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Surprising reactions when DW says I retired
Old 02-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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Surprising reactions when DW says I retired

Have seen several threads discussing how folks react when you tell them your retired. In my case I FIRED about 5 months ago at 51.

The most surprising reactions for us has been when DW tells a gal pal that I retired. I can't tell you how many of them say something to the affect..."how do you like having him around all the time? It would drive me crazy to have my husband around that much." Most of these ladies are around our age.

After about 30 yrs of marriage I would think couples would actually like each other and look forward to spending more time together.

Anybody encounter this reaction? Any theories on what is behind it?
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:45 AM   #2
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Anybody encounter this reaction?
Yup.
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Any theories on what is behind it?
People have different motives for marrying.

DW & I are partners in every sense of the word, and best friends, but I know couples who (seemingly) successfully lead separate lives under the same roof. Diff'rent strokes & all....
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
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It is natural to resist change and also to develop a sense of territoriality. I was surprised at myself years ago when I was out of town for weeks living in a condo for w*rk purposes. When DW showed up to visit, I felt a real sense of having my space invaded. It quickly passed, but was unexpected by me.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:04 PM   #4
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The most surprising reactions for us has been when DW tells a gal pal that I retired. I can't tell you how many of them say something to the affect..."how do you like having him around all the time? It would drive me crazy to have my husband around that much."
IMHO, they say that because it's a cliché and they don't know what else to say. It's fairly innocuous and saves them from having to express jealousy.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #5
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DH and I had this exact conversation recently. We've told a few friends that we're looking to retire in 15 years (at 49), and more than once we've heard "I don't know what I'd do if I was stuck with my husband/wife all day."

I echo Tyro's statement that my DH and I are partners and best friends, we can't WAIT to spend more time together. That's one of the driving factors in our pursuit of ER.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
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IMHO, they say that because it's a cliché and they don't know what else to say. It's fairly innocuous and saves them from having to express jealousy.
+1

Although I did have a work buddy who didn't want to retire early like me because he really didn't want to be "stuck at home with the wife and kids". I tried to hide my shock.

I guess for some folks, work is an escape from their home life.

DH & I couldn't wait to spend more time together. Besides, we planned to spend a lot of time together doing stuff - not just sitting around the house. I think some folks imagine retiring means being stuck at home all the time?
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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After about 30 yrs of marriage I would think couples would actually like each other and look forward to spending more time together.
I'm finding that to be less and less the case. An amazing (to me) amount of folks seem to have slipped into what I call a "long term tolerance" mode of marriage. They are comfortable and tolerate the other, but have drawn up strict boundaries between themselves.

I'm seeing an increasing number of friends and acquaintances getting divorced as soon as the nest is empty... the message is "now that we don't have to stay together for the kids I want to go do (or keep doing) my own thing." It is sad.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:17 PM   #8
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DH retired 3 years ago at 55 when he lost his job.

We get along very well but I was used to being alone and having the house to myself so it was an adjustment for me. He's learned to give me some space, especially in the kitchen....first thing in the morning....before coffee.....

The best part about him being home is that he unloads the car for me when I come home with groceries. And he cleans the bathroom. I enjoy seeing him stay up late reading and sleeping in after all those years of waking up to an alarm. I love that he has time to play now. He a great "putterer", getting involved in something and not keeping track of time.

When I tell other people that he's retired most folks think he's much older than me. He's not, I'm actually a few months older.

We had a garage sale a few months after he retired and a neighbor stopped over and said she noticed he was home all the time. When I told her he had retired she was shocked and could hardly come up with a comment. She probably thought we were having a garage sale to get ready to sell the house and move to a studio apartment and live on cat food. I wonder what she thought when we got new windows and new roof!
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gotRdone
Have seen several threads discussing how folks react when you tell them your retired. In my case I FIRED about 5 months ago at 51.

The most surprising reactions for us has been when DW tells a gal pal that I retired. I can't tell you how many of them say something to the affect..."how do you like having him around all the time? It would drive me crazy to have my husband around that much." Most of these ladies are around our age.

After about 30 yrs of marriage I would think couples would actually like each other and look forward to spending more time together.

Anybody encounter this reaction? Any theories on what is behind it?
I was reading in the paper this very morning about this in a daily column. A younger worker walked into the break room at work, where all the older workers were discussing what they would do if they won the lottery. All of them said the first thing they would do is get a divorce. This horrified the young lady and was wondering if all older people thought that way. She was single. Of course I also read an article recently how younger people can't
interpret correctly facial expressions from older people with wrinkles. Maybe the two are somehow connected?
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:28 PM   #10
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DW and I really spend little time with each other. We sleep 8 hours a day, DW works 10 hours a day, subtract time for commute, showers, cooking, doing the dishes, etc... and we are lucky to have 2 hours a day of quality time together. Married folks with 2 jobs and kids probably spend even less time with each other. So it's no wonder that some people contemplate the prospect of spending 24/7 with their spouse with some level of apprehension. The fact that more and more people divorce later in life seems to show that life is not all smooth sailing once kids and careers are behind us.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #11
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I agree with jollystomper, most married couples I know simply tolerate their arrangement. Sad commentary but I don't think this is big news these days.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:05 PM   #12
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I have a married friend who is 68 and financially set to retire. He continues to work because he is far more in control of his life while at work than when he is at home - and he's an hourly employee...
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:09 PM   #13
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An theories? Yeah...the other ladies know you too well.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:57 PM   #14
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I agree with jollystomper, most married couples I know simply tolerate their arrangement. Sad commentary but I don't think this is big news these days.
This has been my general observation in direct life.


