Help! My husband has not adapted to retirement well at all

HelpRetirement is supposed to be a wonderful time. You’ve worked hard, saved well and it is finally time to reap the rewards. For some retirement truly is the golden years whereas others struggle to find their feet. Whilst the challenge does not discriminate between genders, the benefit that we have as women is that we are generally more willing to reach out when we need help. We are very much social beings and so if we are feeling lost, we are likely to confide in another and create a plan of action.

Unfortunately the same cannot always be said of men. Be it a product of their generation or otherwise, many Baby Boomer men still feel that they need to maintain a tough exterior. This includes remaining stoic in difficult times and being seen as a provider and effective problem solver. Asking for help is seen as a weakness and so instead they bottle it up.

What might this look like to the people around these men? Most likely they will see a man who was previously driven, defined by his job, and depended upon by many becoming withdrawn, allowing days to pass aimlessly, and perhaps trailing his wife like a shadow with no real interests of his own.

Given the busyness of his role, John hadn’t given much thought to what life after work might look like when he retired. Shortly after John retired, Jane found that they were spending all of their time together, more often than not pursuing her interests rather than any of his. John followed Jane as they shopped, went to the gym and sat on the exercise bike while Jane did a PT class, and would ring to find why she was late if Jane got caught up talking to someone after art class. John was feeling lost and Jane felt overwhelmed. She had no time to herself and felt that she was losing her sense of independence.

What can you do if your partner is struggling to adapt to live in retirement? You might be supportive and patient initially, but this can wear thin over time. As a result, it is far too easy to become frustrated because you can see an obvious path forward but your partner chooses not to take it. Unfortunately, frustration rarely achieves the outcome that you (or your husband) seek.

Instead, try the tips below and work towards creating a retirement that you will both love to live.

Empathise and listen

Empathy is not sympathising or wallowing in the sadness of another, but rather it refers to the ability to recognise emotions in others and walk in their shoes. Don’t assume that you know exactly what’s going on with your partner and the struggles they may be experiencing in adapting to life in retirement. Listen to what they are saying and how they describe their feelings and experiences. For example, you may think that they only want to spend time at home but they may not actually know where to start in terms of reaching out and connecting with new people and groups.

Ask powerful questions

If you are asking your significant other to do something they are likely to resist, avoid closed questions such as ‘well, do you want to go or not’ (particularly when it is articulated in a sharp, clipped tone!). Instead try a powerful question, one that will encourage them to reflect on their own thought pattern and formulate a (small) step forward, such as ‘what needs to be different for you to say yes to…’ or ‘what is the worst that could happen’ followed by ‘what do we need to ensure that doesn’t happen. By using powerful questions you are not only inviting your partner to address any hesitance they are feeling but by using the pronoun ‘we’ you are showing that they are not alone in their struggle.

Encourage them to get active

Physical activity is not only good for the body but it is critical for one’s sense of well-being also. It boosts mood, alertness and even one’s ability to look on the bright side of life. Couple that with the incidental interaction one gains through exercise and it is particularly effective in creating a sense of positivity in retirement. For example, your partner may bump into neighbours and have a quick conversation whilst walking, chat to the attendant as they pay the swimming pool fee or debate the durability of components in the cycle shop. You never know where these unplanned conversations may lead in terms of engaging with the people and community around them.

Be patient

And finally, show patience as everyone adjusts to retirement differently. Some will take longer to figure out how they enjoy spending their time and what provides a sense of purpose.  Let your significant other know that it is okay to experience a down period, and in fact, this is completely normal part of the transition, but that small steps forward are critical to creating a fulfilling and meaningful retirement.

Megan Giles Retirement Transition Consultant supports those approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a retirement they will love to live! For more tips, advice and practical resources visit www.megangiles.com.

Dating After Retirement

Dating After RetirementDating after retirement is becoming increasingly common. More than 30 million Americans 55 and older are single. There are even dating sites specifically targeting this population. But dating after age 55 is very different from dating in younger years. So much has changed, if you are new to dating, you are probably overwhelmed!
I work with a lot of clients who fall into this category. Some have been single for many years and are now ready to find that special someone. Others are recently divorced or widowed and wondering how in the world to navigate this new dating world. That was me not so long ago. I was in my late 40’s and single after being married for over 25 years. I had no idea how to date, but I knew I wanted another life partner. I studied and learned what works. I applied these new skills and found my wonderful husband. I now work with other singles, helping them do the same.

