Happiness: Sorry, You Have to Share the 10!

Retirement is all about compromise especially if you are married or in a relationship. But it is a lot easier if both partners are on the same page. When they aren't, the outcome is misery for everyone.

So on a scale of 1-10 how happy are you? Are you married or in a relationship? How happy is your spouse or partner? Do the same things make you both happy? Or do you see things very differently.

What if I were to tell you that when you see things differently, the happiness scales changes? When it comes to expectations for happiness, you only get a total of 10 between the two of you.  So if you are feeling about 8 then the other person in your life is probably only at 2.

It seems that this is the way a lot of retirement relationships work. There is no clear vision of who calls the shots or how relationships should work. Each feels the other needs to lighten up. The other doesn't see the need for doing anything at all so they are thinking "What?". Nobody is really happy and they are both feeling their happiness level at about 5.

But, lets say that one morning in May one of the partners is in a very good mood and decides to make the other happy. Momentarily the scales go wonky and both are at 8 (although that is impossible because the scale doen't go to 16 so it can't last for long). That is when one stays at an 8 and the other sinks down to a 2. If they see things differently, both cannot be happy at the same time. One will get what they want and the other will not.

Or what if one person is a greedy nester. The greedy nester is happiest when every thing they want is at their finger tips or under their control. They pile everything around them and guard the pile vigilantly. The other needs to nest too but all the nesting material is being used up and nothing is left for them. (If you can imagine the nesting material might be money, where you live, how your days are spent, etc.) The scale tips dramatically when all of something is controlled or consumed by one partner. If there is only nesting materials equal to 10 and one partner is controlling all of the 10, that one person is using more than their share and it is not really even fair. Even as a reader I am sure you don't think it is fair either.

It is a little frightening when you think about it. I was surprised when this was pointed out to me. What if I knew that when I am happy my husband is miserable? I would not like that and something would have to change. What do you think? Is there only so much happiness to go around at your house?  How much nesting material do you control?

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