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Retirement rollercoaster - how do women master the Art of Endless Tolerance?

God help women when men retire! After years of managing everything – and I mean everything – suddenly there is a grown-up person who demands attention like a toddler.

Tell me I’m not right! Have you ever met a woman who has said it was fabulous when her husband retired?

I’ve not met one…no wonder there are so many divorces post retirement!

So how do you navigate this tricky period in your life? Very carefully!

Marriage counsellors advise it can take several years for a man to “find himself” and patience – no one of my virtues I must admit – is key to making the transition into retirement after-life.

Many men – and women for that matter – wrap up their identity in what they do, not who they are, so when the “what they do” is not there anymore, they flounder figuring out the "what’s next".

I think women are a little more organised in this department. Most women I know who’ve retired know exactly how they intend to spend their days and fill them with loads of activities and hobbies they haven’t been able to do while they were working.

Men, on the other hand, seem to need constant companionship and attention, and suddenly the independent life women have led often for decades needs to be adapted to accommodate togetherness.

Trying to carve out a modicum of independence in the new world is like negotiating a global peace treaty and many women just give up, bite their tongue, and hope it gets better somewhere down the track.

The only thing wrong with this is it builds resentment and dissatisfaction – and suddenly, one day, the woman wakes up and decides it is all to hard and they head for the divorce courts.

Is this the time I need to spell out that men and women are different? Very different!

Women are usually so much more independent, savvy, smart, capable, efficient and organised than most men. They have had to be!

They have learnt incredible skills over the course of their marriages; more often than not managing children, household, work – quite often executive positions that require working late into the night and early in the morning while the rest of the household sleeps – on their own.

And suddenly, overnight, there’s a demanding adult acting like a two-year-old who they have “custody” of 24/7.

Okay, deep breath, rant over…husbands, who’d have them!

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