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Husband retired, I still work. My husband is driving me crazy!

(79 Posts)
babs75 Thu 21-Sep-23 18:30:48

I'm getting to my wits end. My husband retired mid 2019 from construction, a year or so earlier than I thought he was going to but we've made it work. I am 66, continue to work, want to work, and have no plans ot retire anytime soon. Since Covid in early 2020, they made my job full time work-from-home. I began this new career as a data analyst 10 years ago, different from what I did the last 30, and have found it to be something I'm really good at. I have excelled at it, gotten promotions, and am a project leader for our team of 15, just one step down from my manager. I am finally getting paid what I am worth. It has been very refreshing and I've enjoyed the fact it has helped us financially. The last year had it's own set of challenges as the project I've been on the last 4 years came to a head and required very long work days for many months. Things have leveled out now so I am back to 8 hour days.

I have many hobbies including 2-3 Zumba classes a week (I also got certified to teach last spring although I cannot make that time commitment right now), sewing, 'Cricuting', and I purchased a telescope after attending an astronomy class last winter term. My husband and I attend training with a personal trainer once a week and we both enjoy estate sales on the weekend.

I am also legal guardian and conservator to my 97 year old dad which takes some time itself. But since Covid, I am home all day working, my husband is home all day, and he is bored to death. We are together too much. I crave time to myself. It's just gotten to be an obsession with me. We have vacation property for camping a couple hours north of here so he may go up there for a few days every few weeks which gives me some badly needed 'me' time but when I know he's returning, a sort of 'depression' sets in. I find I am actually happier by myself being able to just do what I want. When he is here, I find myself constantly on the defense as to why I need to plan my day/week, set a schedule and am not able to just do something on the spur of the moment. I really function better on a schedule. He hates that part of my 'accounting brain', as he calls it.

Because of this project, I really haven't been able to take much vacation time. Sometimes it's harder to get job coverage than it's worth and the amount of emails/work to do when I get back just usually isn't worth it and I have no issue with this. Again, today, 'Why can't you call in sick. Let's go do something together'. No, I have work to do. I am not here to entertain him and he is usually met with the statement from me, 'It was your idea to retire'.

I have asked him to get a parttime job, although his pension does not allow him to do any construction, asked him to do volunteer work but he doesn't want to do that, etc. I'm happier at home. I have plenty to do here. Do some married people take separate vacations? I have no interest in travel and the last time we did fly somewhere, he had a downright tantrum in the Bay Area traffic. No fun. Short fuse, no patience. I plan to work until I am at least 70 and if I'm not ready to retire, I've already warned him I'm going to work as long as I want which is going to cause a big problem when I get there but trying not to dwell on the future right now.

Having been involved in my dad's care for 8 years has shown me how much it costs to go into old age. I continue to save some money but do not want to get to a place where I quit too soon and then had to go back to work. I am at a loss. I am so sad most of the time, I just want to cry. I wish he would just leave me alone. He really needs to find something to do. He is so dependent on me.

Hetty58 Fri 22-Sep-23 12:58:19

He's way down your list of priorities, isn't he? Marriage, for me, is all about spending time together - and really caring about how the partner is feeling.

It sounds like you don't want to be married. Perhaps it only worked when you hardly saw each other?

He might not be there, later on, when maybe you'll need him. He could stray - or die - before then.

northerngardener Fri 22-Sep-23 13:06:58

Would finding a workspace nearby for 2 or 3 days a week work for you perhaps? - so you are out of the house for a while.

grannybuy Fri 22-Sep-23 13:16:49

OP is on a high career wise, and fully absorbed in it. However, we all need to bear in mind that things can change in the blink of an eye. If she became ill, she might be very glad that she had a DH hanging around.

Buttonjugs Fri 22-Sep-23 13:31:23

Speaking as someone who has chosen to be alone for the last 15 years I have often thought to myself that I wouldn’t have time for a man in my life, nor would I want to. I appreciate everything from having no distractions to choosing what to do in my leisure time without compromise. I wonder if you and your OH just have irreconcilable differences and are drifting apart. It might be kinder in the long run to end the marriage, so that he has the opportunity to find someone who would enjoy spending time with him, because he must feel a sense of rejection that just isn’t fair.

foxie48 Fri 22-Sep-23 13:38:26

TBH I think this is a common problem. I was chatting to some friends and basically all the women, once retired, have filled their lives with hobbies and interests, whilst the men have not. The sad thing is that once anyone, man or woman, becomes too much of a "home body" they really don't have much to talk about and dare I say, become a little bit boring. tbh OH has to check my diary before he commits us to anything but as I act a our social secretary and make sure we see friends and do things together, that doesn't happen very often. I think OP and her partner need a good honest talk about how to inject a bit more fun into their marriage and that will require OP to be prepared to put a bit more time into their relationship or perhaps the marriage doesn't have a future.

