Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I retired two years ago and began traveling in a new RV. It was something we had dreamed of for years. We both love history and hiking. This lifestyle is perfect for discovering and enjoying both. The only confusion we have is our relationship has changed. We seem to argue more now than we ever did during our forty years of marriage. It’s insignificant little squabbles, but they seem abnormally frequent. I always thought we agreed on almost everything but I am finding that not to be the case. Do you think it has anything to do with our new lifestyle.
--Confused on the Loose in Louisiana
It’s really quite simple. You used to be part-timers and now you are full-timers. I’m not talking about your RV lifestyle, I’m talking about your marriage. During your working life, one or both of you worked. That meant you didn’t spend most of your waking hours together. When you were together you had a lot of catching up to do and no time for insignificant problems. You had to fry all the big fish and move on. Now you are full-timers. Living in a small space together 24/7 with all kinds of time to discover each other all over again. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It takes some work. It takes some understanding. It takes some compromise. After two years you must be making some progress. Many people find they can’t make those adjustments and stop traveling or find ways to pare down the togetherness and cultivate alone time. Separate hobbies like photography, crafts and sports can accomplish this. Volunteer work and part-time jobs can also help. You sound like you have a wonderful relationship so maybe you both need to accept that you are the same people you have always been and stop letting the insignificant differences you are discovering annoy you.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink