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how can I motivate a retired husband

(75 Posts)
Shortbread Fri 17-Jan-14 20:59:22

My husband retired 3 years ago, with the intention of doing 'a little job' and catching up with all the things he had never had the time or the money for. I am still waiting for him to get started. Everything is a chore, and he blames his aches and pains which are no different to any other 65 year old. It is like now that he is not working he will go deaf,get aches and pains,there is no need to learn about the new technology,he is entitled to a rest; after all he has worked for 40 odd years and paid off the mortgage.
He doesn't like using the phone to speak to anyone and won't answer it. He makes a fuss about getting together with friends and family as well as making it awkward for me to invite anyone into the house.
I am quite a 'busy person' and enjoy the family and 2GC, meeting friends, craft work and have recently joined U3A and hope to be joining the local choir.
Although we have always been different it seems now that we don't have such a structured life, the difference is exagerated.
Has any one else had a similar problem ?
Whilst I like having something to do I do spend time with him on his terms but there does not seem to be any compromise. I am sure he needs to give himself permission to enjoy enjoy the hobbies he always claimed he wanted to do.
Help - I feel very fed up, and would like some suggestions.

Stansgran Fri 17-Jan-14 21:21:21

Anticipation of retirement and reality of retirement. Ah I could write a book. There is more time to think about the aches and pains and unless there is a good plan then things go by the wayside. Sadly the other activities have to come from your DH. Leaflets left around sometimes help like cookery courses or archeology degrees. I make a list of places we haven't visited and try to get to them midweek. Membership of the national trust or annual tickets to concerts work well as they don't like to waste them. And grandchildren help. There is another thread on the trials of one family at the moment with some good advice on it. Good luck.

Shortbread Fri 17-Jan-14 21:25:15

Thank you
Yes it has to come from him. I will try and casualy leave leaflets that may interest him lying around, who knows he take the bait.
In the meanwhile I guess I will have to be patient and count my blessings.

grandma60 Fri 17-Jan-14 21:29:05

Oh Shortbread, I only wish I knew the answer to this one. My DH retired last year. I am still working. I wish I could look forward to my retirement
but to tell the truth I am.dreading it. DS does do all the housework etc so.I suppose I should be grateful for that but he has no interest in going out or socialising . He adores his grandchildren but has to be persuaded to vist them,saying that they should be visiting us. Like your DS he never answers the phone and seems happy with his own company. He does go for long walks on his own. I feel uncomfortable asking people round. Sorry this isn't much help but at least we know we are not alone. Gransnet always cheers me up.

grandma60 Fri 17-Jan-14 21:31:38

Sorry, meant DH not DS!

Shortbread Fri 17-Jan-14 21:59:47

grandma60 - I too was working when he first retired and he did all the housework and ironing. He says the kitchen is mydomain and if I werent here he would go to the chippy. Now I am home we share the chores, him doing his ironing and all the floors, after which I get, oh I ache here and feel giddy etc. He has a clean bill of health as he takes the opportunity to have all the tests offered to him and more. Sometimes I think he just wants attention.Yes he loves the grandchildren and seems to lighten up when we see them but despite them being boys and him being of a practical nature he does seem to know how to amuse them.(more like he can't be bothered). I would say before you retire, have a chat and share what you expect out of it, and ask him how much time he expects to be with you. I feel like I am damned if I spent time with him - cramp his style, and damned if I do my own thing as don't seem to care for him like I should. I have only just joined Gransnet and already I fell like a problem shared etc will help me find a solution.
Hope you can retire soon and enjoy living at your own pace.

Shortbread Fri 17-Jan-14 22:00:51

Oops I meant he does not seem to know how to amuse them.

janerowena Fri 17-Jan-14 22:09:07

I think they get depressed. So many men don't bother to have a hobby of any kind before they retire, they have nothing to help them bridge the break between work and retirement. I have thought in the past that men in particular grieve for their jobs. If you think of it like that, then four years to get over it is a fairly average time to recover from a bereavement, so maybe your OH will start to show signs of life once spring is here. Fingers crossed for you anyway.

Mishap Fri 17-Jan-14 22:18:06

My OH is just the same - that's fine - he worked very hard during his working life and I feel he is entitled to live his retirement as he wishes, just as he is happy for me to live mine as I wish.

It is of course exasperating at times and I see other retired couples doing things together and get a sense of "I wish", but where does that get me?

I do the things that I love and he spends time at home on the things he enjoys doing. And we have a few areas of life where we do some things together. We a share a great love of our children and dear GC.

If your OH has done 40 years "hard labour" and paid off the mortgage, he perhaps needs a bit of down time; unless of course you think that he might be depressed.

My OH has PD, but I am guessing that he would have wanted a quiet retirement anyway.

mollie Fri 17-Jan-14 22:52:16

I've got no advice for you, Shortbread, but am interested in your dilemma and that discussed in another thread which is very, very similar. My OH is heading towards retirement and we've started talking about what we will do etc. and some of what has been mentioned here/elsewhere is already striking chords with me (or should that be warning bells?). I hope gransnetters come up with some good advice and that you and your OH can agree how things should be in future. Good luck!

papaoscar Fri 17-Jan-14 22:52:35

Shortbread - as a retired chap for 16 years now I sympathise with you both. Retirement is not easy, even in the best of circumstances, and if the retiree just wants to ease back and lead a quiet life it can be very difficult for the other half. In our case we both have a range of different and shared activities, but even so the path is not always smooth. We have friends where the retired wife is very active but the retired husband happily just sits in his chair all day and reads the paper, despite having a very active mind, and that is just as frustrating for the wife. There is no easy solution to all this, but you are doing the right thing by keeping yourself active and involved in outside activities. Perhaps in due course, even after three years, the other half might eventually be jolted into activity. A new interest might come along, perhaps, or the revival of an old one. In the meantime, good luck and count your blessings. For most of us things could always be a lot worse!

KatyK Fri 17-Jan-14 23:01:35

Mine was dreading retirement. I retired first and was OK then he retired and he (and consequently I) couldn't stand it. He eventually got a part-time job as a volunteer tour guide for the National Trust and he loves it. He can choose his days/hours and he's out meeting people and is back 'into life'.

durhamjen Fri 17-Jan-14 23:05:42

I always find it strange that busy people want other people to be busy.
My husband died two years ago and I get fed up of well-meaning friends asking me when I am going to join this that and the other group.
Some of us just are not joiners. It sounds like your husband isn't, Shortbread. I agree with Papaoscar.
Someone asked me if I wanted to come along to their bookgroup, so I asked what they were reading. A book about ghosts! Very appropriate.
I am actually reading Tony Benn's latest diaries at the moment, and I bet I could get a good argument going on that, but not many of them would want to read it!

Tegan Fri 17-Jan-14 23:11:49

Oh are they the ones where he talks about the problems of ageing? We went to one of his talks a few years back and I planned to get him to sign the book later but not keep him talking cause there were so many other people in the queue, but he'd have none of it, and everyone got a lengthy chat. It was the 'Letters to my Grandchildren' one, and I wanted him to write my grandsons names in it smile.

harrigran Fri 17-Jan-14 23:22:11

DH retired four years ago and he has not had his bottom on a seat since. The house got neglected while he worked away for 16 years so his first job was to put it right. He had plans drawn up and site managed the renovation of the house and garden followed by refurbishment of the interior. When the house was finished we started on the redecoration of our second home so that we can sell it. Oh, and he does all the housework, cooking and ironing. He doesn't get time to be bored grin

merlotgran Fri 17-Jan-14 23:38:11

The most important aim in retirement is to be content. Some people are busy busy and others want to chill after years of hard work.

Just be what you want to be and don't be too disappointed if your other half has other ideas. It's his retirement as well.

durhamjen Fri 17-Jan-14 23:46:29

No, Tegan, it's "A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine," but he does talk about that book in it. I think he was thinking of writing Letters to my Grandchildren at the time, but it had a different title. This diary finishes when he went into hospital on 29th July, 2009, my husband's 63rd birthday, and he never wrote a diary entry after that. He said it was strange because he was probably one of the few people who had been in parliament with Aneurin Bevan.
It's a very interesting book, because it's about the time that Brown took over from Blair. So a lot of the time you are thinking, yes I remember that.

Anne58 Sat 18-Jan-14 00:29:16

65 is not old, for heavens sake! Mick Jagger is 70, Rod Stewart is 69. Not that I'm suggesting your husband suddenly becomes a rock star, goes on tour and leaps about on stage. (unless of course it has been a long held secret ambition of his)

Your OP (especially with regard to not answering the phone and new technology) seems to suggest a mind set of someone in their eighties or beyond.

numberplease Sat 18-Jan-14 00:35:50

My husband carried on working just 3 days a week after he reached 65, but then at nearly 67 his boss made him retire. He`s never been a DIY person, or done housework, but I had (it turned out to be vain) hopes of him actually doing a bit to and around the house. All he does is play upstairs for several hours a day on his Playstation3. He`s suffered from some quite poor health in the last few months, so I didn`t expect too much then, but I`ve had a knee replacement and was told to take it easy for a few weeks afterwards, very funny! I feel he should be getting more exercise by going out a bit, but he won`t go anywhere, and I get a bit fed up at times of feeling like there`s only room for one invalid in the house, and being expected to do everything, including fetching and carrying for him, when he`s perfectly capable of doing it himself. Reading back through this, I sound like a selfish, unfeeling cow, but I don`t think I am, not really.

Anne58 Sat 18-Jan-14 00:37:36

No number you are definitely not!

Gally Sat 18-Jan-14 01:16:32

No you're not Number. flowers Have you tried having a day off from doing anything for him? He may get the message........

Lona Sat 18-Jan-14 08:10:04

You're definitely not number. I'm with Gally, you aren't a servant.

Nelliemoser Sat 18-Jan-14 08:28:45

Stop cooking his dinner!

grandma60 Sat 18-Jan-14 08:32:50

Shortbread, thanks for your reply so much of it rang a bell with me, especially, the bit about cramping his style when I am around but neglecting him if I do my own thing. As it is Saturday I will be meeting a friend for coffee later. He just can,t see the point. Says there is a kettle in the kitchen so why go out and pay forit! You are right we need a chat before I retire next year. I'm new to gransnet as well. Its great to hear so many other points of view.

Aka Sat 18-Jan-14 09:00:56

Phoenix is right, he is acting like a far older person and if he keeps sitting round on his backside he will become that person physically and mentally. That would be OK for him perhaps but not for you as you would doubtless end up being his carer. I've seen this happen to a couple of friends.

Whatever it takes you need to get him interested in some project as a start. My OH would sit around if I let him but once I get him interested in some new project then it takes on a life of its one. When he built the new patio last summer, his friend and our SiL, mucked in to help and I provided sandwiches, beer, or one day did a BBQ over the week it took to complete. There was a lot of laughter, argument, and all that.

What is saying is can he be persuaded to take on a project so it kick starts him into a more active phase and if it's not just him on his own he might rediscover the pleasure of the company of others?