“Partners in parenting and earning enough to support the family often lose their sense of being emotionally intimate as a couple”. But once the kids leave for good, they find themselves alone in the house with no one but each other.
How can they bring the romance of their 20s back into their 50s? Nancy Landrum, MA, Author, Creator of The Millionaire Marriage Club, shares her experience of working with elderly couples to rekindle the dead romance.
1. Start dating each other again
Nancy said, “I have actually coached couples in the position where they spend all their energy together in raising the children, and when the children are gone, they look at each other like strangers. These couples need to start the procedure of dating again. They should resume courting each other and go on fun dates.”
2. Create open communication
“I can’t emphasize enough how the conversation becomes superficial when these couples raise children. They talk more on a surface level, talking about the kid’s needs or who is picking up the kid from the school today. Now, these couples need to learn at a deeper level rather than at a ‘business level,’ which involves sharing their feelings, concerns, and desires and brainstorming some things they’d like to do together. They could discuss how they both view their life now that the children are gone, and the task is over,” Nancy said.
3. If one of you needs care, don’t be the only caregiver
When a partner or spouse needs care, the responsibility of caretaking often falls on the other partner. It’s a sure way to kill the romance. Taking care of one another when your spouse is sick is laudable, but you must not do it all yourself. Let your friends and family contribute. Or consider paid help. When a spouse or partner becomes involved in long-term caregiving, they begin to see their loved ones primarily as patients and no longer as lovers.
4. Stay healthy
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As we age, our physical health deteriorates. This leads to decreased romantic spark. Nancy says, “Medical science has made it possible for us to live in a healthy way much longer than previous generations did, and we want to live longer and stay healthy, so hormone replacement is one of the ways we can do that. And of course, a healthy diet and exercise are other components to aging with grace.”
5. Explore new things together
As we grow older, we get into established routines that kill the spark. Novelty and newness can cause dopamine, a feel-good chemical, to release in the brain. The same chemical is released when we’re in the initial infatuation period of a relationship. You can plan out new things to do as a couple, for example, going to an amusement park or rock concert.
Does the experience of sex change with age?
One might think that the feeling of being intimate with your partner might be different in old age than it used to be when they were still young.
To this, Nancy has to say, “Not necessarily. I think that many older couples stay together out of habit, which is unfortunate because they have an opportunity to build a whole new depth to their relationship. Now that the responsibilities of child-rearing are behind them. They just need to be willing to practice more intimate communication skills and be willing to spend some time and effort in exploring some activities that would rekindle their enjoyment of being together.”
What is “safe-sex” for the elderly?
Teenagers are usually taught how to practice “safe sex.” But does the definition of safe sex change as we age? Nancy says, “I don’t think it would be any different than for a young couple. If you are practicing monogamy and are disease-free, then just enjoy whatever level of sex you both enjoy.”
But our physiology changes significantly when we become older, so how can an older couple enjoy sex the way they used to when they were young? Nancy says, “As we age, it’s important to get an update on our hormone levels and consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for both men and women so that they can have the levels of energy and sexual drive that they enjoyed when they were younger. The bioidentical hormone replacement is not just for sex enjoyment but also to uplevel your energy and mental and emotional state so that you are more positive and open to trying new things and exploring new options for that age of life.”