No matter what age you are, relationships can be difficult. And there’s no doubt a successful relationship — like most rewarding things in life — only comes with hard work and dedication. But if you’re enjoying a second, or maybe even third big romance of your life, what makes a healthy relationship? And what can you do to make sure this relationship is as strong as possible?
Below we’ve compiled some of the best relationship advice for over 50s that will give you tips on things to be aware of, areas you can improve on and general pointers for relationship health that’ll keep your partnership as love-filled as possible.
While the advice in this article is applicable to everyone, experience tells us men and women often handle challenges differently. For example, many men find it harder to vocalize feelings and concerns, while women have a tendency to self-sacrifice in relationships. To better tailor the tips in this article we’ve split it into two sections on relationship advice for men and relationship advice for women.
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Relationship Advice for Men
Express Gratitude Daily
No one wants to feel as though they’re being taken for granted and even if you believe your partner knows you’re grateful for all they do, why not take the time to express it out loud or through actions as well. After all, being thanked is something that everyone appreciates, whether it’s by a boss, friend or romantic partner.
Simple Ways to Show Gratitude to a Partner:
• Give thanks and compliments frequently
• Give them a reprieve from the more taxing tasks
• Don’t take them and their contribution for granted
• If the balance of responsibilities is uneven, take some off their hands
Vocalize Your Issues and Concerns
It can be genuinely scary to let your guard down and bear your innermost feelings to others. However, being honest with your partner about how you’re feeling and what worries you about your relationship is the only way a problem will be properly addressed.
If being open about feelings is something you’ve had trouble with in the past, try a different tact. Take some time alone to collect your thoughts — you could even try writing it all down, it can be a great way to organize and process your thoughts. Think about how you’d like to approach the conversation with your partner and what the ideal outcome is.
Maintain Respect Even in Times of Anger
Fights and disagreements are all part of a relationship but what’s most important to a good relationship is how you fight, not what you fight about. No matter how big or small an issue may be, if you resort to name-calling or insults, your partner will be made to feel insignificant and belittled — hardly the ideal when you’re trying to build a relationship made of two equals.
Instead, try reframing how you approach disagreements, rather than it being you versus your partner, think about it as you and your partner versus the problem.
Relationship Advice for Women
Put Your Feelings First
It often falls to women to be the carer and peacekeeper across many aspects of life, including work and at home. However, in a relationship, it’s important to put your own emotions and feelings ahead of your partner’s. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be considerate to your partner but more that you’ll find it much easier to be attentive and present when you’re happy and healthy within yourself.
If you find yourself offering to take on tasks or responsibilities for your partner because you feel you should, rather than because you want to, try to pull back. By not putting yourself in a position where you’re constantly depleting your own emotional reserves you’ll be more present and able to enjoy your relationship to the fullest.
Take Time for Yourself
Yes, we often refer to our partners as our “other half” but sometimes we need reminding that we’re a whole person outside of them as well! It can be all too easy to settle into a routine where you and your partner rely solely on each other for interaction and fulfillment, however, it’s far healthier to maintain friends and interests outside of your relationship as well.
It might seem like anti-relationship advice to advise catching up with friends, or enjoying your favorite hobby, however, it means you won’t be relying on your relationship to give you all the emotional fulfillment you need, which reduces the pressure. By the same token, encourage your partner to spend time with his friends or on a project he enjoys as well. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Relationships are all about give and take and while you shouldn’t have to compromise yourself, take the time to consider if you could compromise on issues that aren’t a relationship make or break. Smoothing over minor issues helps your relationship sails a smoother course and means you’ll both be better equipped to tackle the bigger challenges.
If you find compromise hard and know you can be stubborn, take the time to pause during a disagreement and ask yourself if the issue is of long-term significance. Of course, it shouldn’t always be one partner compromising for the other but assess what a compromise would really mean and decide if it’s worth sticking to your guns or not.
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