Q We’ve been married for 30 years, but things have been difficult recently and I feel we’re drifting apart – I don’t want to give up on our marriage, how can I get the spark back?
A Denise says: “Congratulations on 30 years of marriage – that takes a lot of work and it’s not uncommon for your spark to dwindle. As we get older our lives can get less busy, the kids have left home and we feel we have less in common. So try to shake things up a bit – plan surprise outings, go on dates and get to know each other again. People change over 30 years and you may have been so busy that you haven’t had time to notice until now. Talk about what you want from life and how you’re feeling – and ask how he feels, start cuddling again, kiss and feel close. Don’t give up now.”
Q We want different things now that we’re retired – I want to travel and have new experiences and he’s happy to sit at home – should I be worried?
A Denise says: “Retirement is a big change and it can come as a shock – especially if you haven’t discussed your expectations beforehand. It’s usual to have different interests and to want to do different things. If your husband doesn’t want to travel ask him if he’d mind if you went on an organised trip or away with friends? Remember he may just want to relax for a while after a busy working life – and in a while will be as eager to travel as you are. Make sure he knows how you feel – but understand his need to relax too.”
Q I think my husband is having an affair – how can I know for sure?
A Denise says: There’s no way of knowing for sure unless you follow him or ask him outright! But think very carefully before doing either of those things because you can’t take them back once they’re done. Ask yourself why you think he’s having an affair? Is he less attentive? Has his behaviour changed? Has your sex life stopped? Talk to him about your worries – say that you’ve noticed things have changed, tell him that it’s making you feel bad and ask if he is happy? It may give him the opportunity to discuss what’s worrying him – it could be that he’s having problems with erectile dysfunction, that he’s stressed at work or struggling with retirement. Talk first before jumping to conclusions.”
Q I’m don’t know what to talk to my husband about now that we’re both retired – I feel like we have nothing to say anymore – what can I do?
A Denise says: “This is a common issue and you shouldn’t worry. In the early days of retirement it can take a while to adjust. You probably used to talk about work – now you need to find other things to discuss. Talk about the news, read a paper regularly and ask his opinion on the world around you. Don’t assume you know what he’s thinking about everything, he may surprise you.”
Relate helps individuals, couples and families of all ages and backgrounds to make positive changes in their relationships. For more information call 0300 100 1234 or visit www.relate.org.uk