What to do in a new relationship when you’re over 50

Are you worried about whether it’s too soon to be with someone new? Perhaps you need advice about introducing your children to your new partner, or maybe just some tips on how to be more confident with your body? Gransnetters know the value of finding love later in life and, ahead of Valentine’s Day, have shared their words of wisdom about what to do in a new relationship when you’re older.

Whether you recently got divorced or lost your spouse, it’s always difficult to know when the right time to move on is. For some, it simply never comes – and it’s alright to feel that way. However, if you do find yourself in love again, it may be time to dip a toe in the water. Whatever your past, you should only ever enter into a new relationship with hope and optimism. If it feels too soon, it likely is, so talk it through and find out if it’s worth fighting for.

Gransnetters say:

“Please do not feel guilty about enjoying the company of another man as I am sure you would not have wanted your late husband to be lonely had you died first.”

“A close friend of mine lost her husband in her early 60s after a long happy marriage. About a year later she met someone in the same situation, they got on well and slowly developed their relationship.”

Moving on to another relationship does not take away from my marriage. I was 46 when my husband died. Do whatever feels right for you and makes you happy.”

“My advice would be to do what you feel happy with, at your own pace. No-one can replace your first husband and you will never forget him, but there is nothing wrong in moving on with your life and being happy again. Enjoy this man’s friendship and company and see where things lead.”

Building a relationship takes enthusiasm and investment – but what if you don’t feel like you have anything to give, or if you feel that what you can give might not be enough? Lack of confidence can be very limiting in many areas of life, but in particular, can cause potential relationships to come to a grinding halt. Many people in their 50s and 60s admit to feeling uncomfortable about looking for a new life partner and some never try. Perhaps it is time to think about what kind of relationship you’d want in an ideal world. Do you even want a new partner? And if you do, why? Knowing what you want will help you feel more confident.

This might sound a little silly, but bear with us; talk nicely to yourself in front of mirrors as often as you can. Say things such as ‘you look nice today’ and ‘you’re a lovely person, I’d like to know more about you’. Talking to yourself nicely is a small way to force yourself to think positively about who you are and what you’re doing in your new relationship.

Use your experiences and self-knowledge

Knowing yourself and what you want will not only help you stay positive, it is also hugely attractive. It’s time to put all that you have learned from life’s experiences to good use and start feeling more confident. You know your strengths and limitations, you’ve experienced many arguments – and you’ve learned how best to solve differences before they become an issue. You’ll find the confidence you need to make the relationship a success in patience, kindness and faith that your partner wants this just as much as you – otherwise he/she wouldn’t be doing it. This time round it’ll be easier. You’re better at it now, remember, and so is your new partner.

Gransnetters say:

“New relationships at this age are somehow richer and more fulfilling, probably because we are no longer young and beautiful, so you know that your partner wants you because of you and not to be some kind of pretty thing on his arm. Also, you have all that experience behind you and willingness to forget and forgive and take your time.”

Don’t waste time waiting for the right moment. If you’re happy then you probably just need to let go a little and enjoy yourself and your lucky situation.

Gransnetters say:

“I met my second husband in my early 50s. We were having a kiss and a cuddle on my sofa when I said ‘I’ve had a good idea’ and took him to my bedroom. We’ve been together for over 30 years, married, and we sometimes comment about my good idea.”

“Go out for a meal, have a few drinks, take him home and let things take their course. Worked for me!”

“Book a hotel in a lovely place nearby. Have a meal, dress up to make it a special date, get your hair done, and have a glass or two of Dutch courage and see where it goes.”

“Book a night away, it doesn’t have to be far or expensive, just Saturday morning till Sunday afternoon. Nice meal, just enough drink and all the privacy you need.”

Feeling shy or embarrassed about your body?

If you’re nervous about this, take your time. The benefit of being a little older is that you both have experience and know what you want. Yes, your body looks different now – but so will your partner’s.

Gransnetters say:

“I know we both want a sexual relationship, but I’m not sure how I will feel when it comes to it, not having the bodies we once had.”

“My partner was just as nervous about being intimate as I was.”

“Don’t even think about what your body looks like. He will have a fair idea anyway. When the moment is right just go for it and enjoy.”

“Remember there are no mirrors under the bed covers, just you and him and the feelings of togetherness. This is what counts. Once we’ve had a couple of kids, not many of us are model perfect, never mind in later life!”

