had her own kids.

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