Relationships are never easy, it takes a lot of hard work to keep a relationship going. Even while sincerely working hard to keep, build, and maintain one, relationship problems always show up.
Aging is a natural phenomenon common to everyone. If you have been in a relationship for a while, you will understand that sometimes the relationship problems you face as a couple can be a perpetual problem (the same problem all the time) or it may have also changed.
One factor common to anyone who has committed to a relationship for some years is that they always want to work things out, find solutions, and solve the issues. But, does it always happen? No! Sometimes, all that is needed may be an attempt to understand the problem and see things from the perspective of your significant other.
It is said that sometimes these relationship problems, especially the perpetual or recurring issues can drive you far from each other. Though, it can still bring you closer and keep you together, depending on the efforts of both partners. Whatever the case may be, relationship problems are real.
Aging comes with a different perspective, challenges, and expectations. This is a time you focus on life with your spouse, especially if your kids are all grownups and have left home. Instead of worrying that your child is not getting enough sleep, you are worried about your husband. The attention you have given to your children for some years is gradually shifting towards your partner. Instead of taking your child to see the doctor, you may be taking your spouse to see the doctor.
You may both be retired, and have more time to spend together. You may be a part of a few social groups. The good news is, you have more time to do the things that you enjoy. The bad news is, this comes with a new set of problems.
The following are 11 common relationship problems for seniors.
1. Resistance to change.
It is common to expect that as you and your partner are spending more time together and at home, most of the time, that you two can also share responsibilities, do things together like the little chores at the house.
When these expectations are not being met, you may need to seek alternatives than just bickering and nagging. You can hire someone. It sounds simple, but if you are resistant to change you may not like this idea.
Boredom is a severe but underrated marital issue. The monotony of a relationship causes boredom. Doing the same thing over and over again causes boredom. You are aging, it is only normal to have done or keep doing the same thing every day for so many years without a change or a spark. You can predict everything like a calendar. Being spontaneous with a few stunts is the spark that your invested relationship needs as a spark of life. If at this stage in your relationship, it lacks spontaneous activities, there is every possibility that your marriage will suffer the challenge of boredom.
You should make an effort not to resort to a life of routine, even though at this stage you may not have the zeal for a butterfly-inducing fairy tale. Also, make an effort not to unconsciously start taking your partner or the relationship for granted. Counter the boredom by taking the necessary risk at new things or changing a regular style.
It doesn't matter what you do as long as it's something different and can be shared between you two.
3. Parental disagreements.
This one is very common with couples who have children, no matter the age of those children. Sometimes, parents won’t agree on what to do in a particular situation, they may just be struggling whose opinion should be taken per time. and this can cause tension between them. Many couples can get through it easily, while others struggle for a longer time.
4. Traumatic event.
When couples go through traumatic incidences, the consequences can be very devastating for a relationship. A lot of traumatic events that occur are life-changing that may cause a change in a couple at a very deep level. These life-changing traumatic events turn into a problem when one spouse doesn't know or understand how to handle the situation or the trauma.
For instance when one spouse is in the hospital for a long time or on bed rest, requiring constant care and being entirely dependent on the other spouse. Or the death of a loved one or even a spouse.
Naturally, when you have to deal with the loss of someone that you are used to seeing every day, you feel lonely and scared. Don't hide your grieve, grieve the way you know how to. There is no right way about grieving, let yourself feel and express all the emotions that come with grieving. Make sure you allow yourself to grieve. This is a great time to do a little extra for yourself. Many couples can come out of traumatic events stronger than ever, while others find it very difficult.
5. Financial issues.
Money quarrels usually go wrong, but the thing is, they happen to everyone sooner rather than later. You may be solely dependent on that social security check every month or a well-planned retirement that is working for you. Aging couples are often scared of financial security. What can you do?
Check your spending behaviors, if one or both of you are overspending, talk to a financial analyst who can assess your goods and determine what is worth investing in and what should go.
Your health is very important at this stage, spend more on things that make you feel good. Things like traveling, massage and comedy events, can be a good relief for your mental health. If you can, spend money on things that help you feel good.
6. Feeling isolated, because of health challenges.
This can happen a lot of time for most seniors, especially if they are going through a rough patch. When a partner has a chronic health challenge, it takes its toe on the relationship. When you have been used to doing things for yourself and being a strong person, then all of a sudden, you have to require help to do the little things you used to do for yourself like bathing, walking, and their likes.
