What Does Trust Mean to a Stepmom?

Trust is one of the pillars in a healthy relationship. That’s trust for a spouse, friends, children, and most of all trust in yourself.

Can you trust your husband to have your best interest in mind, be honest with you, cherish you, advocate for you to his bio-kids, and at times to his ex? Are there any other close people in your life that you trust? And do you trust yourself with all of the above, especially when the going gets tough?

I recently realized what stands between most stepmoms and being fully accepted by their husbands and their kids. It’s trust.

They want to know you will stay. They want to know you’ll be kind and loving, especially when the going gets tough. And as a stepmom, it’s natural to feel insecure and scared when facing such a responsibility. Your role is ill defined and a turbulent one, and it can be hard to trust yourself in it.

Obstacles to Trust in Second+ Marriages

Lack of Knowledge

Remarried couples often don’t know what it takes to nurture or grow their relationship. There are few public role models for remarriage. The little media representation we have of remarried families tends to be unrealistic. They’re either perfect or played up as deeply damaged for comedic or dramatic effect. We’re not handed a manual for navigating the complexities of our spouse’s children or exes.

The demands and stress of everyday life often deprive couples of the time needed to proactively engage in meaningful conversation. Schedule management and damage control consume their non-working hours, leaving their marriage taken for granted. Little time is dedicated to nurture and grow the relationship. Husbands don’t see, hear, or validate their wives on a regular basis if at all.

Unresolved Grief from Past Relationships

When past losses are not grieved, your emotional energies are blocked, which limits your ability to ‘show up’ in your current relationship. It leaves you stuck in the past, feeling resentful, angry and sad.

Past pain and loss impact your ability to trust your current or future partner. You act defensively in your marriage, as you expect to be hurt again. Thus, your willingness and ability to trust is greatly compromised.

Boundary Violations

When your stepkids go through your clothes, makeup, devices, and your personal space, they’re violating your boundaries. When your husband fails to consequence his children for their behavior, you lose trust in him as a father teaching his children right from wrong. It also feels like he doesn’t have your back. When your husband secretly or non-consensually shares your private information with his children or their bio-mom, it also violates your boundaries. It leaves you feeling vulnerable and shamed, which erodes your trust in him.

It’s hard to trust if kids violate your personal boundaries. They shouldn’t disrespect you or go through your possessions without permission.

What You Can Do About It

    Trust can, and needs to, be built. It requires making a choice to trust and committing to learning and implementing new skills. You and your husband need to have compassion and empathy for one another. It will help you see, hear, and validate each other. Develop a schedule of regular conversations about what’s on your mind. It’s a most valuable habit to build and maintain a healthy relationship. Prioritize topics of conversation, e.g.: boundaries, parenting style, money management, chores, and responsibilities.

    The following steps will assist you with your internal trust building process;

    • Be curious about what you feel.
    • Schedule quiet time in which you can focus inward, and honor whatever comes up, even if it doesn’t make sense.
    • Journal about it. It will help you process and purge any toxicity that might come up.
    • Repeat this process on a regular basis. 
    • Develop baby steps to implement a trust building plan. Trust in your husband, stepkids, others, and (more than anyone) in yourself.

    Let me know what worked (and what didn’t work) for you.

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