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The Pitfalls Of Being A Mixed-Retirement Couple
Old 03-05-2017, 09:01 AM   #1
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The Pitfalls Of Being A Mixed-Retirement Couple

Yes, I know these insights don't apply to all, there are no universal truths here. And some couples undoubtedly adapt easily.

We're a mixed retirement couple, also not expected. I was sure she would retire shortly after I did, that was more than 5 years ago? But we've fared better than the couple in the article.

Frankly I am more concerned about our marriage once we're both retired. We'll adapt after 37 years, but I expect it'll take some (unanticipated) adjustments. I know we'll need to have lives together and lives apart, I expect her to find that more challenging than I have. Time will tell.

Retirement And Marriage: The Pitfalls Of Being A Mixed-Retirement Couple | The Huffington Post

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Mixed-retirement marriages are situations ripe for resentment and stress. It’s a real test of the strength of the union and a point at which, I suspect, many marriages fall apart as partners assume new roles involving money and bringing home the bacon.

In our case, my husband’s early retirement certainly took its toll. He felt a little bereft and couldn’t figure out how to spend his days while I and all his friends were still at work. He began taking our dogs on longer and longer walks — not a bad thing for any of them — except he missed having someone to talk to. When I would get home from work, he’d regale me with stories about the cute things the dogs did that day, how one of them cornered a squirrel on their walk, how they spotted a coyote down in the field, how many foxtails he pulled off our Retriever’s paws.

I don’t think either of us found it interesting, but he was doing the best he could to fill his days against an emptiness that hadn’t been there before. I noticed it even more when we entertained. He wasn’t interested in what he called the “war stories” that our still-employed journalism friends wanted to tell. And he was bringing less and less conversation to the table.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:05 AM   #2
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And here's just one both spouses retired article.

How Retirement Can Hurt Your Marriage (And What You Can Do About It) | The Huffington Post

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Some couples are not prepared for the realities of being around their spouse more often, according to marriage experts.

“Some couples might find they don’t have quite as much in common as they once thought,” they wrote. “While still in the workforce, underlying differences can be masked, because so much attention is taken up by work and raising a family. But these differences can come to the forefront when couples are more focused just on each other.”
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
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I have a brother who divorced much because of the mixed-retirement situation. The resentment worked both ways. Of course, there may have been other factors, but I'm sure the mixed didn't help.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:18 AM   #4
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We were a mixed retirement couple fully for 5 months. I retired first and she was jealous of my little day trips, putzing in my workshop, etc. But I did some extra chores around the house that somewhat lessened the problem.

Things are better now that we are both retired. We usually spend about half the day doing our own things apart from each other, so we only have a few more hours a day together in retirement than we did while working.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:22 AM   #5
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Since DW was a SAHM, as the kids grew and became more independent she gradually retired and was fully retired once they left the nest.... I was still working but not particular jealousy or stress because I liked my work and colleagues. Never a problem for us that I can remember.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:23 AM   #6
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My wife refused to quit (no retirement available to her) until I had been retired at least 1 year. She wanted to make sure I wouldn't return to work after she quit. No problem with that, I fit into retirement like a well worn glove. But I had to threaten to leave if she didn't quit. I had the motorhome ready to leave for a long trip and told her she could either come with me or not but I was leaving in a few weeks. Happily we're still traveling together.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Yes, I know these insights don't apply to all
Right! We fit that category.

F retired 2-3 months after I did so that was about as close as possible. That worked out quite nicely for us. We each retired at the first moment of retirement eligibility. Then we got to enjoy those first blissful stages of retirement together.

Frankly, I wouldn't take too kindly to a husband who decided he could retire while I still had to work, showing that he surely did not have the slightest clue about all that I did during the prior years of marriage. But that's just me - - I can't imagine being married and not working at least as hard as one's spouse, whether at a traditional job or other work. So anyway, no such ingrate is getting a free ride from W2R and that's a fact. YMMV and everyone's marriage situation and vows are different.

So anyway, maybe it's an extra good thing that I'm not married and don't intend to ever marry again.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:04 AM   #8
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DW loved her job, mainly the social aspects of it, and nearly all her cow*rkers. So she had no desire to retire early, although there was no financial need for her to keep at it.

I am the opposite. So I did the RE thing and she kept at it for another 12 years. Once she did, she had a bit of a rough time for a few months but then adapted nicely and now loves being retired as much as I always have.

There was never any friction.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #9
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My wife likes her work, it provides us access to reasonably priced health care insurance and she has grown accustom to coming home when I have the salads and cocktails made and the ingredients for dinner all measured, trimmed, sliced, diced and chopped ready for our joint cooking show, if dinner is not already made.

I tell our friends, "after 33 years she finally has me domesticated."

