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Stuck in the past - is it a man thing?

(41 Posts)
manny Thu 09-Apr-20 10:58:33

Anyone out there have experience of husband/partner who excelled in a sport or hobby in his younger years? And who remembers that as the best time of his life?
My Father was a bit like that, especially in his later years. But he had a very interesting and colourful war record.
Is it a man thing? Anybody ever come across women who do the same?

Esther1 Sat 11-Apr-20 22:39:03

My DH keeps on going on about the past - he calls it being nostalgic, but I’ve just heard everything so many times and he always tries to relate an incident as if I’ve only just met him - we’ve been married well over 40 years! He also can’t seem to enjoy any television made after the seventies or listen to any music after that period either. I just let him get on with it now!

Grandad1943 Sat 11-Apr-20 19:06:26

JenniferEcclesvin regard to your above post, men may well have led more interesting working lives than women in decades past, but that is not the case today.

Within our own company, we have women on the assignment teams who carry out accident investigation and safety audit reports in other companies continuously.

We also have men working in administration carrying out work on accounts and client communication.

Now, who in the above has the most interesting and important employment? The foregoing is how it is in many companies today.

JenniferEccles Sat 11-Apr-20 18:50:30

Maybe it’s because men think they have lead more interesting lives with work, hobbies etc than the women in their lives.

My husband often chats nostalgically about places he visited whilst he was working.

Purpledaffodil Sat 11-Apr-20 17:38:34

I went to a family funeral in which the whole focus was the deceased’s Army career. Sadly that had ended 40 years previously so his subsequent life, his wife, his children got no mention. That was the way he wanted it.😭
There are times when we have to ban DH from beginning sentences “When I was a .....”. I’m finding there are a lot of those sentences during lockdown.
I do think it is a male thing.

gulligranny Sat 11-Apr-20 17:21:43

My DH was a tv lighting director (BBC, tv-am, Thames TV and freelance) and has lots of interesting tales to tell of shows he's worked on. That's the plus side, but the dark side is that he simply cannot sit and watch television without commenting on the lighting! Grrrr!!

manny Fri 10-Apr-20 11:04:40

JackyB. That’s what I was getting at exactly. It reminds me of Tom Buchanan in ‘The Great Gatsby’ who was doomed to ‘drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game’. That’s sad.
I agree entirely with preserving memories of the past and remembering and recording family history. But some of us find it difficult to move on.

Callistemon Fri 10-Apr-20 09:41:56

I wish I'd listened more and asked more questions.
History is about people and that includes our own families, not just Kings, Queens, politicians.

JackyB Fri 10-Apr-20 09:23:07

There is a difference between having memories and recognising them as such and mentally not moving on from those "Glory Days". Which is what the OP was getting at, if I understood her correctly.

My DH doesn't go on about his time as a teacher, a student, or his National Service (which was only recently abolished here in Germany - my 2 eldest DS still had to serve. They both chose Community Service)

DH has moved on and will reminisce if asked, but has built a new life since retiring.

My parents both wrote down their life stories for us to refer to if needed, but both lived very much in the present. No doubt my father hankered after the years he spent sailing and woodworking, but he accepted they were over.

BlueSapphire Fri 10-Apr-20 08:00:27

Well, I could talk for ever about the years I lived and worked in Singapore in my 20s. A vastly different lifestyle to the UK and have wonderful memories (especially as I met DH there!). So not a man thing.

rosecarmel Fri 10-Apr-20 07:04:13

I agree with Grandad-

vampirequeen Fri 10-Apr-20 06:57:29

My dad would never talk his service during the war and DH also refuses to talk about his time serving in the First Gulf War. Perhaps it depends what they saw and had to do. DH still has nightmares.

Daisymae Fri 10-Apr-20 06:03:27

Ah yes, reminds me of a Bruce Springsteen song 'Glory Days'. I think women do it a bit but some men find it hard to let go. We have someone in our family who had a very interesting job. Except that was nearly 40 years ago and it not really relevant now.

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 23:21:25

Perhaps this isolation would be a good time to write them all down for our children and grandchildren.

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 23:18:35

Our family must be an exception.

I know lots of stories about my Mum's family and her childhood because she told me plenty of tales of her early days, how she met my father, her job and the families she worked for and their early married life overseas.

Dad never spoke of his WW2 experiences to me although he may have told my brothers. And I only learnt stories of his family from his sister, my aunt.

