Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are The Relationships You Start When You’re Older Better?

There is a popular old saying that says that we get wiser as we get older. If this were true, it would mean that the relationships you start do, in fact, get better as you age.

The sad truth is that there are no perfect generalizations. While we often gravitate toward generalizations because they give us a sense of order and predictability in a disorganized world, generalizations often fall short.

When it comes to relationships, it’s all about awareness. The quality of your relationships has largely to do with how aware or conscious you are in your relationships. Your relationships will be good if you are consistent, are aware of your needs, and are aware of your partner’s needs. With this consistency and knowledge, you must be careful to be respectful and to ask for respect in return. You must approach your relationship as an ongoing classroom in which you’ll learn about yourself and your partner.

Currently, I am writing a book about dysfunctional romantic relationships. As I sit down to write on a nightly basis, I have had to clearly articulate why dysfunctional relationships fail. One of the realities of failed relationships, I have determined, is that those having the relationship often haven’t learned from their previous mistakes.

When you consider whether people’s relationships get better as they get older, you must ask whether older people are more likely to have learned from their mistakes. Given the fact that there are many older people who are unhappy and who look back on their life with regrets, I would suggest that older people are not significantly more likely to have learned from their mistakes.

People of all ages struggle with relationships. I believe that one of the reasons that people struggle this way is due to rigidity; too often people fight to be the one who is right or who “wins.” The goal for everyone, young and old, should be to become more aware of who they are and to become truly open and flexible. These are life-long goals we all must work on, and getting older is not going to make that any easier. In short, the time to start is now.

1 comment:

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