Relationships in Retirement
Interestingly, our group was composed of those who were in long term relationships of thirty plus years. It was interesting to hear success stories and some concerns about how the future will work out with entering a new phase of one’s life.
Our conversation dealt with a few area of potential conflict. 1) Use of time/space 2) Use of money 3) Physiological differences 4) Goals
- One person described several months of motor home living. He mentioned that in his travels he connected with some people who’s primary residence was the motor home, and they seemed to enjoy it. In spite of close quarters he found that he and his wife were able to get along fairly well. Yes, there were stressors like having only the one car that they towed behind them. This meant that they needed to figure out how to share it.
- We agreed that we take longer to do things. Perhaps that is due to the old principle that a job expands to fill the time allowed. We also are not rushed by other competing activities and choose our own schedules which can be part of happiness.
- Our group handled finances differently as couples. Some were very conscientious about finances, others less so, but no matter how the couples managed their finances it worked for that couple. Each couple had figured out how to deal with money in their own way.
- We know that men and women are different. We deal with it.
a) Spouses respected each other’s strengths.
b) Spouses recognized that most sources of conflict were minor and not worth fighting about. It seems that each spouse in a couple is able to recognize and respect those issues that are most important to the other.
c) There is a tendency to defer to the spouse who feels strongest about a particular issue rather than create conflict about it. “As I get older I find there are very few things I really give a shit about.”
d) Although there seemed to be little “blaming” and dredging up the past, when comments of that sort arose, it was seen as unproductive and quite disruptive to a relationship.
e) Allow a spouse to pursue what he or she loves to do.
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