It conflicts very strongly with what is presented here, where 25 and 40 year couples present as if they were recently shot by Cupid. Maybe some sort of bias? Perhaps the type of personality or the type of couple that can successfully make the kind of sacrifices and choices that are often necessary to retire at very early ages are just better at tolerating less than wonderful conditions in marriage too. Perhaps spinning. It is well established that people will lie for the smallest of gains- often nothing more than the belief that they will be better accepted.

Another thing beyond money concerns that can keep somewhat burned out couples together is fear of loneliness, or fear of dating, or fear that just maybe the problem is not within the spouse, but within oneself, so that current husband or wife, unsatisfactory as they may be, might be the last stop before solitariness.

I am not at all sure of this, but I think that one reason that women are more likely to break up old relationships than men is that most men feel that they actually need a woman. Whereas plenty women past menopause seem to feel otherwise about men, as long as they have other good social networks. Nice to have one around occasionally, but need one?

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:17 PM   #15
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:29 PM   #16
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The most surprising reactions for us has been when DW tells a gal pal that I retired. I can't tell you how many of them say something to the affect..."how do you like having him around all the time? It would drive me crazy to have my husband around that much." Most of these ladies are around our age.

After about 30 yrs of marriage I would think couples would actually like each other and look forward to spending more time together.
We've all heard the stories of men who tried to reorganize the house when they retired, and wives who've eventually blown up and said 'I've run this house for XX years without your help, and you're not going to change everything just cause your home and don't know what to do with yourself. Get out of here and go find something else to do (someone else to boss around)!'

I am sure it's a big change for a couple, some may get along like peas-n-carrots from day one and others may have to "learn to adjust." I love DW, but I have my own friends and activities that I like to do with others, and she does too. For example she meets her buddies for walk/run and coffee every Sat morning - I'd rather a sharp stick in the eye than to sit through that with them, but she loves it and that's all that matters. Besides she usually brings me home an almond croissant, what's not to like?

We don't like to be apart overnight, but during the day some days by all means. I think it's best if both of us have our own lives & identities apart from each other as well as together. YMMV
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:29 PM   #17
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Ha....

Adding to your commentary.....

In my view, it seems like some long time married couples are successful at staying together because they learn to spend more time apart. Separate hobbies. Some separate vacations. Some separate friends and social circles. Etc.

When the kids are out of the house and shared goals such as paying off the mortgage, getting junior through college, financing FIRE, etc., are all in the books, it's time to have a bit of a life of your own. Sure, there are still overlaps including common friends and social circles, common hobbies and interests, the grandkids and all that. But it's OK, not a failure, to do more independently after empty nesting and retiring than before.

Perhaps its sex and infatuation being pushed out of the way by respect, admiration, friendship and comfort. And a need to spend more time manifesting your own identity than being one half of a couple.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:31 PM   #18
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I suspect you only hear this from people who are not working or are working from home and are friends with similarly situated friends. They have developed a solitary home/work-at-home lifestyle and are facing a significant disruption to it. With both partners working there is no per-existing solitary home to get disrupted. Some of these folks may still have adjustment issues but their friends are not likely to ask the OP's question.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:44 PM   #19
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After 43 years of marriage (at 19 even) we spend a lot of time together and it just works. Sometimes need to get some free time without, but cannot imagine living in a marriage that one only tolerates. I consider our marriage, and two kids, to be the greatest gift. I cannot imagine living with someone for financial or other reasons besides genuine companionship.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:37 PM   #20
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I suspect you only hear this from people who are not working or are working from home and are friends with similarly situated friends. They have developed a solitary home/work-at-home lifestyle and are facing a significant disruption to it. With both partners working there is no per-existing solitary home to get disrupted. Some of these folks may still have adjustment issues but their friends are not likely to ask the OP's question.
This was certainly the case with my parents. My mom was a SAHM. She enjoyed being Mistress of Her Domain and was NOT looking forward to having my dad home "interfering" and "getting in the way". (He was not "handy around the house"). She and I managed to get him interested in golf prior to ER and once he pulled the plug at 62 he golfed at least 4 days a week and it became his passion. This was an excellent solution for all concerned.
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