Relationship Stages in Midlife:
5 Keys to Relationship Success

beginning relationship stage

Relationship stages are a normal part of life. We get in trouble when we’re not ready or willing to let the natural shifts inherent in all relationships change and grow. Understanding this is the key to how to be happy in your relationships.

undesirable relationship stage

All relationships go through change - whether you're long time married, newly divorced, single over 40, widowed, or dating in midlife. Whether you've been in a long time relationship or find yourself starting over in midlife, ALL relationships change over time. That's how it's supposed to be. But, ALL relationship stages have the potential to be vibrant and fulfilling.

5 Keys to happiness through
All relationship stages

Your primary relationship must be with yourself

In order to have a healthy and thriving relationship with ANYONE else, you need to develop your relationship with yourself first. We’ve heard this all our lives – you’ve got to love yourself… yada yada yada.

But happy successful people know this and understand that to attract the best from others you have to be the best that you can be. If you feel vulnerable, unworthy of love, or insecure you will attract others who bring out these feelings even stronger. If you are self confident and feel good about yourself, you will attract people with similar qualities.

Become what you are looking for in others.

Accept that relationships are supposed to change over time

So many of us struggle with relationships because we don’t want anything to change.

  • Your young children are dependent on you for virtually everything when they're young but they are supposed to grow independent and free from you. Most of us get sad or uncomfortable when our kids grow wings and separate themselves, but that’s what’s supposed to happen.
  • When you fall in love it’s all new and shiny and fun and you want that feeling to last forever. Romantic love falls into many relationship stages. If you only long for that new and shiny stage, you miss all the depth and vibrancy of what other stages bring. When someone knows you better than you know yourself and can anticipate your needs – that’s worth giving up some newness isn’t it?
  • Your friendships change over time as well, as your girlfriends don’t necessarily grow and change at the same rate that you do. Yes, it’s nice to have the same friends since grade school, but as you change you will want to attract new friends who meet your newer needs.

Relationships are supposed to change. All the relationship stages can be as juicy and wonderful in each stage if you just accept that change is growth and there’s something to be gained and learned in every stage.


Our relationship stages are a reminder of this. We don’t come into this life to experience one thing. If relationships don’t change there is just stagnation.

The relationships you start in your 20s are based on your desires and values at that time. As you get older and accumulate more life experiences and really figure out what’s really important to you, your relationship expectations often change.

As you grow, maybe your partner doesn’t. As you grow, maybe your partner grows in a different direction and isn’t supporting you in your growth.

Never hold anyone else responsible for YOUR happiness

The problems arise when you make your happiness dependent on your partner or you feel responsible for your partner’s happiness. What a burden this places on both of you.

The greatest gift you can give someone is unconditional love. This is when you love someone without making them responsible for your own happiness and you don’t feel responsible for making them happy. Giving someone else the power to make you happy is conditional love and is not the way to freedom and joy.

Don't give your power away by making your happiness dependent on anyone other than yourself.

Let go of unrealistic expectations

We’ve all done it – we have these expectations about our relationships and we let our happiness hinge on how those expectations pan out. I’ll be happy if he brings me flowers, does the dishes, tells me he loves me, or writes me love letters. Letting go of this type of expectation can be very freeing and often brings more happiness and satisfaction than you originally envisioned.

Look for the best in others

If you keep focusing on someone’s irritating behavior you’ll just end up with more lists of things to complain about. When you focus on someone’s strengths, you find that they respond to that and provide you with more reasons to find appreciation. If your partner has many great qualities STOP focusing on the one thing that drives you crazy. Or better yet, instead of trying to stop thinking about the one bad thing, think about the 20 great things.

Having trouble in your relationship? Focus on the traits in your mate that first attracted you. Think about all the good qualities that made you fall in love to begin with.

Related Links:

Learn how to improve your marriage

Advantages of being single

How to deal with divorce

How to have happy post divorce relationships

How to avoid negative people

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