“Our bodies may not be the same as in our 20s, but we still have the same kind of feelings.”

“We spent our first night together in a Travelodge on the M1. You’re worried about seeing each other naked. Trust me, it won’t matter.”

Discussing health problems prior to having sex

Rather than avoiding the subject and feeling self-conscious about it, why not just put it on the table? You will likely both have something you are concerned about that you wish the other person knew in advance. Of course if you feel it won’t impact your sex life there is no reason to bring it up until you feel comfortable with it. But if you are nervous or concerned about a health issue, you will likely not be able to relax and enjoy being intimate with your partner until you’ve talked about things. If you are concerned about having sex due to a health condition, ask your GP’s advice on the subject.

Health conditions you may want to discuss/bring up:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Recent surgery
  • Some medications
  • Menopause

Gransnetters say:

“Once it was clear that we were both serious about each other and had a future together, I think I’d feel it odd not to have mentioned it, but that’s just me.”

“If you feel close enough to this man to begin a sexual relationship, why would you want to hide anything from him?”

“When I started my relationship with my present partner 10 years ago, we were both in our mid 50s and both had been divorced for about 5 or 6 years without any other intimate relationships. I was really concerned that losing my cervix might affect the quality of sex for him in some way, but it has not been a problem.”

The people who have the most successful relationships are good at, for want of a better phrase, ‘going with the flow’. They put their faith in their relationships, in their partners and in the belief that in times of change, the most important thing is to adapt together.

Is your relationship casual, long term or perhaps better as a friendship? Talk about what you want and don’t be afraid to set boundaries with each other.

When you’re in a new relationship in your 50s and beyond, there is often significantly less pressure to ‘progress’ in your relationship. When we are younger, assumptions about settling down can cause tension in new relationships. When we are older, these assumptions are rarer and instead, mature couples are often more open and relaxed about their options. ‘Moving forward’ no longer necessarily means marriage for example; ways of connecting have become blurred and no one will raise an eyebrow whether you choose to live apart, live together or get married.

It might sound simple, but talk to your children before introducing them to your new partner. Are you worried about how they might react? If so, how do you think they will feel about your news? How old your children are is important to how you introduce them to your new partner. You know your children, but generally the younger they are, the slower the better.

Let them catch up in their own time. Start by going to a place together where you don’t necessarily have to talk, like the cinema. It is a good idea to do something you know your children will appreciate and feel is planned with them in mind. Then meet up for lunch and make sure their preferences are put first. Going for a walk together is a good idea. Wait a little while before having a dinner at home – they may need the adjustment time even if they ‘know’ you’re in a new relationship.

Let them see how happy your partner makes you and always try to let them form their own opinions of him or her. In time they may ask you all the details and you will have the chance to tell them all about how lovely your new partner is.

If your children are older, it will be harder to hide your relationship from them – and they’ll probably demand information a lot sooner. This doesn’t mean, however, that they will be ready for it sooner. Don’t forget that your children may seem supportive and positive on the outside, but struggle to cope with the change on their own. A good partner will and should respect that yours and his/her children always come first and your relationship may be a little tricky to organise around your respective families.

But while you must take care of your children’s feelings, remember that it’s your life and if you are happy then your children will be happy for you. If they take a little time to digest the news or react in a less than positive way, remember they are probably just trying to look out for you.

What if it’s not quite the time yet?

If the relationship is very new you might want to hold off including your children. One reason why it is a good idea to keep your relationship and home life separate for a little longer, is in case it doesn’t work out and the relationship ends. It will be hard to disguise the disappointment from your children – and they may have already become invested in your partner and feel the loss themselves.

What if the children won’t accept the new relationship?

If your children are not ready, then give them time to adjust, but be prepared to acknowledge that they might never be ready. A decent partner will understand the boundaries your children set and respect your past – and you should theirs. Even if the children never truly get on board with the idea, they will slowly get used to things having changed.

Gransnetters say:

“Make his children welcome if they visit and remember special dates. You can’t and don’t want to replace their mum, hopefully they will accept you as their father’s partner who makes him happy.”

“I was widowed four years ago and around six months ago began a relationship with an old family friend (also widowed). We are very happy. Two of my children are delighted that I am no longer lonely and alone, but one can’t bear to think of his father being ‘replaced’.”

