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Parent with New Paramour
A fairly common plot in modern shows and sitcoms that due to divorce, widowhood, or some other situation that results in a single parent dating again and the child trying to accept a parent's new love interest.

Generally, this goes one of three ways:

  1. The kid and the new person get along quite well from the start. If Status Quo Is God this person may not stick around for longer than the episode, usually due to a breakup. In this case the kid may be quite upset to see this happen.
  2. The kid is nervous about the person at first (sometimes due to already knowing them or still being sore about their missing parent), but gradually warms up to them. This may go either way in terms of the people staying together. In this situation the kid is generally shown as being irrational and in the way of their parent's happiness, which may result in An Aesop in which the kid learns to not be so self centered and understand the principle of Parents as People.
  3. The kid doesn't like the person at all and never gets used to them. This can become a recurring plot element, and likely to have the line "You're Not My Father!" (or Mother) spoken at least once. If the person is obviously a villain, this can become Guess Who I'm Marrying, with the kid often being the Only Sane Man who can see the evilness of the new paramour. But even then, sometimes the kid puts this aside to let their parent be happy.

Wicked Stepmother may be referred to in either 2 or 3 — regardless of accuracy.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Source of conflict for Kaoru in Amagami
  • In the Anime/Manga Midori no Hibi, Seiji helps his neighbor Shiori to accept her new mother after Shiori's initial dislike.
  • Conversed in Lucky Star when Sojiro has a discussion with his daughter Konata about him possibly getting remarried. Sojiro anticipates that Konata would be against it because her mother Kanata would always be her mother, but to his confusion and embarrasment Konata apparently defies the drama by saying she'd be totally cool with it and even asks when she'd get to meet her new mom.
  • Odd variation in Marmalade Boy. Miki's parents Jin and Rumi get divorced amiably, so do Yuu's parents Youji and Chiyako... and then they swap couples and the two "new" families move into a Big Fancy House to avoid parental issues. It takes Miki more than a while to accept it, though: despite liking her stepmother and stepfather, she can't get used to the rest of the deal, unlike her nonchalant new stepbrother Yuu. It turns out that Yuu himself was just as distressed as Miki, and for the same reasons. He just hid it much better, and in fact he confesses that he envied Miki for being able to voice her disagreement while he couldn't bring himself to do so.
  • While Chief Togakushi of Region seems oblivious to the feelings of his coworker Asagiri, his daughter Kanon is quick to notice the way she acts around him. This drives a wedge between the father and daughter, as she feels that it's too soon for him to abandon the memory of her mother.
  • A good part of Nanako Misonoo's angst in Oniisama e... is related to how her mother married her stepdad when she was five. Not because said stepdad is a bad person, far from it, but because her new classmates use it as an excuse for bullying her.
    • Mariko Shinobu's father mixed it with Your Cheating Heart, as he first cheated on Mariko's mom with an actress and then ran away with her, pretty much abandoning Mariko and her mom. Her classmates, and specially Aya Misaki, also use this to bully her.
      • In fact, one of Aya's earliest Kick the Dog moments come from first trying to shame Nanako over her family, and when Mariko jumps in defense of her new friend, she reveals Mariko's family situation to the whole school. No wonder Mariko snaps badly on her. It's even WORSE when the Shinobus DO get divorced (very publically), Aya again gloats about it... and Mariko cracks so violently that she attacks her with a boxcutter.
  • Satoshi Oginome from Mawaru-Penguindrum. He hasn't even told his teenage daughter Ringo that he not only has married again, but that he's got a little daughter named Aoi. It's not needed anyway, Ringo catches him with his second family in an aquarium... which sends her further into mental and emotional unstability.
  • Bianca from Hana no Ko Lunlun can't forgive her mother for pulling this (despite the second husband being a Nice Guy), so she runs away to Venice and there she runs into Lunlun...
  • In the prequel to Slam Dunk, Piercings, 11-year-old Ayako isn't too happy when her mother starts dating again.
  • A source of conflict for Tsubasa Shibahime and her father in Kare Kano. Mr. Shibahime married the Hospital Hottie that took care of Tsubasa when she was hospitalized after a serious accident; Tsubasa did NOT take it well at first because since her mother went the Death by Childbirth way, she had been a Daddy's Girl for practucally all of her life. Ironically, said Hospital Hottie had a son named Kazuma... and he and Tsubasa would later get hitched.
  • This takes over the plot by the end of Sakende Yaruze! and all reactions are covered. Initially Nakaya and Tenryuu get along (1), but Nakaya is also nervous about older men in general (2), and when he finds out that Tenryuu wants a relationship with his father he is very averse to the idea and starts to dislike him (3). Nakaya moves out once they get together, and it's suggested that while he gets used to Tenryuu in the end he's never entirely happy with his father's choice in a partner.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Tenchi's mother Kiyone died when he was young, and even though he's an adult by the time his father Nobuyuki gets around to marrying Rhea, who's known them since she was in high school and was Nobuyuki's assistant in his architecture office, she's effectively already been his mother for years. Their relationship is good enough that Tenchi eventually realizes that many of his memories of his mother are actually composites of Kiyone and Rhea, since Kiyone's personality was actually quite different from what he remembered. As such, Tenchi is more than happy to see them finally get married, especially because it's what Kiyone would have wanted since she and Rhea were friends.
  • In Ring Ni Kakero, Ryuuji and Kiku's mother marries a local man without telling her kids. The stepdad turns out to be alcoholic and a Domestic Abuser, so the kids end up running away to Tokyo so they can build their lives there and then bring their mom with them.
  • In the Fushigi Yuugi manga, Miaka sees her divorced mother out on a date one afternoon. Later, Miaka finds out that Mrs. Yuuki read her diary, and misinterpreted writings about Tamahome as evidence that Miaka was dating and skipping Cram School classes. Miaka denies this, and also calls her mom out for dating someone yet saying she can't even think about boys. This gets Miaka slapped in the face, and she ends up running away, thus setting the story into motion.
  • This is implied to be one of the reasons why Asuka didn't live with her father in Neon Genesis Evangelion. We see her talking on the phone to her stepmother in German (in a conversation full of Bilingual Bonuses in the English dub) and acts friendly enough, but as soon as the call's over she drops the act and it's clear that while she doesn't necessarily hate her she doesn't like her either and doesn't like to think of her as a replacement for her biological mother. Made worse by the implication that Asuka's stepmother was both the doctor that treated Asuka's maddened Missing Mom while also being the 'other woman' in the Sohryus's decaying marriage. For worse, there's a further implication that Kyoko's suicide which in reality was an attempted Murder-Suicide where she hung the doll she believed was Asuka in her madness along with herself was at least in part to spite her husband.

