Link to letter: Ask Amy letter from "Sad Dad"
I think I might be in the minority (based on comments I saw on another forum carrying that letter), but contrary to what this guy says (he's upset that his second wife "doesn't take an interest in his kids"), I don't believe that his kids are "part of the [marriage] package."
If it means that much to you that Wife 2 "takes an interest" in your kids, you should have brought that up before marriage.
He even says, "Even though I saw signs [before they married] that she was not into my children, I thought this [her lack of interest in his kids] would change." He says he told Wife 2 if her attitude does not change, he will divorce her.
I don't see why a second spouse has to "take an interest" in the spouse's kids from the first wife/ husband.
He insists in the letter he does not want or expect Wife 2 to "Play second mother" to his kids, but then, what else does he mean by "take an interest in them?"
I'm betting (though he seems to deny it in the letter) that he expects Wife #2 to do Mom-like things for his kids by Wife 1, such as ask them how their day was after school, drive them to soccer practice, bake cookies for them, etc.
The advice columnist told "Sad Dad" that of course he should expect Wife 2 to "form a relationship" with his kids: "Of course this includes acknowledging and forming a relationship with your children." She went on to say if that does not happen, he can or should consult an attorney and make plans to leave her.
If he does so, if he leaves her, he will likely be alone as he gets older. When his kids move out one day, they will not come to visit him or phone him. He will be without a life companion/ partner as he ages, so in my view, he should think long and hard about dumping a partner for wanting a "hands on" mommy type.
My view is that so long as Wife 2 is not abusing her step children and is not neglectful in emergencies (such as does not fail to dial 911 if one of the kids swallows poison, or something of that nature), she is well within her rights to act as though they are no consequence to her.
He also complains about other issues (not having to do with his kids in the letter, like over who paid for a house and a car) which makes me think there may be more going on than the kids, but maybe he's using the kids as an excuse.
I'm not positive, but I think the advice columnist who replied to Sad Dad, Amy, was divorced with a kid or two when she got remarried in her late 40s or early 50s, so it would kind of figure if she thinks a second spouse should be all peachy keen with kids from a first marriage.