So what do you do if you have younger or returned children living at home? And how do you know how much time to invest in the relationship? Whether you are still caring for your children or they’re adults returned to the ‘nest’, being in a new relationship may put your home life under a strain. Managing everyone’s expectations may be difficult, so make sure you take the time to take care of yourself also.

If you’re not yet ready to introduce your children to your new partner, take a holiday, go on a mini-break – or just for a walk. If your adult children are making it difficult, ask them for a little space and remember that they would do the same if the situation was reversed.

Gransnetters say:

“We don’t get much privacy and that’s part of the problem. One of my sons has returned home, on a temporary basis (I hope) and he has a son who has moved in with him too.”

“If there are privacy issues then go away for a few days’ holiday so you can both relax.”

“We went away to London for a romantic weekend and had great fun. Perhaps try that and some champagne..!”

Whether money is a little tight or not, the decision to move in together may influence things such as certain taxes and benefits. There may be financial benefits/disadvantages associated with both marriage and cohabitation. If you would like more information, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau.

 

 

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What ‘Pocketing’ Means; and Why No One Deserves It in a Relationship

Your partner could actually be hiding you in plain sight.

When you have been dating someone for a while and the relationship seems to be going smoothly, building up nicely to something that could be permanent, you would expect at some point to meet the people that are closest to them. That is, family and friends.

And it’s OK if the person wants to take a little while before introducing you to these people, especially their parents and other family members, as this often signifies really serious intent. Sure enough, you want to be certain about someone before presenting them to your folks.

While it’s OK to take time to do this, not doing it at all is where the problem lies. And that’s the whole idea of pocketing.

What if your partner is hiding you from people they hold dear? [Credit - Shutterstock]What if your partner is hiding you from people they hold dear? [Credit – Shutterstock]

What pocketing means

Pretty much this is a term that describes the situation of being kept as a secret. You’re hidden from the person’s friends, family and the public eye. You do not get on their social media space, either. Literally no one of note knows you are together.

“If you aren’t being introduced to his or her friends and family within months of spending time together, then it might be time to open your eyes because you have been pocketed,” Eugénie Legendre, PR and Communication manager of Happn, a dating app, tells Yahoo Style UK.

Why people do it

One of the reasons for why a partner would want to hide you away from everyone is obviously for fear that their secret life will be exposed. If you are being deceived by someone who has another partner or a whole family somewhere else, surely they wouldn’t be flaunting you to family, friends or even social media or anywhere else for that matter.

There is also a possibility that they are scared to introduce to family because they are scared that they won’t like you or approve of you. On the flipside, they might worry that you won’t like them or get along with them either.

No one likes to be someone else's secret [Credit - Shutterstock]No one likes to be someone else’s secret [Credit – Shutterstock]

Ana Jovanovic, a psychologist and life coach says a vast difference in social status could also be the reason why this happens.

 “They may be ashamed of their family and friends and may feel that if their date was to meet them, they would think less of them,” says Jovanovic.

“This is especially true in cases where there is an educational gap, or big socio-economic or cultural differences.

How to know you are being pocketed

He or she never makes plans that will require you both to hang out with other people, they make excuses why you can’t meet their friends and family, you meet at secluded, discrete places and at odd times.

Also, they don’t talk much about people in their social circle, you’re nowhere to be found on their social media. If you run into someone they know, you are never properly introduced and most crazily, their friends and family have never heard about you.

If you’ve been dating for months and no one in his or her life knows about you, it’s a bad sign. “It’s not only that you haven’t met any of their friends or family members, but they don’t know that you exist,” says Jovanovic.

You need to have that important talk of you feel you are being pocketed [Credit -Shutterstock]You need to have that important talk of you feel you are being pocketed [Credit -Shutterstock]

What to do if you’re being pocketed

It is one of the awkward relationship conversations to have, but you would have to do it; for your sanity’s sake especially.

Strike up a honest conversation about where the person you’re dating thinks this is headed and ask follow up questions about what the person’s intentions are.

If it turns out that you are on the same page as them in the relationship, then you have to demand to meet their friends, for starters. It would cure your curiosity and assuage your doubts about being pocketed. And if your partner really cares about you and wants to keep the relationship, this should not be a difficult request to meet.

If, after this conversation, you still have reasonable cause[s] to believe you are still being hidden, then maybe you really are.

Don’t hesitate to leave a relationship where you’re not being valued.

