DEAR READERS: There has been a deluge of response to Not Stepfather Material, the guy who says he "hates" his stepchildren, but won't leave because he's got a good deal going with their mom who "does everything." Here is a sampling of response mail to munch on:
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Enough beating up on Not Stepfather Material. I feel sympathy for him. I was treated like dirt by my stepchildren. They sent me crying to the bedroom for two years before they won and I finally moved out. By then I was feeling broken and abused -- they had called me terrible names and thrown things at me for two long years -- and it took me years to get straightened out. -- Abused by Wicked Stepkids, St. James
Dear Abused: I'm aware of several cases where this has happened, and the bio-parent has stood by and allowed it. That situation is as sick and nasty as the other way round, and you wonder why the step-parent stayed for all that abuse. There has to be a level of civility in a home, and when abuse has moved in to stay, it's time for the beat-up step-parent to pack.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: In response to the guy who hates his fiancée's kids, I would like to find out who his fiancée is so I can send her a copy of his letter to you. Did he not realize that she is a package deal when they were dating and when they got engaged? Who did he think the kids were, hired help? He should tell her how he feels. Getting married is the worst thing they could do. She needs to break it off so she can find a better mate. The guy's a jerk. If I met a guy who didn't like my son, he would be shown the door. -- Single in the City, Winnipeg
Dear Single: Way to go for taking this stance, single mom. Too often single mothers think any male that's breathing will do as a role model for their kids. Wrong. A bad one is worse than having a mom who is being both dad and mom to her kids. This mother gets a failing grade for exposing her kids to this man who hates them. P.S. I can't give you the fiancée's contact info, for privacy reasons.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am a stepmom and raised my stepkids into adulthood with my husband as if they were my own. Being a step-parent may be hard at times when you really don't have a clue how to parent, but you learn. We did not always have the same interests either, and there were bumps along the way, just like parenting your biological kids.
But, if this guy has no interest in being even a part-time parent, then he shouldn't be in her life. Sorry, Miss Lonelyhearts, I don't see another way. I hope to God this woman recognizes herself and gets rid of this guy. No one should risk their children's well-being for a man. -- Horrified, Winnipeg
Dear Horrified: Since this guy doesn't do anything around the house except actively loathe the kids, then my guess is the relationship is primarily sexual for him, and possibly for her, too. Every other week she probably thinks she's in hog heaven with this guy, and the week the kids are back home, it's Hell Week for everyone. Imagine how the kids feel packing to go back to their mother's house. If the bio father is a good dad he should have primary custody, for the kids' sake.