How do we stay together in midlife?
In your 40s and 50s, as in any stage of life, certain aspects of a relationship tend to become particularly important. For many couples when they reach midlife they have been together for a long time (20-30 years) and it can be a challenge to stay together as people change throughout the life cycle. If you are motivated to stay together here are some essential components to a relationship (at any age!) which can keep the connection alive between the two of you and contribute to a fulfilling relationship:
Communication and emotional intimacy: Effective communication becomes even more critical as you navigate the complexities of life together. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly and honestly helps maintain emotional intimacy and a deep connection.
Mutual respect and support: Respect for each other’s opinions, choices, and individuality is vital. Supporting each other’s goals, aspirations, and personal growth allows for a sense of encouragement and collaboration within the relationship. People change and their needs, wants and desires change over time to so it’s important to be non-judgemental as your partner shares new ways of thinking or suggests new ideas about how the two of you can spend your time. Honest negotiation and discussion are helpful tools to help you support each other.
Shared values and interests: Having shared values and interests can foster a sense of togetherness and provide a foundation for shared experiences and meaningful conversations. It’s important to find common ground and engage in activities that you both enjoy.
Adaptability and flexibility: Life in your 50s often brings various changes, such as career transitions, children leaving the nest, or physical health adjustments. Being adaptable and flexible, both individually and as a couple, helps navigate these transitions and maintain a sense of stability.
Physical and emotional well-being: Taking care of your physical and emotional health becomes increasingly important in your 50s. Supporting each other’s well-being, encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, and prioritising self-care can contribute to a strong and vibrant relationship. It can be so much easier sometimes from a motivation and support perspective to work together towards shared goals whether that be related to fitness, a change in the food you eat or even taking a morning or evening walk together.
Maintaining a vibrant and fulfilling intimate life: Sexual intimacy continues to be an essential part of many relationships in their 50s. It’s important to communicate openly about desires and preferences, adapt to changes that may occur with age, and explore ways to keep the intimate connection alive and fulfilling. Midlife brings challenges very often centred around hormonal fluctuations. Again, negotiation and open discussions are going to go a long way towards keeping you connected.
Financial compatibility: Managing finances becomes crucial as retirement planning and long-term financial stability become significant considerations. It’s essential to have open discussions about financial goals, budgeting, and any concerns or expectations related to money.
Shared responsibilities: In your 50s, you may have more free time, but also increased responsibilities such as caring for ageing parents or grandchildren. Sharing these responsibilities and finding a balance that works for both partners is essential for a harmonious relationship.
Maintaining individuality and personal space: While being a couple, it’s also important to maintain a sense of individuality. Allowing each other personal space, pursuing individual interests, and respecting boundaries can enhance the relationship by promoting self-expression and personal growth. If your partner feels they are thriving and are excited by new aspects in their life, then this could boost the relationship for both of you.
Emotional resilience and acceptance: Life experiences may have brought both joys and challenges by the time you reach your 50s. Developing emotional resilience and accepting each other’s pasts, including any past relationships or family dynamics, is important for building a solid foundation of trust and understanding.
What I’ve mentioned here are general considerations and each relationship is unique and comes with its own complexities. It’s essential to keep the channels of communication open between the two of you as you determine what specific aspects are most important to both of you as you navigate this stage of life together.
If you would like help with your individual midlife transition or how the two of you as a couple find direction together in the second half of life, why not read The Midlife Crisis Handbook or attend a course at The Midlife Academy.