Blending families when dating

So please, don’t call us “blended.” Dr Wednesday Martin, a social anthropologist and writer, is the author of Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do.

Her new book, Primates of Park Avenue, is due to be published in 2014 The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.

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A step-mother may be more like an aunt than a mum to her teenaged step-daughter.

A step-father and his busy adult step-son who lives across the country may figure out that cordiality and support, rather than “close friendship” or “fatherhood,” suit them both.

And what we’ve found out is that our family structure is not so un-common as 1/3 of all Americans find themselves in some type of step-family relationship – step-parent, step-child, or step-sibling. In interviewing the couples for our film, I heard terms like “blind-sided” “sucker punched” and “unprepared” for problems that surfaced after wedding day.

But since blended families are so prevalent, how come everyone is so surprised by the challenges that they face after getting married? And unfortunately, most families are not able to survive with over 60% of re-marriages ending in divorce.

These “family” members are more likely to argue, seethe with jealousy or simply distrust one other than they are to meld into a happy mix right away. But thanks to the “blended” paradigm, they are bound to wonder, “What are we doing wrong? They bring together a cast of characters, often under one roof, who aren’t related and may have been raised in entirely different ways.