No matter how old we get, we all basically want the same thing when it comes to relationships. Who doesn’t like someone who is considerate, kind, sensitive, emotionally stable and supportive? If you throw in romantic, affectionate, funny, good looking, healthy and intelligent, you have it made! Realistically, however, our relationships are a combination of all these things. You may have to sacrifice one for another, but if you recognize that you already have what’s most important to you, you are very lucky.
There are three factors to consider when you are assessing your relationship. They are:
- A good relationship will possess what you consider your “must-have” necessities. In other words, you share the same religion, same philosophy of life, same political affiliation, or same moral values. These are things you find very important and ultimately make your relationship solid.
- A good relationship also has some flexibility, which means you can each be who you are. You love Chinese food, but your partner hates it. You love listening to jazz and your partner doesn’t understand it. You read inspirational books and your partner likes mysteries. Obviously, it’s OK to be different and this in fact makes the relationship more exciting.
- A good relationship makes concessions. You’ll watch a war movie and your partner will go to the ballet. You’ll learn golf and your partner will take dance lessons. You’ll sit through the Super Bowl and your partner will watch Sex and the City. These compromises show that you care and that “bending” is more important than winning a fight.
In other words, your relationship is really good if you allow each other to be who you are, yet are flexible enough to step out of your box to explore each other’s interests. Evaluate how much significance you place on each of the three factors above and see if some of those more rigid necessities can be made more flexible. As you age, you mellow, and the important issues will probably diminish. What really matters, though, is to experience a secure, harmonious, give and take relationship with someone who understands this as well. Cooperation, negotiation, adaptation and conciliation are all essential tools for keeping the relationship healthy and long lasting.
Amy Sherman is the co-author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60! and the founder of the Baby Boomers’ Network. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com