Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
My husband Tim and I have been travelling for six weeks. Before retiring, Tim was a high-powered executive who worked long hours so I was always happy to make sure everything was ‘just so’ when he got home. Things are very different on the road though and I think he, and I, are struggling to adjust. He is slowly realising that I am (and always have been) quite a smart cookie. I may not have been the bread winner all these years but I’ve got opinions, views and dreams … he’s just never listened to them before. Now this is going to sound silly, but I’ve just realised that I can beat him virtually every time at both chess and Scrabble. He hates that! Should I lose on purpose?
You are not the first grey nomad couple to struggle with the changed realities of life on the road. Things could not be more different than they were when you led a go-to-work, live-in-one place life. It is important that both of you empathise with each other’s feelings, and it’s wonderful you are so sensitive to Tim’s needs. The transition to retirement can be difficult, especially for former ‘high-fliers’. Go on, let him win now and again … but don’t ever let him find out! You’ll discover that, as the months pass, you’ll both slowly get more comfortable in your new life roles. Who knows, one day Tim may even learn to laugh at himself when you check mate him in four moves. But, until he does, just tread carefully!Jaclyn
Your husband has ignored your intellect, your wit and your dreams for the past 30 or 40 years … and now you want to start losing at Scrabble to make him feel better! Are you bonkers, Jess? I suggest you crank up the number of times you play a week and insist on keeping a scoresheet pinned up in a prominent place in the van. If he was a high-powered mover and shaker he will be well used to dishing out some rough treatment to under-performing employees. Let’s see how he likes being on the receiving end. It seems that poor old Tim will spend the next few years virtually locked up in a metal box 24/7 with a ruthless Scrabble/chess genius seeking revenge for a lifetime of neglect. Just enjoy it, Jess.