Bored Of Your Relationship? Start A New One...
... With the person you're already with. Relationships when you're in your 50’s/60s shouldn't simply be tolerated or walked away from.
Generally, it's fair to say that for most people, the longer you spend out of a relationship, your assumptions and expectations for a partner and new relationship become more and more unrealistic. The view of a real-life relationship gets distorted because we watch too many overly romanticised movies and read too many books that depict a very improbable, unworkable and naïve truth.
The same can be said of your existing relationship – so many couples fall at the first (or tenth) hurdle, and later may regret giving up on all the good stuff in the pursuit of an idealised perfection that rarely exists. If you're considering a split with your partner, first try and think from a rational viewpoint: what should a relationship realistically add to our lives?
A New Relationship In Your 50s or 60s?
There are so many reasons why we would think that seeking a new relationship will fulfil us, whether you're single or already in a relationship that you think is going nowhere.
The first place to start is to ask yourself to picture in your mind what you would like to improve within your relationship. Is it your sex life? Your social life? Better communication? Try and establish what you just cannot tolerate any more, and what you feel could just do with improving. Most people in unhappy relationships have harboured so much resentment, that they have lost focus of what is actually not working for them.
Often, we give up on a current relationship because of the age-old feeling of the grass being greener on the other side. That's not to suggest that you continue to stay in a toxic or terminally unhappy relationship. If this is the case, you have to try and build the strength and courage to completely remove yourself. Talk to someone that you can trust or book an appointment with your doctor. If it's untenable, you'll almost certainly be happier on your own. Take some time to heal, then get yourself back out there. (Read our dating tips for women and for men.)
If your relationship is not abusive, but you just feel like your relationship is boring, or going nowhere, or you are just unfulfilled – before convincing yourself to give up on things, first try a journey of rediscovery to see if that can transform how you're feeling.
Do Relationships Owe Us Happiness?
We should never look to a relationship to be the be-all-and-end-all for our happiness. If that's the reason that you are with someone or seeking a person to be with, then it's going to cause heartache from the get-go. If you're single or you are already in a relationship that you feel is failing, take a step back and start instead by making and creating your own happiness, independently of your partner or potential partner.
This might require therapy, or it may just mean creating a new project of discovery for yourself to determine what else you need in your life. It may sound like a mountain to climb. However, just like everything, if you break the task in hand down to sizeable chunks, everything is possible. It could mean changing jobs, changing career, moving away from a toxic friend or friend group, clearing more time for yourself, getting out more, travelling, getting fitter or losing weight. Make that happen before you embark on divorce proceedings or on a new dating journey.
Evaluating Your Relationship
If you're already in a relationship, you should imagine that you are single again. Take your parent or ‘significant other’ hat off and rediscover yourself. Make it your mission. Everyone deserves to live a happy and contented life, and the more you can do to get physically closer to that, the easier the mountain gets to climb. It isn't about considering taking a lover! Instead look at your lifestyle, your vision, your values and interests, remember your passions and discover new ones.
Think carefully about what you want your life to look like. You could try journaling or mind mapping to build a picture of how your complete, fulfilled and re-energised life may look. Then build an action plan to make those changes happen.
Share what you're doing with your partner and encourage them to do the same. Explain how you've been feeling and that this is a better route to take, than continuing to resent each other little by little each month that passes, or to end up separating, or even divorcing.
If you feel unable to follow through by yourself, then seek help, either through your doctor or search online in your network for applicable services. Sometimes it is just a case of joining a new network, introducing a new thought process, or a new interest. Losing yourself in a new self-help book can be useful. Stacey Duguid’s debut book ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ is a great read if you're at a crossroads!
Don't Give Up.... Just Yet
It will more than likely result in a more satisfying outcome if you first try everything to make the necessary changes to your current relationship to try to improve it. So many times, your personal happiness will have nothing to do with changing your partner, but everything to do with changing different aspects of your own life. Being in a relationship does not and should not define the person that you are or the person that you become. Too many people who are in a long-term relationship become too consumed with each other instead of continuing investing time and energy into themselves. It should always be a balance.
It's also naïve to believe that you are going to discover something better than what you already have. A relationship is like an old wardrobe of clothes, you can spruce them up, add to them, embellish some of them, but the last resort is to throw everything out. This is how you should think about re-energising your relationship. It's always worth putting in some serious thought and time, before ending it and jumping too quickly into something else and regretting it all afterwards.
Great relationships take work, luck and perseverance. Don't depend on your partner to create the life you want for yourself. Take the initiative and the responsibility for creating the relationship (and life) you desire.