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He's Retiring. You're Not. Help!

He's Retiring. You're Not. Help!

By Jacqueline Leo

It’s classic. He’s a successful executive who’s ready to retire – play golf, be with his buddies, travel when you can get away from the office. Sounds like the perfect plan until reality bites.

He slips into a sloth-like stupor, sitting around the house, messing up the kitchen, buying way too much new gym equipment that he says he uses (even though his waistline tells another story). When you get home from the office, there are telltale signs of him everywhere, and your always-ready-for-guests home has slipped into those early years of clutter and chaos. Well, that’s a bit hyperbolic, but you know what I mean.

So how does a happy couple stay happy when this imbalance takes place?

  1. Don’t try to reform him. It’s impossible. Most men don’t see crumbs in the drawers they leave open. They don’t see clutter or fingerprints or stains on their own shirts, unless you point it outto them.

  2. Change your scheduled housekeeper from twice a month to every week, or double up in some other way.

  3. Discover the convenience of FoodKick from Fresh Direct, or Prime Fresh from Amazon. Wonderful, fresh food, and fully prepared meals that even he can handle when you’re not home.

  4. Make a list of specific chores for him to do every day—and ask him to complete them before you get home. If he uses an electronic calendar, populate the chores for him.

  5. If he’s just hanging around the house, find out what some of his retired friends do all day – and check with their wives to find out how they coped with their husbands’ retirements.

  6. Make sure you schedule “dates,” at least once a week. Dinner out, a movie, or a special time for just the two of you.

  7. Finally, for many men—and women—retirement is a major transition. The phone doesn’t ring as often, emails dissipate, his decisions aren’t heard, and he might feel useless. Asking him to handle a big project around the house might make him feel needed again.

Jacqueline Leo owns Chloe Consulting and is working on a number of projects after retiring from too many prestigious editorial jobs to list, the most recent of which were The Fiscal Times and Readers Digest. She is also the author of Seven: The Number For Happiness, Love and Success.

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