Whether you’ve been with the same person for 30 years or you’re finding new love half a century into your life, it’s always the right time to brush up on your relationship skills or learn new ones. Maybe things have gotten stagnant with your spouse, or maybe you’ve found that dating has changed since you last tried it. It’s never too late to learn these seven secrets to a successful relationship after fifty.
1. Open your heart fearlessly
To be successful in a relationship, you can’t be afraid to be yourself and share yourself. Real love requires honesty. Honesty about who you are, what you believe, how you feel, and what you want. Total commitment to reality and honesty supports the integrity of a relationship. You must be open and willing to share, listen, and understand. A happy relationship and a full life require the intention to learn about your partner and yourself and to continue to grow.
2. Create emotional safety
Healthy relationships depend on both parties feeling safe with each other, trusting that you are there for each other. Your circle of trust gets more important as you get older and as you must cope with the changes and anxieties that aging involves. For emotional safety to exist, you need to feel that your partner truly hears you, sees you, and accepts you as you are and that he or she wants the best for you. And you must be this way for your partner, too.
3. Address conflict in a spirit of love
A successful relationship requires successful conflict. Approach every disagreement with your partner with the intention to listen fully and respond in a spirit of love. Instead of responding in a knee-jerk way when your partner says or does something that upsets you, examine your feelings and mindfully consider what the other person said. It may surprise you how big a gulf there can be between what you think you heard—what you feel you heard—and what your partner actually said. Listen as much or maybe more than you talk, focus on common threads rather than differences and look for a solution that pleases both of you.
4. Practice positive communication