Just the two of us

Whether you’ve been together for five or 50 years, when you are facing more time at home together, there are challenges to negotiate. Many couples long to be free of the rat race. They make plans to travel, take up a hobby or move to the beach. Some look forward to being able to spend time with the grandchildren. Others have the golf course or art classes on their minds. But how do you manage your number one relationship? Here are some of the things you may wish to consider:

Emotional decision-making

It’s wonderful to dream about how your life will look when the time comes to stop working. But be careful not to lock yourselves in. Many couples make decisions to sell their house and move, only to find that when the time comes, they don’t want to leave their base. The decisions we make in one emotional state (pre-retirement) may not be the same decisions we make in another (post- retirement). It’s far better to explore all the options, but delay the final decision until you have actually stopped working.


Some retirees head straight into full-time grandparenting duties and others are on call for when their adult children need them. Problems can occur when one grandparent wants to spend all their time with the grandchildren and the other doesn’t. Resentment can build up if the needs of the grandchildren are put ahead of the retirees’ relationship. The trick is to find the right balance between enjoying your newfound freedom and having a close relationship with the grandkids. If possible, try not to lock into permanent arrangements and remember that you have earned the right to have flexibility in your later years.

Retaining independence

Healthy relationships are borne of?two individuals who are successfully negotiating a life together. Just because you have more time to spend together doesn’t mean that you should give up your own interests and do everything as a couple. As has always been the case, relationships are stronger if you can?enjoy your own friends and time apart, and have plenty of shared interests and friends. Problems can arise if one person has fewer outside interests than the other, so allow a period of adjustment for both of you to strike the right balance.

Maintaining good physical and mental health

You may have been lucky enough to get through life without any serious health issues. But now is the time to put your physical and mental health high?on your agenda. Regular check-ups and screenings bring peace of mind – for your partner, if not for you. Start that exercise program, learn to eat more healthily, practice those mental challenges and feel secure in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to make the most of these fabulous years together.

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Dustin Hoffman

Lefthanders Day