This article studies the relationship between having a common child in stepfamilies and partners’ relationship satisfaction. Previous works have primarily looked at children’s adjustment in stepfamilies and have cautioned against seeing a common offspring as a way to “cement” the partnership because the addition of a shared child does not benefit the child from an earlier union. We used seven waves of the German “Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics” to examine the relationship satisfaction of partners in a stepfamily and its association with the potential birth of a common child. After controlling for initial relationship satisfaction, we see that having a common child is linked to higher satisfaction over time. Interestingly, for those whose common child is between 1 and 3 years old, we saw temporarily lower relationship satisfaction, which was less pronounced for the partner who was a stepparent in the context of the union.
|Universiteit van Amsterdam, Bocconi University Milan