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Parent with New Paramour

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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. For extra angst, the new spouse might be the reason the first marriage broke up due to infidelity, which puts extra strain on the chances of the two coming to an understanding. The child might even try to get rid of the person by sabotaging the relationship. 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. And any plot with Blended Family Drama will rely on 2 or 3. Marry the Nanny generally falls under 1, since she usually already has the children's love and trust by the time she strikes up a romance with the parent. The Good Stepmother usually falls under 1 or 2; either the kids will instantly love and accept her, or they're initially unsure until she wins them over. Contrast Dating What Daddy Hates, where it's the child's significant other at issue.

May overlap with Teacher/Parent Romance. Compare Unbalanced By Rival's Kid.


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    Comic Books 
  • 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 Susan 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.
  • Batgirl: 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.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake's recently widowed father starts dating his physical therapist, Dana Winters, and eventually marries her. Tim doesn't have a problem with it as she is much more reasonable than his father and acts as a voice of reason in the house.
  • Batman: Damian Wayne hasn't spent too much time with his dad's Love Interest, Catwoman, but at one point he called her a tramp to her face. They get along better after bonding over their love for animals and being morally grey while in league with a bunch of goody two-shoes.
  • A plot point in the first half of Titans had Arsenal dating Troia and struggling with his lingering feelings for Cheshire, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter Lian. Lian was actually growing rather close to Troia instead of resenting her, since Lian knew why her mom wasn't in the picture (Cheshire's an assassin for hire and wanted for nuking the country of Qurac). Eventually, Troia and Arsenal decided to remain friends because of the problems going on between them due to Arsenal's hang ups. An Aborted Arc during the second half would've shown Arsenal dating government agent Dakota Jamison and Lian being unhappy about it because she'd already bonded with Troia.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): In an issue where Diana accidentally ended up back in time fighting alongside her mother against Nazis during WWII, her mother brought up what a great companion Wildcat was for her, and then offered to go into more detail for a frazzled Diana who was not expecting her mother to be romancing anyone at the time.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Knuckles is told over dinner that his mother, Lara-Le, intends to marry Wynmacher. He doesn't take the news particularly well and runs off, though this is more out of shock, as he holds no ill-will towards Wynmacher.

