Handling the Shock of A Husband’s Impending Retirement

“Guess What?” I’m done. I’ve decided I’m ready to retire. I want the end of the year to be it.”

These are the words I heard out of my husband about a month ago. While he had always said when what I do is no longer fun or inspiring, I’m calling it quits, I never expected he REALLY meant it. It was just him blowing off steam when work was frustrating. Besides, what would he do with his time? He’s one who gets antsy when he sits for long – not on the beach mind you – but at home on the couch. He doesn’t have any hobbies other than doing and training for triathlons. And most of all, he’s only 58, so I’m assuming and hoping he’s got a long life ahead.

what are some tips for dealing with a husband's impending retirement

So, let me tell you, these words provoked a dual response in me; one of happiness for him and one of panic for me. Happiness for him because he has a chance to move onto another phase of his life like I got when we moved to the east coast. The world will open up for him and what he chooses to do in the next phase is totally in his hands. What an amazing gift…

Panic for me, because I will now have him home with me 24/7 and who knows how that will turn out. But most of all, because I love my alone time. I love the freedom of a day that is all mine; mine to choose how to fill the hours. Alas, that will no longer be the case. What precipitated some of this panic is that when I told him we would have to discuss day-to-day routines, he said, “No we don’t. It will just all work itself out.” Oh, no it won’t….And when I said, not in jest, “If you’re not working now, we can share chores around the house.” I got daggers…

Let me clarify that we did discuss the decision; it was not totally made unilaterally. But, while my input was requested, I know in his mind, the decision had been made. I was being told more as a courtesy. It didn’t upset me, because I knew for his health and well-being, this is the decision that had to be made. 

That said, it doesn’t mean it won’t be disruptive to both of our lives. It will be interesting to see how he chooses to occupy all his free time in the dead of winter. And, I will have to have patience and understanding that my house during the day will no longer my own.

PROS

  • We can now take vacations only subject to dog sitter availability and not a work schedule.
  • We can winter in warm weather if we choose.
  • No more waking up at 4 am when his alarm goes off to work out.
  • And the opposite end, no more going to bed at 9 pm to get up at 4 am.
  • Hopefully, having someone to share the chores with.
  • Having a built-in someone to hang with that I actually like. We can do a lot things together like golf, movies, and going into the city, which he hates to do now, because of his daily commute.
  • His reinvention could be for me, too, depending on what he chooses. At the very least, it could open up whole new worlds and friends for us.
  • I won’t have to listen to him complain about work anymore.
how do you get over the initial shock of a husband's impending retirement
How I envision us traveling to that winter home with the pups.

CONS

  • We have the potential to be together 24/7. Too much of a good thing?
  • I have a routine I like and am used to and now, my life as I know it, will change big time.
  • He will invade my space and know what I do all day.
  • Having to have food on hand for 3 meals a day for both of us.
  • He will worry about the money and how it’s spent. I now manage the money, but he has already asked for the codes to our bank account and for fixed monthly expenses.
  • It will be the start of winter when he retires, so if we have a bad winter, he’ll be forced to be inside a lot.

MY BIGGEST FEARS

  • We won’t communicate issues that could negatively impact our relationship.
  • Dealing with the period of adjustment, which there will be.
  • That he’ll be judgmental about what I do during the day.  I will feel guilty if I just want to watch TV and he’s around disapproving.
  • That it takes him a long time to figure phase 2 out.
  • That if he doesn’t have anything to do, I’ll feel like I have to “entertain” him and it will affect my work. Plus, I have terrible discipline, so if he wants to do something fun, I’ll probably say, “I’m in.”
will a husband's impending retirement be a breeze or full of conflict
Will we have walks on the beach or fights about chores or both…

I’ve already started treading into the unknown and will be there for the next 6 months. While I’m sure we will start to deal with issues in the pre-retirement phase, we really won’t know how this will all work out until we’re thrown in it. All I do know for sure is that while it may be too soon to have “the talk” now, it will have to happen before the day comes. I don’t want to deal with issues as they arise. I’ll keep you updated on how we’re doing…

How have you dealt with an impending spouse retirement?