Author Topic: Too much togetherness in retirement?  (Read 822 times)

reformed spendthrift

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Too much togetherness in retirement?
« on: July 27, 2020, 01:59:07 PM »
I just wanted to put out a little reality for those of you who are looking forward to retirement together after working years of long hours. It's hard. Anyone else have this problem and how did you solve it?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 03:50:48 PM by reformed spendthrift »

Sayyadina

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 03:53:47 PM »
Every time our situation has changed, my husband and I have renegotiated the chore distribution. What used to happen is one of us would feel like the distribution was not fair, get frustrated, and then we would talk about it and come up with something that we both liked. It's gone back and forth. I wash the dishes now because my husband has a skin sensitivity to hot water, but after he retired (I'm still working because I enjoy my job) he was doing all of the dishes since it gave us more time in the evenings together. When we both worked. it was 50/50, when he retired it was probably more 70-80/30-20, and right now while I'm on mat leave, it's back to more 50/50.

We had to talk about it, and we had the benefit of both coming into the conversation feeling like we had to share the duties because we both benefit from a clean home. (Except for dusting. I hate dusting. So does he. Our furniture is just slightly dusty until we have visitors, and then I'll give it a half-hearted wipe).

One of the most important things we did was make sure no one does the tasks they hate the most. By coming to the agreement together, it also means that neither of us has to remind the other one. When we were younger and still figuring this out, we would nag each other, and it was the worst. I'm not his parent and he isn't mine. Our happiness increased immensely once we figured out how to organize things so that we wouldn't have to do that.

I would suggest taking the direct approach. Does your husband notice the state of the house? What does he think about it? What is his expectation for the household? Once you know the answers to these question - and not by guessing, by hearing it from him - it will help you determine if you actually need advice, or if he just hadn't realized the state change means that other responsibilities change.

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A comment about spending so much time together - we noticed something similar when my husband stopped working. He was excited for me to come home and do things, whereas although I love my job, it's still a lot and I needed to unwind. Directness served us very well here too. We have a shared calendar, so if I made plans with friends on the weekend, I would put them on there so that he could see them. We usually spend a couple minutes right before bed going over our plans and intentions for the next day. Sometimes these are things we're going to do together, and sometimes they aren't.

I would also tell him things like "I have this creative project I want to do, so even though I'm on the couch, I need some alone time for an hour", and then by setting the right expectations, he wasn't constantly bugging me to play games together, but he also knew when I anticipated being done.

Being pretty open about plans like this has helped us know what to expect. It's kind of like what I tell my team at work. I don't care if something's going to be delayed. It's unfortunate, but stuff happens. Don't surprise me with it, though. Be direct, tell me what's going on, and we can get through it together. When I started applying the same behaviours to my personal life, a lot of things got easier too.

Cranky

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 04:14:29 PM »
It takes some adjustment.

My dh is closer to retirement than he expected to be, due to Unprecedented Times, and has been a bit shocked to find that he has to consciously reorganize himself.

And really, I donít need him to do the stuff that Iím already doing. I want him to do all the things he said he didnít have time for previously.

meghan88

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 04:39:28 PM »
I think it tends to be less of an issue with couples who are also best friends.  If, as a couple, you're together for the kids, or hanging in because of convenience, then I could see how too much togetherness would be difficult.  Also, if you both have different ideas about how much time you want to spend together, then that can also cause problems.  So, maybe ask yourself some of those questions and try to see where you land on your own answers before discussing it with your SO.

deborah

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 04:47:14 PM »
SO retired before I did, and it was difficult to come home, and find him lazing around the house, with nothing done - even though that's what we'd agreed would happen. I told myself a number of times that this was his retirement and he could do what he wanted to do (including nothing). Then I retired, and started to do a degree part time. This meant I was still out of the house a lot. He has a hobby (sport) where he needs to go away many weekends, so there has always been a lot of separate time. Over the years of retirement we've worked it out, but I think it was useful that I was doing the course at first.

The adage to retire to something also works here - it doesn't matter how you spend your day, if that's the life you want.

Unfortunately there is a focus on travel in retirement on the forum, and there is only so much of the year you can travel and still be part of your community - and being part of your community allows you to have time apart while you're retired. Travel can make you even more reliant on one another, and less on other people. If togetherness is already a problem, it might be exacerbated while traveling. It could be regarded as pretty selfish and silly to rely on your partner for all your entertainment needs - almost every marriage ends with one person alone - whether through death or divorce.

A home large enough for you to do your own things separately is quite useful (separate hobby rooms/man cave, woman cave). Some couples haven't been friends, and find they have nothing in common when they retire, but MMMs should have had many discussions to work together to retire early, and to work as friends. You need to have discussions to work together to stay retired together.

mspym

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 09:18:52 PM »
Yeah, we have been finding this 24/7 togetherness a useful preview of the future - at a base level we like each other and have pretty compatible interests and standards. It has also helped us work out how to get the time each of us needs for self/hobbies/sanity.

Separate workspaces away from the main house are on the drawingboard.

Fishindude

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Re: Too much togetherness in retirement?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 08:01:00 AM »
I've got my own hobbies and friends and spouse has hers.  We both occasionally take trips and do things with friends, I do guys nights sometimes and she does girls nights.   I've also got a huge outdoor space and a big shop and barn I can retreat to whenever I want.    Both of you definitely need hobbies, an activity or a job seperate from the other.   

In my opinion it's unhealthy to spend all of your waking hours together with the same person.   Spending some time apart is what makes the time together better.