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I feel I am living in a prison

(80 Posts)
Tuppence21 Wed 21-Mar-18 14:57:36

For many years I held a responsible job which took me all over the world and meant I was away for up to two weeks at a time. This was mainly after my children had grown up and left home. My husband who had to take early retirement for health reasons did not mind this and we had a comfortable lifestyle.
Now I am retired and my husband insists we go everywhere together. Although he still goes out alone if I want to go for a coffee with friends I face an inquisition and he has even suggested he comes with me when I go to the hairdressers! If I arrange to go out whilst he is out he suggests cancelling his arrangements to come with me.
I find the whole thing oppressive and the daily bickering about this is getting me down. We have very little to talk about now and I think the situation is unhealthy. I enjoy our outings together and we go out regularly every week but would still like time with my girlfriends and siblings. My adored Mum is in her nineties and not in good health but I cannot even visit her alone and need time with her in the final years.
This may sound selfish to widows and divorcees but I cannot take much more. I have tried talking, pleading and, sadly, shouting but nothing seems to improve the situation.
I would just go away for a couple of days but am terrified he would call the police if he didn't know exactly where I was.

Bridgeit Wed 21-Mar-18 15:04:42

Sorry to read this,Tuppence21, well it goes without saying that your situation cannot keep going like this,.I believe you do need to make a stand & tell him you will not accept this way of living & that if he cannot give you a good explanation where by you can talk it out & find a compromise then you will refuse to have him go anywhere with you. He needs to be honest to himself & with you , good luck

MissAdventure Wed 21-Mar-18 15:05:05

I'm not surprised you feel overwhelmed!
Hopefully others here will have some good advice for you. You have my sympathies!

chelseababy Wed 21-Mar-18 15:09:28

I imagine he was looking forward to spending more texpensive with you and has overdone it. Could you have set days to "do your own thing" and days for joint ventures? I had a discussion with my oh at the weekend because I work part time and happily fill my other days. We are both going to leave work in the autnext and are going to write a wish list of trips etc. I did state ghats I still want to meet my friends for lunch etc - he wants to go fishing and spend more time at the allotment. Your current set up is claustrophobic and can't continue.

Baggs Wed 21-Mar-18 15:12:42

Can you not just go out without saying anything?

grandtanteJE65 Wed 21-Mar-18 15:19:24

If I understand you correctly Tuppence21 this behaviour is something quite new on your husband's part. Is there perhaps a connection to the health issues that necessitated early retirement?

I certainly would not be able to put up with the behaviour you describe, but I gather discussing it with him hasn't really helped. Have you asked him why he feels the need to be with you all the time?

I am wondering whether he rightly or wrongly feels that time is running out for him? Could it be an indication of the onset of Alzheimer's? I'm no expert; perhaps you could have a word with your husband's doctor?

If there is no sensible reason for his change of attitude, I think you certainly need to put your foot down firmly and tell him that to you retirement does not mean that you have to spend all twenty-fours hours of every day of the rest of your life in his company.

You should in my opinion still be able to visit your mother, sisters and brothers or friends on your own. Going to the hairdresser on your own is not an unreasonable demand either.

Luckygirl Wed 21-Mar-18 15:33:01

I wonder why suddenly he has to be with you every time you go out. Has anything happened that you know that might have set this off? It does seem very odd. OK, he hopes to spend more time with you now you are both retired, but wanting to go with you to the hairdressers is a bit OTT.

I am in a similar situation in that my OH never goes out - at all - and hates it if I do. He certainly does not want to come with me!

I hope you can find some way of sorting this out between you.

Nonnie Wed 21-Mar-18 16:22:22

So sorry to hear this. No solution, this is beyond my experience but you do need to find a way out of this. It cannot go on. flowers

M0nica Wed 21-Mar-18 16:28:34

The time for discussion is gone. The time has come to sit him down and tell him firmly that as much as you love him, if you are to remain 24/7 in his company the result will be murder. Tell him how many days or hours you want to yourself each week and what you may be doing with your time and present it to him as a fait accompli. No discussion - then do it.

Suggest he find things to do to take him out of the house without you.

I haven't faced this problem, thank heavens. I need my

kittylester Wed 21-Mar-18 16:44:46

All good suggestions but try to think about other things about his behaviour that have changed. If other things have altered, a trip to the gp might be in order. Otherwise, as Monica says, a serious talk not a discussion.

sparkly1000 Wed 21-Mar-18 18:01:20

You must feel stifled. It is becoming an unhealthy obsession especially considering his previous tolerance when you were working abroad.
It doesn't sound that he is afraid from being apart from you as he goes out alone but seems that he can't bear for you to go out alone, hence the inquisition when you return. The question is why? Does he fear you may get lost, get run over, skip off with some toyboy and never return?
Most men would not be the slightest bit interested in details of a meeting with girlfriends and even less in a trip to the hairdressers.
If this were posted on Mumsnet you would be inundated with replies about bullying and controlling behaviour.
As for getting away for couple days and he reporting you missing to the police, well he would get short thrift from them as you are not a vulnerable adult and had left him a note saying that you just needed a break. I too think a chat with his GP may be a good idea.

Fennel Wed 21-Mar-18 18:25:38

Baggs wrote:
"Can you not just go out without saying anything?"
That's what I do (almost). He worries about me a lot, so I just say "I'm going out - see you soon."
He also insists I take my mobile with me so I can call him if necessary.
I don't do that when he goes out - it's a relief!

Tuppence21 Thu 22-Mar-18 12:52:55

Thank you all for your help and advice. I have never posted before and I was beginning to think I was just being paranoid. I now realise I am not and will start to make some house rules. Thank you all

Anniebach Thu 22-Mar-18 13:09:57

Perhaps he feels lost, early retirement for health reasons isn't a choice , possibly he feels unnerved being alone in the home.

