Q: My wife and I have been married 31 years and retired last year. We did our homework and visited numerous communities and found one, which we believed to be ideal. We sold our home and moved. After six months here my wife is very unhappy, but I like it. Help!
A: First, give your situation more time. Frequently, after we make changes we're not sure we've made the right ones. When we transition from one location to another our initial response is to comply, but with reservations. Patience and settling in takes time. Finally, in most cases, we accept our new lifestyle. The philosophy of "you can't go home again" is true. Returning to your hometown would not be the same as you remembered it. Remind your wife you are now in retirement and in a 24-hour at-home relationship.
Ask your wife the specific reasons why she is unhappy, and try to resolve and help her solve them. Major factors usually include being lonely, missing the family and longtime friends, finding new doctors and adjusting to new malls.
Encourage your wife to join in the new community. Become involved with activities you can share together, and make the commitment to be content. Ask the neighbors who the best doctors are, what restaurants are best, enjoy the local attractions and share and add new hobbies. Explain to your wife why you feel you've made the right move and like being there.
Plan a couple of weekends back home. Hopefully your wife will agree the two of you are in the right place. Aging is indeed a gift, and now is your opportunity to relax and enjoy your time together.
Q: Our granddaughter is 34 and unmarried. As grandparents and parents we feel we are good role models. She is enthusiastic about her career, somewhat shy, continues to lean on her family for most social activities and makes little effort to expand her relationships. We would love to have her find a partner. How can we encourage her to do so?
A: Unfortunately, grown children choose to do what they want to do. However, adding another level of commitment to become wives, partners, mothers and caretakers is a big challenge. Some women do not want or feel that they can commit to both a career and a family.
Another key issue to consider is the fact some women do not want children. Yet, many men believe marriage includes children. Men also appreciate their wives adding their paycheck to the family budget.
Successful relationships are based on each partner's individual needs. The laws of attraction, loneliness, fear, families, wants verses needs, timing, finances and other issues need to be balanced. Over time, wise partners realize their situations will change as they age.
It appears your granddaughter is comfortable and content with her lifestyle and career at this juncture. When and if she becomes passionate about wanting and needing a partner and lover she will direct her energies to doing so. Timing cannot always be controlled.
Hopefully, as is your wish, she will find the path you prefer for her. Be patient. Staying in love and close to families is a challenge in today's fast-paced lifestyle. Remain thankful and blessed yours is doing so. Not all families have been able to do it!
Doug Mayberry lives in a retirement community in Southern California. E-mail your questions to him or write to him at P.O. Box 2649, Carlsbad, CA 92018.
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