What are couples most worried about on the relationship front looking ahead to retirement? Getting enough alone time. Concern about different interests and priorities from their partner’s was a scant second. Not quite the rose-coloured image of happy couples walking down the beach holding hands! But that’s what came up at a retirement planning webinar earlier this year.

With work, we can, in some measure, anticipate when and for how long we would be home alone. There is some psychological comfort, relief, in the knowing.

My husband complained that he felt like he was being kicked out of the house when I was at my wits end, needing time alone. Yet if he scheduled time away, even an hour, the tension would not build. A known time of solitude is gold!

And consider this – according to psychologist Sara Yogev more time together exacerbates existing tensions and unresolved issues. If one person retires before the other, there is likely to be even more relationship conflict.

Surely time apart from your partner is among the top challenges in these pandemic times. What strategies are you using to get time alone when you have nowhere to go?

And then there is this business about different interests and priorities. Instead of “He said. She said.” – the classic divide when couples disagree – we now have “He wants. She wants.”

All of this – needing time alone, different interests, priorities, unresolved issues – points to talking with one another. Do you know the plans or dreams of your partner? Are they compatible with yours? Or are you willing to go along with your partner’s idea because you don’t have any of your own? What will you gain and sacrifice in not creating your own vision?

I am a proponent of getting to know yourself first and foremost. The effort will reveal what is important to you and how you can support your partner when interest and priorities differ. Not sure where to start figuring out things out? Check in with yourself. What is important to you? The Next in Life values list may help. Values can and do change over time. Where are you at?

Preparing for retirement goes far beyond money, travel and grandchildren. Retirement is a huge psychological shift and requires psychological preparation. For support in creating a vision of what in next in your life, check out the services offered by Next in Life.

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