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Too old for a fresh start?

(23 Posts)
Rufussmum Fri 05-Feb-21 15:40:04

I just wondered whether there is anyone on here who decided to jump ship and start again in their 70s?
I am 71 soon and DH is a few years older. He has always worked away from home during the week but his complete retirement coincided with lockdown last March. I just can't get used to sharing a home with someone again and am dreading the next few years. He has no hobbies or interests and while he is a 'nice' man he has very little initiative or interest in trying anything new. He is quite passive generally.
I have suggested any number of projects for us both but he won't or can't rouse himself to make a start. As a result we have very little to talk about and spend most of our time together in silence.
I honestly can't see how I can face the future like this. We are fit and healthy and we could afford for him to buy a small place to live.
Are we too old to start again? I have no interest in another relationship, I just want my space and solitude back. At least some of the time. I am becoming very depressed. He knows exactly how I feel.
Anyone in a similar position?

cornishpatsy Fri 05-Feb-21 15:54:49

Could you lead separate lives living in the same house? or are things getting so that you cannot even stand the sound of him breathing.

If you lived alone what would you do differently? I think that is the question to ask and can it be achieved living together.

I do not think it is ever too late to change your living arrangements, you say he could move out. Is that something you have agreed or is it just more practical for you to stay.
If you have not agreed on who is to move it could become fraught and probably easier for you to move if that is the case.

Personally I do think it is unfair to stay together for practical reasons which stop the other person involved moving on and finding someone else.

I wish you well in whatever you decide.

keepingquiet Fri 05-Feb-21 15:57:11

Hi Rufussmum.

One thing I learned from Captain Tom is you are never too old.

When I turned 60 I thought that was it. I was living with a man who sounds like your DH's twin. The difference is I wanted him to retire so we could have some fun together while we were still young enough.
I finally realised he wanted the dull life we had and I left. Within weeks the house was sold and we could both afford a place of our own.
I felt years younger, had so much more energy and began to enjoy a job I had previously hated.
Even though my life has been very limited since lockdown I am still so happy I am not isolating with a man who drained all my energy.
71 is not old if you are fit and healthy- it sounds as if you have lots of energy to do things without your husband. Maybe you could live separate lives whilst in the same house, but you could also have your freedom back.
My only warning would be don't move anywhere you don't know anyone. I moved back near to my family where I was born and I am never lonely. Other people around you that you know and trust are important as you get older.
I wish you luck in your decision.

Sara1954 Fri 05-Feb-21 16:02:45

That’s inspirational keepingquiet!
I’m not in that situation, but if I was, you’d make me feel that anything was possible.

timetogo2016 Fri 05-Feb-21 16:05:18

Agree with everything keepingquiet posted.
I wish you all the luck in the world.

Peasblossom Fri 05-Feb-21 16:10:51

When you say you could afford for him to buy a small place, do you mean you would stay in the house and he would move out?

keepingquiet Fri 05-Feb-21 16:11:08


That’s inspirational keepingquiet!
I’m not in that situation, but if I was, you’d make me feel that anything was possible.

Well it wasn't a walk in the park but with good family and friends yes, anything is possible!

Nannarose Fri 05-Feb-21 16:13:45

I'm sure you could make a new start. However, I would caution about taking any major decisions until we have been back to 'some sort of normal' for some months.
A number of people, on retirement, find themselves 'doing nothing' for awhile as they settle down to changes. This, coupled with your DH's personality, at the time of lockdown, may mean that neither of you has had a proper chance to settle.
I wonder if some time apart - a sort of extended holiday would help. I imagine that if you have enough money for 2 dwellings, you have enough to finance a stay somewhere else to give you both some space and time to think. Not possible at present, but I think it won't be long.

Good luck!

NellG Fri 05-Feb-21 16:15:05

It's always sad to think of ending such a long relationship, but if this year has taught us anything it's that we only get one shot a this - there are no dress rehearsals and no gold medals for endurance. Happiness is transient, we have to grab it while we can and as long as you can go forward with your self respect intact then no, it's never too late. Just be kind and remember that you loved him once and it's perfectly possible to exit with decency. Best of luck.

BrightandBreezy Fri 05-Feb-21 16:22:24

I think that it is very unfortunate that your dh's retirement coincided with the beginning of lockdown. Retirement is often a massive adjustment in itself. People who have rubbed along quite well when they were working , with work and other people in their lives, can get a big shock to find it isn't so great when they are thrown together all the time. This is magnified massively during lockdown.

You say he is a 'nice' man so I'm wondering whether you would feel quite so frustrated with your situation if you had the normal outlet of other friends and hobbies which might be possible in normal times.

I think it might be wise to give it 6 months out of lockdown to see where you are then. Many of us feel a bit stir crazy even in good relationships at the moment and you haven't had a chance yet to see how you would feel when 'normal' retirement conditions start again.

You do say though that he isn't interested in any possible projects. If this was to continue once you are out and about you would feel very isolated.

To answer your original question, in my opinion, being in your 70s isn't too old for a new start if you have your health, the financial resources to do it and you feel it would be best. Good luck whatever you decide. flowers

BrightandBreezy Fri 05-Feb-21 16:29:23

NellG sums up in a nutshell how I would like to do it if it was me.

