retired couple discussing their priorities

You’re retired––yes.  So is your husband, right?  So life is wonderful and full of bliss?

“No,” you say.  What’s up?  Isn’t this the guy you married for a life of happiness? Isn’t this the guy you’ve relied on for love and support throughout the years? What’s up? What’s changed to obliterate the bliss you felt you felt when you first married?

“24/7,” you say.  How can that be?

It’s true that retired couples generally spend more time together––but doesn’t having even more time with that hunk of a man you choose long ago have a special advantage?

One of the most frequent comments I hear from wives who are struggling to adjust to their husbands retirement is, “he’s always there.” It’s not that they don’t enjoy his company––it’s often that the routine wives have built over the years is suddenly interrupted.

How to resolve it? That’s an individual decision for each couple, but first you must be clear in your mind about how much time you need for yourself. How long does it take you to do tasks you must do by or for yourself? How much time do you want to explore your own interests or to spend with your friends whose interests don’t match your husband’s? How much quiet time do you need on your own.

Once you’re clear about your priorities and needs it’s time to talk about time you will spend together––or apart. Your clarity on this issue will make it easier to discuss what’s important to him and what’s important to both of you? Do you want to explore new interests together or do you want more time to go off to do your own thing?

It’s true that the sudden togetherness in retirement can be a shock. For some the adjustment is easy. For others it’s more difficult and for yet, even another group, it seems almost impossible. Every couple’s situation is different, and this blog would not pretend to offer a solution that fits all.

I do know, however, that the first important thing is to outline your priorities and needs before any discussion begins. This is not a selfish or demanding act; It is simply that your clear picture on your hopes for retirement will help you articulate your needs and assist you in the goal of a calm effective discussion about what matters to each of you in retirement. Only then can you go about discussing how you will go work toward mutual contentment––however you define that as a couple.

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