“So my stepbrother is in love with me?” As I read these words correcting the author's youth novel Mylène Fortin Who cares about the boys 2 - Parents on strike, I felt perplexed.
Can children from blended families who have known each other for a short time and have no blood ties develop a romantic relationship? This goes against their fraternal status, ethics for some, but still plausible…
The book from Andara,which will be released in bookstores on February 20, is a work of fiction. Moreover, the attraction that the triplets (Alex, Félix and Xavier) feel for their new half-sister (Fleur) in the story is meant to be incidental. However, my reading made me want to dig into the question of "passionate love" through the reconstituted family. It had never crossed my mind before, and aroused in me several debates.
Virginie Lavoie-Dugré,sexologist and psychotherapist, has agreed to dive into this delicate subject. She even confessed to me that she had received several testimonies related to feelings between quasi-siblings before the interview.
“TheParents may take a while to find out about this kind of situation, she explained, because when they conceive a new family, it is not an option they have thought about beforehand.”
Why does this happen?
The sex therapist helped me better understand what can cause a new family member to be perceived as a potential lover: “The intensity with which young people will invest the relationship (when a family is reunited) can vary a lot. Some will immediately consider the children of their parent's spouse as their true brothers and sisters, especially if they are younger. Others will simply see them as cousins or even as friends. The investment is not always the same. This may explain why the taboo of family and incest is transgressed.”
According to the specialist, however, brotherly attachment cannot be forced from the start. "Starting out, I suggest that parents of blended families let their children choose the intensity with which they want to establish the relationship with the new members of their clan", specifies Virginie Lavoie-Dugré.
According to the sex therapist, open-mindedness is also in order if the adults of a recent union discover an idyll between their respective children.
First and foremost, they have to dig into things to check for abuse (threats, blackmail, forced gestures, etc.). In this case, the specialist specifies that we would enter another zone, that ofsexual assault.
Manage the situation
If however both children act of their own free will, here is what Mme Lavoie-Dugré recommended: “Initially, I would invite each parent to sit separately with own child to discuss the situation and get the young person's vision. Then I would suggest that the parents talk one on one, then I would suggest that the four of them get together to talk.”
According to the psychotherapist, forbidding romantic feelings from the outset would be a major mistake. Young people would risk feeling misunderstood. In addition, they would probably cross boundaries more, as teenagers often do. It would make things worse. "We must not forget that the children are already surely disturbed by the divorce of their parents and could thus want to prove, at all costs, that their relationship, to them, can last, to enter into a kind of competition", launched- her.
However, accepting does not mean “giving way to youthful love”. The speaker argued: “Every parent, anyway, has limits. It is even more important to ask them, in this kind of case, as the children live under the same roof. Adults must determine the framework through which young people can evolve at home, to avoid discomfort, both for them and for the young children living under their roof. I say at home, because I would not go so far as to control what is happening elsewhere, if young people wish to appear at schoolor in their group of friends, for example.”
For her, the family must be a safe place for everyone: "If we try to explain to the youngest that sexuality is not experienced within the family (in order to make them aware of the taboo of incest) and suddenly see two members of their family nucleus developing a relationship, they may be confused. It is also important that the younger siblings feel comfortable in their own home and not wonder if they can watch a movie in the living room when the older ones are there and kissing, among other things.
Assume your decisions
Although they respect their young, parents must also preserve their own values. For example, they might state, "I'm not banning what's going on, but I'm not necessarily encouraging this hazy situation, given the ties between you. I also ask you to remain aware of the image that the family projects.”
In this vein, parents have every right to also request that visible displays of love not take place at home.”
They will also inevitably have to stand up to those around them. Mme Lavoie-Dugré made an interesting comparison: “In fact, I see it a bit like what a homoparental family experiences when it has to deal with the gaze of others. Even if the variety of existing unions is more and more accepted, as soon as we leave the frame, we expose ourselves to judgment. So, we win to assume that we are going to disturb.”
Couples make their own life choices and shouldn't feel pressure to constantly justify themselves. "They can prepare what they are comfortable or not comfortable saying in advance and, again, set limits on the discussion," explained the sex therapist.
In case of a fight back, parents of young lovers might say, "I understand that you don't have the same vision as me on this subject, it hasn't always been easy for me either, but here is where I am now and I would ask you to respect me.”
Professionals like Virginie Lavoie-Dugré also remain available to offer custom tools. Otherwise, books like Who cares about boys 2 - Parents on strike offer the possibility of opening the discussion with young people.