ElaineI Sat 06-Feb-21 00:10:03

No you are not too old however this last year has affected everyone's mental health (mine included) and nothing is normal so maybe not the best time to make major decisions unless you can discount the lockdown effect. Me - I am remembering what I was like before I got married and since and I am a different person - used to be spontaneous and have fun and go out with friends and work colleagues and now (even before covid) never go out even for coffee unless I suggest it, meal rarely then we go home for coffee - why? Since lockdown - lots of childcare as childminder shielding and DD2 in our bubble but DH has become weird - we share bottle of wine on a Friday evening - now he puts it in fridge on Thursday evening very super organised. He listens in when I'm on phone to my mother, brother, DC then asks what they have been saying? Resorted to phoning on mobile sometimes as he can't listen in. It puts me off having a normal conversation if someone is listening. He looks up my messages. He is upset when I don't give an accurate plan of what I am doing - collecting DD2 &DGS2, taking her to work, going to shops to buy bread and milk, going to DM (am carer) to check her fridge, meter readings, alarms and any issues and that she is ok. But makes passive aggressive comments on everything I tell him - why? Checks what I have put in food recycling and disbelieves me! I am 64 and will put whatever I want in the food recycling and it is beyond weird to listen to what I scrape off plates. On the other hand I don't think he thinks this is not normal or coercive. He has mostly a brilliant relationship with DGC and supportive of our DC problems though complains to me. He doesn't take my criticisms or talking about it at all well so I try not to. Sometimes I literally bang my head, pull my hair, thump things. Leave the rest to your imagination. I think he is on ASD spectrum maybe. Anyway it has got worse for me during the pandemic and I don't feel I can fully trust what I feel - some things yes, others probably just wistful for the past. But apart from our family we have little in common. Maybe I'm just wrong. So I guess you need to ask yourself if lockdown has affected you both or is it a longer ongoing issue. If it has perhaps wait a while and monitor, if not the make preparations.

Hetty58 Sat 06-Feb-21 00:35:46

Ruffusmum, we're never 'too old' to make changes. It struck me as odd, though, that you wrote:

'we could afford for him to buy a small place to live'

If you want change, surely it's you that should move out?

wildswan16 Sat 06-Feb-21 08:16:27

Maybe the first thing to do is to start those projects you have talked about on your own - strip the bedroom and put up new wallpaper, dig up the garden and plant your potatoes etc. Don't wait for him. Be cheerful - does he want to join in once it is started?

Whilst doing all that start planning - I think it is up to you to move out and find a new home. Where, how, etc.

Of course you can start a new life at any age - but you do need to be sure it is what you really want.

Maggiemaybe Sat 06-Feb-21 09:27:14

What sort of projects are you suggesting, Rufussmum? Most of us have had our lives so severely limited by the situation we’re in that interesting “projects” are not as easy to find, especially as we’re stuck at home. If you’re suggesting home improvements, perhaps it’s just not his thing? It’s unfortunate that his retirement has coincided with all our lives being so much more restricted anyway - it won’t be what he was hoping for either! I’d agree with those who say try to give it a few months and see how you get on in more “normal” times, when you’re not constantly together.

And yes, if anyone’s going to be moving out, it should be you, surely?

eazybee Sat 06-Feb-21 09:59:34

I don't think you do want a fresh start; what you want is your old life back, when you had the house mainly to yourself and presumably a well-structured life, at present curtailed by lockdown.

My sympathy lies with your nice husband, who having worked well past retirement age away from home, probably enjoys sitting at home doing absolutely nothing, but is suddenly facing the prospect of being ejected from the home he has worked for into a 'small place for him to live.'

Nothing to prevent you resuming your previous life after lockdown, and if you really can't bear your husband about the house, you must be the one to move out.

Living on your own 100% is not like sharing a home with someone who returns regularly at weekends and presumably pays his share of the bills.

Be careful what you wish for.

Katie59 Sat 06-Feb-21 10:13:37

Men often get very lazy, boring and uninteresting as they get older, just when you want to do things together.
You've obviously tried to get him to do things and he won’t, but I don’t think there is much to gain by separating at 71, there is plenty you can do without him,

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 06-Feb-21 10:31:59

Poor man! After working away from home and now enjoying a retirement you want to throw him out!
In lockdown everything is magnified, wait until you are able to go out and about, you dont have to do things together, develop your own interests so that you will have something to talk about.
Maybe if you were nicer to him he would want to do things with you?
I can’t get over the statement that you can afford something small for him to live!
If I was him and you insisted on separating , I would insist that You move out and buy something small.

Rufussmum Sat 06-Feb-21 11:05:55

Thanks everyone for those words of wisdom. This house was mine before we married, it is tiny and he has never liked it. It is not a question of throwing him out, he has suggested finding somewhere of his own as he likes rural and isolated while I like town.
He didn't really want to do much when he was still at work. Just talked about 'one day' for us to do things together.
I think the advice to let 'normality' return before making big decisions is a good.

Kandinsky Sat 06-Feb-21 11:34:48

he has suggested finding somewhere of his own as he likes rural

Sounds like he has plans of his own.

JaneJudge Sat 06-Feb-21 11:45:54

All I can say is 70 isn't too late to start again. Look how many people have to 'start again' without choice because they are widowed? If you are unhappy it is fine to split up if that is what you want to do. I do agree with waiting for some normality though. You might find when you can get out and away again you may not feel so claustrophobic

Rufus2 Sat 06-Feb-21 11:53:18

I am 71 soon
Rufussmum How are you Mum? We used to call you Mam, but I remember you don't like that. grin
71? You haven't aged a bit since we last spoke; must be all of 2 years ago when you missed your chance to come to OZ. but that's life; you don't know what you've got until it's gone. sad
Good Health to you and Dad! smile

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 06-Feb-21 13:24:04

Rufussmum apologies, I didn’t realise it was your house!