My Life Change with Paul McKeon | August 17

With most of the emphasis in retirement planning on our finances, many people are surprised to discover that living with their partner 24/7 is not as easy as they anticipated.

In fact the early years of retirement can be a danger time for a long-term relationship. The change of being together in retirement all day, every day can cause relationship strains.

Understanding in advance that this challenge could be waiting for you in the early years of retirement is a major plus as this allows you to be better prepared if or when it arises.

Here are some of the tips that you could consider:

Talk to your partner about what you want to do in retirement as you may have different ideas and some compromises could be necessary. It’s important that you both listen as well as talk.

Discuss changing domestic chores and responsibilities so that both partners make a similar contribution.

Give each other space. Spend some time apart every week.

Focus on what you can do to improve the situation rather than thinking or saying what your partner should change.

Show that he or she is special to you and you value the relationship.

Learn to resolve disagreements without damaging the relationship. It’s not necessary to have an argument.

Take responsibility for your own happiness rather than expecting your partner to make you happy.

Focus on the positives of your relationship and your partner, rather than only seeing the negatives.

If you are having some problems in the relationship, be prepared to discuss them openly and calmly.

Make changes to your own behaviour that will help improve the relationship.

Be interested in what your partner is doing in this new stage of life. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Be prepared to try new experiences and activities. Now is the time to explore many of the opportunities that life  offers now that you are free from full time work.

Get out of the rut. Long term relationships can mean that there are very few surprises and that can make life dull.

If you are having trouble resolving relationship tensions with your partner, consider talking to a relationship counsellor.

If you would like some more comprehensive advice, we have published a book titled “How your Relationship can thrive in retirement”. It’s available on our web site at www.retirementbooks.com.au