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Older Husband – have I made a mistake?

(70 Posts)
olderhusbandprob Mon 15-Oct-12 12:58:33

I have name-changed for this as I think the details might out me. Will try and keep it succinct, but also want to get the facts down and give as fair an account as possible.

Been with my DH for several years now, and have a toddler DC and a baby on the way. DH is nearly 20 years older than me.

DH recently took a big paycut at work, which has meant I have started back at work part-time to ease the financial pressure. I think a lot of our problems stem from this.

I am finding pregnancy, working and a toddler incredibly hard. It’s so much harder than I could have imagined. I think I’m a very resilient person, but I think this situation has pushed me to breaking point. The problem is, my responsibilities at home haven’t reduced. I still am in charge of shopping, cooking, doing most of the cleaning and washing the clothes. DH does DC bedtime and bath, washing up and irons his own clothes. Also, I am the person DC really wants most of the time, which I am happy with, but obviously that does take time and energy.

I don’t believe DH isn’t pulling his weight because he is lazy, I think it’s because at his age he hasn’t got the energy to. He is overweight as well which doesn’t help. Once he has done DC bedtime, he lies in bed for the rest of the night. He complains of aches, pains and ailments all the time. He almost dropped DC down the stairs the other night as he couldn’t see them, and he can’t see what’s in front of his face, so I think his eyesight is failing as well. He can’t bend don to pick DC up. This, coupled with the fact he is low about his paycut and demotion is making life very difficult. I didn’t realise how much of an old man he would come to be, so soon. Writing it down makes it sound so trivial I suppose, but it is starting to get me down. But he just has no get up and go… But then, I’m not sure all men his age are this “old”.

I feel like I need a break and some rest. I am starting to wonder what life might have been like had I chosen to spend my life with someone younger. Obviously, I picked my DH for a reason, I loved him massively (I’m concerned this is starting to fade), and we had so much in common, and have the same values. I also used to fancy him something rotten (but I must admit this has changed recently as well).

I’m just so confused at the moment. I wouldn’t usually dream of posting about relationship problems, but I think I need some help picking this apart

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Oct-12 13:04:20

His age may explain the aches, pains and ailments aspect but you could just as easily have been saddled with someone that lazy who was nearer your own age. Opticians can help with eyesight. Weight-loss isn't easy but it's do-able. How old is 'old' here? 40-odd? 50-odd?

Think you need to sit him down and spell out that you're unhappy. You can't ask him to be younger, obviously, but you can stop making excuses for him and tell him to start shifting himself.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Mon 15-Oct-12 13:07:49

A selfish twat is just so, regardless of age

Many selfish twats use vague illnesses as an excuse to opt out of the shitwork

I think your mistake has been in tolerating any of it

VivaLeBeaver Mon 15-Oct-12 13:08:40

How old is he?

My dh is 50 and has loads of energy and no aches and pains. I think to be honest I have more aches and pains and I'm 15 years younger.

Do you think he's depressed?

AngelaMerkel Mon 15-Oct-12 13:10:31

HappyHalloween maybe right...but I must say that my first thought was Diabetes. So I'd be encouraging him to visit the GP for a health check up.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 15-Oct-12 13:29:26

Does any man described on here with shortcomings always have to be damned as being, simply, a 'selfish twat'?

Is it kind or helpful to tell someone, who is struggling, that this is what the person they love is?

What's the solution to this, if you are pregnant, and have a toddler? 'Leave the bastard'?

If you are AF, with a name change, you can surely do better than that? You usually do. Pithy is great, when it's helpful.

Abra1d Mon 15-Oct-12 13:33:14

My husband is 59 and in generally good shape. I did, however, nag him for some time to lose weight and exercise more.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Mon 15-Oct-12 13:35:42

I call the behaviour as described. Not sure how closely you are monitoring my posts tired or even why you would pick up on mine in particular, but you do it your way, I'll do it mine, yeah ?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Oct-12 13:36:24

Be fair, tiredofwaiting.... The OP is suggesting that all the faults in her DH can be attributed to his age and that the main mistake she has made is marrying an old man (however old that is, we don't know). It's not unreasonable to point out that being old does not necessarily mean someone is excused pitching in with a bit of housework or caring for their own child to help their pregnant, working wife. hmm If he's got health problems physical or mental he needs to see a doctor. Eyesight problems an optician. Laziness... there's no fix for that.

QuintessentialShadows Mon 15-Oct-12 13:47:01

If he is overweight, he is most likely unfit and this will account for his aches and pains as much as anything else.

