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Retirement Stresses

(34 Posts)
Rubicon12 Sat 24-Oct-20 10:50:54

Hi Gransnetters, I hope you don't mind a post from a male but I don't know of a male-oriented site offering similar assistance.
We are a couple in our early 60's with no children. My issue is possibly the reverse of what I have commonly read about retirement relationships in that I am not a couch potato type of guy but believe in remaining active and exploring new leisure and other opportunities whereas my female partner of 17 years seems to want to spend most of her time indoors doing very little. Early in our relationship, she was pretty adventurous but seems to have lost a lot of this . Also, she quit a decently paid full time job about 12 years ago to pursue self employment with limited success where she seemed to enjoy working generally quite limited hours and thus earning fairly poor money. Not surprisingly, now in her early 60's, she has a limited workplace pension but limited savings. On the other hand, I have always had a strong work ethic which allowed me to get to a good enough financial position to be able to quit work at 59. I thus now find myself with the means to do lots of things, especially ( pre Covid ) travel which I am passionate about. In the last 4 years, my partner has been happy for me to take independent breaks and I appreciate this but also feel its such a shame that she is unwilling / unable to partake also.
I hate to admit it but can't help feeling that we have started to drift apart. I would really appreciate a female perspective from the point of view of ;
1. Is there a way I can better approach this with her as so far all discussions have led to disagreement and argument ?
2. Can a relationship work where there are such differing views on how to spend later life ?
Many Thanks

dragonfly46 Sat 24-Oct-20 10:56:05

Have you considered that your partner maybe depressed or suffering symptoms of the menopause? Have you tried asking her why she is so unwilling to go places and try new things? There maybe a good reason which she herself is unaware of. Possibly you could try counselling and maybe find out if you really are very different or if there is a simple reason for her reluctance.

Urmstongran Sat 24-Oct-20 11:07:17

Communication was key here. Sounds like you didn’t plan ahead together to me. What were your aspirations, what disposable incomes you had etc. Maybe your partner assumed (wrongly) that you would pay for her and take her with you? Who knows.

Now you are both where you are. You need to talk. What is important and what is not? What are your priorities going forward?

If you house share could you downsize to fund a joint retirement lifestyle? Does your partner even want that?

Time to sit and talk before either of you becomes more resentful or unhappy.

Good luck.

sodapop Sat 24-Oct-20 15:57:13

I agree with Urmstongran communication is key. You say you are a couple but it doesn't seem like that with the way your finances are organised. Retirement is such a big step but so many people don't discuss what they want from it and have mismatched expectations.
Talk honestly to each other, retirement can be a very enjoyable phase of your life.

Luckygirl Sat 24-Oct-20 16:08:25

Retirement with different interests and activities are fine. Our retirement was like that as OH not well enough to join in much; but I got used to doing stuff on my own.

Antonia Sat 24-Oct-20 16:43:15

The issue seems to be divided between your separate finances and different outlook on what to do with your retirement. If you are totally independent from each other financially, your partner won't have the means to join you on your travels. So, you either continue travelling on your own or you pay for her to go with you. If you offered, do you think she would want to?
She sounds as if she may be suffering from depression, if all she wants to do is stay indoors all the time.
You both need to talk about your future together, and what each of you wants.

Oopsadaisy4 Sat 24-Oct-20 17:41:43

You say that you are passionate about Travel, maybe your partner isn’t. Maybe she would rather do other things ? We don’t all want to be dragged around the world with our other half. Especially if money (for her) is an issue.

crazyH Sat 24-Oct-20 17:50:17

If it's just money that's preventing her from joining you on your trips, surely, you can pay for her . What's happened to share and share alike? She is your partner/almost wife, so what's the problem?
But as someone upthread said, she's probably menopausal. Ask her to see her doctor. Good luck!

Urmstongran Sat 24-Oct-20 20:08:45

I don’t think she’s menopausal at over 60y!

M0nica Sat 24-Oct-20 22:30:52

Yes, but... the OP has said he has tried to discuss this Is there a way I can better approach this with her as so far all discussions have led to disagreement and argument ?

I agree a discussion could be based in asking her what she would like your retirement future to be. I know from experience how easily discussions soon become confrontational with each accusing each other. When you talk do not attribute any thoughts or motivations to your partner, say really nice things to her as part of the conversation.

Here is a link to the Relate site and their recommendations for conversations. www.relate.org.uk/relationship-help/help-relationships/communication/5-communication-tips-try-your-partner .

Consider having some joint counselling with Relate. many people have found mediated counselling very helpful.

Tangerine Sat 24-Oct-20 22:41:34

You seem, from your post, to have separate finances. Perhaps your wife feels she can't afford to join in with the things you do or doesn't want to use "your" money.

Communication is the key.

Do you object to sharing your money?

If I have misunderstood, I apologise.

Cabbie21 Sat 24-Oct-20 23:10:10

Given that currently opportunities for travel are very limited, how are you occupying your time? Do you have interests in common?
Could you use the present situation to develop things you enjoy doing together, and also open up discussion on what you each look forward to doing in the future, once restrictions are lifted? See what common ground there is?

OceanMama Sat 24-Oct-20 23:17:42

It could be that, for whatever reason, her health and energy aren't what they used to be and she just doesn't feel she has the energy for high activity adventures. Or maybe she is reluctant to leave her commitments here? Such as aging parents, friends, community groups she belongs to?

Your retiring is a big transition for her as well. Her own routine has changed and been disrupted and maybe she's not thrilled about it?

Maybe she's worried about money and spending it all on adventures?