It's a pity because I am interested in family history and have uncovered a lot of things about the family and have lots of questions which will never be answered now. My cousin knew a lot which she told me but she has died too now, sadly.

annodomini Thu 09-Apr-20 21:35:08

I can reminisce ad nauseam about my five years in Kenya in my 20s. My family and friends are usually tactful but I'm sure they could recite my memories by heart. blush

Grandad1943 Thu 09-Apr-20 21:15:04

Manny in regard to your above post, my wife's father served in what was then Burma during the second world war and he would often portray the events of that campaign but only in regard to the camaraderie and enjoyable periods they had in the far east. They would never tell us of the terrible things they must have seen and even done while trying to survive in such dreadful circumstances.

However, each generation has its own tales to tell and in a case such as mine we were brought up during food rationing, spent our youth under the shadow of the cold war, Vietnam, the Cuba crisis and civil rights in America which at times looked as if it would tear the whole country apart.

Our grandchildren learn about such things in their history lessons and they often ask us how we remember those periods, for our personal recollections can be very different from what they read in their books.

I feel we are now living through an historical period from which books will be written, but how our grandchildren will portray their personal memories of this period to their children and grandchildren will be very different to what is written in those books.

That is the reason I stated in an earlier post in this thread that the tales, memories, and experiences expressed by older generations are elements to be listened to and cherished, for they are irreplaceable in the memories to those who come after them.

manny Thu 09-Apr-20 20:28:25

Grandad, I agree with you entirely. Such memories need to be kept alive. My Dad served in the RAF and was a Japanese POW for three and a half years. I listened to his stories when he was able to talk about them - much, much later on towards the end of his life. I now regret that I wasn’t more attentive
What I do struggle with is those who were very successful in some way or another during a golden period in their youth, who later believe that nothing in their subsequent experience can ever match that. I feel sad for them.

Grandad1943 Thu 09-Apr-20 16:33:07

I have always loved to hear the experiences of people who were born in generations previous to myself. My parents would often draw on their memories of the Second World war. My father a veteran of Dunkirk, North Africa and D Day would often along with other veterans at Christmas Parties etc tell of their army experiences, but not of the actual Battles, but camaraderie and laughs they often had in what must have been very difficult and terrifying situations

My mother would often tell us as children of how our house was bombed in world war two and how she managed her way through that entirely on her own. How she found my father following Dunkirk on a beach in Devon when only that very morning she had reason to believe he was dead.

My daughters and their children often ask me and my wife of how we managed during the winter of discontent when I was out on strike for five weeks with a family and mortgage to keep maintained. My wife will often tell our grandchildren of her experiences of being a youth in the rapidly changing attitudes of women in the nineteen sixties

In the above, I hope I am demonstrating that the memories of others especially, older generations, are something to be listened to and cherished. Me and my wife often pass on to our grandchildren the tales that our parents told us of their life experiences, and in turn, that of our own in being brought up under food rationing etc.

Well, I had better end there for the memories and experiences of others it is a subject I could ramble on in regard to for another fifty paragraphs.

Love it.....Just love it. 😃

MerylStreep Thu 09-Apr-20 15:04:51

Definitely not. I think I'm living with Peter Pan. He's still very much involved with sailing/boats. He still has his yachtmasters certificate.
He drives a hotrod as his everyday car and races it at Santapod.
If this crisis hadn't happened we would have been moving a boat in Spain and then taken The motohome somewhere in Europe.

M0nica Thu 09-Apr-20 15:00:22

No difference, just remember different things.

Urmstongran Thu 09-Apr-20 14:49:23

You are right there Maw. I like to look back. I do it a lot. ‘This time last week the ...’ or ‘This time last year we ...’

MawB Thu 09-Apr-20 14:46:25

Not a man thing an old age thing.
Just reading the threads on GN - Ladies you are not immune! 👴🏻👵🏻

dontmindstayinghome Thu 09-Apr-20 14:43:18

I think its absolutely a man thing. My OH constantly refers back to how things used to be.
When we go on a bus ride I can count the seconds until he starts telling me "how things have changed".
Throughout the journey he tells me what buildings have now gone and what the businesses used to be. He never seems to look forward, he constantly dwells in the past. I am a very forward thinking person so it drives me absolutely insane.
I keep telling him that change is nothing new, life and our environment is constantly evolving.
He gets in a right strop if I ask him to stop it.

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 14:28:28

This thread reminds me of Only Fools and Horses - Uncle Albert played by Buster Merryfield:

Uncle Albert joined the Royal Navy at 17 and then spent the rest of his life recounting tales from the war. He won seven medals - although this was largely due to the fact that he had an extraordinarily unfortunate time serving on seven ships that were sunk over a period of 4 years.

After the war Albert joined the Merchant Navy and then took up the hobby of falling down pub cellars throughout the South East.

Evoha16 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:28:54

Apologies - I’ve put this post in wrong category - can anyone tell me how to re post or move it please - Thanks