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Help - My Husband is Retiring!

Help - My Husband is Retiring!

Dear Dr. Aster,

My husband, partner in a law firm, is retiring at the end of the month. Frankly, I'm panicked at the thought of having him home all day! He's quite used to having a secretary at his beck and call, along with a stable of aspiring young law clerks. For thirty years, he's left the house at seven am and shown up for his supper at night, leaving me time and freedom to run the household and pursue my own interests. On vacations and weekends, I get a little taste of what it will be like to suffer his constant commentary. Any suggestions to help this marriage survive his retirement? 

Sincerely, Panicked in Princeton

Dear Panicked,

First of all, congratulations are due to both of you for thirty years of marriage! Hopefully, you'll be able to enjoy another thirty together in this new phase of life.

That aside, you are quite right to expect that your husband's retirement will bring a period of adjustment. As you imply, he is losing important roles as he steps down from his job--provider, leader, respected professional. It may well take him some time to regain his balance and set off on his next set of adventures--whether they be on the golf course, in community activities, or as world traveler. The most important thing the two of you can do is talk: start conversations about how he feels about leaving, how you feel about having company at home, how retirement might change the distribution of chores, and so on. The transition will go oh-so-much more smoothly if you approach the changes as a team. When first married, most couples talk about their common goals and dreams, but over the years, these conversations can get lost in the bustle of everyday life. Now is the time to reconnect. Don't hesitate to let him know if you feel crowded, but also give him some time and space to regain his balance.

Good luck and enjoy the new challenge!

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Dr. Aster

Dr. Aster is the pen name for Dr. Roberta Isleib's advice columnist character in DEADLY ADVICE, first in a new mystery series published by Berkley Prime Crime in March 2007. Read more at Looking for content you can re-use on your own site about baby boomers or retirees? Go to our press page:


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