Gransnet forums

Do I stay or go?

(27 Posts)
Sielha Tue 22-Jan-19 23:41:19

I have a huge dilemma that I suspect is not uncommon. We’ve been married 31 years, grown up kids, grandkids etc and now I just feel like I can’t stand him since he retired and had numerous, non serious health issues. I never envisaged having to encourage him to get up every day or to have a conversation with me. We barely talk and lead separate lives in the same house. I wonder whether I should make the break or stick with it for convenience. I’m not interested in another relationship but I just can’t bear what my own has become. I just want companionship, simply enjoyment in each other’s company but it seems that it’s an impossible dream! He does acknowledge that he’s become difficult to live with but how long do I accept this for? I do still love him but wonder how much longer I can go on, waiting for a change that I don’t think will happen.

dragonfly46 Tue 22-Jan-19 23:48:42

Retirement is a huge adjustment especially for a man. Have you tried going out for the day, going into town for a coffee, a few days away?

Failing that maybe he needs counselling.

As you say you still love him maybe it is worth trying a few options. It could be his retirement and health issues have made him depressed particularly if he is not getting up in the morning. A trip to the doctor maybe.

MissAdventure Wed 23-Jan-19 00:00:02

How long has he been retired?
I have read a number of people here saying that their relationships were put under quite a strain whilst adjustments were under way.
I think the next phase is him becoming an 'expert' at all the jobs you've done for years. smile

paddyann Wed 23-Jan-19 00:04:04

sounds as if he's a bit depressed by retirement.He needs to find things to occupy his time .Meantime you should get out an dabout without him and have something to talk to him about when you get back,maybe that will let him see that life is still out ther and he needs to join in

Sielha Wed 23-Jan-19 00:21:05

I do think he’s depressed and I have tried to encourage him to do all sorts of things but obviously, the ill health gets in the way and I’m not unsympathetic to that. But it seems to me that’s he’s quite happy to sink into a sedentary lifestyle and has no desire to change. I’m an active person who’s always busy so this really upsets me. And there’s the dilemma- you get married with shared goals, interests, but then one of you retires and the dynamic changes. What do you do?

gmelon Wed 23-Jan-19 00:44:44

Stay but make your own life. He may join in, he may not.
Make yourself happier within the safety of your current surroundings.
You'll be no worse off.
If you split up you will be worse off.
Security of your surroundings and partnership is your base, do not underestimate it.

shysal Wed 23-Jan-19 08:27:31

I was in the same situation and stayed put for years, living completely separate lives. I think it was me who changed and became more intolerant of his many failings (I of course am perfect smile). Just to be in the same room put my hackles up. With retirement looming I made the bold choice to divorce and have never regretted it. Living alone is great! My grown up DDs say I should have done it years before. Money is tight but I manage and don't need luxuries apart from the freedom!
I hope you manage to make a decision which gives you peace. flowers

glammanana Wed 23-Jan-19 08:41:16

I think maybe depression is the reason here and missing his previous work collegues could be a reason.
We rub along very nicely in our retirement but I encourage my OH to wander around to his local 4 afternoons a week to chat with his 2 pals for a couple of hours,they chat about previous work/football/politics/cars etc and it keeps the male bonding thing going for them,plus I love those hours on my own.

sodapop Wed 23-Jan-19 08:49:40

gmelon has some good advice Sielha I would try that before thinking about leaving. Retirement is a huge life style change and takes some getting used to. Has you husband had medical help for his possible depression.? Good luck

Luckygirl Wed 23-Jan-19 09:15:03

I have been in a sort of similar position for ages - I love to get out and about (holidays, concerts, singing, book club, school governor etc. etc.) but OH became a bit of a home bird. I have done stuff on my own or with friends for many years. It just becomes a way of life.

The difference is that he now has PD so needs caring for. What keeps me going is knowing that, for all our differences, he would most certainly have cared for me if things had been the other way round.

I understand that feeling of hackles rising over small things - mostly what he says, as he does repeat himself over and over, mainly talking about medication - there are only so many times that you can hear the same anxious question (that you have answered endless times!) without wanting to scream!

