After retirement, living 24/7 with inactive husband will be scary!

by Anne

My husband retired from teaching 17 years ago and became a "couch potato," while I have fortunately continued working since then in a pleasant and creatively satisfying administrative job.

Now my office situation has changed, with a nasty, impatient and intolerant manager running the show. My immediate supervisor (and very good friend) and myself have decided that we will retire at the end of this year. I know I won't miss the usual pressures of this job - plus ever-increasing demands from the new manager - but after 29 years working successfully in this career, I realize that my identity is very much wrapped up in it and retirement will mean suddenly being at home with my husband all the time!

He does nothing towards maintaining the home, but instead lies in bed most of the day watching sports on ESPN. He is not interested in travel or in leaving his "den" for any outings, dinners out, entertainment or even going for a walk.

His retired guy friends and I have tried over the years to encourage him to find some stimulating volunteer work but he appears to be very contented in his nest and is not at all interested.

Although I do care about him, it is becoming increasingly and frighteningly obvious that he and I have very little in common after 30 years of marriage. I am wondering how I will be able to create a "new" life for myself so that I don't go crazy watching him - watching TV - while he chews gum relentlessly!!

Thinking about it is very, very depressing. Can anyone relate to this scenario?

Wendy: After 17 years of playing couch potato, it seems not likely that he will change after you retire. If it had been a year or two, I'd think Depression... but seventeen years? Has he ever visited a doctor (or does he think this IS retirement)? What a sad waste of his retirement years!

IF you intend to keep busy, start looking at your options now: part-time work, volunteer opportuntities, hobbies/interests, etc. You cannot stay in that house and fall into the same dark deep hole. Join a gym, join a book club or an Out to Lunch Bunch... whatever, just keep moving!

Please keep us updated... praying this situation works out for you!

Comments for After retirement, living 24/7 with inactive husband will be scary!

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On the same situation
by: Anonymous

I have been retired for three years due to a shoulder injury. I volunteer, walk, play cards, read, visit with friends.

He has been retired for one year. He says his job was about doing, now he is being. He primarily watches tv. I find it boring and now that we are not working we have less in common.

We are both RN’s. I feel a little crazy at times.

He will travel some with me. He does not want to volunteer, read or have hobbies. If he starts a project around the house he usually will not finish it.

I do not get to have time alone at our house. This is not the life I would choose. I love him, and so whatever makes me happy without him.

I once went to Hawaii for a week with some girlfriends. I am planning a trip with my girl cousins. He does not always like it, but I go anyway.

Wendy "He says his job was about doing, now he is being." Being is not watching tv... it's more about living in the moment, viewing the small hidden details of life, paying attention to all that surrounds you. Being in every moment of life.

Lazy no drive partner
by: Anonymous

I have zest for life and husband sleeps and does nothing. This is not the life for me.

by: Anonymous

Are they all cut from the same mold?

As per the dude that is obviously lazy and sits on his behind all day whose response back indicates he thinks he deserves that kind of lifestyle for "supporting" his wife over the years. HA!

You ask me it makes sense that people can't watch a person sit around and waste life while they want to HAVE one.

For the first time ever, it MIGHT be possible to take up some hobbies, travel, pull some weight into the territory of overloading women.

As for me, my husband retired, and I just have to ignore him or lose my mind.

Same thing: getting upset over nonsense, not pulling his weight in assisting with ANYTHING. Not only am I the one working for extra money around here, but I'm also the cook, cleaner, and person who repairs everything.

Dumb butt sits in front of a monitor of one kind or another trolling online because dishing out the negativity is a thing.

Good luck to the rest of you!
I'm hoping to make an escape.

by: RR/NC

My husband retired 11 months ago.

Before retirement, I heard about how he had PLENTY to do to keep him busy. I never realized that meant TV and napping pretty much 24/7.

I work from home so I have to see him just lying around all the time. He will help me, if I ask. But I truly resent having to ask a grown man to pick up his socks or do other chores around the house.

I've always done pretty much all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, managing....which was fine because he was working a hard job.

Silly me, I expected to have someone that is willing to help without having to be asked. And "I made up the bed"....oh joy.

Here's your award....I really need to quit thinking about it, but I'm very disappointed in the entire situation.

This is your life? How sad!

I can relate
by: Ellizabeth

I know exactly how you feel. I work full time and my husband has been retired for 10 years.

He goes to bed whenever he wants and gets up whenever he wants. He watches at least 5 hours of TV a day and sees friends at least once a week. When he does help out he acts like invented electricity. If I interrupt the tv he gets annoyed.

He is miserable a lot and yells over stupid things. I feel at a loss.

I don't like my job very much and I resent him. I just think he could be working. I guess I am jealous of his freedom.