Tips for navigating the dating world.

• Life has changed since you were younger. You are different and what you are looking for in a partner might be different. It is time to come up with a clear vision of how you want to spend the rest of the life. What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations?

• Now that you have a vision, what are the essential qualities of a partner? You are at a stage of life where you are not thinking about raising children together and building a career. You might need to rethink what your priorities are in a partner for this stage of life.

• Have clear expectations. You might want to start your relationship as friends, you might want a travel partner, or you might want someone who shares your interests and hobbies. Do you want to get married, live together, or just have a committed relationship?

• Get out there! It is important to start meeting new people, try new activities, find new friends, join new groups, and add new dimensions to your life. This will make the journey more fun and broaden your chances of meeting your next partner.

• Try online dating. I know this can be scary but it is a viable option. You don’t have to limit yourself to a dating site for over 55. Match.com, which is one of my favorites, let’s you put in different qualifying factors for your search. There are people of all ages on this site. I know online dating can be intimidating but learn about it and try it. For more information on how to date online, check out other blogs I have written, www.LoriAnnDavis.com.

• Keep a positive attitude. Don’t talk too much about your ex, your children, your health, or any other topic that might overwhelm your date. Keep the topics light and upbeat. This should be fun so relax and get out there, meet new people, and be open to the possibilities.

I know dating later in life can seem intimidating but there is a wonderful partner out there for you.

Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist

Marriage After Retirement: A Roadmap

Lori Ann Davis

Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS

As couples reach retirement age, many have a plan for their financial future, but what about a plan for their marriage?

Retirement can impose some major changes to the dynamics of a relationship. As we know, changes even positive one, are stressful. Most couples do not discuss how to handle the changes that retirement brings. Men may look forward to the freedom that comes with retirement. For women, having their husband around all the time can cause a degree of anxiety. If you have not spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week together, this can be quite an adjustment.

Many couple do not have the same expectations of what life after retirement will look like. This transition is tough for couples who are happily married and even harder for those who stayed married by focusing on careers and children. It can be tempting to lead separate lives and not spend much time together. I would like to suggest a way to not only survive retirement together but learn to thrive. To do this without driving each other crazy, you need a roadmap.


By the time you are ready to retire, you have changed since you first got married. We can so get busy raising children,
Marriage After Retirementbuilding a career, and taking care of all the details in life that partners take a back seat. How much do you really know about each other? It might be time to find out. It can be tempting in retirement to go your separate ways and not spend much time together. I recommend you do the opposite. Initially this can be uncomfortable but if you give it time, you can develop a stronger relationship than you had before. Think of your partner as someone you just met and take time to get them know them.


Now it is time to start dating again. Be curious, start anew, and let go of the past. Talk about your expectations, express your
desires and dreams, renegotiate roles, and explore new interests together. Give each other your undivided attention and create new patterns and habits together. This does not mean you need to spend all your time together, it is important to keep your friends and activities. You will find a new balance between time together and alone time. Take the time to create new habits together.


Recommit to your marriage, not necessarily the old marriage but the possibility of the one you can create new together. This requires a growth mindset. Instead of looking at what is unpleasant or uncomfortable, look at what is possible. How can you stretch and grow as a person and as a couple?


One of the things that takes a back seat in many long-term relationships is intimacy and passion. Now is the time to renew passion in your relationship. You no longer have young children around, you are not tired after a long day at work, and you are in a mindset to get to know each other again and rejuvenate your marriage. What better way than to add more intimate times to your routine? What intimacy and passion looks like in your relationship will be unique to you and your partner. There might be health issue to deal with or physical limitations. This is just another area to talk about together and find ways to be intimate that are mutually satisfying. All long as you are reconnecting, recreating, recommitting, and renewing, you have a roadmap to a successful marriage after retirement.

To help you get started on your journey, I suggest this Recommitment Challenge.

One day a week, consciously commit to your partner’s happiness 100% for the entire day. If you are not sure what would make your partner happy, ask them! This is a great way to get to know them again and start creating a new relationship.

If I can help you on your journey, connect with me at www.LoriAnnDavis.com
Lori Ann Davis, MA,CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist

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