Treetops05 Fri 22-Sep-23 14:08:30

So your husband retired 2 years early, and expects you to alter your working style to accommodate his boredom? I'm afraid I'd point out that you have x years to retirement...can he entertain himself till then. Why should it be your problem - but I would put him first evening and weekends.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 22-Sep-23 14:37:16

What matters most? Your job or your marriage?

Years ago, I would happily have continued the job I had, even although it was exhausting until I reached retirement age, but my husband complained with a great deal of justification that I was so immersed in my work that he barely saw me, except asleep in bed at night!

I realised that I spent all weekend and most public holidays preparing classes, or exam papers for my pupils, and that if our marriage was to survive, I would either need to change my job, or retire early.

For me the choice although not one I had wanted to make was fairly easy - my husband mattered more then my job. So I retired early, and we sold up and did what he had always wanted to - sailed the rivers and canals of Europe for three years, then bought a house and moved into it,

Seven years on, he has just been diagnosed with cancer, so I am thankful now that my priority ten years ago was to take part in fulfilling his dream. If we had left it till he reached retirement age this year, we would never have been able to do so.

I hope your husband is healthier than mine, but ten years ago, neither of us dreamed that his life might well end at 67, so think this through carefully, please.

Lyndylou Fri 22-Sep-23 14:46:00

I have just asked my OH if he thinks I should give up my part time job and devote more time to him. He looked quite panicked at the idea and disappeared to his shed!

Sometimes women, or men, working in their 60s/70s find they enjoy work much more than they did before. No worries about fitting in childcare responsibilties and no hassle about climbing a career ladder. It is a shame the OP's OH doesn't seem to have worked out how to use his retirement time to do things he might enjoy. Then time spent together can feel more precious.

Romola Fri 22-Sep-23 14:50:09

I have just read an article in the U3A magazine by a man who is asking why it is that men are more difficult to recruit. Women are keen on the social side of the activities as well as the activities themselves, while men want the interest in the activity itself. My DH enjoyed going to science group meetings and arguing with other members, but it was I who encouraged him to go!
It does seem that Babs75's husband needs to find an interest, which should be something really absorbing. People get their flying license after retirement!

seadragon Fri 22-Sep-23 14:56:31

Is there a "Men's Shed' locally?

knspol Fri 22-Sep-23 15:18:12

Be careful what you wish for.

GranJan60 Fri 22-Sep-23 15:22:33

Good idea,

Katie59 Fri 22-Sep-23 15:31:47

He obviously needs a project or a hobby, it doesn’t matter what. A building project, Classic car, Charity work, even Golf or Bowls
My OH is retired and is always busy when I’m working part time, when I’m not we do things together, gardening, days out, holidays. I hope to work until I’m 70 after that we’ll think again I guess a lot will depend on our health

PamQS Fri 22-Sep-23 15:42:20

When my DH was told to work from home, I knew what would happen - and it did. He gradually transferred to working in our living room, filling the space with paperwork, laptop etc, leaving me nowhere to relax in the daytime. But he’s gradually taken up responsibility for local shopping - bread, milk, etc - and also started meeting colleagues in a local coffee shop if he needed a work meeting. He recently said he’d miss the area if we moved, because of all his new friends! He’s got to know people by sight in the shops and cafes, who say ‘hello’ to him when he’s out and about. It seems to make all the difference to him.

I think people can change, but maybe not all at once. If your husband feels under-occupied, or socially deprived, he needs to seek out the solution to those issues himself.

Jess20 Fri 22-Sep-23 15:52:38

We just move to another house that needs serious DIYing and it keeps him occupied 🙄

Lyndylou Fri 22-Sep-23 16:09:22

Just had a thought. We got a dog when my OH retired. He takes him for walks twice a day and now knows my neighbours better than I do and I've lived here twice as long as he has. When I walk the dog in the evening, people ask me where my hubby is and is he OK?!

