Happiness in Retirement? 

I know many couples who are having great difficulty living in each other’s company after retirement. I recall my own grandparent’s slight bickering and now I see this problem with my husband and me. My close friends who have partners/spouses alive, appear to be in the same bind. Love’s young dream is a distant memory and you feel as though you are just ”Putting up with”  each other. I do feel it seems to be the men who find it the most difficult, as women generally have been busier prior to retirement. This atmosphere leads to resentment and both parties feeling they would be better off without the other[Not wishing them dead!!] Although there is still a great sense of loyalty to each other, there is constant stress and debate, i.e. nagging, not listening ,and disagreement.

Twenty years ago I would have dismissed this happening to us but it has, and I do not know what preparation could have eased this. It just creeps up on you.   This may be different for people who have not had children, as they would have been in slightly closer proximity during all of their relationship, not just in retirement.

I need to clarify that those negative aspects of our retired relationship is not like this all the time ,and I am probably giving you a slightly biased viewpoint as it is mostly from the female perspective. This is not just my own experience .I have talked to a few women that I know well. My own mother used to complain that my father had “taken over” and watched everything she did in the home, whereas before he had stayed in the garden ,”his domain” if you like .These are niggly things, but can aid to undermine the retirement years.

Unless you have POTS of money, early retirement can be quite destructive too. In our case we both do voluntary work, and to the outside world we probably seem like a happily retired couple. And some, not most, of the time we are. Am I seeking perfection? I truly don’t think so. I feel we are now just marking time, and so does my husband. And yet I do not feel depressed, rather in just  a static place.

We lost our eldest son 2 years ago, and I think in a strange way it did  make us a bit closer. For my part, I had lost my mother a few months prior and that was a difficult time for me. And then there’s the kids marriage break ups. Life is never dull!! And the grandkids with their piercings etc which I can tolerate, but my husband cannot. So I guess we may not be as static as I had thought. I think that’s about enough for now I have been sufficiently carried away for one day!