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Retired spouse syndrome

According to scientific studies, almost half of women experience their spouse’s transition to retirement badly. Very few men are affected. We know that retirement is an agonizing passage that raises a lot of questions and doubts. Going from an active life where the schedule is almost millimetre with habits and constraints, to retirement can be very destabilizing.

The constraints can finally be reassuring so when they fall it is the big leap into the unknown! This is what makes the first year in general, many pensioners live badly their new way of life. They are doing badly and possibly their spouse at the same time. It is a new stage of life where everything has to be reconsidered and sometimes rebuilt. Retired spouse syndrome: what is it and what to do?



Retired spouse syndrome: What is it and what to do?

Definition of retired spouse syndrome

Retired spouse syndrome is a transient emotional state that occurs when the spouse retires while the other is still in the workforce. Or already well settled in his retirement. This syndrome affects many women and very few men. We talk about stress, depression, insomnia, mood disorders, loss of appetite.

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The retirement of the spouse involves major changes in habits since you have never lived like this.

A new stage of life

It is an important step in a life, often badly lived and which leads to a drop in morale in the person who faces it. You have to relearn how to live differently and that seems almost insurmountable at first.

This brings to face the passing of time, the age that advances with the fear of health problems for example. But don’t worry too much about it either if you suffer from it. Firstly, almost one in two women is affected. Secondly, it is only temporary. For the person who is facing the difficulties of his spouse this can be a painful period to live. Being retired means a change of pace everything needs to be rethought. Your life is turned upside down and you have to find a new rhythm.


Retired spouse syndrome: what to do?

#1 If you are retiring

Your retirement does not happen overnight you know the date beforehand. So this is something you can prepare, especially with your spouse. In order to avoid marital problems that may occur, discuss both of them beforehand. Everyone had their habits, whether or not they were already retired. So talk about it so as not to encroach on those of the other and vice versa.

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Explain yourself so that everyone does not feel suffocated by the presence of the other. Respect certain rules of life. For example, if one of you needs to have solo moments, the other must accept it. If the other wishes to receive friends he must be able to do so without constraints. It is just necessary that these decisions be taken upstream so as not to create tensions. Anticipate all this organization, without nevertheless entering into a pattern of military life, to be ready when D-Day has arrived.

#2 If you continue to work (Retired spouse syndrome)

If it is your spouse who is retired before you, you have to find a balance in household chores. Let’s be honest, this is often the subject of arguments in couples! The important thing is that one is not dependent on the other. He is at home so he can invest more in household chores, DIY and shopping for example. But his schedule shouldn’t just revolve around that either.

When you return in the evenings and on weekends, you can still continue to invest in your home. Share the story of your days by questioning each other. It is important to continue to find topics for couple conversation. This will allow the one who no longer works to feel revalued, despite the fact that he has stayed longer at home and has seen fewer people.


#3 Get to know yourself again (Retired spouse syndrome)

This may seem strange to you and you will say that you know each other perfectly after decades of living together. And yet, sometimes, not so much… Of course you know who you married but during all these years you have been caught in the whirlwind of life, routine and everyday life. Work, children, financial problems, real estate projects, family and friends…

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In short, a lifetime spent side by side but without the daily “face to face” of retirement. You are one-on-one at home, your children have been gone for a long time so you have to relearn “to get to know each other”, to live just the two of you. The ideal is also to practice a new activity together.

#4 Find new occupations together

Test new things. Even if you’re wrong, it doesn’t matter you’ll find what suits you both. For example, ballroom dance classes, an engagement in an association of your choice, sports classes or manual and artistic activities. The choice is varied. Also enjoy your children and grandchildren, your friends. And take the time to discover new horizons by offering yourself a trip from time to time.

You are still young and you have time, use it wisely! Spend time together also obviously to get used to it while each retaining your respective independence and hobbies. This will help you to find a balance,for the young retiree to accept this new life and for the one who is already there to integrate his partner into this life that he has already tamed.


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