My neighbour back in Norway was nearly 70, he was skiing 30 km cross country nearly every Saturday through out winter. He would take an evening skiing trip, either cross country or down hill, every evening after work. In summer, he would don his walking boots, and go for a few hours walk in the mountains, or go jogging. Our other neighbour, would do the same thing, and he was 60. My dh (38 at the time) could not keep up with either.

If you have married an older man who has lead a lazy and inactive life, then no wonder he is spending the evenings on the bed. You should not be surprised it has come to this.

Can you try help him lose weight and get fitter? Can you cook healthy meals, serve up salads, and fish and veg, ensure there is no chocs or biscuits or crisps in the house, and be active and walking/cycling on the weekend?

struggling100 Mon 15-Oct-12 13:47:33

Have you thought that he might have depression? If his identity has always been 'the breadwinner' - the guy who provides for his family - and he's had that taken away, is it possible that he's feeling lost and useless and emotionally upset? Stress and upset can create all kinds of aches and pains, and men sometimes associate a setback at work with their age ('Oh, I'm just too old for this these days'). Thinking you're old is the fastest way to become so. It might be worth trying to talk to him (very gently) about this - it's possible he's struggling more than you think.

There could also be a physical explanation - if he is not that old (i.e under 70) but catastrophically tired all the time, perhaps he needs to see a doctor, just to make sure there's nothing physically going wrong? I would want to see a full blood workup for someone in that position.

I'm not making excuses for him, though. You are clearly finding yourself overburdened with work now, because you have the same full-time housework schedule you had before, and a job on the top. It sounds a bit as though you're both in a routine of barely-coping: you get the day done, then collapse in a heap of tiredness, unable to engage with each other. Believe me, this is not just a problem of age and youth - I'm sure many of the people on this site can relate (I'm posting this from bed - I collapsed with exhaustion at the weekend. I'm 34, so not exactly ancient!). Finding time to rest is such a challenge these days. Are there practical things that you can do to reduce the pressure on you both? One thing might be to get a dishwasher, and then transfer your DH's washing up duties onto cleaning (it's amazing what you can get done in 20 minutes a night). Another idea might be to get your shopping online and have it delivered each week. I know these seem like overly simple solutions to a complex emotional problem, but every little helps. If you are less stressed and tired, you may be able to spend more quality time together. smile

olderhusbandprob Mon 15-Oct-12 13:51:56

Thanks for all the replies. I'll try and answer some of the things you've brought up.

Don't want to give too much away (I think my OP will identify me easily to my friends and family), but DH is late 40s.

I think he may be depressed because of the job/money situation. However, when I do think about it I wouldn't say his behaviour has changed dramatically (though it has changed). So part of me wonders if he is a depressed person generally, or whether this is just him. Should also add that both of us have professional jobs that are quite high stress, and I would say neither of us is really cut out for that level of stress.

Somebody did mention diabetes, don't think he has got that as he has regular tests at the doctors due to his obesity and high blood pressure, and his blood sugars get checked regularly.

I do wonder if he is lazy. When we first met, I loved how laid back he was. It was a breath of fresh air to me, as I come from a family of very highly strung people. When I moved in with him I felt all the stress I had grown up with lifted as it was just a nice, calm atmosphere to live in. Our weekends consisted of reading newspapers and eating out, which was very different to what I was used to (had always been with active men). So in some ways I do wonder if I have brought this on myself by actually opting for somebody like this, but at the time it seemed so "right" for me. Whether it is right for me when I've got children is another matter...

I don't want to nag him to lose weight, I don't want him to think it's about the way he looks, because it isn't. However, I do think it would make quite a difference to how he feels if he lost a few stone.

I think maybe he does get away with more, because actually he is a lot more helpful than my friend's DHs, and my dad doesn't do anything, so in comparison he doesn't seem that bad.

To be honest I don't know what to do. It's not like I haven't discussed this all with him. I'm tempted to do something drastic just to jolt him into action, because talking hasn't worked so far. I am tempted to pack me and DC an overnight bag and go my mum's house. But then it's like I'm playing games!

crescentmoon Mon 15-Oct-12 13:59:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissKeithLemon Mon 15-Oct-12 14:00:14

Late 40's is not old OP!

He may feel old because you are so much younger iykwim?

But to be honest, of the couples I know where there is a significant age gap, the older (male) partners tend to look/act/feel younger due to having a younger partner.