All I can say is try to make friends or go out to stores and think good of yourself. I feel your frustration.

Lotz of luck

OMG I'm in the same boat...
by: Anonymous

My husband is like that NOW, so i really dread him retiring.

I have just simply determined to find a friend who likes the same things I do, and go do my own thing and travel and leave him sitting on the couch with his beloved TV.

And as to the man who said "did he not support your lazy ass...". F*%& you. Women are tired of being your perpetual mommies.

She, no doubt, either worked or stayed home and raised a family (which is WORK).

Oh no
by: Tom

So your man retired and now wants to be lazy. SO WHAT. Did he not support your lazy ass?. Oh has the money stopped so you can't spend it now? Do you not own a SUV also to boot? Leave him be.

My 2 cents
by: Kanga

In my opinion, (and experience), men become real cowards after retiring. All of a sudden, they can't handle life. The bummer is that their mommies are gone to coddle them.

It's a real problem for a woman to be expected to replace a 40-hour workweek. After five years together in retirement, most women want to pull their hair out.

by: anonymous

I retired early from a wonderful career and was able to transition to a full life, and am making the best of the covid isolation situation.

My husband has to reckon with his down time and is struggling with that. We have yours, mine, ours boundaries and while I am supportive, it is on him to solve his issues.

A wise friend once said:
there are two kinds of people in the world, the complainers and the doers.

by: zim

OMG. one year post his loss of hands and hips he feels sorry for himself. Up at noon, to bed at 2am all over again next day. Rotgut around 3pm til 9 or more, yelling, than some more. I have no say post 37 years of today yesterday and tomorrow with the Man. Yep, can you giggle up a stream and find a salmon with a hat ready. Har. What I mean is this.

A man without his means of life has lost his zest therefore tries to savor hurting those that watch him delve into oblivion.

Why don't men have as many hobbies as women?
by: Michigan

I was forced into retirement at age 62 and was disappointed this happened and struggled for several years. However, I developed many hobbies and a large group of friends.

When he retired he was shocked that I was gone many days of the week and I told him to find a hobby.

He loves to play golf but his "buddy" was often hindered from playing by his wife and then his health. SO no golf - "find others to play with, go volunteer and the local VFW, etc. He spends hours using the computer sitting on his lap in front of the TV and playing on his phone.

We have traveled extensively in the past but with COVID life has changed and so has our relationship.

COVID isn't only killing people, it is killing marriages. In Michigan we had a 13 wk shutdown where barbers were arrested, but rapists let out of jail for fear of COVID.

He thinks that not having a hobby is my problem - not his. Married 46 yrs.

Time to make a list - why should I stay - benefits of leaving.

Take Advantage of the Good Parts
by: Anonymous

Like a few women commented: enjoy a dinner together; an outing; talking; the little things. Absence makes the heart:..........

For me, it is a challenge to join things. I am somewhat shy. I am going to, though. But, fighting to make him involved in household jobs etc. is counter productive. Also, ignore what you don't like. It can help make him slightly more active by not rewarding his own lack of interest by being interested. Even if starved for his companionship, be a bit less interested when he talks. Let him work his way through his own problems. He just might develop some mild appreciation.

Good Luck! To us all.

It could be worse
by: Nancy

I was forced to retire two years ago when I was laid off from my job. Needless to say it has not been easy. You women that have husbands should appreciate them.

I have joined a gym, work on my house constantly, try to eat out occasionally. All I do is worry about not having enough money to last me until I retire.

All I hear from women that are friends and family is how they have lost their husbands and life is a shamble. Not to be too cruel here but you aught to be happy that you had spouses that either still contributes financially now or did at some point. I want to tell my friends and family to get a life already.

If your husband is any sort of husband he will let you fly solo to a degree if he will not do anything and is happy the sit with the television.

In the same boat, mostly.
by: Rebecca/Pennsylvania

I retired 6 years ago, I'm a young 70 and my husband retired almost 20 years ago, he's 76.

We did not meet until 15 years ago and have separated 3 times for the same reason, LAZY, no motivation, watches TV 24/7, on the computer for hours a day. I feel bad for him because he has non life threating illnesses. However, I want a life!

I live in PA but my sisters and mother live in Calif. I'm considering moving back. My sisters miss me and my mother is 89 with issues. I do have children in PA but they are grown with their own family and lives.

I think I would be happier on my own. I have a dog and other interests but I can't enjoy them watching him ROT. Sometimes I feel guilty that I feel this way but if I don't do something soon I fear I'll end up like him.

He is not affectionate and thinks I'm annoying and too happy.

by: Trish

Why do men think they retire and not help with housework?

