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Publication: Dear Abby
Wife Craving Busy Retirement May Have To Find It By Herself

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      ABBY - May 1, 2008 
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ABBY: "Mrs. Couch Potato" (Feb. 28) complained that she's 
finding in retirement that her husband isn't interested in 
social activities. Please tell her she's not alone.

My husband and I are retired, as are most of the couples 
around us. It seems the men were so busy working that when 
they came home, all they wanted to do was to rest and 
decompress. I have discovered that men are not as social 
as women.

I'm not sure I agree that "Mister Couch Potato" is 
depressed, as you suggested. He's probably no different 
than he has been for the past 30 years. His wife was 
likely so busy she never noticed.

My suggestion to her would be to continue enjoying her 
activities. Couples don't have to be together 24/7. Plan 
an occasional outing with another couple. Invite someone 
over for dinner. If she waits for her husband to plan 
something, it won't happen. Check out activities at the 
local library. Go do some together. Mr. Couch Potato may 
eventually find something he enjoys. It takes time. 

HAPPY WIFE: Thank you for your insight. Responses to "Mrs. 
Couch Potato's" letter were varied on this subject -- an 
important one because many couples face similar issues 
after retirement. Read on:


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ABBY: I'm a seasoned curmudgeon and have been retired quite 
awhile. Why is a man considered "anti-social" and in need
of counseling because he wants to enjoy his few remaining 
years by being left alone? That's why they call it 
"retirement." If a man has been a productive member of 
society, provided for his family, been there for his children 
and been a good husband, does he need to have his last little 
bit of soul sucked dry?

Perhaps it's the wife who should examine her concept of 
retirement and seek counseling to find out why it's so 
important her husband adapt to her vision of how things 
should be. 

ABBY: I have been married 49 years, and my wife and I work 
out our problems without a counselor. If she would like the 
two of them to be active, I suggest they join a fraternal 
organization that offers a slate of social activities and 
charitable-giving opportunities.

No longer having job-related responsibilities has created 
a vacuum for the husband that needs to be filled. He
probably has skills and interests that an organization 
could use through volunteer services. Fraternal 
organizations foster good friendships and good times, and 
often keep couples focused outside their home environment 
and for the common good. 

ABBY: As a busy hairdresser who has been dealing with 
people for years, I have had enough social interaction to 
last the rest of my life. I savor my alone time and use it 
to read, go online, watch TV, play with my dogs, do yard 
work, etc. I love when my adult kids visit, and I love it 
when they leave.

My husband is busy with hobbies and friends, and sometimes 
goes by himself to car shows, surfing contests or other 
events I'm not interested in. We're perfectly compatible
and have no issues in our marriage. Our time together is 
filled with laughter and conversation. At work, I come
across as very social, but deep down I'm like Mrs. Couch 
Potato's husband. She should enjoy her space and activities 
apart from her husband. Partners who are independent 
transition easier in widowhood than those who are joined 
at the hip. 

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ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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