He sounds lazy to me.

ModernToss Mon 15-Oct-12 14:02:22

Late 40s is not old by any stretch of the imagination. No way should be be creaking around at that age.

He might need reading glasses all of a sudden (he's the right sort of age for that), but otherwise it sounds as if it's his weight that is the issue.

crescentmoon Mon 15-Oct-12 14:02:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Oct-12 14:02:43

Laid back isn't far from lazy. Think you've answered your own question really. His ideal lifestyle is the same as it was before - newspapers and pub lunches - and the addition of children or pregnancy isn't going to turn him into Billy Whizz.

If he's ill, depressed, overweight, has vision problems etc. and they are getting in the way of him participating properly in family life then the onus is really on him (with your support) to find solutions. If he's happy with the status quo, he has no incentive to do anything. If it means a bit of nagging, go for it. If it means putting the marriage on the line and threatening to leave, don't see that as game-playing.

struggling100 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:02:59

I can understand why late 40s might sound really old to someone in their late 20s... but it really isn't! Something is going wrong here.

Get him to a doctor and have him checked out, just to be on the safe side. Then maybe think about how you can deal with this together.

What would happen if you gently suggested working out together? e.g. Going for a walk after work together - it could be quality time and exercise rolled into one. Or playing with the kids in the park as a family? Or maybe get him enthused about a sport - there's some kind of activity out there for everyone, from martial arts to tennis to rowing. He doesn't have to be competitive, he just has to enjoy it. A lot of clubs have sessions where parents and kids can learn together, so it could be great bonding stuff. Alternatively, you could try replacing his car commute with walking or cycling if that is possible?

Can you help him on the food side of things by cooking ultra-healthy stuff together and not leaving full-fat stuff in the house?

olderhusbandprob Mon 15-Oct-12 14:03:19

Cross posted with quint!

Thank you struggling, your post has actually made me feel a bit better! We are definitely barely coping. The thing I've found hard recently is how disorganised I feel. I keep forgetting things all the time. So I suppose what I need is just someone to take some burden from me whilst I sort myself out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Oct-12 14:05:21

"So I suppose what I need is just someone to take some burden from me whilst I sort myself out. "

When you're pregnant and you have a toddler, that's the role your partner is supposed to fufil. Sorry.

JodieHarsh Mon 15-Oct-12 14:07:21

Late 40s is not old. I mean: it really, really isn't. I have a male pal of 52 who could run a marathon then go out dancing until 3am. My own father was no sportsman but didn't start getting weary and achy until about 65.

It sounds to me as if he is either just lazy, or not very well, and urgently needs to sort himself out, or be sorted out...

It also sounds as if he does a fair amount, to be honest (bedtime, bath, laundry etc.)

Are you sure it's not simply that you are not happy in your marriage, and are looking for a convenient 'problem' to hang your unhappiness on??

SecretSquirrels Mon 15-Oct-12 14:07:30

Looked at this because my DH is older (63).
I was expecting him to be approaching 80 not late 40ssss shock. The problem is not his age.

Your DH could suffer ill health whatever his age and you describe someone who is clearly not well. Being overweight may be a factor but it's not his age.

olderhusbandprob Mon 15-Oct-12 14:08:32

This weekend I booked us a holiday that will involve being outdoors and cycling a lot. I'm hoping it might be a kick start.

Generally, when I am in the house (the 4 days I don't work) I cook from scratch. I must admit I struggle on my working days, but have tried to do stir frys etc. But we do sometimes end up with a take-away. I think some of the problem with his weight is I think he's a secret eater. I have caught him recently eating chocolate in the utility room, like he's hiding it from me.

LittleTyga Mon 15-Oct-12 14:10:08

I'm in my late 40's - work three jobs and have 2 children - youngest is 6. I'm perfectly able to work and do all the housework, days out, play dates etc (I'm a lone parent) I think your husband needs to look at his health and start exercising more - The way you spoke about him I thought he was in his 60's!

Good advice from Struggling - if he's willing to try it will be a step in the right direction plus fresh air and exercise can help with mild depression. Could he start looking for another job?

Late 40s isn't old. I think there's something wrong with your DH, but it's not old age. People in their late 40s don't normally have back pain, aches, or eyesight problems that can't be cured with a pair of good prescription glasses. When you said he's old, I was thinking more late 60s. I've noticed my parents really start to decline in their late 60s.

Echo other posters saying your DH needs to go and see a doctor to see what's wrong!

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