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Dissatisfied with our marriage, how to make it better?(47 Posts)
I really don’t know where to start. Its going to be long, (Ive drafted it and its 3 A4 pages) and probably a bit incoherent. I'm wondering if there’s more to life than sharing it with someone who doesn’t share any of my interests or outlook on life.
DH is retired (63, 15 years older than me). He retired about 7 years ago, and is usually home all day every day. I work FT but am currently on furlough. We are mortgage free and have no children. We have no shared hobbies or interests. In anything, types of food, social activity, you name it. He pours cold water on anything I suggest we do together or show interest in, and is never positive or upbeat. He hates spending money unless its on something he’s interested in or really wants or needs.
Both his parents died 15 years ago. We now live in their house, which he grew up in. He is an only child, has no close relatives (two second cousins live locally, another about 200 miles away, all of whom we’ll see about once a year at their invitation). He has a couple of friends but no-one he’s really close to.
He sees no joy or fun in anything except his hobby, (vintage cars and bikes, in fact, anything pre 1960 generally). I don’t share his interests in all things vintage. He’s not sociable, doesn’t drink so for example going to a bar together just for a drink and a meal is not something we’ve ever done together, but he spends entire weekends away at rallies with his bike club. I no longer attend rallies with him because although the other members (all men his age and older) are friendly enough, it’s all they talk about 24/7. Literally nothing else, which is their right and understandable but its mind numbingly boring for me, they make zero effort to include me, and tbh its like they're talking a foreign language and one weekend after sitting around like a spare part, I realised I wasn’t actually enjoying myself, I was only there to make DH happy but he wasn’t actually that fussed whether or not I was there, so stopped going to the rallies. As a consequence, most weekends throughout the spring, summer and autumn I'm usually home alone with the cats for company. If I want to visit my family or friends (all live at least 25 miles away) on one of these weekends and stay over, there’s a big fuss, and he’ll ask who’s going to look after the cats. One of the neighbours will happily come in and feed them for us, so there’s no need for the drama but he makes me feel guilty about it.
In addition to being focused on his hobby day and night, all he watches on TV are YouTube videos of people riding bikes, testing bikes (riding down a road and talking at the same time, generally with really amateur sound quality so inaudible over the engine noise) or vintage clips of vintage bikes and races etc. If its not that it’s the History channel, I'm regularly awoken at night by the sound of Spitfire engines roaring whilst he’s still downstairs binge watching black and white stuff. If I'm watching something and walk out of the room, he’ll immediately change the channel to one he prefers. When I speak to him he often doesn’t reply because he’s so engrossed. When we watch something with vintage stuff in, he’ll shout out the name of every bike, car or lorry on the screen, and criticise anything he deems shouldn’t be on screen, really important things like PVC double glazing or somesuch. He’ll even complain about a rerun of Heartbeat or something like that if a vintage bike has the wrong mudguard for that year’s model, i.e. its a 1956 bike with a 1957 mudguard. He nit picks that badly. I do point out that it doesn’t really affect the story or the drama but he insists that it’s important. Its got to the point where I can't sit and watch anything with him. He’ll talk over any programme that I want to watch, but if I pause it to listen to him or rewind so I can follow what’s going on, he’ll sigh and act hurt and huffy and say something like “Oh sorry, didn’t realise I was interrupting something important”. Generally he’s only bitching about someone on screen, or telling me in minute detail what needs fixing this particular time on one of his bikes. This happens every single night.
He forgot my birthday this year. Again. After 20+ years together he never remembers the actual date, or has the first idea what I’d like as a gift.
Its always up to me to plan meals. Bearing in mind that he’s home all day, the first thing he’ll ask when I get home from work is what’s for tea. I'm sick to death of having to choose and prepare something that I know he’ll like. It would never enter his head to have something ready for me unless I specifically ask, and leave explicit instructions, which I have to write down or he’ll forget. Even if I do that, he’ll be engrossed in something in his workshop and will totally forget about anyway until I get in.
If I start speaking, often he’ll talk over me.
We’ve never had a proper holiday together. He says doesn’t like the sun and just doesn’t want to go. His idea of a good holiday is a weeks camping in the Isle of Man at the TT races. Looking in shop window over there one day last year, he got excited about a window display of vintage spark plugs and made us stop and look whilst he went into raptures about what vehicles they were from and how many he has. I got fed up after listening to him going on after about 5 minutes and escaped into the coffee shop next door. He didn’t notice I wasn’t there for a good while. Or there’s sitting in a damp field watching the bike racing. I admit that I don’t actually mind also doing this and do like the racing and the atmosphere, but after 20+ years of Groundhog Day type trips there, I’d like to do something different with him. Preferably in an hotel. Or even on a cruise ship, seeing a bit more of the world. He dismisses the idea entirely or tells me if I want to do it, he’ll only do it if I pay half. Which I’d have no problem doing if he wouldn’t begrudge every penny spent, and I just know without doubt he’ll find something minor to complain about endlessly.
