Not everyone is lucky enough to stay wildly in love, and it’s easy to settle into a passionless co-existence after many years together. But feeling loved and desired is one of the most wonderful things about being alive. The good news is that you can get the old magic back — with a sincere intention and a bit of effort. These six tips can are a good place to start.
1. Talk about the passion. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., aka the Love Doctor, is an expert in les affaires du coeur. Her specialty is counseling long-married couples, and she says the question she gets asked most often is how to keep the romance alive after decades of partnership.
What tends to happen to a couple who’s been together a long time, she explains, is that they fall into a relationship rut. When this happens, they don’t even realize that they’re taking each other for granted. In her Relationship Rescue article Bringing Back the Passion, Orbuch offers up advice to help couples get unstuck and maneuver themselves into a renewed state of excitement.
Start with expressing your feelings, she advises, get yourselves psyched, try some new things and don’t shy away from talking directly about your personal and sexual desires. Play your cards right, she suggests, and you might just finish the discussion in the boudoir.
2. Why don’t you do it on the road? A fun way to put a little sizzle on the steak is to break out of your ordinary routines and lifestyle. While not everyone can get away for four to six weeks like Anne Kreamer and her husband do every year, even a weekend in the country — or a night in a hotel — can reboot those drained batteries.
As Kreamer describes in Refresh Your Romance With a Temporary Move, the first time she and her spouse of 25 years spent a month living in a different place, there were all kinds of surprising benefits. From where they ate (breakfast in the garden!) to how they worked out (hiking in mountains instead of an urban gym), everything felt new and exciting — especially their time alone together.
3. Play the dating game. Some people might say midlife dating isn’t the same as when you were young. They’re right: It can be better. For one thing, we truly are wiser. We know what we want out of life, and in a partner, and because we don’t have that youthful hormonal urgency driving us, we tend to make smarter and more self-fulfilling choices.
For boomer daters, the world is rife with choices. There are more than a dozen online dating sites just for people 50 and older. Some 30 percent of boomers are single, and we comprise the fastest-growing segment of online daters. With 1 in 4 marriages being initiated online, whatever stigma computer dating once had is yesterday’s news. Robyn Griggs Lawrence reveals how to Be a Winner in the Digital Dating Game.
4. Keep it real. At our age, we’re better able to reveal our true selves to a partner. For one thing, we know our true selves better. And we’re less likely to look for love in all the wrong places. As Ken Page writes in his inspirational article, Deeper Dating: A New Approach to Finding Love, “a wiser path to finding love … actually favors people in their late 40s, 50s and older because at this stage of life, we are much less willing to waste our time in the pursuit of unhealthy relationships.” Follow Page’s four steps to attaining a richer kind of love connection.
5. Don’t give up hope. When the stars do align and you find yourself falling all-out, mind-bogglingly in love, there’s no better feeling in the world. As Larry Carlat beautifully writes in Why Middle Age Is the Best Time to Fall in Love, being a smitten kitten ain’t just for the kiddies. He recently met an age-appropriate female mate in his early 50s, and he reflects on why love is different this time around for both of them. His conclusion: Their “mature love” is a matter of readiness.
When he pays his new girlfriend compliments, she says: “If you told me any of those things a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to take them in. I probably would’ve run for the hills.”
“Don’t worry,” he tells her. “A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of those things.”
6. Remember: Nobody does it better. Sex, as everyone knows, is one of the most intimate acts and best ways for two people to bond. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, it confers benefits ranging from improved sleep and immunity to lower levels of stress and pain, and blood pressure. But how about the benefits you can’t measure in a lab? Based on her interviews with hundreds of middle-aged women, Suzanne Braun Levine offers 8 Reasons Why Sex Is Better After 50.