What to do When Your Sweetheart Retires Before You?

Not every couple is lucky enough to retire at the same time. In most relationships, partners will retire in different years, creating a sudden shift in home dynamics. It’s even likely that your spouse may decide to return to work for financial reasons or to maintain health benefits (which can be a test for any marriage). When one spouse is sleeping in while the other is getting up to go to work, the gap in retirement timing can make things complicated and create an unbalance in priorities. So, what do you do when your sweetheart retires before you? Here’s what:


It’s important to know what retirement means to you and your partner. If you’re planning to put in a few more years of work and your partner is looking forward to travelling the world, you will likely have a conflict. To ensure it’s mutually satisfying, you need to talk it out so that each person can voice their opinions and concerns before the adjustment period begins. During the discussion, you should both ask important questions like “what do I want to do during my retirement?” and “can we afford to both retire at the same time?” or “what changes to our responsibilities can we make to create balance in our relationship?” By finding common ground, you can avoid any feelings of resentment and find ways to support each other through this challenging yet rewarding transition.

Plan the Timing

It’s important to decide who should retire first and how the loss of income and health plan will impact your lifestyle. For instance, living on one paycheck instead of two might require you to sell the home and relocate, which can cause strain on the other spouse’s employment situation. It might even make more sense for one person to work a couple of extra years so you can retire together. Becoming clear on timing can help to ensure that you and your spouse make the best decision for your future together.

Clarify Your Roles

It’s unlikely that your retirement dream involves doing all the household chores, shopping, and running around during the day, but if you retire first, that’s likely to be the case. This sudden shift in dynamic is why many couples experience tension during this phase. If your spouse doesn’t currently participate in household duties like shopping and vacuuming, they’re likely not going to be looking forward to these when they retire. It’s important to clarify these roles now so that you both can ease into the transition without becoming bitter along the way.

Create a New Routine

When one spouse is no longer working, it’s bound to upset your regular routine — it’s best to work out a new schedule that will allow you to spend quality time together when you’re both at home. Having a shared bedtime and planning nighttime activities together can ensure that your marriage will remain a healthy one for the remainder of your days.

If your sweetheart retires before you, it’s essential to be clear on your expectations and goals. In doing so, it will help support your personal mental health and shared relationship well into the future. Remember, your retirements should be exciting —practice positivity!