Relationships in Retirement
Are you recently retired? Relationships in retirement become a bit different, don’t they?
Did you know it would be so difficult to be in the same house with your spouse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, month end and month out?
You are not alone. Most other relationships will change some as well.
Is retirement really what you thought
This is for many the most difficult transition you have ever found yourself trying to make. All of a sudden you remember the buffer and safe haven that work has provided you with during your working years.
People have heard the financial part talked about enough that there is some knowledge of the fact that you must prepare for retirement by saving. As well you must be living within your means.
Have you learned to communicate
You may have some unreal expectations for your spouse and the part they will play in retirement. Does your spouse realize that your retirement affects both of you?
When you have not made some inroads into building communication skills, there will be some troubled times ahead.
No, she will not understand that you decided to play another 9 holes of golf if you do not call and visit with her about it. No, this is not asking for permission. You are simply making sure that all is well, and that she will not be concerned because you are later than expected. She has your safety in mind as well.
No, this is not asking for permission. You are simply making sure that all is well, and that she will not be concerned because you are later than expected. She has your safety in mind as well. This is a courtesy call.
And no, he will not appreciate the fact that you decide today is the day to break free of evening meal preparation. That dinner tonight is the leftovers in the refrigerator. Every man for himself.
If both of these events happen to take place the same evening. When no communications regarding these things have not taken place. The results may be different from what you wanted, expected, or planned for. These results will last more than just today.
The relationship that has been put on the back burner during your working years will not automatically rekindle its good parts. This will produce a guaranteed increase in the less desirable parts of the relationship.
Some effort from both of you to communicate and work towards a retirement that works for both of you is important.
Divorce is not the cure all
At this point, divorce can be most painful both financially and emotionally. After working together for so many years prior to this time, finding a way to work through the ups and downs of retirement is important.
There is a need at this point for more communication. When you are busier and have other things going on as you usually do while still in your working years, there is time, which can be a great buffer for relationships. When you are retired, the buffer of time is not such a good friend.
You have less patience with someone you are around all the time. They have less with you.
A Relationship needs a chance to flourish.
If you have issues that are becoming points of contention, working on learning to talk about the issue can give you a better understanding of yourself. As well as your spouse.
Learning that you do not know how your spouse expresses their love for you goes beyond what they say. Learn to listen to what they don’t say.
Don’t try to be the “lone bird” to make all the decisions. Being alone and eating alone can get old.
Does your spouse help a bit around your house? We are not talking about even 50 – 50 split here. Do you know how to get your spouse to help?
It is a safe bet that if you don’t, you don’t feel as loved and appreciated as you did early in the relationship.
Again, another communications skill that needs to be practiced to be in good working order. If you do not know how to make your spouse feel special and loved, you will not know what you need. Do you know what you need to hear from your loved one?
A lot of the time we do not know ourselves what we want or need. Relationship building is more natural for some, while a challenge for others.
When we meet and marry, we usually have about 2 years to float along before the actual newness goes away. We find it alright to overlook some shortcomings because the other parts overshadow this slight shortage.
Now a time to talk
However, as time passes this becomes unbalanced. Then you begin to build a wall to keep from getting hurt. Do you plan to approach the situation? Have some constructive conversations that can result in a workable solution?
Or do you duck your head and add that to all the other reasons you should not try to be more agreeable. Why you should not show your love and respect for your spouse.
You should not treat your children this way, either. You should not expect them to read your mind. Know what you need from them.
Should you expect your spouse to automatically know what you need to hear from them? You have been married forever, true. However, we are talking retirement.
A lot of the time you do not know yourselves what you want or need. This is why it is so important to know what you need.
Grab your pen and paper. Take a moment and give this important idea some thought. Get your list started. Expect to write and rewrite.
This is a mind change taking place for you. Give yourself some time to really explore this question, “What do I want from my mate?” How can your mate know if you don’t?
Relationship building is more natural for some, while a challenge for others. When you meet and marry, you usually have about 2 years to float along before the actual newness goes away.
You find it alright to overlook some shortcomings because the other parts overshadow this slight shortage. However, as time passes this becomes unbalanced. Then you begin to build a wall to keep from getting hurt.
Rather than approach the situation and have some constructive conversations that can result in a workable solution, you duck your head and add that to all the other reasons you should not try to be more agreeable.
You should not expect your spouse to automatically know what you need to hear from him/her. This is not an automatic for most of you. You have to learn.
Is it time to start the conversational ball rolling?
This may not be so easy if you have not started before this time. Most find that their spouse is interested in making them feel more loved. More appreciated.
They really want you to feel all of these things. They think they are showing you. Sometimes it is just not in a form we recognize.
You should not just allow the bitterness to result in a bitter and isolated relationship where you co-exist and do not work together to make sure retirement is the time you have been anticipating all this time.
Don’t become a statistic
The divorce rate for people over 50 has more than doubled in the past 20 or so years.
More women are employed outside the home, so have income. The Gray or Silver Divorce trend is a fact.
For some reason, women are stepping up and saying I have had enough. The men may be as unhappy, but they do not make the first move.
The reasons that lay behind the split up is not readily understood at this point, but it is a fact.
As women have had time to build more self-confidence from years of successful employment, they feel less reluctant to be a divorcee. This is a more accepted status in today’s society. For all or none, of these reasons divorce rates are rising.
Retirement can be tough
These are your years. You have earned the right to the most enjoyable time that you can have. A spouse relationship can be repaired if you are both inclined to meet in the middle with especially annoying habits that can be improved.
Facing retirement is more difficult alone.
Working at rebuilding the mutual love and respect that first attracted you together is certainly worth a bit of effort.
There are many books written about relationships that can help you build a better marriage. There are suggested steps to take to help you learn to help your spouse be the special one again.
To help you learn to become the special one again.
Dr. Gary Chapman has some well-written guides that can help you. You can find these books sold online. One in particular, “The 5 Languages of Love” may help you develop better communications skills for this time in your life.
There are more, I am sure. This one offers some good insight to help all your relationships and is offered as a suggested place to start.
What will you do to improve your retirement relationships? Doing nothing is not an option!