    Comic Strips 
  • An arc in Bloom County sees Binkley's dad start dating again after divorcing his wife. It ends up playing out like an age-inverted parody of the typical Boyfriend-Blocking Dad plot — Binkley is initially okay with his dad dating and gives him some money and the car keys, but ends up appalled by the punk girl he brings home.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: "What if Peter and Naomi got married?" is about Marco's father and Rachel's mother getting together. They both complain about this to Jake, who thinks it's the funniest thing that's ever happened in his life.
  • Letters to an Absent Father, a mini-comic series set in the Pokémon: The Series 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.
  • In Child of the Storm, Harry and Jane are, at first, rather awkward (because he's only a little less than half her age), but civil. After a clearing the air talk and a figuring out of where they stand, they're much closer - Jane treats him much like she treats her younger half brother and Harry is a quiet, but definite Shipper on Deck for Thor/Jane, referring to Jane as being something like a young Cool Aunt to him.
  • In Teach Me, Olaf's reaction that his mom is dating his teacher goes surprisingly well all things considered (way #1).
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Air Witch Irena Politek is one of the last single women in her peer group of Witches. As her closest friends not only marry but have children, Irena reflects that she's thirty-five and a spinster. On a trip to one of the remoter corners of Far Überwald, a tack malfunction on her Pegasus forces her to make an emergency landing to seek repairs. Her Wingman, who is a local girl, directs her to the metalworker, blacksmith and general craftsman, Vitali. Irena discovers more than just somebody who can repair her girth strap: he is a widower with two daughters. Who are old enough to treat the prospect of a stepmother with some suspicion and alarm and behave as you might expect. Irena, on the other hand, ruefully reconsiders that as a Witch, she should have been more specific when she wished for children.
  • In Like Fire and Water (an alternate TL set in the Ba Sing Se arc of A:tLA) we see multiple variants of #2 from Katara,note  Zukonote  and Sokkanote  Azula's long-term response is unknown, but her not incinerating Hakoda yet is seen as a good sign.
  • Damian has a type 2 reaction to Batman's Old Flame Catwoman dropping back into his life in the first book of the Dusk to Dawn series. While he neither trusts nor likes Selina, it's not a woman other than his mother coming into Bruce's life he has a problem with, but any woman period. Damian emotionally depends on seeing Batman as infallible, and Selina's presence softens his father up and breaks the pedestal. Dick calls him out for being selfish and tells him he should help stop the dehumanizing Bruce does to himself rather than add to it. The kid takes this to heart and accepts Selina. In later books, they have a friendlier relationship and she eventually becomes his Good Stepmother.
  • A Fandom-Specific Plot in Knights Ofthe Old Republic fanfics with a female Player Character and Carth. Carth has a teenaged son from his first marriage. Already, we have an awkward situation with this trope in play. It only gets worse. Dustil is in the "I hate everything" stage, and is training as a Sith. So add a lightsaber and Force powers to an already temperamental teenager. NOW add that the Player Character used to rule the Sith, and is indirectly responsible for the death of Carth's wife and Dustil's mom. Veers almost into Guess Who I'm Marrying? territory. Depending on when the writer is setting the story, Carth may or may not know this. Dustil certainly never finds out "on panel."
  • The New Girl, an A Song of Ice and Fire Modern AU Fic, focuses on Shireen's reaction to her father's relationship with Sansa. She admits that Sansa isn't bad herself, it's just that Shireen doesn't like her constantly "intruding". For extra tension, there is the fact that Sansa is very young (thanks to an Age Lift from canon, she is nine years older than Shireen rather than three, but it still is a source of major squick for Shireen).
  • For the Glory of Irk: A few years before the story started, Professor Membrane hooked up with a colleague named Moira. While Gaz doesn't appear to have had a problem with this, Dib takes a long time to warm up to her, mostly because her self-admitted moral ambiguity leaves him believing that she's evil. He does eventually get over this, however, even slipping up and calling her "mom" on a few occasions.
  • Showdown: No Holding Back: Rachel's mother is dead and her father has a girlfriend who Rachel doesn't dislike but is kind of indifferent about. She still encourages them to get together after being reaped so her dad won't be alone if she dies.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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 2 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 were certainly happy to have a new mother.
  • 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.
  • For most of the Rugrats series, Chuckie's father, Charles Finster Sr., is a single dad due to the death of his first wife (Chuckie's mother) Melinda. In Rugrats in Paris, however, Charles meets, falls in love with, and marries Kira Watanabe, who in turn is a divorcée with an infant daughter named Kimi.
  • In Onward, Colt Bronco began dating Ian and Barley's mother Laurel some time after their father died, and while they show some annoyance at him they seem to get along and his love for Laurel is obvious. By the end their relationship seems to have improved.
  • In Over the Moon, the conflict begins when Fei Fei's father introduces her to Mrs Zhong, her soon-to-be stepmother. She is shown to be nothing but kind and patient with Fei Fei and genuinely tries to connect with her, though Fei Fei wants nothing to do with her as she feels Mrs Zhong's very presence is tarnishing her late mother's memory.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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' 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 Freaky Friday (2003), Anna doesn't get along with her mother's fiancé, 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."
  • The Innocent (2022): Abel disapproves of his mother Sylvie's new marriage to Michel, since he's not the first ex-con she's fallen in love with, and tries to sabotage the relationship by proving he's a criminal.
  • Juno: 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.
  • Legally Blonde takes 3 to its logical conclusion, with Chutney killing her father thinking he was Brook.
  • Louisa: Played straight, except for the fact that the mother and son involved are 20-30 years older than characters usually are with this trope. Hal, a Standard '50s Father (played by Ronald Reagan) gets very upset when his mother Louisa, a widow in her seventies, starts up a December–December Romance. He even tries to forbid his mom from seeing her new boyfriend, Henry the elderly grocer.
  • 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 My Girl, Vada's mother went the Death by Childbirth way. She 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, since 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 somebody being a parent without trying to replace a missing parent.
  • Mamas Boy 2007 with Jon Heder's character's mom, played by Diane Keaton dating Jeff Daniels.
  • Combined with May–December Romance in Middle of the Night, where 56-year-old Jerry gets engaged to 24-year-old Betty, much to the displeasure of his daughter Lillian, who's actually a year older than Betty. Eventually she comes around, smiling as she says Betty's a nice girl but her father is "an old lech."
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has the romance between single father Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious. Caractacus's kids Jemima and Jeremy are eager for them to get together.
  • In Fly Away, Jeanne's new boyfriend Tom is a type 1 - he quickly becomes fond of her autistic daughter Mandy because of her enthusiasm, and Mandy likes him too.
  • Pitch Perfect: Beca's mom never appears in the movie, but it is stated she divorced her father. Her Dad has a new wife, who Beca calls her "step monster".
  • In My Science Project, Michael's dad impulsively marries Dolores, a cosmetics saleswoman he barely knows who uses her company's products to redecorate the apartment, to Michael's displeasure.
  • In Jimmie (2008), Kathy starts dating Jimmie's swimming coach Jan, to the annoyance of her ex-husband Michael, who is willing to babysit Jimmie while she works on her translation but doesn't appreciate doing it so she can have a night out.
  • In The Big Cube, Adriana tries to be friendly towards her teenage stepdaughter Lisa, but Lisa dislikes her instantly, feeling that she stole her father away from her. The situation worsens when Lisa's father dies in a boating accident and Lisa blames Adriana, and then when Adriana refuses to give her approval for Lisa to marry her sketchy boyfriend.
  • Steam:
    • Laurie dates her son's coach. It doesn't appear he even knows, so we don't get his reaction.
    • August begins a relationship with Doris that outrages his son William, who feels its disrespecting his late mother, falsely claiming Doris is a gold digger as August's very successful as a lawyer.
  • John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch: The segment "Grandma's Boyfriend Paul" features the narrator singing about his grandmother's new boyfriend. While he thinks Paul is pretty cool, his mother and aunts don't like him and berate Grandma for dating him.