Today, he is sulking because our 18 year old washing machine has broken beyond repair. Not because he needs to use it, that’s my job, but because we’ll have to buy a new one. He’s not happy because rather than just get a new one, he’s had it repaired a couple of times already and was told to keep it going as long as possible as build quality is not the same these days. My suspicion is that it’s maybe also lucrative for the repair man for him to keep it going, but I could be wrong. It’s the motherboard that’s kaput, so nothing mechanical and he can't understand why the repair man can't just get a new one (the repair man tried, AEG Service Force told him they're obsolete). He’s got over £15k sitting in his current account, so money is not the issue. Its 18 years old FFS!!!! The sighing and complaining about this is unreal. However, when it’s a replacement bike part needed, a new one arrives within days …
Id also love to update our living room furniture. He bought it before we were together, and the sideboards and display cabinets (full of his junk and his bike trophies respectively, none of which are mine) were chosen by his ex. I’ve always hated them and made no secret of this. He says there’s no point in replacing it and asks where all the ornaments (again, none of which I chose, they all pre-date me and all chosen by him and his ex) will go on any new stuff we get. Apparently, into a box in the loft or a charity shop is the wrong answer. Our furniture and carpets look grey and grubby because he’ll come in out of his workshop in filthy clothes and sit down either on the furniture or the floor, then moan when there's marks on the carpet or sofa. I bought him some overalls years back to try to stop this, they're still in their wrapping. Instead of new stuff, he says we’re going to have the sofa etc. professionally cleaned. Its beyond saving because of his lack of care and the cats using it as a scratch post. We also have a utility bookcase that was his parents'. It has nothing but his junk in it, and is tucked in a corner of the living room behind the dining table because he just can't bring himself to chuck it out. We have no use for it, it doesn’t match anything. Its scratched and battered. Even he says he doesn’t like it. Every time I catch sight of it (L shaped room, so its out of sight mostly) I want to take an axe or a match to it.
He takes no interest in his appearance. He will literally wear the same clothes for weeks on end. And I mean everything, undies, socks, jeans, ancient holey T shirt. Because he’s always in his workshop, they're usually filthy. Dropped on the bedroom floor at bedtime, and put on again straight after his morning shower. His everyday shoes are so worn they have massive holes in the soles. He’s complaining this week because when he walks up and down the garden his feet get wet on the grass. It seems beyond his capacity to just go and buy another pair. I repeat, over £15k in his current account. He draws a pension each month. Money is not an issue.
We have a large garden. Due to the bad weather, it needs a lot of work. Trees and hedges are overgrown. One tree is about 4 storeys high and blocks out the sky and is unsafe and needs to go. Several large branches fell off it in the recent windy weather. He’s insisting that he’ll deal with it himself but has neither the tools nor expertise, he just doesn’t want to spend money on having it done properly. He’s moaning about not being able to get to the tip with his van to take any garden waste there as the council currently aren’t letting vans in. I suggested hiring a skip to deal with it all in one go and save the faffing about to and from the tip 5 miles away, but he refused and said we’ll have to wait until he can do it.
Our sex life has been non existent for the last 10 years since he had prostate surgery. It wasn’t ever that fulfilling for me anyway, he wasn’t the type to spend all day in bed chatting and cuddling when there were spanners and gearboxes needing attention. He’s not a hugger or a cuddly person.
I also discovered a few years ago that he had the house registered at the Land Registry in his sole name. Fair enough, he inherited it, but it was done secretly, without any discussion.
If you've read this far you're probably wondering when I'm going to get to the point. Sorry its so waffley, I'm just trying to paint a picture of my life with words. My life isn’t bad. He's not abusive. I have a roof over my head. No money worries. It just feels like we never have, for want of a better expression, any fun together. What can I do to change this? My friends all have husbands who share their interests, show interest in them, buy them thoughtful gifts without encouragement, go on holiday and socialise with them. I really feel jealous of them and that I'm missing out, but feel guilty for feeling this way. If I leave, he’ll be totally alone.
Urgh! Apologies, there were actual paragraphs there when I did this on my pc 🤦🏼♀️
Hello OP given that he's much older and you have no children what was in it for you? In retrospect was he a parental older person, he provided the house for a start. You're bored with him? What is keeping you in this relationship?
Well my advice is make life more interesting by planning your escape. Life is short, too short to be in a crap relationship.
He chooses how he wants to live, you don't like it but you really should be an equal partner and it sounds like you're not.
Just think of the fun you could have...
What do you get out of this relationship now?.
Why are you and he together at all?
What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?. Did your dad treat your mother like this too?.
Your life frankly sounds utterly awful and your husband sounds awful too. You write about him being alone if you leave, I would ask you why you think his needs here are more important than yours. Do you still feel responsible for him or something?
Do you want to end up potentially becoming his career?. No I would think not.
At 48, you are not too old here to start to rebuild your life without him in it day to day. He sees you I think as the domestic help to not ever complain about your meagre lot. You to he are not worth a meal out, a holiday or even a birthday card. He is meanness personified. He can and does do as he pleases, why have you accepted tacitly so little for your own self to date?.
