My name is Sue, and I am a 59-year old accountant. I still work and plan on working until I am at least 65 years old. I do enjoy my career, and contributing to our future financial stability. My husband is 62 years old and just retired about a year ago. My dilemma is my husband is driving me insane since he retired.
My husband, James, is plopped in front of the TV when I get home from work. Do you think he has washed any dishes, done laundry, or cooked dinner? No. Most nights it is not done. When I get home, I would like a little rest and relaxation, but he follows me around like a puppy dog! Can you say H-E-L-P?! I need extra R&R during tax season because in this industry I work lots of overtime for several months and when I get home I am exhausted. James is bored but content.
I guess he likes his life, which from what I can tell consists of him taking our dog, Bennie, for a short walk once or twice a day, making breakfast and lunch for himself, and plopping in front of the TV for the rest of the day. I don’t begrudge that he worked hard as a helicopter mechanic all those years…. But, I am still working and shouldn’t need to “babysit” him and entertain him when I get home. With all his “spare time”, it would be nice if he could cook, clean, and do a little laundry. I have tried to talk with him about this, but to no avail. James says, “I worked hard all those years, and I have earned a little time of sitting around.”
Help me, PLEASE!
Signed – What’s a woman to do it Wilmington?
Dear Woman in Wilmington:
First of all, I would set aside about one hour of alone time when you come through the door after work. Make sure James knows about it, and make this your routine. Reconnect with James after you’ve had a chance to “chill” and can sit down for a glass of wine together, or make dinner, or spend the rest of your evening together.
It sounds like James could use some “hobbies”. I am sure he probably may dismiss this as “nonsense”, but if he loves to “putter in the garage”, take pictures, or always wanted to learn Italian, anything of the like – maybe you two could take a class together on photography, a foreign language, or building cabinetry; something he always wanted to do. When you have completed the class, hopefully James will continue this hobby in his spare time.
Maybe James would like to volunteer his time. I know before my Dad died, he had often discussed volunteering at the local hospital near our home because a lot of seniors were used in this volunteer auxiliary program. By the time Dad was interested in it though, it wasn’t possible due to his health.
As far as any of the household chores or necessities, you haven’t mentioned if James had done any of these around the house prior to retiring. If he had, maybe you could just suggest him helping with one thing a week, such as laundry, and making sure you are not “harping on it”. After he does some laundry, applaud him for that and make sure he knows how much you appreciate it. This will hopefully ignite him to take on more chores around the house in the future. If he is “handy”, maybe you could ask him to fix some simple things around the house. But, if he has never done anything to help out around the house before, he may really resent doing anything now.
Consider doing more things together, especially on the weekends. For instance, can you walk with James and the dog prior to you leaving for working in the morning? This would be something you could do together to get the day started. And then on weekends, maybe a lunch out, go for a nice daytrip, or take in a movie.
Make sure you are getting enough “alone” time; not just right after work, because frankly it sounds like James is making you nuts. Maybe read a good book during the evening, go to the gym, take a walk, or do whatever else that you may enjoy. Maybe once or twice a month, on a weekend, I would suggest getting some time in with your girlfriends doing something fun. And then when James wants to go out on the weekends, you can do that, too; and not feel like you are getting cheated out of any “alone” time or time with your friends. It’s a balancing act – which can be difficult to monitor especially in your months of overtime during the tax season.
Readers – Do you any suggestions for “What’s a Woman to do in Wilmington?
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