A New Love Without a New Life: Mastering the Beginning of a Relationship in Old Age


Life has been going on for a while. However, your partner may already be dead or previous relationships may have broken down. According to the Federal Statistical Office, every third person over the age of 65 lives without a partner, but what if it does not continue like this? When can you imagine, even in old age, letting someone come back into your life – and meet them?

Bonding varies with age

So first of all you have to deal with your expectations. Because: “Some things are different in aging,” says Dorothy Doering. The trained teacher, born at 49, not only wrote a book about finding a partner in old age. But also one about how teamwork works.

“You’re not as spontaneous and relaxed as you were when you were young,” she says. After all, you have legacy problems from past relationships. And: “Especially as you get older, you don’t want to make any more mistakes, because you want to learn from the mistakes.”

So cool at the beginning of a relationship instead of butterflies in your stomach? For qualified psychologist and systemic family therapist Matthias Richter, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Create free time together

Says the 66-year-old who is married for a second time. “Can you imagine facing the challenges of aging together? Whether there are common interests.”

Even if it seemed to some people that one should not let too much time pass in old age, one should find out in peace. about joint ventures. “Because at that age, it’s increasingly about spending free time together,” Richter says. “Of course the interests have to be proportional to some extent.”

Everyone comes with scratches and quirks

Above all, however, one should not expect to “find someone who came out of a previous life without scratches and quirks,” Richter says. Or the other person will change drastically. Instead, better show: “Can I also live with the darker side of my chosen side?”

Professor Frieder Lang, a graduate psychologist and holder of the Chair of Psychology at the Friedrich-Alexander-Alexander-Universität Nuremberg, points out that: “A long life also means that everyone has a long caravan of relationships and people with them.”

Anyone who engages in new relationships in old age should know this. And you might also discover that it doesn’t have to be a love affair anymore — but other relationships can be satisfying, too.

“Even with separate families and even without any sexual activity at all, you can feel a good stable friendship as a great happiness in life, and it’s not far from a partnership,” says Lange.

Live together – preferably on a trial basis first

And even in new love relationships, the shared apartment may not be necessary right away. For Dorothy Doering, for example, the “living apart” life model certainly has advantages. What is meant by this is a partnership in which each individual maintains his or her own spatial environment. “You only do beautiful things together,” says the author.

Psychologist Richter advises thinking carefully about what you expect from each other before moving in together. Could it also be about someone wanting to take care of the family? Then you have to talk about it clearly. “And don’t try to do it maliciously.”

He recommends trying on mannequins beforehand, where you live in one apartment and then the other, if possible. “Because it is very difficult to reverse the movement once it is complete, given the current situation in the housing market.”

Speak – give space

So it’s better: to approach the new “we” step by step. This also applies to the family and friendly environment of the new partner. After all, there can also be concerns about adult offspring, for example – for example that a new partner can have an undesirable effect on a parent.

That’s why Richter advises talking openly with your children about wanting a new relationship. And carefully introduce a new partner: “Maybe I don’t fall in the door: this is my happiness for my age. But to say clearly that we have entered into a relationship and that we are also in the process of experiencing it.”

You should also continue to give the new partner’s existing friendships space, for example for joint projects or trips – even without yourself. This also applies if you’re not able to do much with your partner’s friends, says Richter.

Sometimes new concepts are needed

Anyone hoping to bring their environment to one table on public holidays and birthdays should also be prepared to bid farewell to some of the usual rituals. You can sit down and develop a new concept together, says Döring: “We’ve done it this way and that so far. How did you do it? And how do we do it in the future?”

In general: talk to each other. This should also be a recipe for successful relationships in old age – and true for physical closeness as well.

“It’s important to talk to your partner about what you love,” says Professor Freder Lang. “For example, you can say: I like it when you touch me. It helps. If not, it is still important for the other person to be touched.”

Whoever succeeds in this probably cannot expect a whole new life from a new love. But: “You can design or do things your own way,” says Döring. “Or set other priorities or live out what was previously neglected.”

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