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Retirement-proofing your relationship with your spouse or partner is critical and should be top of mind



When one thinks about retirement, finance is usually the first and foremost thought that one has.  One does not often think about relationships in retirement.  And yet the impact on relationships when one retires is significant. 

A UK report reveals that baby boomers have the fastest growing divorce rate in comparison to all other age categories.  “Gray divorce” is on the rise, and retirement may well have something to do with it.  Some couples are just not prepared for the reality of being around each other on a regular basis. 

It is glaringly apparent that many people do not pay enough attention to their own relationships, before it’s too late.    And this can have a devastating effect on firstly, yourself, and your spouse or partner, as well as your family and friends. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom.  Retirement offers many positive benefits when it comes to relationships with one’s spouse or partner.  And if there are any negative, identify them and deal with them.

Now is the time to put all of those plans into action. You may want to get involved in some community work together, you might want to travel.  However, much as there is benefit to having a shared interest or hobby, keeping yourself busy and maintaining your independence is absolutely crucial.

It could be the first time in your life that you and your partner are together 24 hours a day.  This could bring about some teething problems! 

There is a syndrome called “The Underfoot Husband”.  Typically, the underfoot husband finds himself at a loose end.  He is lonely.  He follows his wife around the house, offering her endless cups of tea, goes with her to the supermarket.  You get the picture..  His partner is smothered with attention because he has not yet organised his social life and has put no purposeful activities into place.  This “condition” generally evaporates once the partner has established his/her own personal interests and put plans into place, but if it doesn’t, it can lead to issues down the line.  These days, the syndrome could apply equally to the wife in the relationship. 

Invest time in your friends.  Don’t rely purely on your partner for companionship or when you want to let off steam.  Make new friends through new shared experiences and hobbies.

As you can see, it is critical that you both spend time and effort in finding that new sense of purpose in retirement.  You may find that communicating your retirement desires with your spouse or significant other leads to the discovery that you actually have conflicting ideas about retirement and how you want to spend your “golden years”.  The best solution is simply to speak to each other.  Frank and open conversations help to establish the rules of engagement for a much more intrusive co-existence.  Best to deal with these pre-retirement or before the potential issue festers and becomes a major source of conflict.    

Know that you are not alone.  This is a common phenomenon in the best of happily married couples.  Being aware of the pitfalls is half the battle.


If this article was beneficial, have a look at:

Are boomerang kids turning baby boomers into baby gloomers?  Click here

Finding your sense of purpose in retirement.  Click here


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