Not so happy... husband forced into retirement.

by Nena

My husband was forced into retirement 4 yrs ago. And when he called me at home to tell me. I went into a full-blown panic attack.

He actually retired 2 years before his actual retirement. And I knew exactly what was going to happen when he did retire. Absolutely positively NOTHING, And he has done nothing since he retired.

He’s like having a senior teenager whom I have to ask for everything I get. He never picks anything up or puts anything away so therefore he can’t find or remember anything. It’s ridiculous! I get so frustrated!

I’m an artist and a doer so I’m always working on projects.

He sleeps until noon and then stares at his phone all day, He has zero interests, no hobbies, no future plans to get off the couch and do anything.

I’ve tried carefully to approach his lack of ambition to see if we could even talk about it. But he shuts me down.

I need help in understanding and or accepting that the man I loved so deeply before::: has now completely RETIRED from life..

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Senior Teen
by: Wee-zer

Not sure what kind of a job your husband had but maybe he had no decision making powers and was told to do each task of the day. If that is the case, maybe he is used to being 'told' what to do with his time. Perhaps you could have a talk with him and tell him you can't do it all yourself and you need his help.

This might sound a bit childish, but he may need rewards for his tasks. For instance, make a list of chores you want him to do. Get a white board and write the tasks on it. If he completes 7 tasks, then you will make him a special dinner. Or you will spend time watching a few movies together and have snacks. Find something he enjoys and somehow steer the reward towards that thing.

People like to be rewarded for doing things and appreciated. Even if he takes the garbage out, say thanks for doing that.

You could even divvy up the tasks and list them on the white board. Your tasks and his tasks. Ask him what task or tasks would he like to do. Give him some slack on chores. He may hate certain things but be more apt to do others.

It might even be better to start a task journal that is in a notebook so you both can reflect back on the things that were done and who did them. Have a check off box by each chore and each of you initial who did the chore.

Maybe you can get him out of the house by asking him to go to the grocery store. If he has never really shopped, go with him a couple of times to get his feet wet. I did this with my husband when he retired. He became a super shopper until Covid came around.

You could also try to steer him to the Senior Center to join. It might get him out of the house a few hours a day. Check your library too. They have programs. Another thing, maybe you could interest him in volunteering to do something.

If he ever had hobbies, maybe you could ignite the fire once more by buying him some things. For example, a new fishing rod, fishing equipment, metal detector, a new thing is magnet fishing. Go to youtube to see about that. Maybe he is crafty and would like to make things by hand. Go to Etsy to see what people are creating. If he likes to cook, look into cooking schools. Some have one day courses he could attend.

Maybe you could suggest to him that he doesn't seem happy and does he think working a part time job might give him some structure. There is a 92 year old guy a friend of mine told me works at Walmart stocking shelves! I used to know a retired guy who worked as a school bus driver for many years. Home Depot is supposed to be Senior friendly.

If he likes to read, find a book for him that might regenerate his get up and go.

Does he have any brothers or sisters who you can confide in and help you get him out of the house now and then? They could go to a park, get take out food, visit a museum.

Retired husband
by: Anne in London

Hi, your husband is depressed - it can happen. It happened to us when my husband retired far too early. He became irritable and negative, refused to look for jobs and lost his self-esteem.

I went back to work full time and he was there for our teenaged daughter. Being responsible for her and walking and playing with our border collie eventually brought him back to himself.

He also took responsibility for his mother who was having health problems at the time. Everyone needs a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

You may need to seek professional help if things don't improve, although admittedly it's hard to get men to admit they need help at all. But depression is no joke.

I hope things improve for you - it will be tough but you need to hang in there if you can.

Your thoughts have changed
by: Jeanne Savelle/Atlanta

What has changed is your thoughts about your husband. He:

- has done nothing since he retired
- is like having a senior teenager
- never picks anything up or puts anything away so - - can’t find or remember anything

Of course, you feel: "frustrated!"

Consider your state of mind. Your feelings have nothing to do with him, but with your thoughts about him.

Try thinking about him with love first. Maybe he didn't want to retire and now is lost and not sure who he is or what he should or can do. Maybe he is afraid, lonely.

Choose love first and see what happens.

Wendy: Kudos Jeanne! I love this!

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