Disclaimer: I’m not a stepdad…but I’m also not the founder of this website. For more on him and his story (and thus the title of the website), please read on farther below. I’m thankful to Mr. Wheeler and his creation of this website, and I’m humbled to be taking over as curator here.
My name is Joel, and I’m a biological dad in a blended family. So, my kids are kids (and stepkids), and my wife is a stepmom, and my kids also have a stepdad at their bio-mom’s house. My parents divorced when I was in middle school, and my mom began dating my stepdad about a year later. So while I’m not a stepdad, I’ve been part of a blended family for most of my life. My goal for this website is to provide resources, encouragement, inspiration, and even coaching that will help you in your own blended/step-family journey.
The greatest lessons usually begin with a failure. Stepdadding began from a
moment of anguish. I was in my office filling out divorce paperwork and trying to hold myself together. In the eight years I’d been married, my wife and I had seen three different marriage counselors. Any progress we made didn’t last long. The topic of divorce had come up more times than I could count. We seemed to be constantly on the edge of a breakup. The turmoil had peaked and I was ready to give up. But I loved my step kids. Leaving her meant losing them, so I’d fought to make it work.
I was emotionally wrung out as I tried to focus on the divorce form. But that day my feelings for my family were stronger than my frustration. My stubbornness was stronger than my feeling of being unappreciated. I needed to find a way to make it work. I didn’t know where to begin but I knew I couldn’t give up. I pushed the papers through the shredder and began a mission to figure out what was broken. This focus became a multi-year project, which shed light on the difficult challenges Stepdads have to overcome.
Over the next several years I spent thousands of hours studying every fact and stat I could find about Stepdad marriage and the causes of divorce. Along the way I found that there are common issues nearly all Stepdads face. I discovered being an instant dad is much harder than most new Stepdads expect, and I uncovered the main reasons about 70% of these marriages fail.
If I had walked away that day I would have never realized there was a hidden enemy in lurking in every Stepdad marriage. It’s only because I chose to keep trying that I finally saw what was right in front of my eyes; the trigger to most of our arguments was almost always our kids. What usually sparked our arguments?
- Our differing opinions on how to parent
- Feeling under appreciated by my wife and family
- The sense of having little-to-no authority in my home
- The ripple affect her ex had on our family
Ultimately, the realization about the kids was the first step in staying together. It took years of work to overcome the barriers that grew between us. Once I knew the cause of the stress we were able to minimize it. We argued less and learned to raise our children as a team. We beat the odds and raised the kids together. We ultimately separated after 12 years of marriage. Our kids were college age. I still have a great relationship with them. I’m their parent and they know I’m here for them.
During my years of research I discovered there was very little online information for Stepdads to turn to. Most of what was online was in the form of hard statistics from government or university studies. Men needed a place online they could go to get help and find easy to understand information. This became my motivation to launch Stepdadding.com. The site is a resource for struggling Stepdads. It provides guys with information and inspiration, and helps them understand they’re not alone. Stepdadding gives you the fuel to keep going.
Today Stepdadding is the most popular Stepdad resource site in the world. We’re an award-winning site and each month we’re visited by people around the globe.
S. James Wheeler, Founder & Stepdad