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How did ER affect your marriage?
Old 04-24-2016, 03:16 PM   #1
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How did ER affect your marriage?

My wife does not work. She "retired" around ten years ago, to be a SAHM. She spends most of her time these days doing stuff for the kids, doing "house related" things (cooking, shopping, errands, etc.), and exercising. If things go according to plan, I will retire relatively soon after we become "empty nesters." I am trying to think about what impact this will likely have on our marriage. I realize nobody can answer the question of how "my" marriage will be affected. But I am interested in your experience. Seems like it has the potential for major change -- either good or not. What are the best tips to make it a positive change?
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Old 04-24-2016, 03:26 PM   #2
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Help with or take sole responsibility for some things she doesn't like doing, let her keep doing things by herself that she enjoys doing by herself, find some things to do that you like to do by yourself, and find some things to do together that you'll both enjoy. Easy, right?
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Old 04-24-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
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I'm single, but I do feel the need to point out that being a SAHM involves work: managing a small business, being a chauffeuse, Dr. Mom (your profession notwithstanding), child psychologist, educator, housekeeper, chef, etc, etc. some years ago I read an article that estimated the monetary value of these combined activities to be over $120,000 per annum, though it appears to have declined recently.

Do Stay-at-Home Moms Deserve Yearly Bonuses? - Vogue

My point is that your DW has been very busy working and will not be retiring when you do. You both need to communicate and develop a fair division of labor for the new situation.
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Old 04-24-2016, 03:56 PM   #4
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Your workload will decrease when you leave your job. Her workload will decrease when the kids leave. Share the work that remains about equally. Ideally, she will enjoy some chores that you don't, and vice versa.

Also, remember that the house has been her "office" for the past 10 years, and (although her routine will change when the kids move out) make sure you understand her routine before you unintentionally disrupt it.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:01 PM   #5
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Help with or take sole responsibility for some things she doesn't like doing, let her keep doing things by herself that she enjoys doing by herself, find some things to do that you like to do by yourself, and find some things to do together that you'll both enjoy. Easy, right?
+1
Since I retired, I make the salads, clean up the kitchen after dinner, and vacuum. These were chores she hated to do. plus I get Brownie Points
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:03 PM   #6
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My point is that your DW has been very busy working and will not be retiring when you do. You both need to communicate and develop a fair division of labor for the new situation.
Fair points about SAHM being w*rk. No question about that. But in some ways she will be "retiring" about the same time I do, if things go as planned, because the kids will be out of the house then. Of course, she does stuff that does not relate to the kids, but the kids take most of the time/effort.

That is one of the things that could make the changes complex. She already retired from "w*rk outside the house" so the transition that I will be making she made a decade or so ago. But at the same time, she will be experiencing her own transition, with the kids gone. That will be much more of an issue for her than for me, since the kids have been "her job" for the most part.

It should all be good. But I realize there are some potential trip wires.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:05 PM   #7
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I retired 4 years ago and my DH was 5 years younger so he was going to keep working. He got laid off and could not find another job in his field. It took him time to adjust. WE both consult p.t. now. WE spend some time together and some not. We each have our own office and 2 tv's. Everything has worked out fine.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:56 PM   #8
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I'm single, but I do feel the need to point out that being a SAHM involves work: managing a small business, being a chauffeuse, Dr. Mom (your profession notwithstanding), child psychologist, educator, housekeeper, chef, etc, etc. some years ago I read an article that estimated the monetary value of these combined activities to be over $120,000 per annum, though it appears to have declined recently.

Do Stay-at-Home Moms Deserve Yearly Bonuses? - Vogue.
I'm not trying to take anything away from the difficulty of being a parent, but articles that attempt to compare parenting to several different skilled professions are nothing but BS. Since you can hire a live-in nanny for far less than $120,000 per year, the only way that number was arrived at must include the assumption that a parent is a real doctor, real chef, real phycologist, and a real teacher...which is not the case at all.

Dr. Mom (or Dr. Dad) will put a bandaid on a scraped knee and kiss it better, but they will take their child to a real doctor if they break a bone or become seriously ill.

Chef Mom or Dad will cook dinner for the family, but will not organize and oversee the preparation a meal for 100 people every single night.

Etc...
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:08 PM   #9
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Music Lover - most nanny's don't clean, cook. and are not on call 24/7. Plus they get paid vacation. That said - those articles tend to be a bit overrated/hyperbole.

Back to the OP/OT

My situation was a bit different - I retired, after my husband, but with kids still at home. We did have a bit of an adjustment finding our groove. I still do most of the indoor chores... He still does the remodeling and most of the outdoor chores. (I hate weeding). I take the bulk of the kid schlepping around, he cooks dinner most nights... It all works. He had retired before me and was doing all of the kid schlepping - so his workload decreased when I retired.

The suggestion for each of you to have some activities/interests outside of the other is a good one. I know my husband likes having the house to himself when I'm off at Italian class or swim fitness classes. I like it when he's off running errands.
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How did ER affect your marriage?
Old 04-25-2016, 04:40 AM   #10
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How did ER affect your marriage?

Keep in mind two different dynamics.

One is your retirement and being around the house a lot more. Possibly being in her way but also being there to be more supportive and do stuff together etc


The other dynamic is the empty nest. Parents often struggle a LOT more with that process than is written about. It's emotional. Hard to let go. Worry and fear. Often not at all smooth ... And a New life chapter etc. For SAHM, life suddenly is not 24x7.

Having both retirement and empty nest happen at the same time is really difficult but what I found is that being home more often, we help each other cope with the empty nest process.

I won't attempt to argue the value of a SAHM-- We have had helpers and nannies when living in Asia, around 700 dollars monthly, and for this they did most all the work so DW didn't have to -- Things like food shopping cooking cleaning babysitting and even changing the occasional poopy diaper- all totally normal, and available 24/7...