I hope I am not getting any of you guys in trouble.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:52 AM   #10
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My wife likes her work, it provides us access to reasonably priced health care insurance and she has grown accustom to coming home when I have the salads and cocktails made and the ingredients for dinner all measured, trimmed, sliced, diced and chopped ready for our joint cooking show, if dinner is not already made.

I tell our friends, "after 33 years she finally has me domesticated."

I hope I am not getting any of you guys in trouble.
I'm a house husband too. DW tells her friends and co-workers she has a 'personal chef,' and she does. I do all the shopping, most errands, cooking and laundry though we share some household chores. I've always taken care of our finances, despite my efforts to keep her involved.

I am sure it gives her pause to know she'll have to resume some of the cooking and cleaning when she retires.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:25 PM   #11
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My wife retired after we married 7 years prior to my retirement (both widowed). First five years no big deal and she had $30k pension. Last couple ate at me a bit but in those seven years I socked away another $400k plus some appreciation and I don't regret it other than my stress level at work about killed me. She did such a great job all those years taking care of the house, etc and I encouraged her to travel and do fun things with friends. Now that we're both retired it's been a bit more of a challenge but we can look at each other about every three days and one or both will say "I'm outta here!"
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:57 AM   #12
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Despite our differences in ages we are aiming to retire within a few years of each other hopefully avoiding the pitfalls outlined above.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by user5027 View Post
My wife likes her work, it provides us access to reasonably priced health care insurance and she has grown accustom to coming home when I have the salads and cocktails made and the ingredients for dinner all measured, trimmed, sliced, diced and chopped ready for our joint cooking show, if dinner is not already made.
When DH and I married, I was 50 and he was 65 and we moved halfway across the country for my job. He did some freelance work for clients of the ad agency where he'd worked previously, but otherwise his responsibilities were keeping the household running. I handled the financial stuff- I liked it, he was fine with that- but after 13 years married to a slug who did nothing except occasionally grill a piece of meat, then 7 years as a single mother, it was bliss. He got the cars repaired. He got multiple bids for work to be done on the house. He maintained the pool. I could go out of town on business and he managed fine at home- even went shopping for a car when I was out of the country and then e-mailed me the options so we could decide together.

So- no resentment at all. It worked well for us till I also retired at age 61.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:11 AM   #14
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"I'm a house husband too. DW tells her friends and co-workers she has a 'personal chef,' and she does. I do all the shopping, most errands, cooking and laundry though we share some household chores. I've always taken care of our finances, despite my efforts to keep her involved."

My situation exactly. Been retired for 8 months and wife continues to work. Dinner is ready every night at 6 and she has not had to do a load of laundry since last summer. I really dont mind and it prevents any resentment.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:05 AM   #15
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I retired then my SO retired then He got bored and returned to work. He now runs a small business out of our home . It works out fine . We have divided the household duties and still have time for fun.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:32 AM   #16
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Since DW was a SAHM, as the kids grew and became more independent she gradually retired and was fully retired once they left the nest.... I was still working but not particular jealousy or stress because I liked my work and colleagues. Never a problem for us that I can remember.
Similar situation with me - there was never ny question in MY mind that by being a SAHM, my wife had more than earned her ER! I could have never done that
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:03 AM   #17
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In the mixed retirement article, the issue isn't the mixed retirement, it's that the husband was totally unprepared for ER. Also, it's not clear if the wife was still working because she had to, or because she wanted to.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:09 AM   #18
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DW and I were a mixed-retirement couple for the last 3.5 years. She just retired at the end of 2016 and now we are adapting to being around each other 24/7 for the first time. She liked her job/coworkers and wasn't ready to retire when I did. The job was the center of her social life. She continued working because she wanted to. There was no financial need for her to work and she knew that. She supported my decision 100% because she saw the toll taken by the stress of a toxic job situation.

We're both much more concerned about driving each other nuts now that we're both at home. The last 3.5 years worked great for both of us. No problems whatsoever. I took on all household tasks, cooking, etc. And she had more time for things she enjoys. So far after two months of both being retired, we're doing OK. But we've both found activities that get us away from each other occasionally and that has helped. I suspect this phase will be a bit more challenging than the 3.5 years of mixed-retirement, but we'll make it work.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:33 AM   #19
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DH retired on disability 4 years before me. For those 4 years he was still able to do some significant volunteering, and DS was still in HS for the first 3 years, so this kept him busy while I was putting in 50-60 hours a week in a high-stress j*b. Since he really didn't have a choice about retiring, it wasn't too hard for us to adjust.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:58 AM   #20
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............
Frankly, I wouldn't take too kindly to a husband who decided he could retire while I still had to work, showing that he surely did not have the slightest clue about all that I did during the prior years of marriage...........
I was retired for ten years before my DW retired and it worked out fine.

That said, I wouldn't take too kindly to my DW moving into the house next door.

Different strokes.......
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