Why not suggest a holiday? - and if he declines this, then just go on your own. Just do it - do not discuss it. "Well if you do not want to go, I do!" It might just jolt him out of his rut if he can grasp that you are not yet ready to throw in the towel.

luluaugust Wed 23-Jan-19 09:45:04

'in sickness and in health" it does sound as if retirement plus some health issues have brought your OH down, will he see the Doc for a chat. I think how ever well retirement is going it is always a good idea to have things you do on your own, so do get out and about and see your friends but perhaps something you do together maybe a club U3A or whatever. The holiday is a very good idea, time to talk perhaps and a change of scene.

MawBroon Wed 23-Jan-19 09:48:20

This sounds like so many other threads started by women who can’t face their partner’s retirement.
Well to be harsh, that’s life.
With no dependents at home you are perfectly free to make that break, but be careful what you wish for.
At the risk of being judgemental have you scrupulously examined your own behaviour? You may also have fallen into the non communication rut. If he is depressed are you being fair to him? Retirement t can take years of adjustment and for some people leaves them without any sense of purpose. You may need to give him time.
Are you willing to work at this? To try Relate or a couples’ relationship course or weekend?
If it sounds like too much effort then only you can decide to take the plunge.
But, and this is a big but, do consider the impact on the rest of the family , on your husband and on yourself.
There may not be all that much “companionship” when you are on your own.
But ultimately only you can decide.

J52 Wed 23-Jan-19 09:55:12

Only you can decide. Maw is making some very good points. Also, as others have said, sometimes you have to go out and involve yourself in your own interests.
I have very diverse interests from DH, who is quite a deep thinker and enjoys his own company for parts of the day.

Urmstongran Wed 23-Jan-19 09:59:09

I think your husband sounds depressed. A doctors appointment would be my first priority. Then talk! I always think communication is key.
Once your husband is feeling better (maybe on medication/the arrival of spring) sit down together and tell him how you are feeling and when appropriate, what you were thinking of doing. Tell him it’s that serious you are so unhappy. Nothing changes till something changes.

Davidhs Wed 23-Jan-19 10:15:23

To echo gmelon, stay but make your own life, separating after so long with children and grandchildren will cause you so many problems and quite likely financial issues
Have your own activities and holidays, try to get him to join in but if he won’t, enjoy what you can. If his illnesses become a burden make sure you get help and give yourself a life.

dbDB77 Wed 23-Jan-19 11:16:36

Maw's suggestion of Relate sounds worthwhile.

eazybee Wed 23-Jan-19 11:24:12

Give it one year and during that time:
examine your finances: would you be able to support yourself independently;
has this lack of communication only occurred since he retired or did work disguise it?
are you able to build a satisfying, independent life for yourself whilst sharing a home with him, or do you want him to participate in your activities?
do you think your life will improve for the better if he is not there?
I have three friends who complained incessantly about their husbands; one left, thinking the others would follow suit: they didn't and are still complaining bitterly about their husbands whilst enjoying comfortable lives at their husbands' expense. The one who left never divorced, lives a few doors down from her husband, is happy to use him for repairs, decorating etc , still complaining.
Was it worth the upheaval and the expense? I don't think so; they are all in the same dissatisfied state as formerly, because none was prepared to live completely independently. It is not easy.

notentirelyallhere Wed 23-Jan-19 11:56:29

I've been there sielha and its taken nearly three years for things to turn the corner which I think they finally have. I'm glad now that we worked at it, the grass isn't necessarily greener though everyone is different.

I echo what everyone has said about men and retirement. It was me threatening to leave which forced him to couple's counselling which we have plugged away at for 18 months. It has been worth it. I hadn't anticipated him sinking into depression or his buried grief at the children leaving home, men aren't supposed to notice!

At this point in life, you have to find out who you are now and you do have to create a semi-separate life for yourself anyway to build some resilience for the future when he may die or become ill and require care. Just calmly set about doing what you enjoy and encourage him to do the same. I found a local group called Ageing Well which meets weekly for art activities and talk and, to my amazement, DH joined that and has become a duck to water!

I'd say don't give up without trying but only you know how bad it feels and how patient you can be. I've had to take on board behavioral things I'd never really seen before but I've got it now and I work with it. It can feel quite lonely being in your position, take care of yourself and good luck.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 03-Feb-19 12:00:08

Men do take time to adjust to retirement, and to ill- health.

