and the Grumpy Old Man Syndrome
Changing relationships can wreck havoc in retirement. Positive relationships are an essential ingredient to being happy in your work and in your retirement so if the change is a negative one it has to go!
For those of us fortunate enough to retire with our spouse it can come as quite a shock to realise that we have different ideas about what our life together in retirement will be like.
The wife thinks Ah more time with the family, baby sitting, lunch with the girls, volunteering, resurrecting hobbies (the list is endless!) while the husband looks forward to more time together. Result? Grumpy old man syndrome!
If you set aside the difference in expectations, the emotional, psychological and physical changes that men experience also play an important role in the changing relationships in retirement. Of course, women also experience changes but they do have the advantage of choosing whether to stay with the role of homemaker/nurturer or embrace new opportunities. Many men see retirement as a loss. Of work, identity and financial security.
Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh, of the International Society of Mental Health and a urologist in Nevada explains how low testosterone results in loss of concentration and an increase in irritability.The ability to cope with lots of people is greatly reduced and, not without reason, they try to avoid being in these situations emotional, psychological and physical changes that men experience also play an important role in the changing relationships in retirement
“A retirement plan should always begin with a clear understanding of expectations.”
8 Ways to Help Your Grumpy Old Man
For those of you who are experiencing all of the above (I put myself in this category) I have come up with some ideas that are working for me.
1. Renovation: Our houseboat is in a constant state of renovation but rather than pushing to get it finished I’m happy with a “one project at a time” approach. It’s also financially more achievable too!
2. Entertaining the grand children: If you’ve already visited “How to build positive relationships with your grandchildren” spending one on one time with the grandkids may be less stressful for him.
3. Practice tolerance: This builds up over time and for me I put some of my success down to having practiced Tai Chi. Others may find similar outlets such as meditation and yoga
4. Laughter: To be honest I’m not known for my ability to tell a joke but I have found that laughter makes life a lot more enjoyable then always trying to have the last word
5. Space searching:Accept that when he wanders off during a gathering of friends or family to check the tomatoes he is actually doing the right thing. Giving himself space. In this way he is reducing his stresses to a level he can cope with.
6. Compromise:If you have lived most of your married life with clearly defined roles then the idea of sharing or giving up some of them may be difficult. Or perhaps you see it as an opportunity too good to miss! The novelty of taking up a new occupation within the security of his home may be a real confidence booster. My beginner cooking recipes are a good starting point.
7. Health and Fitness:With the reduction in testosterone comes a reduction in muscle mass. The result is that activities that were once done without thought are now a struggle. The answer is to take positive action. This can be joining a supervised gym programe. Or you may like to take a more low key approach and wear a pedometer to count the 10,000 steps a day we are all supposed to be aiming for! Alternatively, you could take the budget friendly approach to health and fitness.
8. Encouragement: I’m aware that some of my ideas have the potential to make things worse. Finding your own space and avoiding stressful gatherings can lead to a lack of social interaction. The result is a further drop in his tolerance levels. It is a fine line but all we can do is offer encouragement and support. At the end of the day you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink!