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Friends after retirement and move?

(85 Posts)
Mousepotato Sun 07-Apr-19 10:30:02

My husband retired last year and decided he wanted to move out of the city to a small town about 5 hours away. That was fine with me even though it meant leaving friends and family. Unfortunately after a year, we have yet to make any new friends at all! He doesn’t seem to mind, being a quiet man, but I am very unhappy. I have a couple of ok acquaintances but we don’t have a lot in common they being younger, and I miss having couples get togethers. Husband won’t even go to a new church. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where or how I can get him interested in other people again? We have been married for 51 years and I need new material! This is a friendly town but being 70 it’s hard to join in when everyone already knows everyone - I feel like I’m back in high school dealing with the cool kids again. Thank you for any help!

FarNorth Sun 07-Apr-19 10:35:21

I think you're on a loser with getting your husband to be sociable so you can have new friends.
You need to go to the new church yourself and / or any clubs or groups that interest you.
Good luck.

Lily65 Sun 07-Apr-19 10:38:42

I think this is a tough one and the conventional wisdom is.....join U3A, volunteer in a charity shop and a library.

I'm not sure any of these actually " work" because what's going on is something deeper somehow. Also this rosy glow associated with volunteering is not always there.

One charity shop I volunteered with, the manager was abusing her position of power and manipulating vulnerable adults, one was totally disorganised and absolutely filthy and one was staffed by people who disliked each other and bitched about each other.

If your husband isn't interested ,you can't make him be interested. Perhaps Church might be your best bet, a yoga class, something lightweight?

dragonfly46 Sun 07-Apr-19 10:40:33

Can your husband play golf or bowls. Maybe there are groups in U3A you would be interested in. A year is a very short time. I felt bereft for the first year after we moved back from Holland but slowly we met people who became friends.
When my DH was working all our friends were couples I had met but after he retired he made friends at the golf club. Yes go to church on your own if he wont come - that is a great place for meeting people.
It is very hard that you are 5 hours away from your old life. Do you have DC in the area?

Witzend Sun 07-Apr-19 10:44:14

I know they won't suit everybody, but is there a WI? Or a Knit and Natter group? Or a walking/rambling group? Bridge? Yoga/any other keep fit classes? Any charity shops where volunteers would be welcome?
It must be very hard for you, though - I know people can appear very cliquey (or seem to) when they all seem to know each other.

Urmstongran Sun 07-Apr-19 10:54:11

This can’t be easy for you mousepotato (love your name!) but you must have thought about it some before you agreed to the move as you’d know your husband? Leopards and spots come to mind. You can’t change him. So you’ll need to branch out alone.

Find a group or two and stick to it for a few weeks, drop one and stick at another. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll make friends soon.

librarylady Sun 07-Apr-19 11:15:49

Are you in the UK or the USA?

Disgruntled Sun 07-Apr-19 11:19:06

Do you like dogs? you could borrow a dog from a sanctuary - dog walkers all seem to talk to one another. I know it's not a deep connection, but it might be a start... Good luck.

Teetime Sun 07-Apr-19 11:20:34

We are in a similar position. I play golf DH couldn't get into but plays bowls. As we go round town on a Saturday its Hi Pete Hi Pete everywhere we go chatting to him I am invisible -has anyone ever invited us to their house for coffee/drink - no not once in 8 years. My golf ladies are only interested in competitive golf and I'm not good enough so no socialising there either. I really dont know how you make friends- I have invited people to our house for all sorts but no return invites we must be ghastly people.
Mousepotato I'm sorry but if you are keen to go to church I should go whether your husband does or not.

Eglantine21 Sun 07-Apr-19 11:21:04

I’m a bit in the same position in that I’m in a new town, albeit temporarily. I’ve joined the walking group, a gardening group, transferred my WI membership and there is lots of stuff going on at the local library on a one off basis.

I read the notice boards and the local paper and just turn up to events and things people have organised like quizzes or coffee mornings.

I haven’t made any close friends, just casual but that’s what I like really.

I think you need to go it alone. Single people are much more open to a newbie than trying to break into a couples scenario, especially with a reluctant in tow !

Jacqui1956 Sun 07-Apr-19 11:23:39

I think you need to forget about having the ‘couples get togethers’ just make your own social life. What about the WI
or joining some day or evening classes? You often meet people and then it develops into a social friendship.

coast35 Sun 07-Apr-19 11:29:37

Join a local community choir. There are Rock Choirs all over Britain. There are no auditions and you choose yourself whether you are bass or soprano or somewhere in between. The songs are melodic and the people are very friendly. It’s fun. You can sing as much or as little as you want.

EllanVannin Sun 07-Apr-19 11:31:42

Mousepotato if I were you I'd start by going to church by yourself as from there you're bound to meet up with like-minded people to form new relationships with then take it from there.

Grampie Sun 07-Apr-19 11:35:14

Retirement is harder for the person whose identity and sense of purpose was strongly tied with their occupation. Usually, though we downsize to reduce of living costs and to be closer to our grandchildren.

On retirement my wife and I returned to the UK after living for 20 years in the USA. Our two daughters had already returned for university, marriage and parenthood. Our son and his American wife still live as if they’re single and settled in London.

On our return my wife immediately became a volunteer bell ringer and with volunteered to work with the NT for a day a week. I volunteered to work as a computer buddy at three of our local libraries.

Strangely, no new real friends yet (after ten years!) but luckily my wife discovered an old school friend living nearby.

We’ve both tried our local church but no connections there and we tried U3A twice but attending the huge monthly meetings became a chore and none of the groups really interested either of us.

But we’re happy.

