In the lead-up to retirement you’ve hopefully spent a lot of time planning your finances and lifestyle goals. But what about your relationship?
Being a dramatic life change, retirement can have a huge impact on your relationship with your partner, presenting both opportunities and challenges.
In fact, according to Relationship Australia’s CEO Anne Hollonds, retirement of one of both partners often requires “a significant renegotiation of the relationship.”
For example, if one or both of you has been a career-focussed individual, having so much free-time on your hands could lead to difficult emotions such as boredom, frustration or even a loss of purpose or identity.
On the other hand, if you’ve had the run of the household for many years, having your partner at home 24/7 can also require a significant readjustment.
One ipac client whose husband recently retired summed it up pretty well when she said, “Damn, I now see 80% more of him and have 20% less to spend.”
According to Hollonds depending on both your reaction to retirement and the quality of your relationship, this can be a very difficult time for many couples.
“Most of us depend on things like work and kids to give us structure and meaning to our lives, and sometimes we find that without these things to focus on, we don’t have much in common anymore,” she says.
But she insists with work and the right help, even relationships that have been previously neglected, can succeed during this time.
“With a skilful effort of both partners, along with professional help, this time also presents great opportunities for creating a vibrant partnership.”
Hollonds provides the following tips for couples planning retirement:
- Recognise the risks
- Plan ahead with each other, and don’t make assumptions about what your partner wants
- Get professional relationship counselling to assist you to negotiate the way forward
- Be ruthlessly honest with yourself – without that you can’t be honest with your partner
- Don’t hang on to the patterns of the past – this is a chance to try new things and for both of you to contribute to building a great relationship