Senior man in retirement gazing out of a window thinking how to move on when a spouse dies.

“I never imagined retirement without my spouse!”

Tragically, this situation is one which occurs more frequently than most people imagine. It is hard enough to adjust to your new retirement lifestyle, but to then have your life partner unexpectedly leave this earth really rocks your foundation.

Often when a spouse dies, fear reemerges as grief, abandonment and depression. You jointly worked your whole lives to prepare for this wonderful new life and then your partner is no longer there to enjoy the life you mutually planned.

At first, your family and friends smother you with love and support. You are in a state of shock. You know they are there, but it is all kind of a slow-motion dream. Is this really happening?

Over time your family stays close when a spouse dies but retreats into living their lives. Your friends show up in the short-term, but slowly they begin to fade away. Why? Because you plight scares them, and they say to themselves, “How often can I say sorry for your loss?”

Take a first step

Soon those alienated feelings I spoke of earlier really take hold and can have a devastating effect on you. But wait—there is an alternative! You can seek counseling from a therapeutic professional, and begin to reconstruct your life and your retirement sans a partnership and become a sole survivor practitioner

You did not plan, nor want this to happen, but it has. So be good to yourself. Adjust your retirement plan with a shift towards you reaching out to those family and friends who are scared. Reassure them that life does go on and you would prefer that it goes on with you and them together. Turn sadness into solidarity!

Reconnect with friends and family

Once that’s accomplished, reinforce your desire to turn sadness into solidarity by organizing social times to be with both family and friends. Engage with them. Build a new relationship upon the foundation of the old. Dwell on the future with them and not the past and find ways to show them how important it is to stay connected.

Work on new relationships

Next, get out there and form new relationships. Network your way into new social activities where you enlarge your circle of friends and acquaintances. Seek out trips specially organized for singles. Change up your routine and try new things as that will also open a whole new cast of characters to hang out with.

The more you engage and connect in retirement, the more it will lead to places that you never considered. It may even lead to falling in love again, if you stay open to it.

About Bob Foley

Bob Foley is your Retirement Lifestyle Coach and you can reach him by email at or simply by scheduling time on his calendar.

Bob FoleyBob Foley is on a mission to make sure your retirement lifestyle is designed just for you. After all, he knows how much retirement has changed in the past few decades. Because you’re not your parents, and your retirement won’t look like theirs.

You’re a dynamic and vibrant individual, and retirement isn’t about to change that!

Bob knows what it’s like to be a driven, career-minded professional who’s suddenly standing on the precipice of retirement, looking down on an unfamiliar landscape full of shadowy unknowns and big, looming question marks. » Meet Bob Foley