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Husband always ‘ill’

(65 Posts)
Daisy2018 Wed 09-Dec-20 17:52:27

Please tell me if I’m being unreasonable: my husband has always got something wrong with him. Either a cold, sore throat, aching feet etc. He will tell me his ailments each day which I can ignore most of the time, but over the last few years he is taking more and more time off work. He is self employed and then doesn’t get paid. He’s a few years younger than me and I’m due to retire soon but feel responsible for our income incase he takes too much time off, so not sure if I should carry on working. I just feel like saying man-up and get on with it. He then watches TV all day when he’s ‘ill’ which also drives me mad !

grandtanteJE65 Thu 10-Dec-20 13:02:42

I don't think you are being unreasonable, but knowing what to do about this is more difficult.

Are the colds bad enough to attract your attention, or is he just saying he has a cold?

Colds and sore throats can be caused by allergies, although this is the least common reason for them. Is there anything in your house your husband could be allergic to?

It is usually difficult to get a man to consult his doctor, but suggesting that he has an allergy might do the trick.

Sore feet is so vague - are they worst at any particular time of day+

I suggest you leave the health issues aside for a while, and start by making a written household budget of all your expenses and detailing whether they are covered by your or his earnings.

Sit him down and tell him that you are seriously concerned about how you will be able to pay the bills/ maintain your present standard of living when you retire.

Show him the budget and remind him gently that he only earns on the days he works, so his ailments worry you., both because he never seems really well and because of the financial implications.
See what he says.

You could also ask him whether he is worried about his work or tired of it and is taking days off because he cannot face his job.

It sounds to me as if his days off are affecting your financial situation. If this is so, it won't get better, unless he is either able to work more, or to charge more for the work he does.

Do you want to continue working? If not, you need a frank discussion of the financial outlook for the next years until your husband can retire as well.

Changing his job at his late stage will be well-nigh impossible, so either you have to make changes that enable you to live on your pension alone, or he needs to work more, or qualify for an invalidity pension.

Please do try to discuss it with him now, both the financial aspect, his poor health, which to start with you should treat seriously, even if he is merely putting it on, plus discuss how you visualize retirement and the years to come after you have retired and he cannot.

CarlyD7 Thu 10-Dec-20 13:04:02

Some people learn to be "ill" because that's the only time they get attention / care / left alone / the right to not do what they don't want to do (this can start in childhood). Wonder how assertive he is in asking for what he wants? I agree with the others - could be an underlying condition or depression - definitely book him an appointment with GP and go with him. It's been an awful year and it's hit some people harder than others. He may hate his job and secretly want to retire too? Are you both able to have a truly honest discussion with each other about what you want? Might be time for a change of direction for him. But get his health checked out first; definitely.

queenofsaanich69 Thu 10-Dec-20 14:39:07

Maybe he has some allergy that makes him feel ill——- suggest you keep track of what he eats,this will give him something to think about as well,then you may find out he has an allergy and can sort it out——— definitely make him see his Doctor now.

Joesoap Thu 10-Dec-20 14:59:58

You are not alone,my Husband who is really fit and well, comes up with a small thing each day, just as I have got up in the morning.Either feels cold, or has a running nose as soon as he comes indoors, an overstretched muscle in one leg,a little spot somewhere,I often say go to the , but being a nurse all my life he thinks he doesnt need to! it drives me mad.

Patsy70 Thu 10-Dec-20 15:22:12

I really think you should have a good talk, maybe in the evening over dinner? You say that this has been going on for a few years, but getting worse. Firstly, you need to know whether he has an underlying condition, be it physical or mental. So, the first port of call is his GP - insist upon this if he shows some reluctance. He may have to wait for an appointment, and for this reason I suggest you write to his GP,
explaining his behaviour and the symptoms he has complained about and your concerns about his physical and mental health. Only then can you plan for your retirement. My OH was always moaning about every little ache & pain, and got little sympathy from me, but then early last year he had what he described as a ‘funny turn’. Fortunately, he didn’t ignore it, and we subsequently learned that he’d suffered a mild stroke, caused by a blood condition, Erithrocitosis, for which he is now being treated. Please get him to the GP, Daisy. Best wishes.

Gwenisgreat1 Thu 10-Dec-20 16:22:04

How long have you been together? How long has he been like this? As has been suggested get him to the Doc, probably be difficult 'cause men hate to go, especially if they are going to be found out!! Yes, he could be depressed, how is his behaviour otherwise?

Aepgirl Thu 10-Dec-20 16:39:59

Sounds like he enjoys ill health. Has he always been like this, or is it something new? Perhaps he is jealous that you are going to retire when he will still be working.

justgeekingby Thu 10-Dec-20 17:01:47

I found this thread randomly, and I'm probably much younger than the normal gransnet user, but I hope you'll give me a moment of your time to listen to an alternative point of view.

I was heartened to see someone mention ME, and other people mention other chronic illnesses, but the amount of people who have not called you out as being unreasonable or called this 'lazitus' is saddening especially as a pandemic is currently happening.

The symptoms you describe sound very much like ME. ME is a neurological condition and in a very basic way, I'd describe it as having flu constantly. Having flu is horrible enough, imagine feeling that every single day? One of the main symptoms is called post-exertion malaise (PEM) which means that activities we do catch up with us several days, even a week later. For healthy people doing an activity, like going for a run, the after-effects are felt immediately afterwards. For people with ME, we don't feel it until much later and it is devastatingly painful.

I would suggest reading more about it at the ME association website -

It may not be ME, but as someone with 7 chronic illnesses, I would most definitely say that yes, you are being unreasonable as are many people in this thread. Most chronic illnesses have no outward physical sign and many people fear talking about their symptoms or seeing a doctor because they fear being belittled or accused of being a hypochondriac.

Torbroud Thu 10-Dec-20 17:05:15

Needs to get blood tests etc

Alioop Thu 10-Dec-20 19:10:56

Bearl I did the same as you although mine didn't do anything like cutting the grass to begin with. Back was always sore, colds in winter, hayfever in summer, site feet the lot! Yet a rugby match or drinking with work colleagues he was away running. I left him & got a divorce and he'd the cheek to message me asking how the mower worked!

M0nica Thu 10-Dec-20 20:46:18

The more I read and the more I think, the more convinced I am that this behaviour is the result of ill health, acknowledged or unaknowledged.

Karen22 Fri 11-Dec-20 00:34:38

He may be genuinely ill.
Over 10yrs ago I started feeling v unwell, no energy (started to hate my job), sore throats, plus other symptoms.
I ended up being diagnosed with M.E (chronic fatigue syndrome) .

Phloembundle Fri 11-Dec-20 13:53:19

Mental and physical MOT needed.

BlueSky Fri 11-Dec-20 21:02:25

At least give him the benefit of the doubt!