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Leman : ‘Geezers’ can stay united with time apart

Question: My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your articles and books over our many years in Tucson. Now that we have applied your common sense advice to raise our two children successfully (well, maybe one out of two), we need help in life’s next phase. Do you counsel geezers who are becoming increasingly intolerant of each other? Or do you have a recommendation as to who we might talk with? My wife and I would sincerely value your opinion.

Answer: I hope you don’t become like the couple I read about in the paper who ended up divorced but put a wall down the middle of their house.

The truth of the matter is you spent most of your years of marriage apart. You had a career, maybe your wife had a career. Now you are under each other’s foot.

I’ve heard people complain about it for years: “Now that George is retired, what am I supposed to do?”

This is traditionally a very difficult time for many couples.

Talk to anyone who has been in a situation where they have been in control of things – take the traveling salesman who is on the road all the time. He gets a new job where he doesn’t travel any more. Now he’s home all the time.

You could love him to death, but he is throwing a monkey wrench into the operation of the home. It was running smoothly until he had this job change. You have to adjust to each other.

Remember, you once said “Til death do you part.” Let’s just make sure it’s not a premature death that we read about in the paper.

The positive news is this is a time in you life when you two “geezers” can learn a new skill, take a course at a community college or do something challenging.

And because you have some time on your hands, you can do some things independent of your bride or your husband.

Some people would recommend counseling to the two of you. I am not of that ilk. I would suggest that you find a way to stay out of each other’s way for a significant part of the day.

Then find some time when you can come together during the day to truly enjoy each other’s company. You may find yourself anxiously awaiting the time you are going to spend together.

Enjoy the freedom that can come with this time of life. You don’t have to be home at a certain time. You don’t have dependent children waiting for you. It’s sort of a neat part in life.

The other thing that is neat for older people to do is to volunteer at a child center. There’s a natural magnetism between older people and young people and I don’t think we take advantage of that in our society very often.

If none of these things sound appealing to you, deal with it. You married each other.

Just the fact that you call yourselves geezers tells me you have humor in your life, and that’s great to see. It makes all of life’s situations just a little bit easier if you approach it with a sense of humor.

Let me add to that humor. Maybe the truth of the matter is you deserve each other. Find a way to make it fun.

Dr. Kevin Leman is a Tucson psychologist and author of 28 best-selling books, including “Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in a Marriage.” E-mail him at whatsupdoc@tucsoncitizen.com.
Photo by Tom Spitz Photography

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