Maintaining Relationships after the Fact

After you and your former partner have been apart for a substantial amount of time, you can still keep in touch with your stepchild. The relationship doesn't need to fade with time, although it might. You might be remarried with a family, and your former partner might be as well. Sometimes relationships do become distant, and this is normal. It would be a nice idea, however, to maintain contact somehow, even if it seems minimal. Sending holiday cards, birthday cards, care packages in college, and e-mails every couple of weeks are nice ways of letting your stepchild know he is still in your thoughts even if you don't see him often. Inviting him to events that you have might be appropriate as long as the relationship with you and your former partner is solid. Attending events that your stepchild invites you to is also important. If he invites you to an event it means he would like you there and values your attendance. If you cannot follow through, call and offer to celebrate by going to dinner or spending time with him.

Keeping your stepchild as important in your life as he was prior to the divorce might be difficult, but it is important that your stepchild continues to feel as though your relationship with one another did not suffer because of your relationship with your former partner.

Allow Stepsiblings to Stay in Touch

If you had other children who would be your stepchild's stepsiblings, let them create their own ways of staying in touch and maintaining a relationship. They might have become quite close, and they might become closer because of the commonality they now share with the breakup of the marriage. Even if you do not get along well with your former partner, protect the relationship between your children. Losing a parental figure is enough; there is no need for your child or stepchild to lose another relationship. Encourage them to stay in touch and do your best to support their friendship.

Maintaining relationships between you and your stepchild, your family and your stepchild, and any siblings and your stepchild will be more difficult when they are younger. As they grow up, they will be able to figure out where they best fit into each other's lives. You might become a mentor to your stepchild who helps him apply to colleges. Your son might be his basketball teammate and eventually a roommate after college. The options are endless — be sure to allow time for these relationships to grow past any hurt that occurred in the breakup.

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