Retired Couples Keeping Peace

Couples that have been together for many years often find retirement age a transitional period that requires time, patience and compromise.  One spouse or partner often retires before the other and has already had the opportunity to develop a new, perhaps slower lifestyle pace.  The other may find coming straight from the 9-5 hustle that they aren’t quite as easygoing just yet – and many more little issues may lead to disharmony in retirement years.  

Couples may discover that suddenly spending all their time together can be a bit too much, and need to carve out time for themselves and friendships away from their partner.  Then there’s the sharing of household chores, spending, shopping and cooking.  If one partner has traditionally done much of the housework, it can be challenging to suddenly onboard the other spouse.  But unless household chores are balanced, and boundaries are set for personal space and spending – resentment can start to build.  

Entering retirement happily as a couple will take time and good communication.  According to a recent AARP Home and Family article,  experts advise newly retired partners to “cut one another some slack” during the first year as they adjust to new boundaries and expectations.   Communication about goals, priorities, and needs will be vital to help couples avoid conflict and enjoy a purposeful retirement.   

When boredom, inequity between partners in the division of labour, or stress from living in a smaller space arise, it’s important not to turn to excess eating, drinking or tv-watching as a coping mechanism.  These unhealthy habits will likely breed more discontent and can lead to health problems.  Using a calendar to plan activities, focusing perhaps on healthy activities, learning, and volunteering can give retired couples structure and allow time for personal growth

Even in a smaller space, creating a little reading nook or man cave can be a lifesaver for couples who need a little downtime to pursue their hobbies or interests.  Retirement life is all about compromise; from the thermostat to meal planning – the secret to success is often in the small details and a willingness to be flexible and try new things.