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Husband in retirement

(58 Posts)
Cabbie21 Thu 24-Jan-19 14:52:06

My husband has been able to continue working in a part time capacity until over 70, which he was very happy to do. Now he is fully retired, and apart from occasional involvement with some charity work, he does almost nothing. His health is not great, but I know he feels better when he has things to do, yet he doesn’t seem to want to do anything much now, even hobbies.
It may be he just doesn’t feel well enough. I don’t know, because he doesn’t say. I don’t nag him about it, but I do get a bit resentful when he doesn’t even manage to ( for example) peel the potatoes, whilst I am out and about, busy with choirs and voluntary work or family.
We have never talked about a fair division of labour since retirement, and some of our old ways no longer work for us. I guess we really need to discuss what each is most able and suited to doing, according to our skills and abilities, or disabilities.
I really don’t want him to sink into being an old man sitting in his armchair being waited on just yet! Any suggestions?

Cabbie21 Thu 24-Jan-19 14:53:07

I meant to say, he does do most of the shopping now, which is a great help.

HildaW Thu 24-Jan-19 15:27:25

Sometimes I really think they just do not notice that something needs doing. Just ask him, without a hint of weariness in your voice (all too easy I know) 'when you get a moment darling, could you please do such and such it would be such a help' and see what happens. My own DH is pretty good but sometimes its as if something become invisible, that little pile of discarded clothing awaiting putting into the laundry basket etc......if one just 'huffs' and picks it up they never learn!
Seriously I have also realised that asking him a direct question about how he is or feels helps. With female members of the family you tend to know when they are a bit low but men are not so expressive. Stop and ask if he's alright and then suggest popping out for coffee and cake somewhere - being out and about somewhere is always good for starting a conversation.

Ohmother Thu 24-Jan-19 15:31:20

I think you answered your own dilemma. Talk about it. Don’t continue to be silently resentful and be aware he’s getting older and more weary with age. Get rid of your frustration by having that chat. X

Cabbie21 Thu 24-Jan-19 16:27:33

Thanks HildaW and Ohmother.
I think a direct question is a good idea. As he has permanent conditions to out up with there will always be a negative answer, I fear, but he might say whether there is anything specific. If I were him, I would feel lonely and need some thing to keep me busy, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

sodapop Thu 24-Jan-19 16:32:31

Yes talk to him cabbie21 We often have different expectations of retirement without realising it. You need to decide between you who is responsible for which chores and which you can share. It's the same with leisure activities, you don't have to do everything together but its nice to find some common ground. It's a big adjustment and takes time to come to terms with but keep communicating.

HildaW Thu 24-Jan-19 16:36:23

Health problems not withstanding differences in temperament play a part.....some folks are happy to just 'be' whilst others seem to be permanently on the go (they sometimes moan about it but they would go mad if they were not).

cornergran Thu 24-Jan-19 16:56:50

Mr C is very happy to be at home ‘pottering’ or reading plus the odd jigsaw. I often prefer to be busy outside the home so leave him to it. We go out out together regularly, walking (we live by the coast) for lunch or coffee. some shopping, visiting family. The usual low key stuff. I found a task list and the question ‘which ones do you feel like doing?’ helped in the early days. Mr C had stopped work before I did so a change was needed. Gradually he began to just do some tasks regularly. There’s still a need for a conversation now and again, usually over coffee and cake. We’re all different, this is a transition time so polish your negotiation skills and do check he isn’t feeling particularly unwell. This stage will pass I’m sure.

Cabbie21 Thu 24-Jan-19 17:04:30

Thanks again folks for your understanding and suggestions.

Cabbie21 Thu 24-Jan-19 23:04:58

Not sure whether to laugh or be upset. DH has just said “ I can’t remember who gave me this jigsaw puzzle for Christmas”
I did! I told him jokingly that I was offended.
I do wonder if he is losing the plot. I am sure he has not got enough to occupy his mind. Use it or lose it.

Ohmother Fri 25-Jan-19 08:32:29

I agree on ‘use it or lose it’. My DH lost a bit of his confidence when first retired. I encouraged him to do voluntary work in an area he was unfamiliar with but was really easy and mixing with the public. He loved it! He got a bit of his confidence back and now has a little casual paid job in the same area as his voluntary work. He still has moments of forgetfulness but these jobs are staving it off.

Lily65 Fri 25-Jan-19 09:43:24

Be careful, last time somebody mentioned some frustrations with a retired husband WW3 broke out here!

Hm999 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:26:03

Sorry Cabbie this is of no use to you

Retirement takes preparation and should be thought about years before it happens. Money (obviously). Part-time work? Voluntary work? Downsizing? Health issues? What do I want to do with my time? What do others want me to do with my time (partners, children, grandchildren)? Hobbies - are there things I/we've always wanted to do, but never had the time? Travel, hobbies?