    Comicbooks 
  • The modern Batwoman, Katherine "Kate" Kane, lost her mother when she was 12 years old, and her father got remarried to a wealthy Gotham socialite, who awkwardly enough is also named Catherine. Kate is always very quick to point out that Catherine is her stepmother, but they seem to get along well enough (though the fact that Kate is gay is implied to be a wedge between them, and Kate does remark that she lives to see her stepmother offended when she dances with Maggie Sawyer at a charity ball).
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Will is not happy about her mother Elizabeth dating Dean Collins. Mostly because of the fact that Dean is Will's history teacher and she's Book Dumb. Aaaawkward.
    • They are currently on friendly terms. It helps that Dean has since become the father of Will's half-brother.
  • Barbara Gordon seems to have gotten along well enough with her father Jim's second wife Sarah Essen Gordon, but it's implied she always felt a bit distant from her. After Sarah dies during the Batman: No Man's Land event Barbara laments that she never got around to calling Sarah "mom" even though she respected her a great deal.

    Fan Works 
  • "Letters to an Absent Father, a mini-comic series set in the Pokémon universe has this as one of its subjects. Delia states that she's gonna start dating again, going as far as to say, "I'm lonely, Ash..." Ash responds by shouting her down (in front of his friends, no less) and storming out, leaving her in tears. In the last panel, a severely distraught Ash is writing down all the details in a letter to his father; Ash still clings to the hope that his long-lost, estranged father will someday come home.
  • The Labyrinth fanfic, The Color of Vengeance begins with Sarah being wished away by her future step-son, who wants her out of the way so his parents will get back together.

