DEAR 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 OF A RETIRED HUSBAND
DEAR 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:
DEAR 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. -- SPUD SR. IN AKRON, OHIO
DEAR 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. -- IT WORKED FOR ME IN OREGON
DEAR 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. -- DIANA IN SANTA MARIA, CALIF.