That’s no way to live OP. Life is short and frankly, life with him sounds utterly miserable. There is a big wide world out there full of travel, adventure, restaurants, friends, music, wine....you could be out there exploring and enjoying either as a contender singleton or with someone who hugs you, makes you laugh, wants to spend time with you!
This made me sad to read, you’re wasting yourself and life is so short. Go and grab life without this miserable, joy sucking, tight-fisted, bore of a man.
If I leave, he’ll be totally alone.
That will be his problem to deal with, and honestly, I don't think he would even mind.
I have to say I was incredulous reading your post. Your marriage is devoid of absolutely everything - no shared interets, no sex, no thoughtfulness, no consideration. Why on earth are you married to this man? You have wasted years and years of your life for nothing. No children you wanted a complete family unit for, there's no reason at all to be with this man. I honestly can't understand it.
Your life could be so much more than it is. Don't you want that? You are still a vibrant woman, you have years and years, decades, left to live. Stay with him and you'll have nothing but regret. Hoping he will change is a fool's errand. It will never happen.
You are still young. Leave, find a happy fufilling telationship.
Wow! He sounds like a barrel of fun. You're not even 50... You have so much living to do. This is from someone with a similar age gap- but a relationship nothing like that!
I really think you need to get out OP. This sounds like an utterly miserable existence for you.
You’ve still got almost half your life left to live. Get out of that house and see the world, go on weekends away with your friends, eat out for dinner when you fancy it and enjoy yourself!
You don’t want to look back in 10-15 years and wish you’d done it years ago
You don’t want to look back in 10-15 years and wish you’d done it years ago
I know several women who did just that. Finally divorced after 35+ years of marriage and every single day they regret not having left years and years sooner.
I think the main thing keeping me here is the security. I get really anxious when I think about coping with a mortgage for the first time at approaching 50 (or if I'd even qualify for one on my own) and bills on my own, i earn under 25k.
You also own half of your home and your husband's assets, op. Please stop making excuses and living with groundless fears. You will be so much happier without him.
What aquamarine wrote here. Do not keep on making excuses here and no obstacle is ultimately insurmountable.
Anyway what security do you have?. You really have no security within this relationship, staying with him will just lead to more of the same from him with you being expected to be both subservient and non complaining.
You seem to be his unpaid housekeeper, can't see where the relationship bit comes in. Time to leave him to his vintage junk and start living your life. Since you have no children and you have been together a long time you could expect a 50:50 split of assets on divorce. His pension would be counted in and pensions are very valuable, you could find that if he keeps 100% of the pension you get 100% of the house. Take advice.
Wow that’s tough op. He’s very selfish and set in his ways, you sound lovely and adventurous you want to enjoy your life which is to be expected.
You say you have no money worries but you do if you think about it!! As your not allowed to spend as you please so you are worried about spending upsetting your dh. It sounds like he is happy for you to make the tea and that’s about it.
No love no affection
Forgets your birthday
No respect for your needs
Tight with money
House is falling to bits won’t replace a thing.
Get your ducks lined up and get out there your too young to be miserable you have a full life ahead build up a new life good luck up.
Please see a solicitor and get some reassurance that if you divorce this man you will be entitled to a share of the house as it’s a marital asset.
Then hopefully you will have the courage to leave this joy sucker and lead a more fulfilling life, either on your own or with some who will treat you way better than this man does.
After 20 years together you will likely get 50% of the marital assets! Definitely see a solicitor your life sounds so so so lonely you are a house keeper and yet he is controlling over you visiting your friends and money.
Sounds like a lonely existence for you.
You seem to be there through guilt alone.
Get out and live!!
What on earth did you see in him ? He sounds hideous
Oh. My. God.
This is terrible OP. Please don’t live your life like this. It doesn’t matter if you have to rent a little studio flat on your own - just don’t stay like this for the next 20 years! Life can be so much more fulfilling for you.
Get yourself a life asap op..
There is one out there.
You deserve one..
If you really want to improve it you need to talk to him and tell him how unhappy you are.
You need to think about the things that would make you happy and what it is you want to change about yourself and the relationship.
You could see what his response is and maybe give it a set amount of time to see if anything changes.
You could also start thinking about seeing family and friends by yourself and starting your own hobbies and interests. Do you have any friends that would go for day trips and holidays with you?
Security is a huge factor in life and I understand where you are coming from however living your life is very important and it sounds like you are unhappy and not living it how you would like.
You may not be able to change your partner but you can change what you do and go for what you want with or without him.
I agree with posters who say you should seek legal advice and start making plans to leave. There doesn't seem to be anything in your favour in this relationship. One thing I would say though - could he be on the autistic spectrum? The obsession, single mindedness, lack of understanding that you don't have a similar fascination for minute details and the inability to tolerate tiny, irrelevant errors sounds pretty spot on.
It won't change anything if he is, but a diagnosis / your belief that he is could help to explain his behaviour rather than him just being an utter selfish git.
And go on a cruise without him!
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