    Film 
  • In Enchanted Robert's girlfriend Nancy seems to get along with his daughter Morgan, but Giselle and her hit it off almost instantly, with Morgan even helping Giselle realize her feelings for Robert.
  • Baroness Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music. Of course, she ends up losing out to Maria.
  • The movie Mrs. Doubtfire involves Robin Williams's ex-wife dating Pierce Brosnan. Williams spends his time dressing up as a woman to see his kids and running interference in his ex-wife's relationship. Brosnan on the other hand is shown to be genuinely caring of her and all three of the children, and actively wanting to be the responsible husband/father figure they never had.
  • The American President has a scene where the widowed president asks his daughter her feelings about him seeing another woman. She is completely fine with it.
  • In American History X, the mother bringing home a Jewish Liberal teacher doesn't sit well with Derek her White Supremacist Skinhead son. Cue Family Feud
  • In the movie Freaky Friday, Anna doesn't get along with her mother's fiance, despite him being a really nice and friendly guy, which also increases the tension between her and her mother. When he shows support for her band however, Anna realizes that he really is a good guy for her mom and their family, and she only disliked him initially because she didn't want her dead dad "being replaced."
  • Juno gets along quite well with her stepmother, who in turn, supported Juno during her pregnancy, even calling out an ultrasound tech who sterotyped her daughter.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, Fanny appears to care for Sophie, generally concerned for her welfare. However, she betrays her daughter by planting one of Suliman's bugs in Howl's house under Suliman's orders, who appears to be holding her boyfriend/husband.
  • In Love Actually, Sam got along fine with his stepfather Daniel, who raised him after his mother died. And when Daniel met another woman, he had no problem with it.
  • Sleepless In Seattle has this in spades, with Jonah being horrified with the women his dad meets, to the point that he tries to sabotage their dates. Of course, he has the perfect woman in mind for his dad...
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Goofy falls in love with a college librarian, Sylvia Marpole. At first, Max is happy because she provides a distraction for Goofy, since Goofy had been bugging him due to his Empty Nest syndrome. By the end of the movie, however, he's just genuinely happy for them.
  • When Lucy in Despicable Me was first introduced to the girls, Agnes was the first one to ship her with her adopted father Gru. Later on, when Gru married Lucy, all the girls was certainly happy to have a new mother.
  • In My Girl, Vada doesn't seem bothered by her father dating the new employee Shelley, and she gets along quite well with her future stepmother — who does prove quite helpful when Vada unexpectedly gets her first period. Apparently, no one had told her about such things yet, so Shelley steps in to explain and comfort.
    • The sequel's showing of their relationship is beautiful. Shelley and Vada are close without Shelley trying to replace Vada's mother. Shelley steps in to talk to Vada's dad when she worries that Vada is going to feel neglected due to the new baby and reminds him to spend time with her, talks frankly to Vada about the changes in her body due to her pregnancy, is genuinely interested in Vada's life and in knowing about her dead mother. She is the one who encourages Vada to learn about her mom and go on a trip across the country to try and find out more about her. Their relationship is a wonderful example of somebdy being a parent without trying to replace a missing parent.

    Literature 
  • In Animorphs, Marco's father had a mental breakdown when his wife died, and sank into a deep depression, even losing his job as a computer engineer. When he starts dating again, Marco doesn't really seem to have any problems with the new paramour herself; just her evil toy poodle, the fact that she's his math teacher (that'll teach Marco not to make the school call home!), and, oh, yeah—his mom's not really dead.
    • Unfortunately for the girlfriend (now his Dad's wife!), she ends up infested by the Yeerks after Marco tells his dad everything and finally rescues his mom.
  • Dexter: Dexter puts a great deal of time and effort into gaining the trust of girlfriend Rita's children. He does succeed and they get as attached to him as they're capable of. In the second novel, Dearly Devoted Dexter, we find out that Dexter and Cody have much more in common than one would want to think, given that Cody's eight. Astor seems to share her brother's issues, but is more inclined to spectate rather than participate. Dexter decides the kids need him to train them in the Code of Harry.
  • Anne Fine's Goggle-Eyes has the Tall, Dark and Snarky Kitty Killin reminiscing about her antagonistic relationship with her mother's new boyfriend to a classmate with the same problem. The boyfriend is old enough to be her grandfather and disagrees with every political stance the family takes, but is supportive of it and is fatherly to Kitty's younger sister. Eventually, Kitty accepts him... right before her mother breaks it off.
  • The Princess Diaries has Mia's mom dating her algebra teacher, which freaks Mia out at first because while he's a nice enough guy, Mia struggles with the lesson itself. Eventually they marry and produce Mia's half-brother Rocky.
  • From Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie's father marries Fanny after the death of his first wife. However, she does treat her two stepdaughters and her own daughter fairly. But subtly, Martha points out that after their father's death, she had sent her two daughters away for her own reasons and had the eldest Sophie left with the family hat store without any pay.
  • In Half Magic by Edward Eager, the kids introduce their mother to the new paramour, and are mostly quite happy with the whole situation — except that they think it'd be strange to call him "father", so he gets declared an honorary uncle.
  • The conflict in the second half of Barry Lyndon is derived from type 3 of this trope.
  • In later books of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy's mother Sally begins dating Paul after her husband Gabe "mysteriously" disappears. Percy is fine with this for the most part (though he does call Paul "Blowfish" for some time after mishearing his last name) because Gabe was an abusive asshole to both him and Sally and Paul, in contrast, is a nice guy who makes Sally genuinely happy.
  • The titular character in Ella Enchanted isn't too happy when her father announces he's getting remarried after her mother's death. She's outright dismayed when she learns the woman he's marrying is the mother of her two worst enemies.
  • In The Changeover, right before Laura's little brother Jacko is attacked, their mother brings home her new paramour much to Laura's displeasure.
  • In Hamlet, this is one of the titular character's main sources of angst. Of course it doesn't help that the new paramour is his uncle. And technically usurped his right to the throne.
  • This happens in The Casual Vacancy to Gaia Bawden's mother, Kay, who moves both her and her daughter from London to the tiny village Pagford to be with her lover, Gavin. Gaia is not remotely happy about being uprooted from the place she grew up.
  • The House of Night: With Zoey and Rephaim it's type 3.
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles: Lucy takes to Arthur with a Type 3 rating.

