Gransnet forums


Am I imagining things or just intolerant?

(20 Posts)
Katerina1 Tue 27-Sep-22 22:02:13

Married my husband thirty years ago. Both nearly eighty now. Second marriage for both of us. I failed to notice warning signs. It was quickly clear he resented my teenage son, even put a special lock on our front door to prevent him gaining entry. For years I did my best to keep them both happy and love them both. I feel so guilty I allowed that to happen to my son. A few years ago my son had a breakdown and I took him in and cared for him for several months. My husband was so angry and resentful although my son stayed quietly out of the way at the far end of the house. They didn't speak to each other for years.
Have looked after my husband through years of health problems. Although mostly well he has lived a reclusive life for many years. See life beyond our gates as negative. We live by his schedules and my freedoms and confidence seem to have drained away. There is no joint social life or friends, no trips out ever apart from local village shops and unsurprisingly my son stays away. I stayed in lockdown until recently because that is what my husband wanted. Desperation drove me to begin to break out of it and seek new activities. This degree of isolation (and tedium) doesn't feel healthy and I am finding it hard to hold things together. We do not have any other family. I have tried many times to discuss matters with my husband but he gets cross, says I am mistaken and it is all in my head so I am not sure whether I am imagining things or just not tolerant. enough.
He is not a bad person and I recognise he must make his own choices how he wants to live, especially at our age.

Esspee Tue 27-Sep-22 22:14:44

You are in an abusive relationship Katerina1. You have been bullied into neglecting your son which must cause you great pain.
Personally I would walk away because I would not tolerate abuse like that but I realise that you might find this difficult to do at your age.
You deserve to be happy and have a great relationship with your son. Can you not stand up to him and let him know you will not tolerate his treatment of you? Life could be so much better without him.

SunshineSally Tue 27-Sep-22 22:32:19

You cannot change the past - but you can change your future. It’s never too late x

SueDonim Tue 27-Sep-22 22:34:48

Your husband is practising coercive control, which is now a crime, on you, Katerina. It’s a form of domestic abuse. Women’s Aid are very helpful and you can read about it on their website.

You deserve better - I hope you receive it. flowers

Doodledog Tue 27-Sep-22 22:38:16

Is there any way you could build up a social life of your own, OP? It's easy for people to think that they would walk away, but at the age of 80 and after 30 years that is much easier said than done.

Do you have friends of your own? If so, you could start setting up days out, and maybe building up to holidays if you feel like it. If you don't have friends nearby, why not look on your local Facebook page and see what is available by way of classes or interest groups? They are ideal for meeting people without having to turn up and start socialising - most of the time will be focussed on the subject.

Whether you are tolerant or not isn't really the issue. Yes, marriage should involve give and take, but that means that you should get back as well as giving, and from what you say that's not happening. Just telling you that it's all in your head is rather disrespectful - it's not. It is a different perspective from your husband's, and often there is no right and wrong with these things, just different ways of seeing the same thing.

You might not change his mind about any of that, but IMO you shouldn't feel guilty about forging ahead with a social life of your own if you can. Good luck!

VioletSky Tue 27-Sep-22 22:55:14

Please love yourself enough to leave this man.

We have one life to be happy in. Some choose making themselves miserable constantly looking for negatives or things to be angry and offended about instead.

Part of you is fighting this because you are looking for help and this is not who you are with this man. Find yourself, get domestic abuse help to heal and then please please go find all the happy.

Blossoming Tue 27-Sep-22 23:01:04

I’m sorry to say he’s gaslighting you Katerina. You say he is not a bad person. Maybe not, but his behaviour towards you is bad. You are also entitled to make your own choices about how you want to live and he should respect that. I know it would be difficult to walk away and you may not want that, but you really do need to start building a life for yourself.

Silvergirl Wed 28-Sep-22 10:37:11

I agree you have been abused by your husband but don’t beat yourself up about anything. Us women do a lot in the name of keeping the peace. The first thing I would do would be to let your son know how much you regret not being there fully for him and how, if you had a second chance, you would put him first. It’s never too late to say sorry and I am sure it would mean a lot to him.
I know it is very hard to leave your husband at this age. It depends a lot on your finances and health etc. However, at the very least try to tell him that you won’t put up with his selfish behaviour anymore. You have a right to a happy and fulfilled life which includes your lovely son.

