Monday, December 2, 2013

Transitions to retirement hard for some men

The U.S. divorce rate, despite remaining flat overall, has doubled for people 50 and older in the past two decades, according to a study by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.
The National Center of Health Statistics reports that during 1981 to 1991, there was a 16 percent increase in the divorce rate among couples who have been married 30 or more years. Marriage after retirement can be a difficult time for many couples.
As your nest starts to empty out or refill, you will find yourselves realizing that your roles are changing as you approach retirement. New challenges

The major issues midlife couples face are conflict, communication, sex, finances, children, health, having fun, retirement, and aging parents

When planning for retirement, it is important to remember that the retirement process requires more than attention to one's bank account. It is important to start thinking about how you intend to handle the loss of the worker role, as well the way your retirement affects your relationships with people you love.

 Retirement is a stage of life that could, for some, last anywhere from 5 to as many as 20 years. As a result, take some time to think about your own retirement experience and how you plan to fill the retirement years you earned

In a 2004 study it was found that social connections -- in the form of marriage, family, ties to friends and neighbors, civic engagement, workplace ties, and social trust all appear independently and robustly related to happiness and life satisfaction, both directly and through their impact on health. All these can change upon retirement, so it is important to consider them when thinking about your retirement,

This problem with changing relationships, can be more of an issue for men. For many of us men, retirement can be challenging. It is not just adjusting to the loss of a stable work routine and its associated sense of purpose that can be hard. Retirement brings new relationship issues, and for men who do not find new meaningful activities to replace work, there is the risk of boredom and a sense of purposelessness that can lead to depression and other health problems.

For many men, identity revolves around a number of central roles and skills:
·               being a good provider
·               being 'useful'
·               being independent
·               being an achiever
In order to adjust successfully to retirement, men have to start redefining the bases of their sense of self. Without the role of breadwinner to rely on, men may start to ask, who am I? Self-esteem can start to fall and depression can set in.  Other social roles may evolve in retirement, such as:
·               being a good carer for one's partner
·               being a community elder
·               being a good grandparent
However, the greatest challenge post-retirement is coming to define oneself in terms of roles and activities and more in terms of simply 'being'. Instead of answering the question 'Who are you?' with a 'doing' answer such as, 'I am a father/engineer/teacher/handyman' etc., you come to answer simply, 'I am me.' The achievement of this degree of self-acceptance is one of the great gifts of later life. If this cannot be done easily then many men will face the likelyhood of divorce or separation while they try to adjust to their new role in life

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