Q: My husband retired five months ago, and our relationship is not going well. We moved to a retirement community. He just hangs around all day and watches TV, and when I try to motivate him to exercise and get out of the house for an hour, he comes up with a lame excuse and changes the channel.
He does not have any hobbies, and his golf buddies are no longer around. We are both miserable. Can you offer some options?
A: Yes. It's time to make an appointment with each other to save your marriage. Obviously, your situation isn't working.
How long has it been since he has had a physical? Do you think there could be a reason for his inactivity? Underlying changes in health can have dramatic effects on our behavior. There may also be psychological reasons why he's changed. Men find retirement particularly difficult; they often struggle to give up their work routines and office relationships, and they are not used to spending so much time at home.
Honest communication is key to salvaging any dysfunctional relationship. Find an appropriate time to talk about your relationship. Ask him about his feelings, and then share yours. Your routine most likely hasn't changed as dramatically, so take that into account. If you struggle to talk to each other, consider taking the time to write down your feelings and share.
Don't impose any guilt trips (on him or yourself), as they are unproductive. Sincerely work on your issues, and remember that separating from each other won't solve your own personal problems. -- Doug
*Better Safe Than Sorry
Q: I am still in my 70s and healthy, but I'm seeing many of my acquaintances pass away. A longtime friend recently died without creating an estate plan, and his beneficiaries are struggling with legal complications and attorney expenses while trying to settle the estate. I haven't written a will for myself either.
What do I need to do?
A: Your friend's beneficiaries have learned this lesson the hard way, but now you know how important it is to address these legalities.
Many people tell their family how they want them to divide their possessions but fail to put it down on paper. Avoid this pitfall, and make an appointment with an estate attorney. Every situation is different, and the attorney will help guide you through this process.
At minimum, you need to sign a will, power of attorney, medical directives for emergency situations and, possibly a trust agreement for the distribution of your assets.
Once you're done, review your plans every year and change them if necessary. Your decisions aren't yet set in stone, and what you decide may have major consequences on your family members' relationships with one another. For their sake, try to be as fair and accommodating as possible.
Dividing your assets is a very emotional task, so discuss your plans and rationales in order to avoid any surprises. Steer clear of decisions that will foster resentment. -- Emma
Doug Mayberry's weekly column, "Dear Doug," can be found at creators.com.