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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 !

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

At least give him the benefit of the doubt!

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

Mental and physical MOT needed.

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) .

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.

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!

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

Needs to get blood tests etc

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Buttonjugs Thu 10-Dec-20 12:44:32

I seem to always have something wrong with me and do moan but I have to get on with it because I am self employed and a carer for my adult son with ASD. I am aware that I come across as a hypochondriac but I genuinely feel unwell a lot, if I get a cold it lasts for weeks, sacroiliac dysfunction, plantar fasciitis, a propensity to anaemia. My family don’t take any notice so I am definitely not imagining things for attention! On the plus side, ‘a creaky gate lasts longest’ according to my late Nan!

Stella14 Thu 10-Dec-20 12:27:17

Is it possible that he is depressed? People are often very sensitive to every little twinge when depressed and repeated complaints of feeling ill and feeling physical pain are often a signpost to depression. If that is the case, things won’t improve without treatment for his depression.

Battersea1971 Thu 10-Dec-20 12:21:12

There are a lot of harsh comments but he needs to be checked by his GP to find out there is an underlying condition. If there is he is bound to feel depressed. My husband had every test going but they didnt check his psa, by the time they did it had gone into his bones, and it was too late

eazybee Thu 10-Dec-20 12:18:50

I would try to be sympathetic, but insist, really insist, that he sees a doctor for a thorough medical.
Then you know where you are.
He may be resentful of the fact you will be retiring soon, and preparing the way for giving up work himself.

sodapop Thu 10-Dec-20 12:07:17

I think you are being unreasonable Daisy your husband needs to find out why he feels as he does. A GP visit is called for, there are several reasons I can think of including depression as others have said.

icanhandthemback Thu 10-Dec-20 11:58:27

M0nica's post puts it succinctly. Even if it is only health anxiety or just a reluctance to work, there are usually reasons why this might be getting. Maybe he hates his work or is depressed and this is the way it manifests itself. If there are no physical health reasons, I would sit him down and listen sympathetically about how he feels about his job to see if there is a way he can earn without having to suffer. You work for the majority of your life time and the least somebody can expect is that they are not made unhappy by their job. Life is just too short.

Daisend1 Thu 10-Dec-20 11:57:40

Has your husband seen a GP recently and diagnosed with what H claims he is suffering from.?My only suggestion if this not being the case and he has not seen a GP then offer to accompany him to the surgery where he will get a diagnosis for what he is /maybe suffering and preventing him from going out to work.
My instant thought is depression which manifests itself in many ways.

Patticake123 Thu 10-Dec-20 11:56:37

Some people only get noticed when they feel poorly. Is he craving your attention?

Frogsinmygarden Thu 10-Dec-20 11:21:01

Totally agree with you M0nica. Having been in a similar position and having 'people' get on your case was soul destroying. I'm not saying be a mug, just be kind because things are often not what they seem.

ElaineRI55 Thu 10-Dec-20 11:19:59

It really sounds as though he is physically and/or mentally unwell rather than just lazy- especially if he says he feels useless. Whatever is at the root of it, you need to have a non-confrontational chat and reassure him that you'll find a solution between you. It could be as simple as needing to take vit D tablets! Professional support and self-help strategies are very successful at improving mental well-being also. Once his health has been addressed, it sounds as though you need to have a chat about work/retirement plans and find something that suits you both. If he basically enjoys the work he does, could you retire but maybe help him with some aspects like doing the books or scheduling appointments etc? If he really doesn't enjoy his work any more, is it feasible for him to work part-time or do another job for a while or take over more of the housework if you're happy to work on a little longer? Things should definitely get better if you tackle it together, rather than letting worry or resentment build up. All the best .

Natasha76 Thu 10-Dec-20 11:11:13

Gosh what a lot of harsh comments.

This could be depression and anxiety.
We have all had a very difficult year and focusing on aches and pains could all be a reaction to the uncertain times we are living in. We all cope with stress differently and not going to work is a way of protecting himself from coming into contact with other people. You could keep a diary for a few weeks and record his symptoms and then show him and suggest he speak to a gp. The gp will probably order blood tests etc. which may come back negative and then you can focus on this being a mental issue with him. It doesn't mean he is making it all up just feeling under stress.
In terms of you worrying about providing all the income, you will make yourself ill dwelling on this and it won't sort out hubby's problem either, so take care of your self and try to sort him out.