Our Family & Relationships editor shares one of her key personal mantras: it’s always worth making time for the one you love.
Your relationship with your partner is one of the most important in your life. You go through the world together sharing experiences, friendships and even children. But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy.
Over many years of counselling, one thing I am certain of it’s that often marriages and relationships can be saved, and sometimes they can even be better than before.
Making the empty nest a happy nest
One of the peak times for relationships to hit a crisis is when the children finally leave home.
Suddenly you are a couple on your own again. You have all that time on your hands but when you really look at your relationship, are you still in a relationship with your best friend, to your lover or are you just… well, together?
When you first fall in love, it’s natural to want to spend all your time together, to make love whenever you want, to talk without being constantly interrupted.
But over years that changes. So often, with the demands of the children growing up, there is not enough time to give to the one person you promised to love and cherish above all others.
Perhaps you have grown apart or are even questioning the future of the relationship.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that while divorce in virtually all age groups has decreased there was an increase in the over-50s. But it is possible to buck that trend.
Now is a good time to have the courage to really look at your relationship.
Build on what is really good about your partnership but also be honest with each other about the things that are perhaps not working and what you would like to change.
Talk about how you would like things to be now and in the future.
This is your chance to turn the next stage of your life into a very loving, fulfilling and exciting relationship where you both feel loved and supported.
Regaining emotional closeness
One thing that women really want is for the partner in her life to be emotionally open so that you can both really trust each other and talk about everything together.
Start by praising the things they do well.
Gently explain how much it would mean to you to be emotionally closer to each other again.
Explore what they would like from you, so it’s a two-way track.
Be patient. While some partners are good at this, others often find it quite difficult.
Rekindling the physical side of your relationship may be high on the agenda. With this newfound freedom it’s lovely to be able to make love whenever you want. It may not be as often as when you were younger, though it could well be more often than when the children were always around.
Most important is the quality of the time you spend together, so that you each understand what gives the other person pleasure and try new things.
Equally important is to be affectionate, to touch and kiss and hold hands, and to say ‘I love you’ often.
Now you can spend more time together, try to see friends and have fun. There’s more time to take up new interests and to go on romantic or exciting holidays, to climb mountains, visit the art galleries and museums that perhaps bored your children, or to just sit on a romantic beach watching a beautiful sunset.
It’s the time where you can become best friends and lovers once again.