On Thanksgiving, the show’s star is undeniably the turkey, but let’s not overlook the ensemble cast of delicious accompaniments that share the stage. As the turkey takes its rightful place in the oven, it’s easy for our attention to wander toward the delectable side dishes.
Much like the tantalizing turkey, an older couple’s relationship is the heartwarming core of their life’s banquet. When children, grandchildren, and the ever-unfolding story of life’s events take center stage, the couple’s connection may slip from the spotlight. It’s akin to the turkey being left unattended, risking a bitter outcome.
In this article, we dive into the whirlwind of life’s distractions that lead to older couples growing apart as we discover whether it is possible to get the glue back.
Signs of Older Couples Growing Apart
When an older couple is growing apart, they have underlying unresolved issues. These issues can manifest in different ways, and it is essential to remain aware of the signs to address them early. Some of the symptoms of older couples growing apart are:
An older couple has drifted apart when one or both parties become indifferent towards their partner’s emotional needs. For example, both partners may show less care towards the emotional needs of their partner and neglect meeting them.
Older couples that are growing apart experience decreased communication. Communication is reduced to routine things such as household running or general family issues.
The problem with many couples is that they get so occupied with their adult children, grandchildren, health concerns, and other side issues that they forget how to communicate their feelings, leading to a deteriorated relationship.
Lack of Intimacy
Decreased or total lack of intimacy indicates that an older couple is growing apart. A decline in physical intimate gestures such as kissing, making love, holding hands, and hugging can signify that you are growing apart as a couple.
Intimacy also includes the emotional connection between partners. The emotional connection involves the quality of communication and how well the partners understand one another. A decrease in emotional intimacy indicates that a couple is drifting apart.
Secrecy is a bug that erodes trust and intimacy in a relationship. If an older couple used to keep every piece of information open but began to experience secrecy from one or both partners, they are growing apart.
If an older couple had relationship rituals over the decade, such as anniversary vacations, but no longer live up to them, it can be a sign that they are drifting apart. Sometimes, prioritizing other things indicates that the partners no longer value the time spent together as they used to before.
Why Do Older Couples Grow Apart?
Recognizing the signs that an older couple is growing apart is not enough. It is vital to dig deeper and identify possible causes of the drifting relationship to determine the best solution. Here are some of the reasons why older couples grow apart.
While retirement can be an incredible opportunity for older couples to explore hobbies together and take on a romantic adventure, it can also bring into the open many differences between the partners as they get to spend more time together. Discovering such differences can lead to drifting apart when the partners do not try to address such disparities.
Age comes with many changes. Partners in a romantic relationship change mentally, physically, and emotionally, leading to dynamics in the relationship. Being together for decades requires romantic partners to be vigilant in getting to know and rediscover one another as they evolve.
As the couple goes through decades together, the partners grow in different dimensions. If one partner grows significantly more significant than the other in self-development, the partner behind feels left out, and the relationship drifts apart.
Empty Nest Syndrome
When the kids are still schooling, the couple is occupied with raising them, and they share the familiar concept of parenting that keeps them strong together. Once the kids start living their own lives, couples that focus solely on raising the kids can experience disconnection because the only glue that holds them together fades off.
Seniors experience challenging health issues that can significantly drain the ailing and caregiving partners physically and mentally. Conditions like dementia come with high caregiving demands that can drive a person crazy.
Focusing on other things that keep partners together becomes hard when health issues become a persistent challenge. Sometimes, health problems reduce caregiving relationships.
Due to preoccupation with family dynamics, issues between partners can go unresolved for decades, leading to resentment. Unresolved issues cause emotional wounds that cause the drifting apart and emotional detachment in relationships.
How to Get the Spark Back
Growing apart for couples can feel like a permanent situation. However, with commitment, the team can get their spark back. Here are some ways an older couple can recover from the dull growing apart situation.
The first thought that comes to mind when one feels symptoms of illness is to make an appointment with a physician. It should not be different for relationship problems. The first solution should be to see a relationship professional to help you work through your issues.
Seniors should be excited about re-discovering themselves and taking an interest in activities that promote self-growth. Older couples thrive when both partners make steps towards continuous personal development.
Rekindle the Passion
If physical intimacy is essential to your relationships, work on rekindling the wild passion. It might not be possible to re-live the 20s, but being passionate towards one another in your 60s can bring incredible fulfillment.
Plan out dates, regain playfulness, dress up for one another, and make intentional plans to spend quality time together without the distraction of grandchildren, work, or appointments.
Re-learn Each Other’s Love Languages
Love languages can change over time as an individual gains a more profound sense of identity. When an older couple is growing apart, one way to get the glue back is learning a partner’s love language over again.
As partners re-learn love languages, it is essential to practice them correctly. For example, if your love language is gifts, you can be biased to show love to your partner in the form of gifts instead of expressing love in the way your partner wants to be loved. Again, seeking therapy can help older couples navigate through love languages to rekindle their spark.
There is only one way to let your partner know what you need, your desires, and your concerns: communication. Older couples must re-evaluate how they communicate in a relationship to help them remain emotionally connected.