Now things have changed, it's not easy to accept what seems like the reality at the moment. It is awkward, annoying, frustrating to know that you have to depend on your partner or anyone for help to live your life. There’s no easy fix for this one. It’s alright to need help, to ask for help.
This can put a strain on a relationship that has been built over the years especially if you don’t truly understand what they are feeling.
Being the caregiver, on the other hand, is not an easy job. It may be very consuming and a very hard process, you may even lose your patience, and you may also not be happy doing it all the time, but this is crucial to your relationship’s well being. It’s your time to be strong for them.
However, you and your partner should make sure that you two are very sensitive about the situation, try to understand how each of you may be feeling about the situation and be thoughtful on how to relieve each other of the effect.
Ensure that your caregiver is getting the rest and the breaks that they need. Also, you don't need to beat yourself up about the situation. Sometimes people break down because they have been strong for too long. Nobody likes to be in that position, so don’t feel guilty. You have worked hard, and now it’s your turn to be taken care of.
7. You constantly fight about the same issues.
Seniors do this all the time, I don't know if it comes with the aging process. I guess after being married for a while, you don’t feel the need to impress your partner, so you just be yourself. You constantly revisit the conflict all the time, bickering about the same thing. This can be tiring, nerve-wracking and counterproductive all the time.
Remember that what you need at this time is for you and your partner to feel good together, keep growing together and have confidence in each other.
Each time you feel you two are revisiting the same conflict regardless of how menial it may be, take a step back. If you simply can’t bear avoiding a certain topic until things cool off, suggest your partner sit down with you and dismember the problem.
8. Sexual problems
Physical intimacy is indispensable in a long term relationship, but men and women who spend many years together often go through the loss of libido. Their urge for sex wax and wane throughout the relationship. Often, people think that it is only the women that experience issues with libido. However, men are also affected by this issue.
When you have been together with someone for a long time, sex for you two might become a rare bird. Though sexual intimacy doesn’t just suddenly stop when you have spent these number of years with one person, like many other things, it just becomes less and less. It is only natural for this kind of thing to happen.
Getting through it means being open and honest with your partner. Consider altering the routines, add a spark. Remember, be spontaneous. Go to a fancy hotel together, peaceful natural retreat, enjoy each other all over again. Aging doesn't stop you from enjoying the good things in life. Aging is a blessing if, for anything, you will become envy for so many couples out there.
9. Lack of appreciation
You feel you have given and still giving too much and getting too little in return, you feel you are not being appreciated for all your hard work.
A lack of gratitude, recognition, and acknowledgment of your spouse’s contribution to your relationship is a common relationship problem for seniors.
Your inability to appreciate your spouse can be detrimental to your relationship. Don't get stuck in the nest thinking of only the sacrifices that you have made.
Deliberately acknowledge the intuition and efforts of your spouse. It takes two to tangle.
10. Lack of attention
Humans are social creatures and are avid seekers of attention from others around them, especially those who are closest to them.
Every marriage mostly people that have stayed married for a very long time overtime suffers a common relationship problem ‘lack of attention’ where a couple, intentionally or unintentionally, redirects their attention to other aspects of their lives.
Being seniors means you don't have much to redirect your attention to. You have just the two of you. At any point where you feel the attention in the relationship is drifting, open up and deal with it immediately.
11. Feeling more like roommates than romantic partners
Being a couple for a long time means that you have also put in a lot of effort to keep the relationship. If at any time, you stop being intentional and deliberate about keeping the bond and connection, you may end up drifting into roommates zone with your spouse. And this is a challenge for most seniors.
After some decades together, turning into roommates becomes a big risk. You can easily turn into partners
in managing life and what it has brought for you and your partner than being partners in love.
You must remind yourself that you are still living and also have a spouse you made some vows and commitment to. You and your spouse need to continue celebrating your love throughout your lives to keep your energy high and maintain your motivation. Frequent celebrations demonstrate your love and appreciation for each other, and in return, stalls some relationship problems that otherwise may arise.
Plan a special evening at home or a restaurant; attend a concert or go to an amusement park together. Don’t stop dating because you have been together for a long time. Don't stop celebrating, in short, celebrate the fact that you have been in this for a long while.
Every relationship is different. But sometimes we face similar issues. As a senior or aging spouse remember, you are making big changes. Your body and mind are also going through a lot of changes. This is the natural part of aging.
Spend time doing things you love, and with people that you love. And, whatever you are going through in your relationship, it can be comforting to know that you're not alone.