The survey, conducted by Skipton Building Society, involved 660 retired couples.
The findings suggest couples struggle to cope without the structure of their old routines. One quarter of respondents said they never imagined their relationship would be so tricky to manage after giving up work.
A significant 80% said they no longer shared the same interests and hobbies as their spouse, while four in 10 admitted they needed to learn to live alone together again without the distraction of work and children. The new stresses and pressures of so much free time led one third of respondents to regularly argue about silly things, while 13% said they ‘irritate each other beyond belief’.
Stacey Stothard, Corporate Communications Manager at Skipton Building Society, said when they are young couples spend a great deal of their lives apart, pursuing their own ventures at work or in their spare time. “Suddenly, when faced with the prospect of spending 24 hours a day together, seven days a week, without work or the children to talk about, couples can find it hard to adjust,” she explained.
Sadly many dreams of a golden retirement are scuppered by money worries. Half of all respondents admitted they felt stressed by a lack of it and many complained that their partner liked to spend all the money, while they preferred to save.
Despite the inevitable shifts in relationship dynamics, retirement is for most an enjoyable time. Nine in 10 couples believed they’d slip into a happy routine eventually and 93% said the glitch was temporary and had no impact on the love or commitment they felt towards their other half.
Ms Stothard believes the key to a harmonious retirement is planning. By discussing the options and being honest about their expectations and hopes, couples can avoid any future clashes and make the compromises necessary for equal happiness.
Sometimes, relationship conflicts can be difficult to resolve alone. To find out how you could get help from a counsellor, please visit our Couples Counselling page.
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