A significant change that can take place during retirement has to do with relationships between couples. For people that enter retirement while in a relationship, suddenly you’re spending 40 hours or more extra together each week.
In this article, we look at how the extra time can be used to not only examine each other’s quirks, idiosyncrasies, and bad habits but actually help to strengthen the bonds. Regardless of how secure your relationship is, this will bring challenges that should be addressed rather than swept under the carpet.
If the changes are causing extreme feelings of tension and anxiety, it is worthwhile considering getting professional therapy or counselling.
If you are entering retirement in a relationship, managing the change and adjustments you may need to make are best done in open discussion and support of your partner.
Let’s look at three areas that you could consider together:
- Discuss your vision of what retirement will look like for the two of you. Do you envision six months of travel each year while your partner just wants to play golf all year round? Talk it out to arrive at a happy medium.
- Talk about the amount of time you will spend together each week. It’s not reasonable to want to spend all of your time together, so don’t feel abandoned if she wants a little space. Plan to fill some of your time with activities that will absorb you both, such as learning fusion cooking or taking tai chi lessons.
- Identify and discuss the changing roles within the relationship. If you are retiring first, you will inherit the part of the primary home-maker. Be prepared to embrace it while also supporting her role as the primary income earner.
Retirement is a fantastic opportunity to apply yourself to your relationship in a way that you may not have had time for when you were working.
Let’s look at three activities to help your post-retirement relationship to blossom:
- Communicate with your partner. Encourage her to share her emotions and then actively listen to what she says. Rather than providing solutions, express understanding and empathy. Try to do this every day.
- Play games together. Rather than spending every evening staring at the TV, invest in some board games and play them together – just don’t get too competitive.
- Be romantic. Dance with your spouse to your favourite records from years past. Surprise her with small gifts – and plan dates together.
Retirement can bring significant lifestyle changes that impact both partners in a relationship. Being open and working through these can be easier with a shared vision and open dialogue. It can result in positive bonding and create a pathway to enjoy retirement even more.
Written by Steve T.
As well as being an author, Steve is experienced in helping people to reach their physical goals.
 Wasylenki D. Coping with change in retirement. 1978-02-01
 van der Heide I, van Rijn R M, Robbroek S JW, Burdorf A, Proper K I. Is retirement good for your health? A systematic review of longitudinal studies. 2013-12-13
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.