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CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS IN MIDLIFE

You may have noticed that in midlife relationships may change.

Although this probably happens no more and no less than at other times of life, it may seem more noticeable in midlife.

First of all, let's think about this logically. 

 

Because this is where you could say that age matters. We are older and so are the people we love. Sadly this means that in midlife we may experience significant loss. This is one of those things that is known and 'expected' about midlife.

 

We may experience the loss of grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, children.. Secondly, and I say this as someone who experienced a lot of loss all in one year, it's often because over the years, we've got to know more people and built more relationships. 

 

​We also 'lose' relationships or experience them changing for other reasons:

  • relationship break up - separation or divorce

  • when other people's relationships end, we sometimes lose touch with one partner or the other

  • friendship isn't fulfilling one or the other's needs in the way it used to

  • people move - towns, cities, jobs, groups, gyms

  • kids stop doing organised sports, you don't see other parents so much

These relationship changes may be experienced as losses and you may grieve them.

 

***If you are struggling with loss - Please seek professional assistance*** 

The flip side of changing relationships is that you might also gain them!

 

One of the things that I heard a lot in my research, was that participants were found themselves seeking new connections. People who thought the same way as they did, with similar interests. 

You may find yourself actively looking for ways to make new connections and to build new relationships. Do it - try new things, meet new people! 

Your Network of Support

 You are SURROUNDED by people and the relationship you have with each person is completely unique.  These relationships make up your network of support.

Here are some examples:

  • spouse / partner

  • parent / step-parent

  • child / step-child

  • siblings

  • friends / best friends / acquaintances

  • co-workers

  • neighbours

  • parents at school / sports /activities

  • faith, ethnic, community group members, leaders

  • family doctor

  • book club members

  • bike club members

 

 

 

 

Take Action:

 

Find out about your network of support by completing the Relationships Identification exercise (PDF below)

 

Add more examples as you think of them. Remember that you may have important relationships online as well.