    Videogames 
  • In Persona 3, Yukari Takeba is disgusted with her mother's constant search for new lovers because she thinks it dishonors the memory of her dead father. As the link progresses, Yukari learns that her mother wants to remarry, but ultimately decides to wait until Yukari is ready.
    • Persona 4 has Eri Minami, the Temperance social link, who recently married a single father and is trying to become close to her new stepson, Yuuta, but doesn't have any success. Meanwhile, Yuuta is convinced that Eri hates him because the two are so distant (what with Yuuta's father overseas at the time). It's up to the main character to help their relationship improve.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is an interesting example: Tsumihoroboshi-hen has Rina, the new girlfriend of Rena's father. It turns out that She's the lover of Satoko's Evil Uncle Teppei and plans to extort money from Rena's father, and when Rena finds out, Rina tries to kill her. Rena ends up killing her in self-defense. Then she kills Teppei. Things go downhill from there. Of course, Rena has issues with Rina even before all of the stuff above. It mostly had to do with the fact that Rena's mom cheated on her dad. She liked her mom's boyfriend before her mother told her that she was pregnant and intended to divorce her father to marry the boyfriend.
    • A more traditional version happened in Satoko's backstory. After Satoko's mom remarried after going through about three other husbands, Satoko was not happy about her new stepfather and constantly fought with him, to the point where she faked child abuse from him in an attempt to get rid of him through social services. It didn't work. This comes back to bite her in the ass in some arcs where she is abused by Teppei, to the point where social services are reluctant to act out of belief she may be lying again.
    • Umineko no Naku Koro ni follows this up with an inversion. Battler likes his step-mother, Kyrie, viewing her as a sort of Cool Big Sis. It's his father he holds a grudge against for remarrying so soon after the death of Battler's mother Asumu. In response, he went to live with his maternal grandparents for the six years leading up to the beginning of the story. And to make things more complicated? There was a child switch involved, and Asumu is not Battler's bio mom. Kyrie is his biological mother.
  • The plot of Our Two Bedroom Story is kicked off when the protagonist's mother, single since the death of her husband when the protagonist was a child, decides to remarry. The protagonist is a bit uncomfortable with the idea, but the guy seems kind and genuinely in love with her mother, so she tries to be supportive, and decides to find somewhere else to live so that the newlyweds can have some privacy after their wedding.

