As we grow older, the way we approach relationships changes. What might have worked for a young couple in their 20s may not be the same for a couple in their 40s or 50s, mainly because our priorities, expectations, and the challenges we face differ as we age. It's important to understand these shifts to ensure that our relationships can adapt and flourish as we move through different stages of life. Whether you are enjoying the adventure of young love or basking in the wisdom of later years, we spoke to global matchmaker and founder of Vows For Eternity, Anuradha Gupta, who shares her best relationship advice for every decade.
The 20s relationship:
‘In your 20s, it's common to prioritise personal growth and exploration. This is a time for figuring out who you are, whether that be through studying, travelling, working, or pursuing your passions. Especially during their early 20s, individuals tend to be more explorative and want the freedom to try out new experiences and meet different people. It’s an exciting period of finding your place in the world, but it’s important to understand that everyone progresses at their own pace and may not be on the same timeline as you.
The dating scene has all kinds of people at different stages of their lives. If you are looking for a long-term relationship in your 20s, it's best to be upfront about it. This way, you can ensure both of you are on the same page and you can avoid getting into a ‘situation-ship’ that's not going anywhere. Being open about your intentions helps you build a relationship on shared goals, which is much more likely to be satisfying and long-lasting.’
The 30s relationship:
‘Moving onto your 30s, people tend to be more secure in their identity and what they are looking for in a relationship. The focus shifts from exploration in your 20s to establishing a stable career and potentially looking to start a family. This period often involves making a lot of important life decisions together, so open communication is key to ensure you are on the same page with your partner and are both ready to take the next steps together. As well as this, balancing the intricacies of maintaining a successful career whilst nurturing a fulfilling personal life becomes essential, as neglecting either could lead to potential strain on your relationship.
With the multitude of responsibilities that come with this phase, being flexible and adaptable is key. Whilst you shouldn’t ever compromise to the extent that you lose your identity, you may need to make some adjustments to accommodate each other’s aspirations. Despite busier schedules, make a focused effort to spend quality time together and not lose the excitement of your 20s. Plan fun date nights or challenge yourself to new experiences that allow you to reconnect and maintain your emotional bond. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, ensure your relationship remains a priority.’
The 40s relationship:
‘As career accomplishments solidify and children may be growing older, relationships in your 40s are a time to reassess your priorities. The longer you’re together, the easier it can be to take your spouse for granted and fall into a monotonous daily routine. It’s no surprise divorce rates are highest amongst couples in their 40s.
Your 40s are a time to rekindle the romantic spark and focus on your shared interests that may have taken a back seat due to the demands of career and family responsibilities. Switch up your daily routine by planning a romantic weekend getaway to enjoy the fruits of your labour through regular date nights. As well as this, focus on communicating more vulnerably with each other during your quality time to close any distance that may have been created. Reminding your partner of the qualities that made you fall in love with them and expressing your appreciation daily can go a long way to strengthening your bond. Not many want to admit it, but successful marriages run on forgiveness too. It’s important to communicate respectfully where you felt underappreciated by your partner and move forward from past grievances in a calm manner. Seeking the guidance of a qualified couples counsellor can provide valuable perspective and support as you navigate this phase of your relationship.’
The 50s relationship:
‘As couples enter their 50s, they may find themselves dealing with the emotional impact of ‘empty nest syndrome’. With children having left home to pursue their paths, this phase can trigger a range of emotions, from a sense of loss to newfound freedom and opportunities for personal growth. As you navigate ‘empty nest syndrome’, view this as an opportunity to focus on activities you weren’t previously able to pursue, whether that’s joining a weekend walking group with your partner or travelling to a new country you have both never explored. As well as shared activities, your 50s can be a time to rediscover your individuality and prioritise self-care. Encourage each other's personal growth and aspirations, whether it's through new hobbies, reconnecting with old friends, or delving into spiritual practices such as meditation. This will ensure you create an enriched and balanced life, both individually and as a couple in your 50s.
Your 50s is also a time for celebration. It’s likely you have been through many ups and downs in your marriage and overcome them to get to this phase in life. Take the opportunity to renew your commitment to each other by reflecting on the challenges you've conquered together and the memories you've created for a lifetime. Reaffirm your dedication to supporting each other through the journey ahead, whether that be through renewing your vows or a celebratory date night.’
The 60s relationship:
‘For couples in their 60s and beyond, they should embrace the wisdom that comes with their age and cherish the bond that withstood the tests of time. This phase offers a unique opportunity to share your wealth of experiences, advice, and stories with the younger generation, leaving behind a legacy of love that transcends generations.