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He's ageing well, I'm not and he can't understand

(108 Posts)
MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 17:27:21

I'm mid-60s and have always struggled with my weight. I have arthritis in my wrists and ankles and also knees, probably part of my genetic inheritance from my mum's side of the family and also probably due to some years spent nursing. I do Pilates and try to keep stretching and doing yoga, but what the menopause and the arthritis, I'm nowhere near as flexible or quick-moving as I used to be and I'm also now a size 16-18. My hair's thinning, too, just as my mum's did, and there are days when I limp painfully because of the arthritis in my ankle. I'm having physio and see an osteopath, but there are days when I'm not up for walking more than a mile or so.

He, on the other hand, has always struggled to keep weight on, can eat and drink whatever he wants and still has the wiry, youthful body of someone in their late 30s. And a full head of thick hair. He was swimming earlier this year and walking back up the beach from the sea in his swimming shorts and a woman I know vaguely said to me 'Oh, I didn't know you had a son.' And then, as he got closer, she blushed and said 'Oh, it's your husband.' She asked me if he was a professional athlete. No, he's not. And then when he came up to us she made a point of telling him how good he looked in his swim shorts.

In the heatwave recently my feet swelled up slightly and he made a big fuss about it and suggested I needed medical attention. His own feet were as they always are - slender and muscular. He also made a comment about a varicose vein that's made an appearance on the back of my leg. I have another on my thigh that he's told me I need to see a doctor about. I've explained that I'd need to go private to get my veins done.

And today, while I was walking barefoot across the living room, he did a big 'What's going on with the blue veins around the arch of your foot?' number — and he took his socks off to show me he didn't have any.

How do you explain to a husband who's enjoyed fabulous health all his life and has rarely seen a doctor that you are ageing relatively normally and that swollen feet when it's hot, fairly minor varicose veins and other physical changes are the reality for a lot of women as we age?

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 20:13:46

Like others, I think he's expressing concern at your lack of action to remedy or alleviate them. See your GP and talk it all through.

What on earth makes you think I haven't already done that? Of course I have. I've sought advice for my thinning hair, too.

My feet and ankles have been inspected fairly recently by my arthritis consultant. I also go to a podiatrist. They talk to me about the difficulties that arise as a result of the inflammation caused by arthritis. They have seen what my husband observed and made no comment.

I'm not on any regular medication for any condition. BP and blood sugars fine. Cholesterol fine. I've been on a permanent diet all my life and as many women will have experienced, menopause makes a huge difference to the ease with which one can burn off the calories. If you're thinking 'Well, it didn't make any difference to me' then, like my husband, you're one of the lucky ones — and frankly it's not a good look telling those who live in different bodies and have had a different experience that they need to diet harder.

rockgran Tue 11-Jul-23 20:23:07

As the saying goes - the creaking gate hangs longest. I'm quite glad to be creaking in all areas!

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 20:26:20

I'm certainly creaking in the Achilles tendon department!

Oreo Tue 11-Jul-23 20:31:26


*I would be particularly concerned about your swollen feet and am not sure why you are saying you would need to go private to have treatment for varicose veins.*

Because I've enquired with my GP and varicose vein surgery isn't normally available in the NHS. It's normal for feet to swell up in extreme heat. It was 30+ C here a few weeks ago, particularly when you're older and female and a bit overweight.

Both points you make there are true.
I would tell him that you didn’t ask for your health problems and he’s lucky not to have any ( so far!) I would also tell him that pointing out your defects is making you feel upset.
People who love each other don’t do that.

MerylStreep Tue 11-Jul-23 20:39:24

Have you seen a Trichologist for your hair. More often than not a Dr will only test for thyroid and B12. No disrespect to them but hair health is generally out of their field of expertise.
When I saw my Trichologist she sent a detailed list of what she wanted tested to my Dr.
They will go into details about your diet. No disrespect meant but do you get enough protein?
They will also examin closely the health of you scalp.

MerylStreep Tue 11-Jul-23 20:43:31

Another thing to watch with your hair is, hair dryers etc. They can damage the root.,dry%20hair%20without%20causing%20damage.

M0nica Tue 11-Jul-23 20:50:29

I think it is outrageous how many people have turned this thread against the OP telling her how to improve her health etc. The problem is her insensitve DH who should know better and should be told so.

We have the same situation in reverse. At coming up to 80, I have spent the last 2 weeks hacking down a shrubbery, cutting the wood up and getting it to the tip. DH is the one with all the medical problems, cannot lift things because his breats bone has not reknitted after heart surgery etc etc.

I would never make gloat to DH about how fit and well I am compared with him, and neither should the OP's H. I certainly would not do what some have done and offer her 'helpful hints' on how she might mitigate his insensitive remarks.

Ziplok Tue 11-Jul-23 21:03:39

Well, from how you’ve described your DH’s remarks about the things you have concerns about, he comes across as extremely smug and very insensitive. He may well be concerned for you, but I’m afraid the way he words things leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.
Lucky him that he doesn’t have any health/aging issues at all (for now), but he needs to realise that not everyone is the same.
As another poster says, “what a peach”.

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 21:25:06

Cheers, Monica. I thought I was going mad.

This has also made me wonder whether the reason the NHS is on its knees is because it's being bothered all the time by people who are fundamentally well, as I am.

