“Gray Divorce” Is a Growing Problem in Retirement
Here’s one for the boomers whose marriages survived the working years… only to fall apart after they retired.
You may think having all the time in the world to spend with your spouse would be one of the best parts of stepping down from the work world. But hello! There’s more work to be done before – and after – you retire.
Suddenly being around the house all day every day isn’t the nirvana you might think it would be. And your relationship may be tested severely by your newfound free time.
Believe me, 24 hours a day with one person isn’t how life is supposed to be lived.
I was discharged from the Navy for medical reasons (back and neck injuries) 12 years earlier than planned. I was literally dropped into my wife’s daily life on one day’s notice.
And I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t pretty.
In the Navy, when I was home (which wasn’t often), I was gone at least 10 to 12 hours a day. Add multimonth deployments, weekend hops and night flying, and I was never there.
What had been a good marriage was over in a little more than a year after I was discharged.
As I look back at it, besides missing my Navy life horribly, the problem was that there was no time to plan for who I would be in the new life.
In most relationships or marriages, we’ve all formed our day lives away from each other. Suddenly dropping in on the other’s space – as we do when we retire – can cause big issues.
The time our jobs provided away from our home gave us a sense of privacy that we lose in retirement. That will all be gone.
The recently retired spouse is also stripped of his or her work identity and looks for a filler at home. It isn’t there in most cases.
In fact, the newest daytime member of the family is usually trampling all over the other’s routine.
This is serious stuff and requires planning between the two of you to avoid any potential problems. Fitting two people into one life is like putting two feet into one shoe. Something has to give – and it will.
Plan for more than just the financial aspects of your golden years… or be prepared to pay the price.
Sorry, folks, just one more thing to work on after the paychecks stop.
In your own relationship, what have you done to maintain the peace in retirement? Share your advice in the comments below.