Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Complicated Role of Being a Same-Sex Stepparent

From my blog on
I still remember my partner’s tentative steps around my children when our relationship moved from a brief flirtation to becoming significant in both our lives. Not wanting to have children of his own initially, he suddenly found himself in relationship, complete with home ownership and two children. Within a few years, we were joined by a dog. Then another dog.  Welcome to a modern version of the American family.
Dean assumed the role and function of a stepparent, whether he wanted to admit it or not. Being with me meant that he had to be with my children, since my former wife and I shared joint physical custody. With feet dragging at times, always quick to clarify that any hard decisions over the children’s lives were to be decided by the children’s mom and me with no input from him, and quick to let me discipline them rather than stepping in and doing that work, he reluctantly has become and is now a significant parent figure in their lives as well.
Since he didn’t want to be “Uncle Dean” or “Dad 2” or “Pops,” the children went through a long list of names of what to call him, almost relegating him to being their “gay nanny,” a name said with tongue-in-cheek. Finally, he has simply come to be called “Dean.” And they love him with the affection shown to a parent, and he loves them as if they were his own children.
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