And we think it’s only contemporary families that are confusing! Having your mother marry your uncle is very very tricky familial relations–wise. It’s trickier even than the daughters and sons of marriages before and after and all mixed up. What to call all of these pairings can be terribly complicated.
My mother was partnered with someone for many years. He lived in my house (or, more accurately, I lived in his) and he sometimes turned up for important life events. But because he had not married my mother, I had the strange problem of knowing what to do call him. Well, I knew what to call him – it was his name that I called him by. What I didn’t know was what title to give him. He wasn’t my stepfather, cause of that whole marriage thing, but it was little bit off to simply call him my mother’s boyfriend. We settled on pseudo-stepfather. It gave him the authority of a step-father but undercut it too and it seemed to suit everyone involved.
Those that I said this to were often baffled by it. As I imagine Rosencrantz and Guildenstern might be by uncle-fathers and aunt-mother.