I'll agree it's not a 120k per year role, opportunity cost perhaps, but not for the labor aspect. But that job isn't just about labor - clearly none of them could do all that DW did emotionally ...
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:52 AM   #11
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I'm not trying to take anything away from the difficulty of being a parent, but articles that attempt to compare parenting to several different skilled professions are nothing but BS. Since you can hire a live-in nanny for far less than $120,000 per year, the only way that number was arrived at must include the assumption that a parent is a real doctor, real chef, real phycologist, and a real teacher...which is not the case at all.

Dr. Mom (or Dr. Dad) will put a bandaid on a scraped knee and kiss it better, but they will take their child to a real doctor if they break a bone or become seriously ill.

Chef Mom or Dad will cook dinner for the family, but will not organize and oversee the preparation a meal for 100 people every single night.

Etc...
I agree. I always found those articles silly.And no offense to mom's, it's the same for men. Sure if you give me a plumbers wage for every time I unplug the sink, or an electrician's for every light switch I change, or an auto mechanic's wage etc,etc
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:00 AM   #12
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We've done a hybrid/variant of all that. No kids in the house, but we both quit our jobs five years ago. I ended up doing online work pretty much straight through until last year when we moved back to the States and I started up my old career until the wife's pension can be tapped. It recently occurred to me that I have never actually stopped working. The wife, otoh, has been actually retired for five years. I feel like I've been tricked! Also, I may have definitively answered the 'which sex is smarter' question...
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:08 AM   #13
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We are in a similar situation. I also will be retiring in December. We became empty nesters this past September. Both boys are now in college.

Empty Nesters: This was difficult for both of us. When we dropped the youngest off there certainly was a feeling of loneliness. But after about three weeks we started to get our groove on. We realized things were just plain "easier". We didn't have to worry what they were doing all of time and whether we were organizing things they wanted to do and going places they wanted to go. We could now go to the movies on Wednesday or get vegetarian meals or go to a museum or spend the weekend any place we wanted. We did still go to all the Penn State home football games to visit our sons (both there) telling them we "wanted to see the game". Bottom line we can't wait to see our kids when they come home but there is an easiness about being empty nesters.

Imminent Retirement: I am in the same boat as you and wait to hear from others. My wife retired in 1997 when our youngest was born and has her own routine. I will do my best not to disrupt it but I do have many hobbies I hope to pursue.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:24 AM   #14
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I suspect the biggest problem will be that SAHM has had the run of the house while everyone is away (kids from 9 to 4, DH from 7 to 7) so now just 2 people will have to learn to cohabit the house for those 7 to 12 hours. Dividing responsibilities is the first step, and neither should get first pick. Do that right and stay flexible. Do not volunteer to be away from the house except for agreed upon activities. Biking, hiking, tennis, golf are all mutually up for grabs. Shopping is not. That should be an agreed to household duty.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:32 AM   #15
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I can tell you what makes the adjustment less rocky.

Get divorced. No more compromise or disagreement, no more whose work is more important, no more random resentments. While not impossible, it is hard to resent yourself. Usually a bit more vodka, perhaps longer dry spells, but maybe not.

Never again a break-up fee for doing what you want to do.

Has its downsides for sure, but don't overlook the positives.

Ha
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:58 AM   #16
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I can tell you what makes the adjustment less rocky.
Get divorced. No more compromise or disagreement, no more whose work is more important, no more random resentments. While not impossible, it is hard to resent yourself. Usually a bit more vodka, perhaps longer dry spells, but maybe not.Never again a break-up fee for doing what you want to do.Has its downsides for sure, but don't overlook the positives.

Ha
That is a very expensive solution!
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:06 AM   #17
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Being a parent is not a job. Stop viewing the raising of a child to that of employment. Is teaching your child to talk to same as making a power point presentation? Its nonsense. Its a life experience.

OP...I dont understand...you said you will retire in a few years when the kids are out of college? Does that mean they are currently in college? Your wife is a "SAHM" meaning do you have younger kids in the house she's still taking care of? If the kids are at college shes now a housewife...she will always be a mom regardless.

Your life should only improve. You will be able to lighten her load of tasks she does not like to do...like others said. You can start being more spontaneous...want to go on a vacation for a week...you can leave tomorrow.
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How did ER affect your marriage?
Old 04-25-2016, 10:54 AM   #18
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How did ER affect your marriage?

There were some adjustments. Keep in mind that my husband and I are almost together 24/7 except for the working hours, and a day or two out alone. Also my husband and I are life partners in everything. We share 100% parenting, household chores, and everything. So expect some adjustments regardless and we already empty nested for 3 years now.



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Old 04-25-2016, 11:39 AM   #19
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That is a very expensive solution!
Exactly. I take a very dim view of marriage (too many downsides versus upsides for my taste), which is why I am so thankful at this point in life I never got sucked into any of it. Oh, I did the whole relationship thing (and then some) and am in fact "relating" now. But marriage, like money, changes everything. YMMV

You might find this interesting:

Men and Women in Retirement

Quote:
The survey found agreement between the genders on one thing about retirement, though: “The busier you are, the happier you’ll be,” said Ed Moslander, TIAA’s senior managing director and head of institutional client services.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:36 PM   #20
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[...]You might find this interesting:

Men and Women in Retirement

Quote:
The survey found agreement between the genders on one thing about retirement, though: “The busier you are, the happier you’ll be,” said Ed Moslander, TIAA’s senior managing director and head of institutional client services.
Wow, I am amazed and I completely disagree! I love not HAVING to be busy all the time any more, now that I am retired. I do not like days when I have appointments or things I have to do or places I have to be. I'd rather just have the day off...
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