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Keeping Your Relationship Strong Throughout Midlife

By the time you reach middle age, somewhere between 35 and 55, you have learned a great deal about what works and doesn’t work in a relationship. The challenge in midlife is that you and your partners basic human needs may shift and you want to be aware of that shift. Communication is critical to ensure needs are being met for both partners during these midlife changes. This is a great time to solidify and grow your relationship instead of heading down the path to a midlife crisis.

Here’s a list of basic human needs as identified by relationship experts:

  • feeling loved or bonded with another person
  • to feel valued
  • comfort and security
  • spontaneity or variety
  • to learn and develop
  • to help others

Perhaps you can identify with a few of these basic needs and see how your emphasis on certain needs has changed over time. It’s important to analyze the midlife changes and recognize and communicate changes with your partner. Many times both your needs have changed and all you think about is that your partner isn’t satisfying you, so you look to satisfy your needs in other ways. A good example of this is a woman who’s focused on starting a new career after the kids have moved out and a husband feeling excluded and unloved, causing him to spend more time at work or with friends away from home.

Acknowledging shifting needs and talking about them with your partner will help you strengthen and solidify your relationship instead of ignoring the shifts and hoping things will “get back to normal”. Remember, this is a time of transition, you are establishing a new normal.

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