Couples Counseling Can Help Ease Transition into Retirement

July 21, 2011 by

Couples counseling may not be the first thing you think of when embarking on retirement, but you may be surprised how much of an impact this life change has on your relationship. You may be surprised to find yourself needing relationship advice after being together for so long. After all, this is the time of your life that’s supposed to be “easy,” where you can just lay back and enjoy each other’s company, right?

The truth is that leaving the workforce can be stressful. It’s a huge change and adjusting to your new lifestyle may not be as simple as you thought. Instead of fighting one another, you can support one another through this change and come out stronger because of it.

Work through relationship issues. When one or both of you was working, you may have let things slide if you weren’t always happy with the relationship. Who has the time to work through issues? Good news -- now you do! In fact, these issues may come to the forefront precisely because you are spending so much more time together. Don’t worry, but get help early. Consider taking the time to seek couples counseling and relationship advice from a Portland, Oregon, marriage counselor.

Discuss household chores. After years and years together, it’s likely you had worked out a routine that you were both okay with, but now things have changed. Sometimes, when a husband retires before his wife, the wife continues to do the housework in addition to working, which can lead to resentment. Or maybe you’re both retired, and it can feel like the husband is invading the wife’s “territory” if he starts to do stuff around the house. Confusing? Consider couples counseling to talk it through.

Talk about your expectations. There are many ways people spend retirement: enjoying quiet time at home tending a garden, traveling the country in an RV, or even going back to work! You may not have the same outlook for your retirement. The key is to talk about it, really listen to what the other person has to say, and compromise.

Discuss finances. Understanding where you stand financially can help you both have realistic expectations for what your retirement will be like. It can help to visit a financial advisor. It is likely that he or she will give you a range of possibilities based on your portfolio, and depending on your personalities, you may focus on the more optimistic possibilities or the more pessimistic possibilities. Remember, the reality likely falls somewhere in between.

Need Help Talking About Things? Seek Couples Counseling

It’s not always easy to talk about big issues without erupting into a fight, especially at a time in your life where emotions may be running high. You may be struggling with leaving the workforce, feeling frustrated because you are unable to afford the retirement you dreamed of, or coping with Empty Nest Syndrome. Instead of taking it out on your spouse, seek relationship advice though couples counseling at the Portland Relationship Center.