TerriBull Thu 22-Mar-18 13:35:33

I'm really sorry for your situation, whilst it's good to have time together but not in the way you describe, it seems your husband has developed some anxieties It's so important to have that one to one time with an elderly parent in their final years, assuming they are compos mentis and you get on well, I'm glad I was able to do that with my mother it was invaluable for our relationship and it's something I will always look back on. I hope you are able to negotiate time alone with your mother at the very least.

humptydumpty Thu 22-Mar-18 13:52:27

I remeber my mother telling me ruefully that, after she retired, she couldn't even go clothes shopping without my father 'tagging along'. You really have to get to the bottom of what is causing this and put an end to it, as the longer it goes on, the more entrenched your OH's expectations are going to be. Very best of luck.

Bathsheba Thu 22-Mar-18 14:30:01

Oh Tuppence I can relate to this! Maybe not quite as extreme (no joint hairdresser visits!), but my DH frequently wants me to accompany him on any trip out. E.g. he's in the middle of a project outside and finds he needs more screws. "Going to B&Q - do you want to come?" Yes, sounds innocuous enough, but if I say no (which I often do, especially if I'm in the middle of doing something myself!) then these little refusals are stored up and used against me, "oh you never want to do anything with me, do you!" (always shouted, always accusatory).
Equally when he sees me putting my shoes on, he immediately asks "where are you going?" with an offer to come with me. I've so often had to say no to him, that I just like to go out by myself and have a browse around the shops, but I know I'm risking a row each time I do this.
What I've taken to doing is getting ready, quietly, upstairs, then coming down, picking up my keys and bag and saying "I'm just off down the road, won't be long" not giving him a chance to draw breath, never mind invite himself along. Then if I want to stay out for longer than I implied, I'll text and let him know that I won't be back till xyz o'clock after all.
The thing is, when we were both working, I worked Mon-Fri and had the weekends off. He worked on Saturdays, so I was used to pleasing myself then, often going out if the weather was good, visiting different places in the area and wandering around. But as soon as we retired that all changed and I felt utterly stifled. I've had to dig my heels in, and to be fair, after several years, the moods and rows are less frequent. So maybe you need to take a very firm stand and tell him in no uncertain terms that since you are not surgically connected to him there is no earthly reason why he should accompany you everywhere, 24/7!

Flossie777 Thu 22-Mar-18 14:35:02

Dear Tuppence 21, you are going to make yourself ill with this worry. Taking your mobile with you in case you need to contact your H is an easy compromise. The only thing I can think of for a few months until this settles down is a weekly planner, stating where you are going together and when you are out on your own. Do it 50-50, hopefully he will soon get used to this, and you can relax. Stick to your guns though if you are visiting a friend that is what you are doing. Good luck

Madgran77 Thu 22-Mar-18 16:09:22

Have you sat down with him and asked why he appears to be so worried etc if you are going out anywhere without him? Talk about how he goes out on his own without you interrogating him etc and ask him why he feels he must do this with you. Try to ask questions and really listen ...tell him you can't go on like this but you really want to understand why he feels this way and you really want to find solutions to suit both of you. And make sure you keep telling him that you enjoy your outings together as part of the conversation. Hope you can sort it out. flowers

Newquay Fri 23-Mar-18 09:14:14

If this is new behaviour I would be most concerned and as OP have said seek advice. My sister's FIL gradually became very ill with some sort of dementia and wouldn't let his wife (my sister's lovely MIL)out of his sight. When I sat and chatted with him at a family get together and asked why he needed to go home (after he'd been standing in front of his wife asking to go) he exhibited real fear. Only you can know if this is "just!" Controlling behaviour or something else.

Coconut Fri 23-Mar-18 09:59:10

He is obviously feeling deeply insecure for some reason. Bottom line is tho that if he continues to smother you it will slowly but surely erode any love that you have for him, and you will then walk out the door permanently. So his “ controlling” behaviour is only succeeding in pushing you away. As you have tried to talk without resolve, ask him to go to marriage guidance and maybe he will take heed of a stranger. If he refuses to go, or change ... then you have to make some decisions, because if he truly loves you, he will try anything to resolve your issues. Good luck ....

MawBroon Fri 23-Mar-18 09:59:15

Oh dear, discounting early signs of dementia, perhaps he just loves you and wants to spend time with you?
Or perhaps he has health worries which he has not yet shared and feels insecure without you?
If I had known that my time with Paw after his last illness in hospital was only to be 8 weeks I know I wouldn’t have “escaped” to Waitrose when I did sad

Happyscotlass Fri 23-Mar-18 10:01:32

I've suffered with anxiety off and on for years, one of my symptoms is I couldn't go out on my own to somewhere new.
Could this be the case with your DH? Since giving up work he maybe worried about being alone and something happening to you when you're out and about? I know it's unreasonable to expect to go everywhere as a couple and you need a life of your own. Does your DH have hobbies or do voluntary work? Maybe he needs find a passion in retirement.
Visit to the GP would a good start.

Griselda Fri 23-Mar-18 10:02:35

You don't say if he has any friends or interests of his own. Perhaps you could encourage him to take something up which he can do independently of you.

Coco51 Fri 23-Mar-18 10:04:14

Maybe in his retirement he feels lonely? My mother continued a fairly trivial routine she’d established before my father retired, eschewing time with him. He had worked hard in a physically demanding job with excruciating back pain and had looked forward to retiring and doing things together with my mother. He had a terminal illness and my mother was so wrapped up in her own life she didn’t realise he was dying (although everyone else did). When he died she realised that she should have spent more time with him. So my advive Tuppence21 is ‘be careful what you wish for’