Darling, have you ever used a loom? I think the loom and the threads we weave are a perfect metaphor for the relationships after 50 that we create and maintain. You know, and I know, that life after 50 is rich and colorful in so many ways, possibly the most vibrant aspect are the unique connections. For me, relationships are the rich, dark chocolate of life, the delicious wine that has improved with time.
Weaving Strong Relationships After 50
Over the decades, we women over 50 have spun a web of relationships. These connections exist with romantic partners, within beautifully complex family dynamics, fulfilling (and sometimes difficult) friendships, and the profoundly important love and confidence we nurture within ourselves.
I’m sure you would agree, good relationships are vital to the joy of a woman over 50. As I have traversed the various passages of life, I have filled buckets with relationship wisdom. I use my experience to guide me in building and nurturing connections within all my relationships, and darling, so can you! Nurturing every one of our relationships is an artform we must practice and perform. Keep reading to learn how I keep my most important relationships strong.
Romantic Relationships After 50: In Love and Loss
Whether you are married, single, or recently entering the dating pool, navigating romantic relationships after 50 can be any combination of exciting and terrifying. As a woman over 50, I challenge you to embrace your authentic self. Don’t be afraid to show your true colors! This is how you can engage in your romantic relationships with love and strength.
Dipping a Toe into the Dating Pool after 50
If you are stepping back into the dating scene, it can be scary. Trust me, I know! My Ultimate Concierge and I both suffered with the loss of our first spouses. We were introduced to each other by a friend and hit it off quickly! I interviewed Shelly about our first date and other experiences. You can listen to that here.
While Shelly and I met through a friend, many women over 50 are entering the dating game through the many avenues of the internet. There are private Facebook groups, a variety of dating apps, and matchmaking websites which can help you connect with like-minded people. (sidenote: Did you know HoneyGood.com has recently been touted as one of the top senior dating blogs!?)
Additionally, I know women who are using dating coaches to help guide them towards Mr. Right. So, ladies, if you are intrigued about dating again, stand up tall, put on your favorite red lipstick, and decide what you are looking for in a partnership. This is a chance for you to define your wishes based on past experiences, both bad and good! Once you know what you want, you can start taking steps towards that goal.
Fueling the Flame in Your Marriage
For those already in long-term partnerships or marriages, life after 50 is like a garden ready to support a harvest of passion and intimacy; but it all depends on what you plant and how you nurture it!
During this time of life, you may be better equipped to prioritize quality time together. And not because you and your spouse aren’t busy, I am so busy I am dizzy! But I always put my Ultimate Concierge first, and he does the same for me. It makes us smile. It’s no secret that quality time is essential in a happy marriage (and all relationships!) Time together gives the opportunity for open conversation and special experiences to blossom.
A thought about sharing experiences with your spouse: In my opinion, adventure is the fuel for the flame. Travel together! Dance in the hallway! Experience new things as one.
Your Freshly Retired Spouse
Navigating retirement can put a strain on your relationship as you figure out a new rhythm for your daily routines, hobbies, and expectations. If you or your spouse is approaching retirement, find ways to enhance your relationship. You both deserve it! I wrote about having a positive relationship with your retired husband. Read it here.
Communication in Romantic Relationships after 50
The best romantic relationships are always built on effective communication. This is true whether it is a new relationship and you are on your first date, or if you have been married for 40 years. Darlings, if you want healthy dialogue in your relationships as a woman over 50, be authentic! Trust me. You must be open, honest, empathetic, and show your vulnerable side, for what you put forth will come back to you.
Becoming Single as a Woman over 50
The game of life likes to throw curve-balls. As a woman over 50, you may find yourself facing divorce or widowhood. Both situations are challenging transitions and my empathy is with you.
As a divorcee and as a widow it’s essential to:
- Prioritize self-care
- Seek support from friends and family
- Consider seeking therapy, and
- Understand your financial situation
I know without a doubt, sisterhood is the remedy for loneliness always, but especially while experiencing divorce or widowhood.
