Survey responses to question 3 – how did retirement affect your relationship with your partner? 1

Retirement Stats, Studies and StuffRetirement Stats, Studies, and Stuff


By Mariella Vigneux, MBA, ACC
Certified Professional Coach



In the last issue of this newsletter, we provided your answers to Question 2 of the four-question survey, the question focusing on the challenges, pitfalls, and surprises in retirement.  In this article, you’ll find your answers to Question 3, which asked how retirement affected your relationship with your partner.

Your responses to Question 3 showed a rich diversity of answers, as varied as people themselves, as interesting as couples can be.  Some couples became closer in retirement, working through the irritants of suddenly sharing more time together.  Others carried on the same as before, without noticing any significant differences.  A couple of people told us that they now face retirement alone, having lost their partners to illness – a sobering thought, indeed.

To refresh your memories, the third survey question was worded this way:

 Relationship Changes: If you have a partner, how did retirement affect your relationship, both for better and for worse?

Here are the responses:


  1. My challenge was learning how to accept my life of retiring without my spouse. Sadly, he got ill as I retired and I spent the first part of my retirement caregiving. Now I am alone and retired and it’s learning how to rebuild my retirement plans as a single person.


  1. Because we both had flexibility in our work hours and worked a fair bit at home together over the years, I didn’t anticipate being an intrusion in my partner’s space when I retired. But being less pressured by work (and earlier child-care responsibilities), I had more time and freedom to engage with him then, for better but also for worse. We had to find new ways to have separate spaces, both being introverts.


  1. No relationship change – single before – single after


  1. You get to see an awful lot of them. Make time for togetherness and for separate activities.


  1. Much doesn’t change, it just gets more clear we are still the same people. The better side–we’ve developed positive patterns over the years which can be nurtured. The worse–health does change, and we don’t necessarily have the same skills to live with those changes as the ones we’re used to.


  1. We go for walks 4+ days per week providing a great time to talk about short- and long-range plans and how we are feeling. I’m also reaching out to friends to do activities – walks, lunches, plays, outings.


  1. Less stress


  1. Some people would drive each other crazy being together 24/7, but we are lucky to enjoy each other’s company.


  1. For the better as we can now both pursue the things we want to as a couple and as individuals.


  1. No identifiable changes so far.


  1. Relationship no better or worse than before. We have more freedom to travel together, which is nice, especially spending time in the south during the winter. At home, we keep separate schedules during the week, just as we did when we were working, and that seems to work well for us.


  1. I lost my husband very early on. We did have one great vacation after I retired and before he got sick and it was wonderful. We were on the same page as far as travelling and our interest in other countries and cultures.


  1. We’ve had some health challenges that have brought us closer together.


  1. I don’t see that my relationship with my spouse has changed. Certainly there have been minor irritations with each other, but these have been worked through like we have done in the past decades of marriage.


  1. My husband hasn’t retired yet. So we’re not in each other’s way. 😉 My peace of mind reflects a more relaxed and positive mien on me. This therefore also reflects on our relationship


  1. My husband, who is still working, is appreciating that I am no longer working. I make myself available to do things that ordinarily he would have had to do. I enjoy preparing our evening meal and that is certainly appreciated as well.


  1. Our “togetherness” all day long, every day often proved too much for me. I was in fact invading his space since his previous work was done from home. I learned to go out for lunch once every two weeks and walk at the Bayshore 5 days out of 7. Once the weather improves and I can spend time in the garden it won’t be an issue. There was a lot of “in your face” type moments that I had to control. I like my independence and didn’t want to drop into the role of cook, laundress and housekeeper just because I was now home more. In terms of my other professional relationships, it took a while to realize I no longer “mattered” to my co-workers. They only call when they want to pick my brain. One or two of my support secretarial staff still call to go out for lunch or socialize. It’s funny who you thought your friends were when you change roles.


  1. We have individual interests which we happily pursue with support from one another; at the same time, we do spend a lot of time together without rubbing each other the wrong way.


  1. Relationship much better.


  1. My partner and I have a greater acceptance of each other’s individuality and that is a good thing.


In the next newsletter, we’ll share your answers to the fourth question:

Money Perspective: Has your perspective on money changed since retiring and, if so, how?

 If you’d like to see the survey, go to Your thoughts on retirement: four questions for you. There is still time to answer the questions.

Thanks to all of you who took time to share your retirement experiences with everyone.

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One thought on “Survey responses to question 3 – how did retirement affect your relationship with your partner?

  • Helen

    I should add that I’m freer to accompany my partner on his speaking tours than when I worked (and had children at home). So we’ve done more career-related traveling together lately, including giving talks at the same locales or conferences a few times. Fun, plus a chance to build vacation travel in, after the work.