I'm a recent listener of just a few months, but I've picked up a great deal of wisdom from listening to you already. I'm 45 years old, in a second marriage (it's my first, but my husband's second). He has two kids. We've been married for 14 years, and I believe we'll survive the sad statistic of the 70% who have failed in second marriages. However, I am in full agreement with your warning about second marriages, and your message to focus on your own kids until they're 18 and out. My husband's kids were 4 and 8 when we first met; his wife was an alcoholic and neglected them.
When we married, I'd always insist the discipline was his to do, but I provided the best parental love and attention I could give. Their mother eventually got help and came back into the picture. I stepped back, because it was tumultuous trying to be there for them without invoking loyalty issues over their mom. I made the decision not to bring a baby into this situation, since it would be unfair to any child we would create.
Thank you for your reminders that stepparents have no rights, no say, and no power because no good comes from having an opinion in this situation. It doesn't matter. I love my husband (a good man and provider), but even he had to accept that we could not be the family he'd hoped for. The kids are in college now, but if I were to go back and talk to a younger me, I'd tell her that she had no idea what she was getting into, and to walk away to find a man without kids and a hateful ex-wife.
Remember, all of you can send me "letters" too - by email! Just sign into (or sign up for) the Dr. Laura Family - it's free - and tell us of your experiences.