    Video Games 
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, Hinoka was the slowest of her siblings to warm up to her stepmother and later Parental Substitute, Mikoto, after her birth mother Ikona died and her father Sumeragi married Mikoto, who was likely a concubine prior to becoming his legal wife. Initially, Hinoka was very cruel and defiant towards Mikoto, though over the years she warmed up to her and regrets her actions by the present time of the story.
  • Half-Life 2: Implied between Eli Vance, his daughter Alyx Vance and his co-worker Judith Mossman. Eli and Judith may be more than friends, and Alyx does not get on with Judith. Ends with No Romantic Resolution with Eli's sudden death at the end of Episode 2.
  • Life Is Strange: Before the Storm opens some time after Chloe Price's mother Joyce has started dating David Madsen, and Chloe does not like him any more than she does in the original game, even if David and (optionally) Chloe are trying to make things work. Her disposition towards him does not improve at the start of "Brave New World", when David announces that he is moving in, though David can make a peace offering in "Hell is Empty" that may help Chloe take David proposing to Joyce in the ending somewhat better. Slightly.
  • In Love & Pies, Kate is happy to see her single mother Amelia fall in love with Joe and sometimes teases them about it.
  • 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.
  • In Sticky Business, Marc starts dating Pedro after the former lost his wife one year ago, but he's nervous about telling his son David because he fears that the latter might think Pedro will "replace" his mother. However, David turns out to be supportive of their relationship, and even buys Marc your Pride stickers to support them.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch has the type 3 variant. Gus is not fond of his father remarrying after divorcing Kay, to the point of refusing to attend their wedding.
  • The subject of one of Colony 9's sidequests in Xenoblade Chronicles 1. The mother's kids don't like the new paramour very much, and depending on your choices you can either help the couple get together or have the mother reconcile with her children but keep the suitor in an ambiguous Just Friends relationship.

    Visual Novels 
  • Happens in any ending of Daughter for Dessert with Kathy, Heidi, or Lily. After getting out of jail, the protagonist announces his new relationship to all the diner staff. How Amanda reacts depends on whether he decided before to continue their own relationship. If he did, Amanda is hurt and angry, but if not, she is understanding and accepting of her father's new girlfriend.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry :
    • There 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.
  • The sister-series to Higurashi, Umineko: When They Cry 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 Rudolf 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.

  • Alice (1999): This is a common thing with Alice. She absolutely hates Joan, who her father is dating and uses her as a go-to villain in her fantasies. However, Joan is actually quite nice to her and is genuinely trying to bond with her. It turns out that the reason Alice dislikes her so much is because of a Freudian Excuse. Alice's mother is never there, her first parental substitute, Miranda, died in a car accident. Alice blurts out during a camping trip that she doesn't need another mother to abandon her.
  • 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.
  • Marten in Questionable Content is very happy when his father Henry announces that he's getting remarried to his boyfriend Maurice, and Marten is thrilled to have two dads now and calls Maurice "Dad Two, Dad Harder". A good bit of it is that his mother Veronica approves of Maurice, and her marriage to Henry ended because he realized he was gay and the two still have a strong relationship.
    • When Veronica starts dating Jim from The Secret Bakery, Marten's just as stoked for three dads.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • One story on Not Always Right has a man call an online store to complain that they hacked his email and canceled his order from them, a gift for his girlfriend. After investigation, his daughter had canceled the order because she doesn't like the girlfriend.
  • Nightmare Time: "Jane's a Car" begins about a year and a half after the death of Tom's wife Jane, as he starts seeing his high school girlfriend Becky again. His son, Tim, likes Becky a lot and they get along well, and he even outright tells his dad he's okay with them dating since it's nice to see him happy. Unfortunately for Tom, Jane's Not Quite Dead... and not happy to hear he's moved on with his life.