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Redefining your relationship in retirement or when one returns from long absence due to work

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


I have been pondering recently about how one redefines a relationship with your partner after returning from a posting away from the household. As an example, I have had 2 long (3 month each) postings overseas working in different cultures to where I live back here in Australia. I have returned to find a real confusion or sense of disillusionment about how Australians put so much value on their possessions over their relationships and more meaningful issues in life. I find it hard to sit and participate, let alone listen to the mundane conversations that go on between friends or family members, who have not experienced working and living in poor conditions.

It is a real adjustment and for me, has shone some interesting lights on what are important in my life, and how I want to re-examine those issues with my partner, although she is more than happy to just cruise along, oblivious to the wider world. Although I missed home andwas glad to be back, I sometimes find myself thinking I now am in a mind space which is more comfortable with less, and being able to dfo more meaningful things in less fortunate community situations.

I would be really interested in other peoples' views, who may have experienced similar things.

5 Replies 5

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Quietall

People can't conceive what they haven't experienced.

Your knowledge is valuable but that knowledge will mean its easy to judge others that are materialistic in comparison to poorer folk in other countries.

I've written a manuscript. Its an account of my early life as a prison warder battling mental illness. I thought it would be unique enough to be published. But I realised a high percentage of people have extraordinary lives. Like pilots, inventors, doctors, captains of ships, survivors of cancer and so on.

I've had Vietnam Veterans give up describing the scenes of a battlefield. How could they place you there?. That's why they keep it to each other.

I have to agree, the materialism bothers me. But a long time ago I decided "if I can't beat it I'll get away from it". Meaning I ended up in the country, verandah, vegie patch, wildlife...

Tony WK

Hi Tony

I understand totally where you come from. I have lived in the country before and loved it. I am currently immersing myself in my garden and sending regular tweets and viber messages to my friends back where I did my volunteer work, encouraging them. I am also raising funds through different sources to send health resource gifts back to help them with their daily struggles. That helps me to balance living here in relative luxury and give something useful back there. In saying that, while I am gardening, I find myself debating in my mind whether if there was a chance to go and live back in those countries, would I do it, how would I cope for a long term stint, and would I miss what I have here?

Life has its twists and turns but each day has its own sunshine and clouds and it is up to us to meet them and deal with each issue creatively.


Hi Peter

My therapist in 1987 said to me

"Tony, when are you going to stop saving the world".

I hadn't realised that my efforts were out of control. And i ended up in a heap.

By all means help your overseas peoples, perhaps visit them every so often, take equipment over, seek help from large companies, lobby governments etc. When its all in a good healthy perspective you'll help these people the most.

I hope I've helped

Tony WK

Hi Tony

Thanks for your comments. I am not out to save the world, only to make a positive impact on those within my own circle of influence. I appreciate there is so much out there that can be done in lots of places, but as one person, I can only do so much, and it is important to feel at peace about the contribution you make to others, just as it is to feel you have a meaningful life yourself.



Hi Peter

My only concern goes back to your OP.

How to define a persons relationship etc. I interpreted that as you having issues with balancing your current relationship with your partner. If this isn't the case forgive me.

With any passion (as opposed to low time consuming hobbies) there is a good chance we can allow it to over run our lives to a point when it harms our relationship.

Its fine if you think you have this in correct, best perspective. But often we don't realise how deep we have it. Only ones partner can see that more clearly.

Tony WK