4/04/2011

Divorce After Retirement

Divorce after retirement is not something most married couples even think about. You spend most of your life together and expect to enjoy the golden years of retirement. You made plans to enjoy that nest egg you built during your working years. But, unfortunately, divorce after you retire is more commonplace than you would think. It seems after a one or both in a marriage retire, they find they have too much time on their hands. They also start spending too much time together. Believe it or not, even with the strongest marriages, spending so much time together can cause arguments. Most marriages after retirement grow stronger. But, those marriages were strong throughout the working years. If a marriage is on shaky ground, as you approach retirement, problems can arise. I learned this the hard way. I also learned about this during divorce counseling after my retirement and subsequent divorce. It didn't make a lot of sense to me at first. Why would a marriage be headed for divorce just because you reach the end of the rainbow (retirement)? It's baffling. But, it does happen.

I retired from the federal government in November of 2003. My marriage was, admittedly, on shaky ground. We both argued, we both raised hell about what we each expected from the other. Things just sort of boiled beneath the surface for a long time. But, we did spend a lot more time together. A lot more time. I think we both discovered, my wife and I, that we didn't have as much in common as we once did. She loved to fish. You probably are thinking, "Well, you're a man. All men like to fish." Not this one. I had other hobbies. I got wrapped up in computing. Pretty soon that hobby developed into a passion. I turned that passion into doing minor maintenance to make a little extra cash. I also got involved in what is my biggest passion; writing. Ever since I was a little boy, I loved to read and write stories. I wanted to be a writer. Alas, Vietnam got in the way of that goal. I never got the desire to pursue writing as a career after I got out of the military. My wife didn't care for my hobbies. I didn't care for her hobbies. We sort of...drifted apart.

Finally, one night, she informed me she planned to file for a divorce. This was in April of 2005. Our marriage did not survive even 18 months after I retired. It was like someone punched me in the stomach with their fist. But, if a woman doesn't want me, I make it a point to get out of her life as quickly as possible. I have that much pride in me. For about two weeks after we broke up, I was homeless. I wasn't homeless in the traditional sense that I was living on the streets. I lived with relatives for a while. That was eye opening for me as well. I just never considered my wife and I would get a divorce, especially after I retired. But, that was the end result. Divorce anytime is very painful and heartbreaking for most. Divorce after retirement is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, even if I had one. ;-)

My advice to anyone approaching retirement; have a good long talk with your spouse. Acknowledge what your differences are and how they can get worse with spending more time together. Talk about how little things can get blown out of proportion by being together so much. Many think being together is great and maybe they are right. I wish someone would have advised me of all this before I retired. My wife and I might have been able to come to terms with my retirement. I'm not willing to say retirement caused our divorce 100%. But, it was a big factor in my opinion. I even offered to go to counseling with my wife in an attempt to save our marriage. But, she astutely observed it would not make any difference. Any love or affection I had for her, from that moment, completely left me. Divorce after retirement is very, very difficult. But, I am living proof you can recover.




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1 comments:

another interesting thought based on experience, which one never thinks about .. Thanks for bringing it up and seeing how your success!!!

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