Getting used to retirement is a gradual process. And when one spouse retires and the other continues to work every day, it requires a readjustment by both parties. At times, one or both of you will think you have moved into the 9th Circle of Dante's Hell. Here are some things only a wife with a retired husband will understand.
1. His frugalness.
When they don't want to go out to eat, they are worrying about money. Fears about outliving your money kick into high gear almost immediately upon retirement. My own husband left his retirement party and drove six blocks out of his way to fill up the gas tank at a place where the gas was three-cents less per gallon.
2. His adeptness at finding sporting events on TV 24/7, 365 days a year.
When he starts to watch wrestling, it's time to pull the plug on the cable.
3. His boredom.
You will soon discover just how uncreative he can be about filling up his day. Women say that when their husbands retire, they sometimes turn to them to be their playmate. In many marriages, the wife is the social arranger, so to some extent, it makes sense. But if the wife is still working, this turns into a problem.
4. His resentment and grumpiness if his identity had been tied to his job/career.
Suggest he volunteer or work part-time as a consultant.
5. His changing bedtime.
He will stop going to bed when you do. He wants to stay up later at night since he no longer has to get up so early. While fine in theory, going to bed together is an important ritual. He can tape Fallon and watch it in the morning.
6. His lack of cooking skills.
You quickly realize that his abilities may never extend beyond the microwave.
7. His attempts to turn into Mr. Handyman.
Again, this comes back to financial insecurity. Hire the electrician, let the plumber come. Your husband has many skills but repairing the broken dishwasher is likely not among them. Taking out the trash cans, however, is entirely teachable.
8. The guilt you feel when going out with the girls.
Sure, he's been moping around the house all week. But that doesn't mean you should drop your book club, quit meeting your best friend for dinner, and going out with your friends without him. Girls' night is a sacred tradition. Keep it, for no other reason than your own mental health.
9. The realization that asking him to take over some of the family chores for you may not go well.
Watch for resentment -- passive or otherwise -- when you suggest that he start preparing dinners, pick up the clothes at the cleaners, or fold the laundry. You aren't trying to demean him, but he now likely has more free time than you do. This isn't a bad conversation to have before he retires.
10. His indecisiveness.
Some days he urges you to retire as well. Other days, he likes that you are bringing in the money. Retirement is a tricky deal. It takes time to get used to having extra time on your hands. And money tends to worry just about everyone. Don't be lured by a few nice trips. Once you step off the work treadmill, it's nearly impossible to step back on it.