I became a widow after being married to my first husband, Michael, for 24 years. The numbing pain that comes with the death of a spouse is a sensation I know well. I grieved, and I leaned on my sisterhood. Eventually, I was ready to embrace new opportunities for personal growth and regained my rosy outlook on the future. If you are seeking a sisterhood to lean on, I have a private group for women experiencing widowhood. Please join us on Facebook.
Nurturing Family Relationships after 50
By 50, many of us have experienced the joy of raising children, the emptying of the nest, and the miracle of grandchildren. We feel the strongest desire to maintain these relationships and treat them as sacred. Our family bonds can be the strongest, the most powerful, the most rewarding, but also the most painful.
Grandchildren: Cross-Generational Joy
Being a grandmother is magic. I have grandchildren from my first marriage, and my Ultimate Concierge has seven “Grands” from his first marriage. Blending families can be like mixing oil and water, but in my opinion, the more grandparents a child has, the better for all!
It is essential to Shelly and I to have a strong relationship with our grandchildren. Like it or not, bonding with grandchildren often requires extra work by us, as the grandparents, and even more work if you are a step-grandparent!
As the person in the relationship with more life wisdom, emotional maturity, and (if you’re retired) free time, it lands on our plate to nurture the connection with the younger generation. Be the person who reaches out, who sends birthday cards, the one who makes the effort to know each other. Building connections with your grandchildren by spending quality time together, establishing special traditions, and creating memories is invaluable as a woman over 50.
Sharing Your Legacy
As a grandmother, you have the opportunity to share your unique life experiences, values, and lessons. Your wisdom is like a lighthouse shining as a source of guidance and support when needed.
A few years ago, I felt an especially strong urge to share my stories and lessons-learned with my grandchildren. I know all grandparents have the desire to share their legacy with their posterity, so I created a book to document your life’s passages and share it with others. Learn more about “Stories for my Grandchild” here.
The Beautiful and Complex Relationships with Adult Children
Life after 50 often involves navigating complex relationships with adult children. Is there anything more frustrating than seeing an adult child making poor decisions? Or taking paths we’ve already trod and learned from? While we only want the best for our adult children, they may not want us to stick our noses in!
Sometimes, our relationships with our adult children can get so strained that they splinter. I am no stranger to this pain, and I know many of you are in the same boat. In fact, many women over 50 are part of this unfortunate club. A therapist acquaintance recently shared that estrangement from adult children is so common, it’s an “epidemic.”
There is no doubt that estrangement from adult children is painful, but there’s hope for healing and reconciliation. Self-reflection, seeking personal growth, improving communication are key steps in addressing estrangement, and sometimes, time and space will be your best friend. Once you find your footing in your relationship, setting healthy boundaries for future interactions is crucial.
Being the Best Mother-in-Law
An aspect of healthy relationships with your adult children is connecting with their partner or spouse. Judging your child’s choice of partner harshly or refusing to accept them will only result in a demerit in the eyes of your son or daughter. Instead, respect their choices and just love them and celebrate their new flame.
Building relationships with in-laws should be exciting! How magical it can be to add another member to the family. Remember, open and honest communication is essential, and if you really want to connect with your son or daughter-in-law by being the best mother-in-law possible, read my top tips here.
Friendship and Sisterhood after 50
As a woman over 50, female friendships are vital for emotional well-being. If you are like me, you have so many wonderful girlfriends spread across the map, the hardest thing is keeping in touch! I like to have regular lunches with my girlfriends who are nearby, here is a sneak peek of what it’s like to have lunch with us.
Keeping in touch with friends has become much easier with so many technological advances. I love to send a quick text to a friend, or to send a longer email. Zoom calls are a great way to reconnect with friends and family that are far flung, you get the benefit of seeing their smiling faces while still being apart.
Friendship is a Choice You Make
Usually with friendships more is merrier. However, not all friendships are created equally. As a woman over 50, you have enough wisdom to know when a relationship is taking more than it is giving. If you have toxic friendships that are no longer contributing positively, give yourself permission to hit the delete button. My advice to you, prioritize quality over quantity and do the work to create deep, real connections with women who uplift you. This will lead to the most fulfilling friendships. If you are seeking sisterhood, I have a supportive, private Facebook group for women just like you, come join us!
