When you’re both working, you miss a lot of the little things people do when they are by themselves. Or you ignore them because you have more important things to worry about. Without the distraction of a job, you can put all your focus into identifying and correcting your partner’s flaws! Don’t. Just don’t.
You are with this person for a reason, so either accept them as they are or have a serious discussion on what needs to change. Dale is the silent type, while I like to talk things through until I am speechless and comatose on the couch. But we both agreed these picky fights had to end. To get there, he started to talk more, and I started to listen better, and now if we start to go down that path, one of us will say, no, we don’t do that anymore. It’s not worth arguing about. And we let it go!
We were driving to the Smart & Final the other day, a store that is in an area of town we don’t go to much. He was about to make a left turn into the parking lot, and I said, oh, isn’t this where we had the big fight about how to make left turns?
Dale said, yes, it is. And we both laughed.
We love to be with each other, but we also like our alone time. And suddenly, neither one of us had it. I started playing more golf. He doesn’t play, so that’s my thing. People always ask me what he does with his time, and usually I say, oh, I don’t know.
Dale has the gift of being pretty happy with not much going on. He reads, plays computer games and works around the house or yard, but his big hobby is dinner! Shopping for it, preparing for it, cooking it. I like to cook as well, and I thought, oh, great, we’ll be doing this together! But it took me awhile to realize the joy of cooking is mostly a solitary experience for him. Now I let him run the kitchen, and if I have the urge, I let him know I want to do dinner on a certain day.
I attribute our success to deep and open communications, but I asked Dale what he thought the biggest difference was and he said you stopped criticizing my driving. I probably could have skipped the soul-searching all together.
So, there you have it. To keep your retirement relationship strong, sometimes you have to talk, and sometimes you have to Zip It!
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.