I love you but I need my space

When we do a retirement life planning meeting, we always encourage couples to come together.  There are a couple of reasons for this: Firstly as much as we believe in maintaining a person’s individuality in retirement, it is equally important to create a shared vision.  And secondly, communication between couples is sometimes lacking.  I often find that the couples I see don’t like broaching the more difficult topics of conversation.  And it’s my job to mediate, and get them to share.  The sad fact is that many couples discover that they want completely different things.

I saw a couple who had this very problem – they couldn’t see how retirement was going to work for them because they had completely different dreams for their lives in retirement.  Sue wanted to travel business class overseas and watch bands perform.  Jack wanted to stay home and spend time woodworking.  After sharing their visions it became clear to them that they needed two separate amounts of money so that they could enjoy their passions individually. Yes, this wasn’t the conventional retirement that most couples envision, but it worked for them. They both discovered that they loved the opportunity to be more independent, and felt a renewed connection when they got together – each invigorated by the new experiences they were having.

Spending time with you partner is obviously very important, but time apart affords you the opportunity to work on yourself and pursue your own interests.  In fact, it’s really quite unrealistic to share in all of each other’s interests.  Variety brings the spice – It’s healthy!  The key here is to listen to your partner and understand what is really important to him or her, and then to be open to the idea of experiencing things apart, as individuals.

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