I have a friend, Derek, who has this issue. His mother has been with a man for a very long time, some 15 years. His mother is widowed and her partner, Jack, never divorced his old wife. All Derek's siblings (2 sisters and 1 brother) call him stepdad. Recently he has realized that his mother has never been happy with the fact they never married and further that Jack never divorced his ex legally. This has resulted in a blended/step family that is strained by this issue. It complicates ideas of assets and inheritance. It also "looks bad" that Jack never respected Derek's Mom enough to marry her after all this time. Derek also told me that members of his family - one of his Uncles and one of his Aunts dislike Jack as they think this is disrespectful behavior and they feel Derek's Mom deserves better - I tend to agree even though Jack is a very charming guy. Since I've been close to Derek for a long time, and his siblings, I know that Jack hasn't really ever thought of them as his children. Jack came in the picture when the 2 sisters were in their early teens and Derek and his brother were 6. He has always provided for their Mother and them but there are no frills really and in many ways he sort of a pseudo-step-dad. I've also noticed he spends way more money on his biological kids whom he sees very little of. I also read that some stepdads adopt their step children as a sign of commitment to the family. Without this it's my understanding that if something happens to the Mom, Jack has no legal commitment to the children.
I feel that this has caused a lot of grief for Derek. I feel that he thinks he deserves more and so does his family, especially his widowed Mom. I would have to agree. Can you help me understand the root causes of this? And perhaps provide your opinion on what his Mom could/should do about it? What can I do as a good friend of the family to make Derek and his Mom understand that I support them and understand them.
Thank you for your time.
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