Staying Connected with Friends and Family
In this ever-evolving digital age, staying in touch with friends and family is the easiest it’s been in the history of the world! Yet, we often go weeks, months, or even years without communicating with those we care about! While life after 50 may find you geographically distant from loved ones, remember there are technological innovations that can make the distance shrink. Make it a priority to stay in touch. Here are some ideas for keeping your bonds strong.
Be a Champion for Technology
Text messages, emails, and social media platforms have become lifelines for maintaining connections with girlfriends, grandchildren, and other relations scattered across the globe. A simple “Hello, how are you?” a heartfelt message, or even a simple emoji can keep the bond strong. If you are worried about privacy, social media platforms, like Facebook, offer a way to create private groups for family or close friends. This allows you to share updates, photos, and memories with only those you choose. It can be intimidating to adopt new technological advances, but I challenge you try. Here are some tips for getting tech savvy after 50.
Embrace Video Calls to Foster Important Relationships After 50
Video calls have become all the rage. Over the last few years we were forced to learn to use video calling platforms like Zoom and Facetime to keep up with one another. I am so happy this technology exists. It’s the next best thing to in-person visits. Not only are we able to hear our loved ones’ voices but also to see their smiling faces. It’s a heartwarming experience to witness the expressions, gestures, and nuances that text messages and voice calls cannot capture. I have regular video calls with friends and family. Sometimes we play games, and other times we just chat. I recommend it!
Scheduled Gatherings That Nurture Friendships
Don’t only rely on technology! If you are lucky enough to have friends and family members living close by, consider scheduling regular gatherings. These can be simple dinners, weekend picnics, or traditions celebrated together consistently. This brings a sense of continuity in your relationships. I love to connect with friends and family over a good old-fashioned board game!
Tips for Communicating in Relationships after 50
Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship whether that connection is romantic, a friend, an adult child, or grandchild.
Tackling Tough Talks
Some relationships will be more difficult than others. Trust me, I have plenty of experience. I’ve written about loving someone when it is hard. Here’s the painful truth. If you are going to maintain relationships during your life, you will be faced with the need for difficult conversations. It’s inevitable!
I’ve had hard conversations professionally, with friends, adult children, spouses, and others. As a woman over 50, the skill of tackling tough talks must become a part of your repertoire. I shared some tips for these crucial conversations in this article about dealing with difficult friends.
Nurturing Healthy Communication
Ideally, you’ve created a space where healthy communication is ongoing and difficult conversations are not the norm. Here are some tips for nurturing healthy communication in your relationships:
- Be a Listener: Make an effort to listen closely when someone is speaking. We all want to feel respected and heard and a listening ear helps with both. As a bonus, being a good listener can stop misunderstandings in their tracks!
- Express Your Real Self: Let your feelings out! Vulnerability is essential, but so is empathy and kindness.
- Pick Your Battles: Sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie. Use wisdom to recognize when it’s best to let something go. My father always taught me to take the high road in situations like these.
- Avoid Assumptions: Good communication requires clarification. Ask questions so you don’t have misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Use “I” Statements: This is a useful communication tool! When having a tough talk, frame your statements with “I feel” or “I think.” It prevents the other person from feeling defensive.
Self-Love: The Root of All Relationships after 50
Secure your own oxygen mask first. We all know this airline rule, and it applies to relationships too! The most important bond you will have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.
Ponder these things:
- The way you speak to yourself internally.
- The love and attention you give yourself.
- The time you take to truly know yourself.
These define the relationship you are constantly building with yourself. Are you building a healthy relationships or a toxic one?
The foundation of all relationships is your bond with you. Practice self-love and self-acceptance. Build your self-confidence through positive internal dialogue and self-care. Continue to listen to your intuition and follow your heart towards hobbies, friendships, and experiences that allow you to grow and be happy!
The love you build within your self will help you grow the abundant relationships in your life. You’ll be better equipped to communicate in difficult situations, and to be a good friend, spouse, parent, and in-law. Your inner relationship is the loom on which you can weave and hold onto the many threads of your connections.
Darlings, nurture your self love.
As a woman over 50, how do you nurture your relationships? Share your tips in the comments.