Luckygirl3 Wed 28-Sep-22 11:00:09

Yes - he is allowed to make choices as to how he wants to live - but YOU too can make choices. Is this how you want to live? If not, then make clear and decisive choices. TELL him what you are going to do - do not ask him - and then just get on with it.

How many more years of your life are you going to waste placating this selfish man?

Re-connect with your son - let him know you love him. Live your life.

MawtheMerrier Wed 28-Sep-22 11:12:36

I wonder how easy it would be for OP pushing 80 to leave though?
I know her DH’s behaviour makes him sound like a grumpy old git - some men (and women) grow more like that as they age.
OP also says he has had years of ill health - without knowing specifically what this involves, , that would restrict most peoples social interaction.
He may also have symptoms of dementia so to suggest (in as many words) the OP should LTB citing coercive control and domestic abuse seems to me an over simplified reaction. And OTT.
I note from her “ activities” thread a few weeks ago that OP has managed to get out to some groups and has indicated her readiness to try others
Quote Katerina1 Thu 01-Sep-22 22:13:11
Last year I joined an activity group and am struggling to feel accepted. It is a long established group and everyone seems to have been going for many years. They all know each other really well and see each other socially in between times
This is the answer - she can still live a life of her own especially as, on her own admission he is not a bad man

Startingover61 Wed 28-Sep-22 11:31:05

I agree that your husband is being abusive, but as others have said, at 80 and having been with him for 30 years, it’s not going to be easy - or may I need not be possible - to leave the marriage. I think you should contact Women’s Aid for advice. You don’t have to live ‘according to his schedules’. He doesn’t own you; you have a right to a life of your own in which you make decisions for yourself.

Startingover61 Wed 28-Sep-22 11:31:56

Sorry, should read ‘… or may indeed…’

Lathyrus Wed 28-Sep-22 11:57:16

Just stop “living to his schedules”, minimise the “looking after”. He can buy that in if he needs it. Leave him ready meals. And live the life you want.

You don’t have to leave. Uncouple yourself and live a more independent life. Not just in what you do but in your mind. Get some counselling to help you do this.

I’d think twice about leaving. Where would you live? What would your finances be like? Are you up to all the legal wrangling. As Maw says leaving is not an easy option.

Hithere Wed 28-Sep-22 13:01:21

Your actions define the person you are

Your husband is definitely not that of a good person at all

Find out why you have put up with this for so long and get out of this relationship

Your son deserves an apology for being put in the back burner for so long.

Daisymae Wed 28-Sep-22 13:18:33

I would start by thinking about what you would like to do. I certainly would contact your son. Maybe you could meet up somewhere? Are there any local groups you could join? Lunch clubs? Do something nice for yourself for a change. Find out what's going on locally. Our village has a little shopping bus one a week. Get a plan together and make some small steps to improve the quality of your life, who knows where it will end up, but you won't know until you try.

ixion Wed 28-Sep-22 13:36:04

Katerina1 does get out already tho.
She has tried to join an activity (maybe more?) but struggles to feel accepted. Some alternative ideas were floated then.

As you can leave the house, even on a temporary basis, that's a good start! Just look a bit wider as suggested and fill your time that way.

What sort of activities are you looking for?

MawtheMerrier Wed 28-Sep-22 16:51:35

Perhaps OP will come back and clear some of this up?
There’s no point in anybody giving their tuppence worth if they are not in possession of the facts

Katerina1 Wed 28-Sep-22 17:04:53

Thanks for lots of wise comments to think about. I'm working on small steps for more space for myself. I've said sorry to my son, talked with him and do my best let him know how much I love him. He says he understands.

Allsorts Wed 28-Sep-22 21:51:33

Katerinal, you seem to be establishing a few new interests outside the home, I think at 80 leaving would be difficult, your husband has the problem, not you. He wants to control you and you are finding the courage to say enough, let him sulk, if he’s unpleasant, take yourself of somewhere else, perhaps when he knows you are not interested in dancing to his tune he will respect you more, if not you will be pursuing your interests and be happier, perhaps get your son round for more visits, tell him your leading more separate lives, easier than going down the legal route.

Bird40 Thu 29-Sep-22 14:13:29

I think you're in an abusive relationship.
I'm so sorry.
Can you gradually build up your own life? You sound a lovely person and You only have one life xx