Surviving your spouse’s retirement
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Nevertheless, Nancy worried. Jerry rarely left the house. Many days he didn’t shave or shower. He had no activities except for logging on to his computer. When she asked him what he was doing on his PC, he wouldn’t discuss it with her. When he did open up, he was often belligerent or demanding. Nancy didn’t know whether to ignore him, berate him or feel sorry for him. Retirement was unraveling their relationship.
Contrast this to Al and Grace. Al had been planning for retirement for three years. He and Grace had discussed it at length -- what to do, where to live, how their lives would change. When Al retired, he had a new life awaiting him. He became more engaged in family life, offering to frequently babysit for his grandkids. He took up cooking as a hobby. He developed a new interest in upgrading his home, trying his hand at several carpentry projects. His golf game had always been a source of pleasure. Now, he had time to play several days a week. When the weather didn’t cooperate, he’d be on his Mac, planning the next vacation or the next home improvement project.
Al’s activities created structure to his day and helped him develop a new network of people. Some of his activities involved Grace, some did not. Rather than feeling burdened by a retired husband, Grace felt grateful that he was around more often. This gave them the opportunity to share more of the housework and find joint projects to enjoy.
Retirement requires the ability to change gracefully. To engage in new activities. To create new social networks. To discover new challenges and opportunities. When a man meets these challenges successfully, he creates a new life that may be even more engaging and energizing than he could ever have anticipated. When he fails to meet these challenges successfully, it’s a downhill slide, not only for the man but also for his spouse.
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior.
To subscribe to her FREE E-newsletter, go to http://www.PsychWisdom.com or contact her at LSapadin@DrSapadin.com