Retirement enjoy!
by: Anonymous

Hope all goes well with your retirement!

First, you will no longer be working in a toxic environment so you are looking after your mental health - good for you!

Your husband is like mine. I retired but enjoy a variety of pastimes which I invite him to join but I will still participate with or without him.

Still, I treasure our times reading and discussing current events, what news he's heard, working on a crossword. Simple, basic togetherness with the flexibility to enjoy outside interests.

Sounds like my life
by: Anonymous

I feel the same way, my husband retired 4 years ago and all he does is sits in front of the TV all day long.

What ever happened to enjoying retired life? Travel, getting out and doing things, etc.

What about companionship, no its with his TV. Yes, thank God I get out and go to the gym, but I hardly have my house to myself. It's depressing, I love to travel, but wont go alone.

Life is passing all of us women by. This is not what retirement is to be like.

It could be worse
by: Rachel

Ladies, I have all your problems only worse - because I've been married 2 years! He retired early just 11 months & 3 weeks ago (but who's counting) & is the most miserable lazy couch potato on this Earth.

He didn't want me to work when we got married so we could "enjoy retirement together" & his idea of that is reading Facebook 24/7 & never leaving the house accept for the barber every few months.

We have no real $ or health limitations but his antisocial reclusive attitude has alienated my only friend here & parents (he has none of either) so I get out occasionally to see them, because he literally starts his days yelling at birds to stop chirping.

This has all happened in under a year & I'm at the end of my rope. AND I'M 49! He's done a 180 in every way imaginable & it is such an effort for me to not fall into a depression I couldn't escape from - but being around for my aging parents helps with that.

As far as he's concerned tho - if 1 day I never came home - he wouldn't look up from the laptop or tv long enough to notice, let alone care.

Find something- anything- you can do without him to keep you sane; otherwise you're coasting to the same slow death he is.

(Nettie - I'm envious of you! If more retirees were like yours, these articles wouldn't exist)

You are so right
by: Jill

You are so right. I retired two years ago whereas my partner retired fifteen years ago.

He too is very happy in his nest. He gets up late, watches TV, checks email, reads and, well, nothing else... He talks a lot - to neighbours, shop assistants, anyone who will listen, but has no interest in going anywhere or doing anything.

The cinema would annoy him, he's no interest in theatre, he's hell to eat out with as he does not enjoy food, it's just a refuelling stop to be done with as soon as possible.

So. I moved house, that kept me busy for a year, clearing out my old place and doing up the new one. I

've done a year of adult education classes to learn all the things I promised myself when working I would do. Now what?

I can't afford a car and even hiring one is off as he won't drive anywhere, even as a passenger. He can't stand the roads and other impatient drivers (like himself).

He interferes with what I'm doing in the kitchen - isn't my saucepan too large for the job? Don't I have the wrong gas ring, opening the oven to check on the progress of the food... I hope you manage better than I have.

All I can think of is to split up, move to a really tiny house on my own and start my life again. People see us as a couple and think I have company - in fact I'd be better off on my own...

Thanks for input, Sally...
by: Anne

I really like the way you are handling your situation! I am going to visit the local Senior Center - which is, from all descriptions, a very lively place - and find out about trips such as you took to see the show. He won't go with me but he can certainly feed the cats when I'm away!


I really understand what you're feeling....
by: Sally

Hi! My husband had a very stressful job and worked long hours. He feels this is his time to just enjoy life his way and I can appreciate that. His favorite past time is just reading which he never had time for before. He will take occasional vacations if I do all the planning.

However, I cannot sit aroung and hope that he will change. I keep in touch with former friends from my office and we have dinner together once every week or two and plan Saturday things to enjoy.

Once I picked up forms at the senior center and went with two friends to a Broadway show (at a very reduced rate) on a very comfortable tour bus. We had lunch and dinner up there and it's a wonderful memory.

One of my friends and I spent a great weekend at Cape May when the Monarch butterflies were returning home for the winter.

Do I feel guilty? No, because he is really enjoying his free time as he pleases.

You have some fun times ahead, just takes planning, Best wishes, Sally

Thanks to all for such really great comments!
by: Anne

Yes, my husband and I did lots of things together before he retired and we were both working - I was able to have July and August off to be with him during his teaching vacations, and we traveled and really enjoyed life.

Somehow, when he no longer had to work (in a job which, I am sorry to say, he always detested) it appeared that he was relieved and happy, and from then on his basic laziness took over.

I will ponder all your comments and plan my path -- which may start sooner than the end of the year, if current signposts are any indication. The new manager is causing havoc and I just don't think I want to "suffer this fool gladly."

Again, thank you. Your input is very valuable.