I like the DIY response Jess20 I think that's why mine keeps himself busy, he is scared of being given another project to do.

JenniferEccles Fri 22-Sep-23 16:35:08

Who does the household chores, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry and general housework?
Not you I hope, given what you have on your plate.
When I read the title of your thread I thought you were going to say that you still work, your husband is retired and admits he’s bored, yet does none of the above.
There have been threads in the past on that theme!

I think you made a good point when you said caring for your father has brought home to you just how much money is required in old age, and up to a point, that’s your driving force, apart from the fact that you enjoy your job and are good at it.

I think as others have said, your husband badly needs an interest to get involved in and to get him out of the house!
He’s admitted he’s bored, yet seems to lack motivation to do anything about it.

I have to say your situation would really irritate me too!

I hope you manage to change his mindset.

sodapop Fri 22-Sep-23 16:40:24

Quite frankly it seems you have excluded your husband from most of your life babs75 and you have a full schedule without his input.
Maybe you need to take stock a little and see where your priorities are, you don't need to share everything but something would be good.

Skyblue2 Fri 22-Sep-23 16:54:39

It’s understandable to want to share retirement with your other half once you retire after a lifetime of hard work. You must have liked spending time with each other to have wanted to get married. For some people it could offer the chance of freedom they have not enjoyed for years. This window of time could be cut short. I hope your husband gets to enjoy this time in his life and if not with you perhaps he would be better off finding someone who wants share it with him

mabon1 Fri 22-Sep-23 17:12:13

Love your comment. My husband died very suddenly, I am so glad that we spent time together and wonderful holidays all over the world. I tell my friends "If you can afford it and want to do things together just do it as we never know the minute or the hour. We were not wealthy but enjoyed our lives.

undines Fri 22-Sep-23 17:14:34

Doing work you love is so important and I always feel that if someone loves you they should support your 'joys'. However, there also needs to be a bit of give-and-take. I have similar issues with my husband. I try to make sure that we have at least a couple of evenings relaxing together and at weekends I usually only work maybe two or three hours and we do something together. But that isn't at all enough for him and he says I'm 'always working' - which is not true - and gets very childish and resentful, even though it is my work that provides our comfortable lifestyle. I do remind myself that he is three years older than me and we are both in our seventies, and...and...but I also think 'Yes, we are in our seventies, dental work is expensive, the NHS is not to be relied on and we have plans for holidays (and one of our bathrooms needs re-doing) ' So I'm going to carry on working as long as I can - who wants to sit around all day talking about the past, anyway?

4allweknow Fri 22-Sep-23 17:16:58

Try thinking role reversal. Your DH working all hours given, following all the interests and being a carer though I'm lost trying to figure how you manage to care for anyone. Would you be happy being left to your own devices day and night. I'm surprised you still have a DH.

SunnySusie Fri 22-Sep-23 17:23:11

My DH works full time and has no intention of ever retiring. I finished work in 2015. I love our lifestyle. I have two volunteering jobs, exercise classes, U3A, dog walking for a neighbour, am a member of the village litter picking team, help with maintenance of a communal orchard and see my friends regularly for trips. I do the majority of the housework, shopping and gardening. I have no time to be bored. DH and I make a point of having a Saturday evening meal together, a full leisurely Sunday lunch and a weeks holiday together each year. I wouldnt have it any other way and would be very upset if DH thought for one minute that he should be keeping me entertained, or spending more time with me, or - God forbid - giving up the job he loves to spend more time with me. I accept him as the person he is, which includes his preference to work. I think babs75 its entirely reasonable for you to carry on working and for your husband to find his own activities to keep him occupied.

Delila Fri 22-Sep-23 18:03:47

Yes, entirely reasonable if it suits both of you, as it does you and your DH, Sunnysusie, but not so reasonable if it’s making one of you lonely and unhappy, and the other one wishing to be left alone. We’re all different, but that isn’t a good or reasonable situation within a marriage, it’s become an endurance test - on both sides by the sound of it.
Something has to give.

babs75 Fri 22-Sep-23 22:19:12

I know I don't want to end up living in my kid's garage because I quit working too soon and ran out of money. I've heard many a story of people having to go back to work because they retired too soon. I just don't want to go there. I need to work as long as I can and as long as I want to.