What To Do When You’re Experiencing Marriage Problems After Retirement 

Has retirement made your relationship more stressful? Maybe you feel disconnected from your partner, and you don’t know how to cope with all the new free time you have together. Perhaps you’re dealing with problems related to money or kids or aging parents.

As you may know, adjusting to retirement isn’t all bliss, and acclimating to this new stage of life can be stressful. Furthermore, many couples face some marriage problems after retirement. Learning how to navigate them is key for strengthening your relationship.

Anticipate Some Roadblocks

Retirement is undoubtedly a significant transition. However, even if you’re excited about the change, it’s important to be realistic and understand that this new milestone may cause some uncertainty and discomfort.

For instance, if you and your spouse aren’t used to spending time during the week together, having uninterrupted stretches may feel somewhat unnerving. Furthermore, if one of you retires before the other, you may navigate some jealousy or resentment.

Remember that these emotions are relatively normal. Even positive changes can be stressful. It doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed!

Revisit Your Relationship

Even before you retire, it’s a good idea to start having open conversations about your visions. How do you most imagine this time, and how can you make the most of this new phase together? You may be surprised that you two have very different visions, and that’s okay!

What activities or decisions have you put on the back burner that you can now revisit? For example, is it time to book that exciting international trip? Is it time to start researching volunteer opportunities together?

Some couples find that retirement can mimic that of the dating stage. Without work, you may have more time to focus on each other, leaving more possibilities for romance and connection.

Try to be intentional in thinking about how you can revisit your marriage. What new things can you two pursue together? What small changes should you consider making?

Cultivate Your Identity

Although focusing on your marriage is crucial, don’t neglect the importance of your identity during this time. Some people struggle immensely after leaving the workforce; they might feel directionless or purposeless without their career.

With that in mind, retirement can be a fantastic springboard for self-discovery. Consider devoting a few months to establishing new routines, creating goals, and seeking opportunities for personal growth.

Introducing novelty sparks your well-being, but it can also bring new momentum to your marriage. You may stumble upon new passions and ideas, and that can foster exciting conversations with your spouse.

Review Chores and Budgets

Now that you are retired, how will you now maintain your division of labor? After all, even if you’ve stopped working, the dishes and laundry still need to get done.

Don’t assume that you both will know “what to do.” Without discussion, it’s easy to fall into automatic roles, which may lead to resentment or feeling disrespected.

Instead, it’s better to have an ongoing conversation about these roles. If you intend to outsource help, discuss this option together. Ideally, both partners should be on the same page.

Spend some time reviewing your budget. Your spending will likely change during retirement, and you may need to meet with an accountant or financial planner to discuss your best options. It’s crucial that you both can agree to this budget and honor it as best you can.

These conversations aren’t usually just one-time discussions. You may need to review these topics periodically and reassess if things aren’t working. Keeping that line of communication open is paramount for your relationship’s well-being.

Try Couples Therapy

If conflict keeps arising and communication remains an ongoing struggle, seeking professional support can help. Couples therapy can support couples in:

  • practicing healthier communication habits.
  • restoring intimacy.
  • setting appropriate boundaries with one another.
  • coping with significant life transitions (retirement, children leaving home, caring for aging parents)
  • improving closeness and a sense of safety within the relationship.

Remember that even if things don’t feel “that bad,” therapy can still be profoundly beneficial. Learning new ways to communicate and validating one another’s feelings can jumpstart to a happier and healthier marriage.

Final Thoughts on Experiencing Marriage Problems After Retirement

It goes without saying that marriage problems can arise at any time. But marriage problems after retirement may feel challenging and even disheartening, especially if you were both looking forward to this special phase. Keep in mind that adjustments take time, and it’s crucial to identify and honor your feelings right now.

If you’re struggling with your own anxiety or depression related to retirement, those symptoms can interfere with your marriage. Individual therapy can help you better understand your triggers, and it can also provide you with effective coping skills to manage your stress.

You deserve to enjoy this time! You’ve worked hard to get here, and together, we can make the most of your retirement. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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