24/7 Inactive Husband Scary
by: Nettie

Hey we have some things in common! I am retiring in less than two weeks from a 30 year career in nursing management! I am a type A personality - always busy and getting things done!

My husband has been retired for 10 years and is very content and like to brag about doing nothing all day. But he actually does lots around the house.

I feel for you and actually am hoping that perhaps you over exaggerated about your husband's current lifestyle. But if you did not exaggerate, then I think all you can do is keep getting out of the house everyday.

My husband has some similar qualities, but he does not stay in bed all day watching sports (thank God for small favours!).

He cooks, cleans a bit, exercises our dog, waters the garden, cleans the patio, plants flowers and vegies, loves to go to Hawaii every year sometimes twice, shares a glass of wine with me in the evening, finds good movies for the two of us to watch....hey I am amazed at this list. He even suggested that we go to Ireland next spring! He does like TV, but what man doesn't?

Only a suggestion, but I am sure there are things that YOU can do to help your husband get out of the bed. Plan a nice dinner out at a restaurant....what man doesn't like food. Bring home a movie that you can watch TOGETHER.

Hope things turn around for you and would love to stay in touch with you!!!

by: Jeff

Before you retire I would like you to find a safe place and set back and just think about yourself.
What would you like to do with your life and how would you do it.

I always say that there are five steps to change, think about what you want, what you are willing to give up to get there,what guide lines will you use to know once you have got there and what will be the effect on people around you and last, what will be the effect on you. Unless forced into a position to change always take time to plan things out.

I wish you much happiness.

by: Retd. Prof. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava. New Delhi, India





Do your own thing
by: Sheila

It seems your husband will not change, so it's up to you. What were YOUR plans for retirement? Did you want to travel?

Perhaps your administrative skills could be used in a voluntary position overseas. Whatever you want to do, you should do it.

Withdraw from that lazy guy and be selfish for a change. You may even decide you are better living apart. It's your life and time is running short.

Take action before it's too late!

by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Dear Anne

You have watched this man for several years do absolutely nothing with his life! Why should u suspect the situation will change when u retire?

It won't because he has never given u any indication that it will.

YOU must consider making a life of your own and one that does not include your loser husband. Start packing & find a comfortable place for yourself to relocate to, where u can continue on with your life, find new friends or seek out TRUE friends u already have, u will need their support & understanding. Don't look back, if u do u will see a young boy looking for a mother substitute who will continue cooking~cleaning~laundry~ & who knows what else, to keep him comfortable for the rest of his days!!

There is a whole other world out there for u to discover & after working all your adult life & now u have the opportunity to discover what it has to offer u ~ GO FOR IT ** Baby Steps ** l am sure u have heard those words before~ u will find contentment & happiness ~ trust me ~

At the very least, give some thought to what l have suggested* and happy trails~~~~~

What a life?
by: Joe W.


I have a question for you and that is What kept your marriage together for those 30 years or so?

I think that after 30 years couples should have had enough time to consider what they could possibly do together when they BOTH retire.

Also, was your husband active with you when both of you were working?

Joe W.

by: Anonymous

there are so many options after retirement there like someone said volunteer and there are many places you can do that Your Hospital, AARP . schools libarys churches youth groups they are all looking for added help or volunteers and its great to get to meet new people to keep your mind active


just retired
by: diane

I have just retired on may 31 and actually moved to another town to be closer to my daughter and her family.

to date i have been pleasently surprised that I do not miss work at all. The last year was very unpleasant with a new manager and I never realized just how much I dreaded work until I stopped.

I have applied and was successful getting on a board of directors in a society and have volunteered in the local senior centre . I am hoping to meet people and make friends. Although I don't have a husband I do have to make a new life so go ahead and leave the husband to watch his tv and start a new voyage for yourself.

Don't let him rain on your parade
by: Cathy Severson

While not ideal, you can still have a pleasant retirement. My husband worked nights, so he slept during the day and evenings.

If I wanted a life, it was up to me to create it. Be thankful he isn't ill and you have to caretake.

Start making a list of things you want to do; leisure, work, starting a business, volunteer, or learning. Focus on exploring all that life has to offer you, not how your husband let you down.

I have traveled the world with women whose husband didn't want to travel. I have a friend who is busy every single day while her husband sits at home.

You may ultimately decide you want a divorce, but I highly recommend you do not consider it for at least one year. There are huge ramifications and you need to figure out your own life first.

Good luck.

My happiness is my own responsibility!
by: Anne

I agree that it would be wise to get some creative outlets set up BEFORE my retirement at the end of this year, so that I will have an escape hatch already waiting from the bleak home life.

There are some great adult school art and other interesting classes in the fall at a nearby high school, so perhaps there would be a good place to start the process. Thanks, Wendy!

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