Ultimately, only she knows how she is feeling, so communication is key. Maybe you can then find some middle ground together? Have you ever discussed what you both want/need from retirement?

Chloejo Sun 25-Oct-20 00:28:31

Pm sent

Rubicon12 Mon 26-Oct-20 16:42:04

Hi all
Thanks very much for all the feedback, its been very helpful.
I think deep down, the key issue for me is that we are quite different in motivation in that I like to be on the go a lot and she is very laid back. Trouble is, that's what has caused us to go in different directions financially. She has always looked after her own finances so, though I have expressed concern, she has always insisted that all is fine. Its only now that I realise what this could mean going into Retirement and I suppose I feel a bit resentful of the fact that she did not feel it important to prepare better for the future. I also feel she is very naive in terms of financially what is required to have a comfortable retirement. I definitely could afford to fund some of our travel but not all the time and am thinking that we do need to come to some sort of agreement on this without getting into yet another argument.

Fennel Mon 26-Oct-20 17:16:39

Most of us don't realise what a huge transition retirement is.
We certainly didn't plan ahead.
Having said that, I remember now how horrified I was when husband suggested we buy a boat and sail around the world.
Imagine being stuck together 24/7 in the close proximity of a boat.
In the end we compromised and moved to France, where we had nearly 20 happy years - back in UK now.
So Rubicon- try to find a compromise, tell her you want to do things together.

OceanMama Mon 26-Oct-20 21:10:27

Rubicon, she might not have made as much financial contribution to the marriage, but has she made her contribution in other ways? It is very common for women to retire with less money and to be at greater risk of homelessness in retirement years, though this is often because of time taken out of the workforce to raise children, which the two of you haven't had to factor in. Myself and my husband have a very different approach as all assets are on a 'what's yours is mine' approach.

It sounds like you and your wife have very different approaches to finances. You sound like more of a planner while your wife sounds like she might be happy just living in the present. This has led to where you are now, so now you both have to decide what this means going forward.

Does your wife want to travel, or is she willing to, but the issue is finances? If you can't pay for her to enable her to do this, is it possible for you both to do less expensive travel, more locally? Does it always have to be travel away? What about day trips? Dining experiences?

Does your wife have the energy to constantly be on the go? I like being on the go myself but I also need some down time. Do you need to compromise here and do a bit of both?

Would your wife be okay if you sometimes travel alone or with a friend?

There are a lot of different options for approaching this time in your lives and I hope you can work it out.

Urmstongran Mon 26-Oct-20 21:25:22

Your wife made lifestyle choices. She’s short of disposable income for retirement.

Is she bothered? Maybe not.
Perhaps she never had any intentions to travel.

You need to clear the air by talking and listening. Then deciding what to do about the retirement years.

Good luck.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 22:03:25

I am not really a fan of bucket lists but it might be a way in for you both to start talking about the next few years. With a group of our friends my DH & I put together a list of places we wanted to visit or things to do ..each contributing a couple of ideas ..we then planned them into the diary..then Covid hit!

However the point was for us all to share time with each other doing different things that were not necessarily our choice but might broaden our horizons.. Do you and your OH have a close enough relationship to choose even a couple of things each to do together? It might be as simple as spending a night in the Kielder Forest star gazing or going to an art exhibition or as grand as a cruise up the Amazon! Your shared budget will determine what you do! It is always about give and take.. and you both have to do your fair share! But talk about it!

Tangerine Tue 27-Oct-20 22:06:46

I accept you may not feel able to fund all of her travel expenses (depends on how far you want to travel) but I do think money may be worrying your wife.

Ask her outright perhaps.

If she is frightened about running out of money, this will influence her decisions. Women often have less money than men in retirement because they may have stayed at home to look after children etc. etc.

She has probably contributed other things to the marriage and life is not all about money.

Good luck to you both.

MissAdventure Tue 27-Oct-20 22:10:03

Is the op married to his partner?
I thought perhaps they were 'courting'.

cornishpatsy Tue 27-Oct-20 22:19:27

I have been in the exact situation,even the ages were the same.

I am the wife that had less money and liked staying at home having little interest in travel.

My husband was happy to travel alone in the same way as I was happy to stay home alone.

The way I saw it was that nobody is right or wrong in wanting different things and to try live as you do not want to only leads to resentment.

We are still married, this started 3 years ago, and see each other when my husband is in the country and get on well.

welbeck Wed 28-Oct-20 00:03:04

is this really about retirement.
or about the relationship.

Hetty58 Wed 28-Oct-20 03:17:00

Rubicon12, after 17 years together, it struck me as really odd that you have separate finances, also that you seem so focused on (bragging about) how much more you have.

It seems as if, having worked hard and earned well, you now feel you have a right to dictate how you both spend your retirement years.

I do wonder how much work and effort your partner put into running the home and looking after you. I'm willing to bet that you didn't do your fair share.

It may be that you 'owe' her 17 years of unpaid (and unappreciated) housework, laundry, cooking, shopping and gardening wages - all work which allowed you to put in the time and effort to make a success of your working years.

You don't come across as being truly thankful, valuing the good in your relationship or wanting to adapt to fit in with your partner's lifestyle.

All you can do is make plans and ask if she'd like to be included. If she doesn't (and who could blame her) then go on your own.

OceanMama Wed 28-Oct-20 08:32:41

I agree with you Hetty58. Me and my husband have combined finances and he even pays into my retirement to bridge the gap between us somewhat.

There can also be other factors that result in disparity between partners besides simply choosing to work for pay less.

If my husband ever held his greater earning capacity over me and refused to treat me as an equal partner, I'd be out of here so fast after telling him exactly why I am in that position.