Oreo Tue 11-Jul-23 21:28:54

Have a talk with him and get him to understand how it makes you feel, otherwise it could go on and on.

lixy Tue 11-Jul-23 21:30:25

Margoleadbetter my OH and I have chalk and cheese metabolisms too and always have done.
He eats whatever and still fits his wedding suit comfortably 39 years on. I look at a biscuit and promptly put on another couple of pounds; it's infuriating.
We're both in fairly good health for which I am very grateful. He does get cross when I express any kind of anxiety about his slightly raised blood pressure, so now I try really hard not to say anything about it. I think we are all touchy about our own insecurities.
You sound as though you have tried to keep yourself as well as you can. I don't usually go in for motivational quotes but maybe a few positive fridge magnets/ post-its on the mirror would give a huge hint to your OH that you are in need of supportive confidence boosting rather than concern?

Vito Tue 11-Jul-23 21:53:44


seadragon I seem to have read your post differently. I honestly thought your DH was expressing genuine concern...... I would be particularly concerned about your swollen feet

I read his comments as concerns as well. Perhaps a bit of dieting would help many of your age concerns? Arthritis, swelling, knees, movement could all be helped by a bit of weigh loss (say 2 stone or so).

Much is genetic, doesn't have to be down to 'menopause' - he has drawn good genes, you could also perhaps work on your health?

We're near 80, slim, fit, still ski - some genetics but much diet&exercise.
And this is helpful ? How ?

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 22:00:51

Monica, Ziplock and others who've pointed out how unhelpful my DH's remarks are, thank you. He's not the most sensitive person in the world and having rarely had anything wrong with him (he didn't even get Covid while I've had it twice) and so far he's managed to avoid the realisation that his body's ageing and behaving differently. I dare say the time will come and I'll be able to point at him and say 'What's that?!!!' as he did today. Not that it gives me any pleasure.

Norah Tue 11-Jul-23 22:08:16

Vito And this is helpful ? How ?

Quite a bit more helpful than taking sides against a husband who appears to have OPs health as a genuine concern.

I think many can work on diet/exercise. I expressed that, perhaps not in your chosen words, but I do find it possible to diet/exercise.

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 22:16:17

Good for you, Norah.

Vito Tue 11-Jul-23 22:22:04

As Margo said , good for you.

Norah Tue 11-Jul-23 22:25:47


Good for you, Norah.

Does husband not have your health as his concern?

If he has not a care to your health, I misunderstood entirely.

J52 Tue 11-Jul-23 22:27:48

Sometimes it needs to be remembered that most women have been through childbirth more than once. This takes a toll on female bodies that males do not experience.
Metabolism changes in preparation for birth and motherhood in order to have reserves to cope with giving birth and feeding the child. I understand that the rib bones expand and abdominal muscles can stretch, never to return to their original tension.
Some women find that their bodies never go back to the shape they had in youth.

Callistemon21 Tue 11-Jul-23 22:43:11

I would think that pride often comes before a fall, MargotLedbetter
Not that I wish your DH ill of course! He just has good genes and should realise we're all different.

I've put weight on too because of knee problems combined with a medication and it doesn't help if you can't walk or exercise because of joint problems - Catch 22.

Perhaps a change of diet, not necessarily eating less, might shift a few pounds? I keep telling myself to do that but if you are feeling fed up it's not always easy.

Hetty58 Tue 11-Jul-23 22:52:01

Conflicting statements:

The OP said that she's a size 16/18 with thinning hair, varicose veins and swollen feet - oh dear!

Later, she says 'people who are fundamentally well, as I am.'

Which is it? - Maybe it's denial? OH isn't supposed to mention these things?

Callistemon21 Tue 11-Jul-23 22:56:48

OH isn't supposed to mention these things?
No, he's not.

Norah Tue 11-Jul-23 23:07:32


^OH isn't supposed to mention these things?^
No, he's not.

Well, we're all different.

I want my husband to note if my feet swell and suggest I may need medical attention. Seems to be caring about a possible problem.

FarNorth Tue 11-Jul-23 23:17:53

Margot as you've already spoken to your doctor and seen various other professionals, can you explain to your DH as you have to us - that you are as well as you can be and that you'd appreciate fewer comments from him?

Callistemon21 Tue 11-Jul-23 23:23:46



OH isn't supposed to mention these things?
No, he's not.

Well, we're all different.

I want my husband to note if my feet swell and suggest I may need medical attention. Seems to be caring about a possible problem.

My DH is certainly caring but he wouldn't be comparing them to his own perfect feet and ankles (which are indeed better than mine due to his inherited genes).

MargotLedbetter Tue 11-Jul-23 23:36:47


Conflicting statements:

The OP said that she's a size 16/18 with thinning hair, varicose veins and swollen feet - oh dear!

Later, she says 'people who are fundamentally well, as I am.'

Which is it? - Maybe it's denial? OH isn't supposed to mention these things?

You're an unpleasant piece of work, aren't you, Hetty?

I have a couple of varicose veins. Many women have them. They are not an illness. Lots of younger women get varicose veins during pregnancy. Later in life they are a sign of ageing. Some people suffer from them, some lucky people don't. Plenty of men get them.

My hair is thinning as my mother's and her sisters' did and I have been told by the expert I consulted that there's nothing to be done, it's genetic. I'm not bald: I used to have a fine head of thick wavy hair and it's become very fine and less abundant. A lot of women experience their hair getting thin and fine post menopause. It's not a marker of illness, it's a mark of ageing.

My feet swelled on an exceptionally hot day. It's normal, it's not an indication of illness.

My BP, blood sugars, heart, cholesterol and all the other seriously important measures are good. I'm apparently quite unusual in getting to my age without being on regular medication. Go figure Hetty.