I’ve been married to my husband for over 30 years and we have two grown-up children.
I have now reached a stage where I feel my life has ended. My husband has become so grumpy and lazy and won’t lift a finger to help around the house. If anything has to be done, I always have to do it myself. He won’t even have a decent conversation with me – all he does is watch TV, even if there is nothing of interest to watch.
He’s retired but I have a thriving business I run away from home, yet he won’t help me at home, even when I’m ill.
I want to leave him and have discussed the possibility with my eldest child. Both my children know how unhappy I am with their father and have agreed to support whatever decision I arrive at. I want to be happy again as there’s absolutely no love or affection between us any more.
Any advice for me?
Lucy, by e-mail.
You’ve arrived at a point where you’re very lonely and you have my sympathy. Yet this isn’t only about you. Your husband also feels alone and frightened after retiring. Unfortunately, most of us don’t plan for life after retirement and as a result, sink into depression.
You need to start by getting rid of the television set and make your husband realise that to live in the lonely and unhappy way you now do was not why the two of you got together years ago when you got married. Don’t sidetrack the conversation by complaining about his selfish and lazy behaviour – that will only put him on the defensive. Instead, express your needs and encourage your bewildered husband to discover his.
What do both of you want from the rest of your lives now and how are you going to achieve these things?
Relationships exist because people share dreams and you need to discover the needs both of you have in common.
If there are none, agree the way forward. If he’s all for packing in the marriage, then help each other to part amicably.