Episode 26: Living Together
Overcoming a disparity of expectations
This week we are talking about living together for the first time in our 60s. We are in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria where Suzanne has taken up residence for three months and I have joined her for five weeks – possibly about three weeks too long.
This is the first time that we have spent any time together, and during that time, it has become clear that we had a significant disparity of expectations about this time. Peter wasn't aware of quite how hard Suzanne works every day and that she needed at least eight hours of uninterrupted work time and Suzanne wasn't aware quite how bad Peter's mobility problems were as a result of his MS. In fact, he wasn't aware of quite how bad he was.
The upshot is that we have had to face some quite serious issues. Suzanne has had to become a sort of carer – something with which she had not bargained – and Peter has had to use a wheelchair for the first time – Ditto. But the more general point is that older people embarking on a new relationship bring with them all sorts of baggage that needs to be sorted out, and often those within a long relationship have all sorts of baggage that has never been sorted out and could be a source of resentment.
The conclusion we come to is that it is necessary to communicate clearly what it is that is causing concern for one or the other person and to be kind to each other.
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