“The surprising thing is that the longer people are together, the more the sense of kindness returns. Our research is starting to reveal that in later life, your relationship becomes very much like it was during courtship.”
Research suggests that, on average, we grow consistently less happy from about age 25 until about age 55, then our feelings of happiness start to improve. At 65, there is a split – one group continues to get happier, while the other starts to become less happy (as they start to feel less relevant in the world.)
One of the factors that contributes to the rise in happiness in your 50s is that your child-rearing responsibilities (and also household responsibilities more generally) lessen. There is less stress, and you have a lot more maturity and understanding of each other.
My husband and I have experienced what Gottman describes now that we are empty nesters, and I love it. Less stress means that my husband actually doesn’t have to take the mood stabilizing medications he used to take (though he has found that he has to add behavioral strategies for those times when his stress does rise…so he’s still managing his emotional lability – just in a new way). We get to ride bikes and go on adventures together – always a sweet spot for the two of us. And it doesn’t matter as much if either one of us puts off a project, or changes our mind. Yes, as we age, we are both more forgetful, but we are also kinder to each other.
I hope that you find a similar ‘surprise’ as you and your partner age.
I am one of the experts today on the Parenting ADHD Summit. Learn from me and 27 other Top ADHD experts. Register now for free.
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships.
Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group.