In a national survey of couples creating stepfamilies researchers found that the top three anticipated stumbling blocks for couples related to children and stepfamily stress. According to Ron L. Deal and David H. Olson, authors of The Remarriage Couple Checkup:
- 78 percent of couples expected difficulties dealing with stepfamily issues;
- 75 percent expected children to put a strain on their marriage;
- 72 percent believed creating a stepfamily would stress their marriage.
On average, according to Mavis Hetherington, the author of For Better for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, couples in stepfamilies have three times the amount of stress of couples in first marriages during the early years.
In time, stress levels for couples in stepfamilies can fall to normal levels found in first marriages.
A Boston University psychologist researcher reported that of the career women who earned over $100,000 and had married men with children, over 75 percent said that, “if they had do it again they would not marry a man with children.”