How to cope with relationship changes

Health
05 November 2015
For the over-50s, many aspects of their life will undoubtedly start to change - including their personal relationships with their children and loved ones. Here are a few tips to help you get by.

Relationships between friends, family members and loved ones are bound to change as time goes by. 

It is understandable that people may get wistful or melancholic about this - but there is no point in dwelling on such feelings to the point where they interfere with your personal relationships as they are now.     

This is particularly the case for the over-50s or those who leave the job they've had for a long time. 

A period of adjustment is not the easiest thing to deal with, but maintaining healthy and harmonious relationships with those around you is essential to maintaining a good quality of life. 

Living with your partner

If you leave work you will most likely find yourself spending a lot more time with your partner, if you already live together. With this in mind it is important to be mindful of your relationship together to prevent it from becoming negative. 

For instance, if you stop working before your partner, then try and do more around the house so they do not feel resentful for still having to do chores on top of work when you have more free time. 

It is important to ensure you keep communicating, for instance by planning your future together. 

This does not need to be a rigorous breakdown of how the rest of your life will go, but you can share your dreams and any long-standing ambitions you hope to achieve. 

By sharing such ideas and being flexible with one another, you can agree on things to do together, as well as anything you might prefer to do separately. 

Children

Adult children are likely to be leading busy lives of their own if they have already left home, so you will have to bear this in mind before jumping in and inviting yourself over to their home too often. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend more time with them, but this may not always be practical for them, so try to think of their needs. 

You could even offer support to them if they are very busy with work - for instance by babysitting for their children or even helping out in the garden. 

Care

Those who have to start caring for their partner will by definition experience a change in the nature of their relationship. 

Caregiving changes the dynamic between partners, as daily care tasks take prominence in the relationship. 

To reduce the chances of this situation sapping the friendship and joy from your relationship, try compartmentalising being a loving spouse and being a dutiful carer. Do not be shy to ask the ill spouse to give as much as they can to your relationship - heartfelt gratitude can be a big boost to morale. 

Seeking support - both financial and emotional from friends and other family members - is essential.

Looking for love

Plenty of people over the age of 50 are looking for love - and there is no reason why leaving work cannot be a new lease of life for you.

With more time on your hands you are likely to want to explore new friendships that may develop into more loving ones over time. While other family members may need time to adjust to this change in your life, you should not feel you cannot be open to new experiences and enjoying yourself. 

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