How to Survive a Retired Husband

Nancy B. Alston

It doesn’t matter whether you are retiring together or one before the other, retirement life is a significant transition for a couple, as well as the individual. Retired men often feel lost being home 27/7. Many wives envision a second honeymoon phase, but are quickly disillusioned with her retired hu

Even as someone who teaches others how to create a retirement strategy, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the first three months of my husband’s retirement.

I still don’t have all of the solutions, but I’ll share what I’ve learned and what others have told me.

Both people need to help around the house. Traditionally, men have taken care of the outside and women the inside. That still may work, but with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc, the inside may take more work than the outside. But, here is the key, and women may not like this, but if he offers to help inside or you insist he help, you can’t turn around and criticize the way he does the chore.

I was talking to a friend recently about her husband washing the floor. She lamented that she would have gotten on her hands and knees to scrub the grout, which he didn’t do. If scrubbing grout is that important, she may want to suggest they rotate, but he’s not going to want to help if you criticize everything he does.

Of course, this works both ways. I’ve heard of husbands who retire and think they can now manage their wife the way they supervised their staff at work. She was doing fine before you retired. She doesn’t need you to manage her now.

Both of you need separate spaces that’s yours alone. We visited friends and the wife complained about how she didn’t like the way her husband had decorated his office with sports memorabilia. If it’s going to be his space, then she can close the door when guests come over.

You both need activities together, as well as apart. My life improved when my husband went to the garage to build his plane. He now works as hard at it, as he did his job. He needs the challenge, creativity and activity. Without, he’d be lost.

We started dancing when he first retired. I hoping we’ll get back to it. We have a date at least once a week, where we go out to dinner or a movie. We also love to travel together.

Finally, I’d advise you communicate about the changes you’re going through. I’ll be perfectly honest, that has been hard for us. I feel like whenever I want to talk, it comes across like I’m complaining. Maybe I am. We’re learning to co-exist together. It’s been more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I also think it’s going to be more rewarding.

I asked my husband for his thoughts on this article. His reply, “It’s been tough, but it’s getting better.”

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