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 building a family has become less of a driving force, and instead it’s become more about simply sharing time with someone, it matters a lot less whether we are equally good looking, of the same higher education level, or 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 have come to understand that it is not realistic to expect two lives to merge effortlessly and result in one perfectly blended family situation.

Most parents that re-enter the dating scene after a separation or divorce, will experience a rude awakening as to what options are out there.  Some people, unfortunately, do not age well, and a lot may be still be recovering financially and/or emotionally from losses suffered in a divorce.  These experiences do re-shape our thinking and impact our ability to trust.  It’s also highly unlikely that someone else will ever love your children as his/her own.  Having the expectation is simply unrealistic.  Using myself as an example, I know that 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.

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.