Marriage hesitation

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Q: After many years of being alone after my husband passed, I am considering marrying a wonderful man who I met through a mutual friend.

Although he is a very trustworthy and lovely man, he is a recovering alcoholic of 22 years. He made many mistakes in his youth but has worked on them for a long time.

I have a modest estate, which isn’t too much, but I would like to preserve it for my children from my first marriage.

Because of my potential husband’s past issues with addiction, I am concerned that a future relapse could jeopardize my children’s inheritance.

An idea I’ve talked over with an attorney is to create a prenuptial agreement, which would list a return to drinking as immediate grounds for divorce. Although I think signing a contract would protect my children’s interests, I don’t know if asking him would endanger our relationship. What do you think is the best solution?

A: Ask yourself what your definition of marriage is. Although we tend to think that we all have the same definition of common cultural institutions, different people often have vastly different ideas.

Once you know what you’re looking for in a marriage, you can find out if your needs match those of your partner.

He may be very understanding and accommodating of your needs if he understands where you’re coming from and how important your children are to you. If he is on a different page, a legal discussion may break your relationship.

Many senior couples can be just as happy in a committed relationship without marrying. What is your motivation for taking the next step?

Ultimately, opening yourself up to a new relationship means opening yourself up to some risk. Entering into a legal contract like marriage solidifies these potential vulnerabilities.

Trust is essential in all committed relationships. If you don’t trust your future partner, you may be setting yourself up for failure (even if he never does anything to damage your trust). While there are ways to protect yourself from some foreseeable risks, there’s always the possibility of things not going as you expect. It’s up to you to decide whether the relationship is worth it. – Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact them at deardoug@msn.com.

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