Beware of the “Retired Husband Syndrome”

The days of the one-income family are fading. But the following story resonates with many of us. Hubby earned the money and his wife stayed home and raised the children. Then hubby retired with no plans for his future. Meantime his wife has over the years built life-long personal interests.

The husband, feeling lost, looks for options such as:
• “Where are you going dear? Can I come too?”
• “We can do the shopping together now”
• “Why do you do it that way dear? I know a better way”.

Personal space has disappeared. The relationship is being tested and each is individually facing problems about their future.

In fact, the problem is the same for a dual-income relationship. Research shows retirement-related stress is felt more by the wife, not just at retirement but if the problems are not addressed, more so as time goes by. Men to note!

Enjoying life after work revolves around the freedom to express your authentic unchanging inner self.

Start by each of you separately listing every type of interest you love, especially those you enjoyed before you met. Discuss how you might each help the other expand their interests.

It’s another reason for planning well in advance of quitting work.


Peter Nicholls
Peter Nicholls
When you lose yourself in an interest you enjoy, you find yourself. For 50 years, Peter has been driven by a passion to understand not so much what people enjoy but why they enjoy it. What role does the enjoyment factor play in our lives, our personal growth, and development? After gaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Recreation Planning, Peter spent 30 years working professionally in recreation development, helping people of all ages improve the quality and range of their favourite recreational experiences. He was, in effect, helping people “re-create” their true self through interests they enjoy for the sheer intrinsic pleasure of the experience. His first book “Enjoy Being You” (2001) reflected his work in those years. What might this do, thought Peter, for our lives at work and personal life beyond simply leisure and recreation? After leaving work, Peter re-invented himself as a Life Enjoyment Mentor, helping people enjoy being their true selves. He created a structured approach to help people unpack everything they enjoy in life and repacking those experiences that will become the basis for their future. (Producing many ‘aha’ moments) Having a professional background in what people do when they are not at work, Peter’s writings bring a different, refreshing and revitalizing perspective to what drives our lives, including our work. As well as “Enjoy Being You”, Peter is also the author of “The Hunger to Grow – an Alternative to Retirement” (2016) and “Enjoy Being Proud of Who You Are – 52 Lifeskills Messages for Teenagers” (2013). You can find out more about Peter Nicholls at Peter Nicholls | LinkedIn, at, and on Facebook at Peter Nicholls | Facebook.

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  1. Thanks for writing this, Peter
    I used to consult with large companies. I observed this phenomenon:

    Man, Bob, works 30 years for one company. Realizes one day that his DB pension won’t grow after the 30 year mark. He does a little rough calculation and says -65% of this income is still a heck of a lot of money. Bob might be 50, 60, or even 65. He decides to retire. Company has a big send off party. I attend as a consultant he;s worked with. Bob has a big party at home with all his friends and neighbors. People at the company are talking about Bob’s party for weeks. Bob retires.

    A year goes by. I get another project at the company. Who is on my client team team? You guessed it, Bob! He’s back as a “consultant,” with one client at 50% of his old salary pre-rated. What happened I ask?

    My wife didn’t want me “hanging around the house.”


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