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Relationship Stress for Retired Couples

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 29 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Retired Couples Retirement Stress

Retirement is supposed to be a time to relax and make the most of the extra time that used to be spent working every day. However, rather than enjoying time together many retired couples are finding that this extra time is actually bringing stress into the relationship.

The Retirement Dream Hurdles

People plan and save for years for their retirement but when it actually arrives the reality may not always live up to the actually dream. From a distance retirement can look like an extended vacation with no more work and plenty of time to spend with loved ones. But in many cases, work or lack of it, and extra time spent with a spouse or partner can be the source of stress for many retired couples. Retired couples can find themselves unprepared for their new life once work ends and retirement begins.

Finances and Retirement Stress

Finally finishing work can bring a major amount of stress for retired couples. For those with inadequate pension plans it means there is now no regular salary coming into the home and dipping into savings can become a regular occurrence. For many retirees the end of work is a milestone that does take some getting used to. For most people work is a defining aspect in their lives and no longer having this regular aspect to their day can be unsettling. It also means more time spent in the home, and this additional time can seem like a chasm that needs to be filled every day.

Retirement and Renewed Relationships

Many couples sacrifice a big part of their relationship to work and looking after a family during their lives. When work has ended and the children are living their own lives retirement can mean spending a lot of extra time with a spouse or partner. Many retired couples welcome this extra time together and can now focus solely on each other. But for some retired couples it can feel like a learning process; renewing a relationship again and getting used to spending so much time with each other. What should be one of the major bonuses of retirement can actually bring a large amount of stress into a relationship for retired couples.

Communicating and Easing Retirement Stress

Communication is key to overcoming retirement stress factors. Recognising that these issues may be the root of the stress and talking about them should help retired couples come to a solution. If couples simply ignore these problems they will become the ‘elephant in the room’ that no one talks about and the stress will simply increase.

Retirement is one of life’s milestones and is not an easy thing, even for those who have adequately prepared for it. There are losses and gains when it comes to retirement and talking about problems can help refocus on the positive aspects of retirement.

Talking Through Retirement Problems

Actually taking the time to sit down and talk through problems is one step towards easing retirement stress. Over the years couples do change, especially when it comes to their hopes and dreams for the future. Take the time to communicate effectively with each other and be supportive if one person is having a harder time adjusting to retirement. Not everyone feels the same way about retirement and talking will make it clearer exactly how the other person is coping with this change in lifestyle.

Taking the Time to Adjust To Retirement

Newly retired couples should take the time to adjust to their new found freedom. They should be aware that this is going to be a major change to their lives and this fact may need some time to sink in. A new lifestyle will take some getting used to and couples should accept that there may be some teething problems at the beginning. Focusing on the positive aspects of retirement and spending more time with friends, family, and grandchildren should help with the adjustment. Planning ahead together for future holidays or specific goals should also help to ease the adjustment into the new retirement lifestyle.

Retirement is a time of change and can bring stress and emotional problems into a relationship. But retired couples who communicate effectively and are supportive of each other can stop stress becoming a real problem. Retirement should be a time for celebration and can actually make relationships stronger if the positive rather than the negative aspects are focused upon.

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