Thursday, May 10, 2012

Keep an Open Mind- Things Will Change Over Time

It's funny how some things that may have seemed so important years ago, no longer matter now. Before, when I was still open to the idea of having more kids, it mattered whether a potential partner shared this desire, and as a result, it was also important to me whether we had similar religious views. As the years have gone by, my views on these subjects have drastically changed, and now it matters far less whether someone else shares my religious or political views; meanwhile, if I were to meet someone who wants to have kids of his own, that has become an instant dealbreaker for me.

As the notion of finding a partner to share time with me has taken more of a priority, it matters less whether we are part of the same world. I have come to accept that my ultimate partner may not share the same interests, friends, or musical tastes, and instead I care more about whether I just enjoy his company when we are together. I think that the notion of merging two lives and having one perfectly blended family situation is unrealistic for a lot of people contemplating a new relationship later in life.

Some of the expectations people have for their partners as step-parents is just out of this world, in my humble opinion. I have heard people say that they want their new partner to love their step children as if they were his/her own. How is that possible? I only have one son that I created by choice-- he shares my DNA, and I would die for that child because he is my own flesh and blood. I will never feel that for anyone else, it truly is that simple. I also would never expect anyone to help financially with his care, and I would not imagine that anyone should expect that from me. Now FAFSA might require step parents to disclose their financial information when taking into account a child's application for financial aid, but thanks to clearly worded prenups, we can make it very clear that they should not.

We all have different criteria for what we need from our partners, and I don't think anyone else can really judge the things we choose to make priorities. Ultimately, I just want to throw out there that dating later in life will be much harder already because we all come into these new relationships with baggage. To maximize your chances of finding someone with compatible baggage, it helps to have an open mind and realize that over time some of those "must haves" might morph into "would be nice" or "a bonus, but not necessary."

When you get older, it is less about creating a life together, and more just about just enjoying life together. Once you have established your career and know who you are, you have your own kids and don't want more, it is actually quite liberating-- you are not looking for somebody to complete you, you are just looking for someone to love you. Having an open mind will maximize your chances of finding that person that much sooner.

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