Urmstongran Sun 07-Apr-19 11:37:29

Oh bless you Teetime (love your name too now I understand the golf connection - clever!) I’m sure you are both lovely people! You perfectly illustrate how difficult it can be to break into new friendships even after asking people round. It’s possibly that some folk are just not good/confident at ‘hosting’ something.

Would suggesting a gathering in a local bar be a way forward? Just a get together which might garner support - get your diaries out before leaving and fix a date for the next meet up? I find that works well (usually).

Good luck!

marpau Sun 07-Apr-19 11:38:04

Try local community centre there are usually lots of activities finding like minded people can lead to friendship. I volunteered to join the committee in one group and was asked to join several other groups after that.

Bbbface Sun 07-Apr-19 11:39:39

Married 51 years but you seem surprised at the situation re your husband.

He’s a quiet man, happy n his own company. He wanted to move to the country. I don’t know the man but I could have told you it would play out like this!

Presumably you’ve always had to take the lead socially?

It is difficult to suggest things without knowing your personality and hobbies - but if so a course. Computing or art or similar. Then if you don’t make friends, at least doing something fulfilling

Nanny123 Sun 07-Apr-19 11:41:36

About 11 years ago we moved to Ireland. I left a good job in the NHS, all my friends and a great social life to living in the middle of no where, couldnt find work and became very isolated. It really started getting me down. The thing that saved me was I started doing some voluntary work. It got me out of the house, meeting people and I learnt so much. I would really recommend it and you can do as little or as much as you like

Anrol Sun 07-Apr-19 11:42:51

Just an idea: Are you able to ask your newish neighbours and everyone else you have made your acquaintance with to an unformal new home drop in lunch/afternoon tea. I know someone who did this after living in a new town for a year and felt her & OH were becoming hermits. She kept it simple had a few cakes, biscuits & tea & coffee and was pleasantly surprised at the people who came. Some new acquaintances brought their previously unseen OH and before she knew it they had invites to all sorts of clubs, bbq’s and had lots of things and coincidences in common with them. Good luck with your H, sometimes they can be terrible stick in the muds as they get older.

sodapop Sun 07-Apr-19 11:49:39

Lily65 sorry you had a bad experience of volunteering but its not always like that. Lots of us on GN have very positive experiences.
I think Farnorth is right you need to start looking at opportunities for yourself mousepotato If you get involved your husband may join in later. Good luck.

Rocknroll5me Sun 07-Apr-19 11:50:37

Very interesting. Why did your husband want to be so far away from old contacts? Or have you moved to more beautiful spot? Or perhaps he was tired of sharing you? Or perhaps he really likes his own company. What tempted you to do it?
I absolutely agree with someone else here, get a dog. You get wonderful companionship from both dog and fellow dog lovers who are always the best sort. Dog owners at the very least always acknowledge each other. And don’t always walk the dog as couple.. spread yourself about. And the brilliant thing is that the light-hearted bonding with others can be fleeting or regular never tied down or too committed as being a volunteer can be. Let more committed arrangements come naturally. I’ve done it all and it’s the best. And dogs are always grateful and so happy for a walk. So cheery. So I do hope you and your husband like dogs.

craftyone Sun 07-Apr-19 11:53:31

It`s not easy mouse, making a true friend, as though we are children who have been friends all through school. Life isn`t like that, people get wrapped up in their own world as they become adults, their own familes. Children leave home, there are divorces and bereavements and then suddenly we all value a real friend and we try to recreate what was a warts and all friendship but that is no longer real. We become reserved and more private as we age

Acquaintances are as much as many of us can hope for, people to spend a few hours with and personally I do that via my crafting and a common interest

FountainPen Sun 07-Apr-19 11:58:49

This a recurring topic here, men in older age who are content to do nothing much. If he’s happy that way then let him be and look to yourself to find new social activities. There is absolutely no reason why you have to do things together or force him to do things he doesn’t want to do.

Go out with a notepad and smart phone. Visit the library, museums, galleries, theatres, cinema. Look at noticeboards. Look at “what’s on” websites. Make a list of everything that is going on in your locality. The phone is useful for taking pictures of flyers. Think about what interests you and start joining in.

If this new town is where you plan to spend the rest of your lives, it will stand you in good stead if he predeceases you. That may sound morbid but it’s simply being practical. So many older couples move on retirement, then one dies and leaves the other lonely and isolated. Start taking steps now to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Be proactive. If you cannot find anything that suits your particular interests, start something that does. For all the people seeking to participate in social activities, entertainment and enrichment there are also people working very hard, often as volunteers, to provide those things. I know because I do two volunteer jobs in the performing arts and education sectors organising live music, courses and cultural outings.

May I ask? Why do you think you have to socialise in couples?

Saggi Sun 07-Apr-19 11:59:53

I’ve not even moved and i suffer from a totally quiet stay at home husband ....we have not gone out together for 11 years since our daughters wedding. I don’t think he really wanted to go to that.! I decided I had to make my life without him....I refuse 15 hours tv viewing a day ( I kid you not). Acquaintances from our old estate , when they continually see me on my own...having quite rightly presume he died years ago...I’m not sure he didn’t.... it’s a miserable existence he wants to live, I leave him too it! My life is reasonable full with grandkids and swimming and lunch couple times a month with friends. I’m also taking up tai chi, and thinking about U3A. Leave him to it and put yourself out there.

LuckyFour Sun 07-Apr-19 12:00:08

Your best bet is your nearest National Trust property. You can both do jobs/activities that you enjoy, meet like minded people, pick and choose the days you want to work, go to social events. Give it a try, what have you got to lose. It's not stuffy and old fashioned these days. I enjoy chatting with visitors, taking them on tours, doing handicrafts with children, working in the garden. Lots. of choices. By the way you can claim travelling expenses.