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Not sure who DH is anymore, its making me sad, am I losing my best friend...

(8 Posts)
sweetpud Thu 27-Nov-14 12:13:08

Its been 12 months since my dh retired and we had a lovely christmas last year. We were making plans to take lovely trips and weekend breaks, had plans to maybe move house, and generally share some good times. I want to say at the start of this thread that I have always loved him dearly and he is my best friend, has been for 25 years, but I don't know who he is turning into!

He ended up going back to work after a couple of months, we did agree that part time would be better but it was a full time position. So pretty much life went back to how it was before he retired, nothing new to look forward to or break the routine. And he is really not interested in doing much anyway, seems to have turned into an old and grouchy man.

He is drinking and smoking heavily, and has developed a couple of horrible habbits, either hawking up and spitting or constantly blowing stuff out of his nostrils without a hanky, both of which embarress me and turn my stomach! I've asked him to please not do it, explained how it makes me feel but he gets annoyed and says he has to, to clear his nose etc as his tubes are blocked up.
I begged him not to do it the other week as my sister was visiting, and he went mad and we ended up falling out for the morning.

He is more snappy, moody and if I mention going out to visit nice places, towns, markets etc he responds with either No I don't fancy that or No I don't want to walk around shops! Though we used to do this, and i'm not a typical go in all the shops woman either. I dread asking if he wants to do anything as i've tried to suggest us taking a little break somewhere, and his answer was no because we have had a couple of holidays and breaks this year already, so basically thats enough.

I love Christmas, always have but he is not interested at all, I love the idea of christmas markets and getting out and about. So because he does have to do his own christmas gift shopping I looked into booking us into a hotel in a big city just for one night, and it took me over a week to suggest it because I was dreading his response or reaction, and surley I shouldn't feel like this?

I've asked him if maybe he is depressed, but he said no to that, and wouldn't go to the doctors even if he was feeling really ill anyway. He is very generous with his money, buying me things that I like, giving money to family etc, but I feel in other areas that he is selfish, and becoming more so. Its difficult to get into conversation about these issues because he gets angry so easily.
I don't know who to speak to or where to turn, I feel my "friend" is changing so much and I wonder if he even loves me anymore??

FelicityGubbins Thu 27-Nov-14 12:24:16

You know, many years ago my dad went through a similar snappy phase, it turned out he had found a lump in his testicle and was worried sick but refusing to even acknowledge it's existence, he did eventually get bullied into seeing the go and ended up having surgery to remove the testicle. My point is, what jumped out of your op is the constant coughing and spitting, maybe as a smoker he is worried he has cancer but is burying his head in the sand and that's the cause of his behaviour.

Quitelikely Thu 27-Nov-14 12:56:56

I would sit him down and tell him that there has been a massive shift on his character over the last year.

Tell him he knows the reason for this but he is keeping it from you. Ask him to share his reason or you are seriously beginning to have a rethink about the future. You cannot and will not put up with this for much longer.

You have no other option really. When you say this to him, if he refuses to open up, tell him your off to visit your friend/sister for a day or two. Then he can think it over.

Jan45 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:38:47

Sit him down and tell him what you have written then see what happens, if nothing then you may want to think about separating.

That is absolutely disgusting habits he has, that alone would be enough for me to go berserk, just rude and vile.

sweetpud Fri 28-Nov-14 11:57:36

I have to agree with all your comments, it cannot keep going on like this. I keep wanting to try and have a good chat, but I think he will either get deffensive or say there is nothing wrong. When I mention the cough and seeing the doctor, he refuses and just says his chest won't improve till he stops smoking, which I know he is going to try after xmas.

ProveMeWrong Fri 28-Nov-14 12:09:36

I agree, I think he knows something is up with him and is masking that with drink, bad behaviour, work etc. I think it's some kind of ultimatum time. What you are asking for is really not unreasonable, especially as his likes and dislikes have changed. Other thing to consider is if the drinking is actually out of hand and is changing his personality I.e. Some level of alcohol dependency? This would also explain increase in smoking. What was his dad like at this age?

venusandmars Fri 28-Nov-14 12:18:05

Retirement can be the most massive change for some people (particularly men). If you've had a long working life it can be easy to feel that your identity is completely tied up with what you do. Just think of how many conversations start with people asking your dh what his work is, and how often he has described himself in term of his profession (I'm an engineer / I'm a teacher / I'm the director of a company / I'm a ...... whatever). This in contrast to describing oneself in terms of relationship (I'm a mother, a friend, a member of the golf-club). If this is how he feels the it's not surprising that he jumped at the chance of returning to work.

He may have enjoyed lots of social activities / holidays / outings while he was working because they were a counterpoint to work, but if suddenly that is all there is to life, it can seem all a bit bleak and bland.

Are there ways that he can generate a new role / status in retirement? Being the most far-travelled granddad, or a pillar of the local community, or involved in a campaign to prevent a new by-pass? Something which gives him a defined role. He's probably had 40 years being defined by the role he was in, and however much he may have been looking forward to retirement he possibly feels a bit lost. He also had defined goals (not just work-related tasks) but life goals about settling down, getting a mortgage, providing for a family, saving for the future, and now that these goals are secured what is he really aiming for? Where is the meaning and purpose in his life?

I have a friend in a different situation - for years she has worked with a disability, campaigning for support, in legal wrangling about a compensation payout. Throughout it all she had been cheerful, motivated, driven, purposeful. Then once her dream was achieved suddenly everything seems a bit pointless. Her struggle is over, she doesn't have to work in the same job, at last she has money to do the things that she wanted, but she says the joy has gone and life is flavourless.

sweetpud Fri 28-Nov-14 12:27:38

Not too sure about his dad, but dh has always drank fairly regularly, though it has increased quite a bit this year, he even admits that he does like the drink. If he goes without for a couple of nights then his moods are terrible, he hardly speaks, constantly says he is bored, restless etc, then goes to bed early! Goodness knows what my life would be like if he gave up completely.

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