We have all heard of those couples who get divorced after the kids all leave home or when one spouse retires. For Mike and I, our goal has always been to focus on common goals and activities. We call it playing together. Our new roving retirement lifestyle gives us even more togetherness time because we are now working together. As a result, people have asked how we are coping or how I’ve not killed Mike.
Instead of how I don’t kill Mike, the title should probably be how we don’t kill each other. Our current roving retirement lifestyle affords us some time apart. For example, Mike is currently at the pool and I’m sitting in the condo writing this :-((. However, on our big trip, we were together 24/7 and we got on quite well. However, we have observed that we argue more when the kids or the parents are around, but I don’t really understand why that is.
Most of our frustration comes when we are driving. I navigate while Mike drives. He gets easily agitated when I can’t navigate fast enough. This happened so frequently in Malta that I didn’t want to drive there at all. We got a car for one day in Mexico and we argued more that day than the entire week before. In addition, I get short-tempered when I’m in pain, which happens occasionally in the middle of a grocery store.
Our solution involves a number of things.
- We are fortunate in that neither of us carries a grudge. So, if we argue, it is gone as quickly as it started.
- We continue to reaffirm our big picture to be sure we are on the same page about the plan for the coming days, weeks, or months.
- When bigger decisions need to be made such as decisions about where we are going, flights, or dates, we ensure that we are both actively engaged in the decision.
Other ways of coping can be found all over the internet, for example: https://www.nextavenue.org/how-avoid-living-unhappily-ever-after-retirement/ or https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2017-03-30/10-tips-to-help-your-marriage-survive-retirement.
I have recently discussed how we are going to handle our roving retirement drive around France and Spain without conflict. We rely on Google maps but it is really only good for point to point directions and our plan is to wander. We have yet to agree on a solution, but I have a feeling it will involve a lot of pulling over to the side of the road and discussing things. Fortunately, we aren’t in a hurry.
Overall, I think we are doing pretty well with all of our togetherness even considering that we approach issues in dramatically different ways. Often, our differences can lead to better solutions.
Does your retirement plan involve a lot more together time? Is that going to work for you?