Se­nior Care

Give your re­la­tion­ship a tune-up by as­sess­ing strengths, let­ting go of dis­ap­point­ments, and do­ing things to­gether.

Health & Nutrition - - NEWS -

Reignite your old love

Stay­ing to­gether as a cou­ple is chal­leng­ing at any age, but it ap­pears to be get­ting more dif­fi­cult for older adults. Di­vorces among adults have dou­bled, and that in­cludes plenty of peo­ple aged 65 and older. What’s the cat­a­lyst for all the un­cou­pling? Peo­ple are liv­ing longer and health­ier, and they have the ex­pec­ta­tion that they have a lot of good life left. They want to en­joy their time, and if that isn’t hap­pen­ing with their spouse, they may de­cide it’s time to move on. You’ll have a bet­ter chance of stay­ing to­gether, no mat­ter what your age, if you work at keep­ing your re­la­tion­ship healthy. It’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant in our older years, which bring changes such as an empty nest, re­tire­ment, or chronic dis­ease. It re­quires re­cal­i­bra­tion, thought and dis­cus­sion about how to move into the next phase of life. The fol­low­ing tips may help.

Take In­ven­tory

First iden­tify your strengths and weak­nesses as a cou­ple. Your strengths are worth not­ing be­cause they’ll help re­in­force your foun­da­tion and give you the con­fi­dence to ad­dress weak­nesses. Do you have trou­ble com­mu­ni­cat­ing? Maybe your com­pro­mis­ing skills need work. Talk about ways to ad­dress weak­nesses. If you aren’t com­fort­able mak­ing im­prove­ments on your own, con­sider talk­ing to a ther­a­pist for guid­ance.

Let Go Of Old Is­sues

You may be dis­ap­pointed by what has or hasn’t hap­pened in your mar­riage. But it’s time to stop hold­ing on to those ideas. More hap­pi­ness will come from ac­cept­ing re­al­ity than by hav­ing un­re­al­is­tic fan­tasies about what should hap­pen. Once you let go of dis­ap­point­ments, fo­cus on what you want and whether there’s a prac­ti­cal way to get it. Like­wise, let go of old ar­gu­ments. A lot of fights in our mar­riages are ego-driven. We feel the need to be right and val­ued for our opin­ion. But you get to a cer­tain age and re­al­ize some fights aren’t worth hav­ing any­more. Ul­ti­mately, there’s more value in let­ting go of your dif­fer­ences. In­stead, fo­cus on your needs and de­velop

prac­ti­cal ap­proaches to get­ting needs met.

Stay Ac­tive

You need to en­joy be­ing to­gether, so find things you en­joy do­ing to­gether. That may be walk­ing, gar­den­ing, sail­ing, join­ing a book club, or ex­plor­ing new mu­se­ums and restau­rants. It’s also okay to pur­sue some ac­tiv­i­ties sep­a­rately, as long as you sup­port each other’s in­ter­ests. Maybe he loves golf and she loves books. When you en­cour­age each other to pur­sue in­ter­ests, it may be eas­ier to en­joy com­mon pur­suits, with­out re­sent­ment.

Stay So­cial

Your re­la­tion­ship doesn’t have to fill ev­ery need. That’s im­pos­si­ble. Spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends; get­ting in­volved in com­mu­nity groups, churches, or syn­a­gogues; or get­ting ac­tive in so­cial is­sues that you both care about, can ad­dress that. Vol­un­teer at a food bank or a hos­pi­tal. The cou­ples who do best are the ones who have hob­bies and in­ter­ests and friend­ships and fam­i­lies. Make all of those part of your re­la­tion­ship. In dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, lean on fam­ily for help, re­mem­ber to make time for your­self, and find hap­pi­ness to­gether in the sim­ple things. It may not be fancy, but you may still be able to en­joy pleas­ant and mean­ing­ful times to­gether.

You need to en­joy be­ing to­gether, so find things you en­joy do­ing to­gether. That may be walk­ing, gar­den­ing, sail­ing, join­ing a book club, or ex­plor­ing new mu­se­ums and restau­rants.

A lot of fights in our mar­riages are ego-driven. We feel the need to be right and val­ued for our opin­ion. But you get to a cer­tain age and re­al­ize some fights aren’t worth hav­ing any­more. Ul­ti­mately, there’s more value in let­ting go of your dif­fer­ences.

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