I am the proud step-father of a beautiful 10-year old girl. She is my wife's daughter from her first marriage. This is my first marriage. When I first met my wife-to-be, she told me if this relationship was to ever get serious, her daughter was of course, going to be part of the package. I understood.
Having a step-parent of my own, I know how difficult it is to see your mom or dad with someone new. I feel this has helped me in my relationship with my step-daughter. It takes time, lots of time for both sides to adjust. Yes it's hard for the child to see their parent with a new spouse but it's equally as hard for the step-parent to instantly take on the responsibility of raising a child.
A new step-parent has to be really careful. If the step-parent is too rough, the child will most likely resent them and become distant. If they are too soft, well, to be frank, the child will not see them in any sort of parental light and probably will not respect them. It is a high wire act for the new step-parent.
My step-daughter does have a relationship with her dad and sees him once a month. I have not, nor will I ask her to call me dad as long as her biological dad is still in her life. Terms like Mom, Dad, Husband and Wife are sacred. These terms should not be tossed around insignificantly.
A parent has the awesome and intimidating responsibility of raising and taking care of a child. It can be quite difficult as parents of all kinds will agree. My step-daughter lives with me. My wife and I take care of almost all her needs and wants. I am much more of a father to her than her real father. Having said that, I still don't think it's appropriate for her to call me "Dad". Sometimes she does call me dad in error, and it's flattering, but I take it in stride.
My wife and I are planning on having kids of our own in the near future. Then, I will understand what it's like to bring a human life in to this world. I will see a child with my genetics, with some of my features and hopefully with my wife's looks. When that child is old enough to speak and calls me dad for the first time, I will probably reach for a tissue. I did not bring my wife's daughter in to this world, nor does she have any of my genetics. Don't get me wrong, I love her to pieces. I take great joy being her provider and protector, but she is not my daughter.
My step-daughter and I have a fantastic relationship. We've overcome a lot of obstacles. She is a remarkable kid whom I feel blessed to have the honor of helping to raise. When I have a child of my own I think that will bring us even closer. I love her with all my heart and I look forward to see her blossom in to an adult.