As internet dating has taken off and our society has become more fluid, there is now more than ever an increased probability that you might pair up with someone that is not part of your world. I see this with many of my prenup clients– young adults that meet in college or graduate school, yet one comes from a very affluent family while the other is saddled with significant student loans. Or maybe their income and assets are not that disparate, but they come from completely different cultural or religious backgrounds. Of course it is precisely their diverse backgrounds that attract them, but to me it is clear that now more than ever, their ability to compromise is going to be key.
Young couples planning to have children really need to get on the same page about the values they want to instill in their kids– before they come into this world. Older couples will seriously have to consider how their past choices (including significant financial obligations made to other spouses or children from previous relationships) will impact the life they envision creating together.
The more different you are from your potential partner, the more you need to question whether it is likely that you can create a bridge between two different worlds. Remember, for some, change is very scary, and so I think after the first few months of fun are over, you need to consider whether you can envision making some changes in your life to be with that other person. Can you see yourself actually working together to build a bridge that connects the gaps in your lives? If you can’t, it is not a reflection of how little you care about the other, it is simply an indication that you are stepping way beyond your comfort zone.
The older we get, the more cemented we get in our ways, and although I’ve been trying to chisel away at some of that cement lately, I accept that for many who were not exposed to a million different view points, moves, and changes early on in life, their capacity for flexibility is now much more limited.
Bridging two worlds is really hard work, especially in our later years, and it requires having an open mind and heart. Know your limitations and be honest, that’s the best advice I can give to those in today’s dating world.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.