Can Retirement Ruin Your Marriage?

can retirement ruin your marriage

The Pew Research Center uncovered some disturbing statistics a few years ago – the divorce rate for couples in their 50s has doubled in the last 20 years. Perhaps even more alarmingly, the divorce rate for couples above the age of 65 has tripled. These numbers highlight the growing trend of older Americans divorcing more frequently than ever before. What is the cause of the “gray” divorce? While there is a myriad of reasons, retirement looms largest for many people. 

Marriage Issues After Retirement

Retirement and marriage may seem like they go hand-in-hand. After all, you and your partner have worked your entire lives to save money, invest intelligently, and put the pieces in place for retirement. You’re now free to do whatever you want – travel the world, spend time with your children and grandchildren, learn new hobbies, and much more. So, why are there so many marriage issues after retirement?

Money, of course, is a major cause of common retirement issues. Consider a 2015 study from Fidelity, which reported that 60 percent of married couples were unsure of their estimated Social Security benefits. Consider the misunderstanding and arguments that can come from managing finances in a relationship. Consider potential medical expenses as you and your spouse age. These are only three examples, but the list of financial marriage issues after retirement can be increased almost endlessly.  

marriage issues after retirement

Financial concerns aren’t the only cause of retirement issues. There is the time factor as well. No matter how strong the marriage, transitioning from spending several hours a day together to the entire day is often difficult. Your partner’s mannerisms and personality traits can become frustrating. A marriage that was once seamless can begin to show signs of deterioration.

There are other potential marriage issues after retirement as well. These include:

  • Health concerns common to aging individuals
  • The questioning that comes after leaving your career  
  • Disagreements regarding grandchildren and adult children
  • A decrease in one (or both) partner’s sex drive
  • Difficulty learning new communication strategies 

How Counseling Can Help with Retirement and Marriage

Having looked at some of the more common retirement issues, it’s time to turn our attention towards how to address them. Moving from a healthy marriage to a rockier one isn’t easy. It affects spouses in different ways and triggers different coping mechanisms. So, how can therapy help move the needle back towards a healthier, more fulfilling marriage?

Therapy offers you and your partner a safe, judgement-free space to communicate. You can work through marriage issues after retirement together. Sometimes this involves fighting, but there is a difference between good and bad fights. Working with a counselor helps facilitate good fights, while minimizing bad fights. Regardless of what form your spousal communication takes, having a neutral counselor will open up lines of communication and lead to improved relationships.

Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching is here if you need help with retirement and marriage. From working through common retirement issues, including financial concerns, to giving you and your spouse an open forum to communicate and practice intimacy – we are here for you. Contact us today at (212) 673-4618 to learn how to love smarter.

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  • NAP Details:

    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618