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Unhappiness in long-term marriages - 40 years +

(6 Posts)
Vagabond Sat 03-Sep-16 15:17:42

I must have a magnet for long-term married couples telling me their marital woes.
Just last night I was talking to a married couple of 55 years. She told me "he never wants to do anything so I just leave him to it". She wants to travel and spend 5 months a year in Australia looking after her grandchildren. Later that evening, her husband told me all he wanted to do was sell their house and live on a canal boat and spend 8 months a year traveling the canals in the UK.
So many more similar examples.... My ex FIL told me he'd wasted his life being married to MIL but that it was 'too late' to make a new life. He's dead now and he died deeply unhappy, spending his last years working on his hobbies in a cold shed in the garden, just to get some peace.

My parents have been married almost 55 years and they are both so unhappy. My Dad (80s) would leave tomorrow but my mum is bossy and has scared him out of the idea with tales of financial woe.

We often think of wasted lives in our 30's, 40's and 50's but my experience is that quite a few of these very long marriages lead to a lot of unhappiness. I guess what irritates you about your partner in your 50's is only going to be exacerbated 30 years later......

I wish I could help my parents. We've urged my Dad to leave to have a happy end to his life but he's too ..... and i guess the sad word is...... resigned. Resigned to his life. It's sad.

LadyMoth Sat 03-Sep-16 16:31:28

I can understand why the longer it goes on, the harder it gets to face change and to leave a spouse who doesn't want it to end, because they have less time to give it all another go as well.

But stories like this remind us not to go on enduring awful relationships in our 30s/40s/50s. I have recently separated in my 40s after almost 20 years – I couldn't bear the thought of still being so unhappy in old age. But ex would have bumbled along indefinitely because he doesn't like change and can just stick his head in the sand. I can totally see how it happens, if I'd been that way too.

RealityCheque Sat 03-Sep-16 16:43:28

I thing this is much more of an issue with the elderly of today than it will be in the future. This is a generation where typically the woman had little or no financial independence and often 'wouldn't know where to start' in their own.

Very, very sad for all concerned.

happystory Sat 03-Sep-16 20:21:29

But realistically how would a couple in their 80s separate? I get that you should do you want to do, and hell yes at that age but perhaps it should be more about exploring what you want and going for it?

YetAnotherGuy Sat 03-Sep-16 20:55:20

My parents in law had an unhappy marriage which lasted into their 80s. All my experience leads me to believe that leopards rarely change their spots and your parents are not going to separate. But you could do things to make your father happy - take him out for a day on his own. Do the same for your Mum too

Btw don't think that all long-term marriages are like this. I have been married to their daughter for many decades. I still find it hard to keep my hands off her because she is the sexiest woman I know. And the best mother and grandmother

SleepingTiger Sat 03-Sep-16 21:59:03

I don't have any magic answer.

I think people should separate by 70 if it isn't working, sell the probably over-inflated house and split the money. This would buy a canal boat and a house in Australia, with change left over.

Better to soar in this last few years, exchange pictures, and go out of this life in the most dazzling sunset rather than a dark, wet night.

We are a long time dead. Five billion years and everything we know dissolves into gas.

We have no time to lose.

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