As his health problems are not serious, don't let them stop you from telling you husband that you and he need to discuss what you are going to use your retirement for.

Tell him you feel that you are living separate lives in the same house and that you don't like it.

How late does he get up? If he has spent all his working life getting up earlier than really suited him, does it matter that he sleeps longer now?

If he is staying in bed because he is bored, then yes, you do need to do something, but start by discussing the general problem with him.

How had you envisaged retirement? Telling him your plans might help.

NotSpaghetti Sun 03-Feb-19 12:24:38

notentirelyallhere how nice to hear something positive and that things can improve after such a long struggle. I hope your situation continues to get better. I hope Sielha that this gives you some strength and that at least you know there may be some hope if you choose a similar route.

nannyumm Sun 03-Feb-19 21:40:53

I feel in much the same place. When my husband retired-in 2011- from a quite stressful job, people asked him what he would do in retirement. His answer was "nothing". I absolutely understood he needed time to unwind and relax, but nearly 8 years on, this is still the case. He gets up late, and immediately picks up his tablet, and spends hours playing solitaire. Then he may-usually though not-shower and shave. Then he's asking what's for lunch. Then on goes the TV from late am til mid afternoon to watch the news, and political programmes. Then flicking through Facebook looking at political posts. Then falls asleep, then goes to the pub for 2 beers. Then comes back in time for tea. Washes up-badly-I always have to wipe down the cooker and counter tops. Then he'll put the TV on, and either chooses what he's going to watch, or passes the remote to me, and then instead he'll surf the net. I am screaming inside, and feel that day by day my spark is dying bit by bit. I have tried to broach this many times, he gets defensive, and it ends up a hideous mess. He won't do anything around the house, I have to remind him of his family birthdays, special events, appointments and deadlines. I have stopped laundering his clothes, he doesn't bother to iron his stuff so consequently looks scruffy. I have even stopped cleaning the house (it's his house) he'll never pick up a duster, vacuum or mop. Hes not stupid, or ill just completely lazy and selfish. In company he pontificates, and hardly listens to others view points, when all I would like is some light hearted humour. I know what my solution probably is, in the early hours I try to balance things out by thinking he doesn't womanise or gamble..small offsets I know... It's got to the point that I don't think I even like him any more. I hate myself for feeling like this, but I'm sure I haven't changed, its him. He's not depressed, he revels in being retired.

crazyH Sun 03-Feb-19 22:10:17

Sielha
Try to make a go of it. It's not nice being on your own. My husband left me for someone else....I had no choice. When you have children and grand children life becomes very complicated and really stressful at times. Children don't understand why I don't want to attend family functions if he and his wife are there. I am still on my own....have no intention of entering into a relationship and being let down again.
In your case, the ball is in your court. Stay with him, but make a life for yourself....hobbies, friends etc. Believe me, life as a single woman is tough.....in so many ways. All the best !!

Luckygirl Sun 03-Feb-19 22:13:07

It sounds as though you just have very different ideas about what you want to do in your latter years nannyumm - but there is noting to stop you just getting on with your own life and doing what you want to do - trips out, holidays, clubs, hobbies, a second TV if you can afford it and you watch what you want etc.

annep1 Sun 03-Feb-19 23:18:41

My husband shares the housework etc. After that we are sometimes together but more often doing our own thing. You can't make someone be something they're not or behave in a certain way. Live your own life and let him be. Things may change as he gets used to retirement. I would say though that you need to care for each other healthwise. If he needs encouraged to get out of bed perhaps he needs some help.

BlueBelle Mon 04-Feb-19 03:47:56

Almost as an afterthought you say I do still love him but do you though, or is he a habit ? If he was very ill would you love him enough to look after him night and day how good was life together before he retired, can you imagine life without him Was life good because you weren’t together much and had distractions? If you truely love him then seek help to get things back on track you must tell him what you have told us on here, retirement can truely take the wind out your sails I hated it and still do although I ve adjusted to a certain extent but it’s a tough one and some relationships aren’t strong enough to want to be together all the time

I totally disagree with Crazyh if you are in a bad partnership life on your own is blissful