I Married My Stepbrother

Kathrin Eslin is a blogger and contributor. This week she responds to a question she received about marriage between step-siblings.

Our reader writes in to ask, “I’m a 28-year-old woman and have been married five years. My husband and I have a great marriage and can’t see ourselves with anyone else. We moved to a new town and have made new friends, and some want to know how we met. I tell them we met in high school, but there’s more to it than that. We are also stepsiblings. My mother married his father when we were teens, and that is how we met. We kept it from them, and they found out when we were away at college. We lived together while in school and married after graduation. They were upset, but eventually accepted it. Should we tell others we are also stepsiblings?”

I hope the marriage of your mother and his father has worked out as well! You two are not biologically related and you weren’t raised together—there’s nothing to be ashamed of regarding your relationship, and you have committed no violation of the incest taboo. But as you’re probably aware, your story at the least engenders raised eyebrows and fascination. (I once knew a couple who had the reverse situation from you. Her divorced mother and his widowed father met at their wedding and went on to marry each other.) When you’re talking to new acquaintances, sticking to “We were high school sweethearts” is sufficient. With people you get to know well, your story will unfold more naturally, if you care to get into it. And I’d like to know if holidays are easier or harder when you never have to divide them because both sides of the family live under one roof.

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