Researchers monitoring the interactions of older couples perceived higher marital satisfaction, less negative vibes in general and more positive attitude in all contexts than the younger pairs.
Happiness levels of 508 old couples assessed
In a bid to gauge the level of happiness in the relationship of older people, psychologists at the University of Quebec in Montreal questioned 508 couples from Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivieres.
All the participants were pensioners and in their late sixties. Using the international model called Spanier Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the researchers measured the level of sexual satisfaction, the consistency in the relationship, and how well they connected and functioned.
The researchers noted that older people obtained the highest scores of 119 and 120 points as opposed to the 114 scored by the average Canadian.
Lead author of the study, Gilles Trudel, stated, “That might not sound like much of a difference, but the difference of five to six points is very important; it is statistically very significant.”
Reasons for happiness in the elderly
According to the experts, one factor attributing to the higher levels of happiness in the elderly may be lower rate of separation among them. Older couples are less inclined to split as opposed to the younger lot.
Having passed the mid-life stage that is linked to the child-raising--when couples have much to disagree about, the retirement phase is stress-free with less troubles.
Besides the absence of children, reduction in work-related tension is also thought to cut down sources of conflict.
Hence, mature couples have lesser conflicts and marital disagreements, and they tend to become more emotional and affectionate with age.
Good mental and physical health plus lesser responsibilities provide them with additional opportunities of traveling and having a good time together.
Additionally, older couples have lesser gender differences and communicate better with one another, which is essential for a relationship to last.
Trudel also rejects the mythical claim that ageing persons refrain from expressing sexual needs, or that sexual desire automatically ebbs as one grows old.
According to him in the elderly, "Sexuality transforms ... but they can still have pleasure ... with the help of medications or without.”
The researchers also stated that the key to a lasting relationship was never to interrupt one’s partner but show interest by giving them a patient hearing.