 

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Sun Stories: Trinity – Chapter 1 – Promotion

I was working at the salon as usual. I love being here and we’re entering our busy season. April through June is like Christmas here.

It’s so busy I had to hire Amelia and Eileen to help at night because it gets crazy busy every night. You can read their blog posts on here as well! Great girls!

I like to work and stay busy, so I work most weekends. My partner Achilles has weathered this business for over 10 years, so he likes to be off on the weekends.

I get it. He wants a normal life. I remember having that, but I’m in a different place in my life now. I love to work and be busy. I’ve been in three bands when I was younger, I’ve worked 25 years in the banking industry, and 10 more in advertising.

I’m done.

It’s all corporate bullshit. You make your money and be a slave to the American dream and get the fuck out if you have the fortitude and mindset to do it.

Most of America is more enslaved than we’ve ever been. The stuff, the cars, the mortgage, the wife, the house, the kids, the pets, the social stature.

All bullshit.

None of that makes you happy.

You’re riding on an endless merry-go-round hoping to catch the brass ring at the end.

It’s a bunch of nonsense your insecure parents taught you.

All lies.

Do what makes you happy with less and you’ll feel so much better.

I’d rather work more hours at anything than going to endless meetings that justify another loser’s existence, and position in the company, and sitting in a cubicle.

Humans are supposed to be so much more than that. You’ve been sold a bill of goods and it’s all a lie.

I have a very dear friend who just became a millionaire 21 days before his 50th birthday, and said to me, “You”ll never be poor.”

He knows I have the skills to always earn and feel alive and work.

In this modern world everyone is on social media and needs to show off how successful and how much their lives are amazing.

All lies.

Your social media is just your greatest hits. Your vacations, lunches, and parties.

At the end of the day you have to go back to your place and be alone with yourself.

What are your really doing with your life? Have you been sold a bill of goods as to what your life should be?

Probably.

I bought it and lived it for decades.

All lies.

My father once said, “Every man dies… but not every man lives.”

I decided two years ago to truly live.

I work harder mentally and physically than I’ve ever have in the last thirty years but I feel alive and invigorated every day.

I wake up and I’m ready to go.

I see these kids come into the salon all beaten up from their corporate jobs and they’re all shot. This is not an anomaly. This is a trend. They’re mired in college loan debt performing jobs they hate.

But the money is lucrative, and they eat that shit sandwich everyday.

It’s actually sad but I get why these poor souls are doing it.

Which brings me to Trinity.

 

Trinity showed up at the salon like any other 26-year-old girl who wants to get a little color.

She was pretty, charming, and had a bit of sass. (I like that)

She told me she was a transplant from Boston and was now working in Philly.

I asked her what her deal was, and she was nice enough to reveal.

“I work as a general manager for AT&T and I’m the youngest person to ever get the job I now have with them.”

I realize that’s huge, and she must be extraordinary or an incredible over achiever like me.

“Yea, I killed it at AT&T in Boston and was offered the GM job here in Philly so wanting to further my career I took it.”

“Killer. Well Done, Trinity. That’s quite a sacrifice to make the move, but you’re young and you earned it, so well done.”

I felt an instant energy with Trinity.

She gave off great vibes. If you’ve been reading this column you know that’s where I get my power and I feel we connected immediately.

“I took this job to further my career so I moved to Philly. I left everything I know in Boston… even my boyfriend. He’s great, but here I am and I have no friends.”

“Well there’s always Bumble Friends. I heard of another client’s cousin that transplanted here from Miami and she has tons of friends now.

“Thanks for that. Meeting you gives me hope.”

“Oh, I got the hook up all over this lovely city.”

“That’s awesome.”

“We should hang and you can drink for free.”

“That would be amazing. Yes!”

“What’ll we do?”

“Here’s my number.”

“I’ll push you all my contact info, Trinity.”

“Perf…”

“I have an amazing hookup on Monday nights at a special bar so we’ll drink for free.”

“I’m down.”

“Okay I’ll text you.”

“Sounds good.”

 

So it’s on….

 

I got a huge dopamine rush from meeting Trinity. She’s sharp, young and sassy. She’s affable, effervescent, and laughed at all of my bits. I really felt a connection with her.

Odd thing is… I haven’t felt this vibe since Michelle. (See: Michelle – A Brand New Day)

Yea… that could be a problem…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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