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Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Reignite the Spark in Midlife Relationships

Guest post by Devon Solinger Berger, CPC, ELI-MP

Midlife is often a period of time where people experience major transitions. It is perfectly normal even when it seems outrageous. If you can remember just that one statement, you are already headed down the track to peace and tranquility. The good news is that by the time you reach midlife, you have lived enough to have acquired some valuable knowledge. The key is how you utilize this knowledge to help you to not only survive, but thrive in this chapter of life.

One of the biggest relationship transitions that most people are not aware of involves the possibility that both yours and your partner’s essential human needs have shifted.  There are several human needs we all have and if all of them are being met, we are experiencing blissful fulfillment. If only some of them are being met, we are happy and content. However, if none of them are being met within the relationship, it is human nature to seek to have them met elsewhere. 

This is the list most widely accepted by relationship experts: 

- to feel loved or bonded with another person, 
- to feel important or valued, 
- security and comfort, 
- spontaneity or variety, 
- to grow and develop, 
- to make a contribution to others.

If you take a look at the list, you might begin to identify with a couple of these more than the others. If you take an even closer look at your life, you might even see how the importance of these has shifted. When you first got together with your partner, your needs may have been completely different and the reason the relationship seemed to work so well was that you were able to meet each other needs-- sometimes without even realizing it!

People’s needs change over time and we sometimes are not aware of this fact. Since we aren’t aware of it, we certainly can’t clue our partners in on the change either. 
Unconsciously, you both began seeking to have your new needs met in other ways, because your partner was not satisfying them for you.

For example, when women become mothers they can often have their need for love and bonding met in the relationship with their children. One possible consequence of this is that her partner feels excluded and unloved. To compensate, he seeks to have that need met by spending more time at work or with friends and avoids the home.

Sound familiar?  Have no fear!  The awareness alone empowers you to make a change and to save your relationship!

First, figure out what your most important needs are and how they are currently being met or not met. Then, share openly with your partner. Figure out what his or her needs are and make an effort to fulfill those needs within your relationship. This might sound a little unfair to you, but remember that it is incredibly effective AND it is the key to taking your relationship to the next level of everlasting and blissful love!

Devon Solinger Berger, CPC, ELI-MP    Art of Relationship Life Coaching

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here


  1. Devon,

    It is so true. Over the years my sweetie pie and I have found that our needs have changed again and again.

    I think what I like most about hitting the midlife point is that we have really grown into a more solid relationship. But that does not mean that we can ignore what may come up.

    I think a relationship has to be continuously
    created. And it is easy to settle down to what
    we think is comfortable...boring.

    Your list is a very interesting look I did identify with a couple of them.

    Thanks for the look.

  2. At 35, I don't know if I'm considered "midlife" or not, but I do know how important it is to maintain my relationship with my husband. Like most relationships, we have ebbs and flows, but we do focus enough on one another and maintaining our closeness that I feel like we're on the right track. This post was really great in that it gave me specific things to consider and remember when I'm dealing with him on a day-to-day basis. Thanks for that!