    Webcomics 
  • The early days of Better Days often had this as a plot element with Fisk's widowed mother Sheila trying to find someone new, including once dating her kid's principal (this ended badly, with him being psychotic and raping Sheila only to die under suspicious circumstances) and their married next-door neighbor Sam (who was also the father of Fisk's best friend, just to complicate things), who after having an affair with Sheila and being caught eventually married her years later. Fisk then had a a conversation with his mother where he told her that while it was too late for Sam to replace his father, it didn't matter, she was happy now, and that was what mattered.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Lindesfarne (Kevin's daughter) bonds rather quickly with new stepmother Kell, while Rudy (Kell's son) has more trouble accepting stepfather Kevin, but does eventually. Species issues are probably relevant - Rudy, being a canine (fox/wolf cross), has some trouble accepting a rabbit as outranking him. Lindesfarne, on the other paw, does not have the pack structure issue complicating her relationship with Kell.
  • In Roommates for added awkward two of the main cast members' parents began flirting / going out, namely James' mother with Jareth's father. Adds to the horror that this is a Mindgame Ship (The Gadfly / Magnificent Bastard), and that the family of Jareth is notoriously bad news. In the Spin-Off Girls Next Door Jareth is blessed with this trope on his mother's side too but that is more of a Guess Who I'm Marrying? situation as she got together with his rival.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of The Weekenders concerned Tino's reaction to his mother dating — first trying to sabotage it, then finding out he actually likes the guy. In a later episode his divorced dad comes by for dinner and the two of them comment on how awkward it is for him to have dinner with his ex-wife's boyfriend.
  • In Arthur, Buster's mother dated a man named Harry for a while who Buster really liked, but eventually they broke it off so she could pursue other interests. However, Buster and Harry were still shown hanging out after this.
  • Pepper Ann one-upped this by having the new squeeze of the mother actually be PA's teacher, who had a dislike for PA. It didn't last.
  • On The Simpsons Comic Book Guy and Agnes Skinner dated for a time, made all the more awkward by the fact that CBG was younger than Seymour Skinner. It didn't appear to last past that episode.
    • Similarly, Luann Van Houten dated several men before getting back together with her ex-husband Kirk, and Milhouse generally liked all of the men she brought home (one was an American Gladiator). It seems Kirk had much less luck with the women he dated, and the only one we actually saw ended up stealing his car.
    • Edna Krabappel seems to be getting along well with her new stepsons Rod and Todd Flanders. The only problem is that Edna doesn't feel comfortable with the boys calling her "new mom", while they don't feel comfortable with calling her "Edna" (which is what Edna would prefer, but Rod and Todd have been raised to think it's rude to call adults by their first name).
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, the Professor's new paramour eventually turns out to be the villain Sedusa, but the girls were very suspicious of her from the start, for completely petty reasons.
    • Stopping them from fighting crime and then making them clean the house (and destroying it afterwards and force them to clean it again) is petty?
  • Unusually amicable instance in The Aristocats - the kittens bond with O'Malley faster than Duchess does, and are very much in favor of him as their dad.
  • An episode of Duckman featured this trope; Duckman brings his new girlfriend home to meet his family, wondering if they'll accept her. His teenage son Ajax cries "Mommy!", leaps into the woman's lap and starts sucking his thumb.
  • Metalocalypse plays with this trope in the episode "FatherKlok", where Skwisgaar's search for his own biological father is interrupted by his mother introducing his new stepfather to him. Complete with a "You amn'ts my f**kings dad!" from Skwisgaar. However, by the end of the episode, the two of them get along rather well. Too bad this is Metalocalypse we're talking about...
  • Stan from American Dad! has a creepy relationship with his mom, because he remembers how heartbroken she was when his dad walked out on them and fears any actual romantic interest would do the same. It turns out he's gone as far as kidnapping each of them, but comes around after Francine stops him from ruining her Third Date Marriage.
  • Family Guy had an episode where Peter's mother started dating local reporter Tom Tucker. Initially Peter is upset and tries to patch things up between his mother and father, but after a little while he warms up to Tucker and they get along very well - only for things to get complicated when Peter's mother dumps him.
  • Darkwing Duck's Happily Adopted daughter, Gosalyn, really likes his reformed criminal girlfriend Morgana. There is even an episode where, after Darkwing and Morgana have a fight, she tries to patch up their relationship with a Love Potion. Hilarity Ensues.
  • This was never a problem in Phineas and Ferb where Phineas and Candace get along well with Ferb's father and likewise with Ferb and Phineas's mom.
  • When Vergil's dad started dating again in Static Shock it turned out that Vergil already knew her-she was the cop he ran from when she tried to search his backpack (which contained his superhero costume). Awkward.
  • In The Movie to Rocket Power, Raymundo meets a woman named Breezy on a trip to Hawaii and quickly gets involved with her. Otto likes her almost as much as Raymundo does. But Reggie resents her because she feels like Breezy is replacing their late mother.
  • Even a hint of Malory having a sexual relationship hits Archer's Berserk Button (and Malory is FAR from celibate) so this comes up a lot. It's especially amusing with Burt Reynolds since Archer is torn between his love of Reynolds and his somewhat creepy obsession with keeping his mom single.
    • Happens again in "Fugue and Riffs" when when we find out the trauma that caused Archer's Laser-Guided Amnesia: his mom getting married.
  • In the Disney episodes of Doug, Patti's father began dating the school English teacher, Ms. Krystal. Patti was not initially thrilled, partly because it interfered with the bond she had with her dad, and because she still missed her mother. She eventually warmed up to the idea, and Patti's father and Ms. Krystal got married in the series finale.
  • Though we don't know much of Papa Smurf's past, his dating Flowerbell the woodnymph in The Smurfs episode "Papa's Wedding Day" does become a matter of contention with his little Smurfs, up until they discover that Flowerbell was just tricking Papa Smurf into marrying her so that her captor Lord Balthazar could capture Papa Smurf in exchange for her freedom.


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