Jaycee5 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:34:06

I think it takes time to adjust to retirement and people do it differently. Talk as people have said above but also give him time. I started out feeling lazy if I didn't go out every day but as I had little money and didn't yet have a bus pass, it was a bit pointless. He will hopefully settle in but it can take a couple of years.

mabon1 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:55:04

Talk about it

Rachand Fri 25-Jan-19 11:14:31

Leave him a list of jobs to do! But tell him also! Good luck

Craftycat Fri 25-Jan-19 11:15:57

How do you cope??!!
DH has been working from home recently & I am absolutely dreading him retiring- luckily he has a good way to go yet!
All I hear is - 'any chance of a coffee?' The man can use the coffee machine when I am out- he doesn't get parched then.
Plus he spreads his mess all over the house.
I think I will have to go back out to work when he retires!

Razzy Fri 25-Jan-19 12:14:35

It might depend on his previous job too. If he was in a job where he was told what to do each day he might find it hard not to be given tasks each day.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 25-Jan-19 12:48:55

You didn't mention how long your husband has been retired. Men seem to take far longer to adjust to retirement than women, probably because they have never done as much at home as we have.

Do talk to him. Did he share in the housework while he worked? If not, he probably has no idea what running a house involves.

Nananolife Fri 25-Jan-19 13:22:14

You sound so kind and lovely will you marry me? My darlings useless ?

NanaPlenty Fri 25-Jan-19 13:33:44

Funny old time retirement. We've taken quite a while to adjust Hubby does a couple of days volunteering with a bunch of other grumpy old men which he enjoys. He's 66 and becoming 'old' I'm seven years younger (probably 20 years younger in spirit) and have taken a very part time housekeeping job plus I volunteer and go to choir and classes. I'm not ready to sit around I would go insane! You do need to keep talking - it's easy for a small niggle to escalate otherwise.

sandelf Fri 25-Jan-19 13:46:24

Not a solution for you, but we had to change our ways when we moved house (not downsize) and I simply could not cope doing it all myself. We have settled on one fixed (of course unless we decide other) domestic morning a week. He does all dry rooms - I do all with taps in. I do everything laundry. Shopping we do together on another day but we are more flexible about who and when. The fixed time for cleaning means we pay attention to the house and deal with the little breakages etc at the time. And both working at the same time means our efforts are about equal and we are aware of how much each other do. (He had no idea to start with just how it takes any time at all). So yes - talk - tell him you cannot do it all. Do not soldier on alone. Resentment is bad for you and being babied is bad for him.

breeze Fri 25-Jan-19 14:16:59

I would let him do exactly what he wants to do. He's earned it. Unless you are really unhappy and struggling (which you don't seem to be) then leave him alone to enjoy his well earned retirement in whichever way he sees fit. Especially as he's not been very well. If you want him to do more, suggest some fun things you can do together that aren't too taxing for him. As for the use it or lose it theory, I read recently it makes no difference. You had to use it way back to not lose it later on. Allegedly.

If it's a struggle for you though, then just ask him when you leave for choir practice or something if he would peel the spuds. He does the shopping, so he's not bone idle.

He sounds like a good bloke compared to some we read about on here so I wouldn't rock the boat. And you know how good men are at telling you if they don't feel great. Like getting blood out of a stone. So maybe he just feels a bit rotten but doesn't want to burden you with it or make himself feel bad that the inevitable has happened and he's getting older.

melp1 Fri 25-Jan-19 14:28:12

I'm still working 2 days and I find the best thing is to do is just leave a note ie: washing in the machine can you hang it out when its done please?
Anything car or garden related is mostly down to him and he has an allotment which he looks after but thats mostly in spring and summer (I'm only asked to go when its time to pick things)
However he does walk the dog twice a day (we both go when I'm off) and will wash pots and prepare dinner but only if I'm at work or have gone out.
Once I'm in its mostly down to me.

25Avalon Fri 25-Jan-19 15:14:13

Did he do any chores to help you before? A lot of men of his age are old school and think they don't need to do anything which can only make you resentful as you should be able to enjoy retirement as well. If you can get him to discuss the situation and tell him how you feel it might help. Otherwise instead of peeling potatoes buy ready roasts or cook them in their skins which is healthier. What I'm saying is find easy ways to do things. If he does do anything such as the shopping then praise him and say what a help it is to you to encourage him to continue doing that and possibly more.
Maybe he just doesn't feel up to it. I know so many widows out there who would put up with this just to have their dh back and not be on their own.