Decades long marriage faces turbulence as post-retirement husband’s dependency takes its toll

Jun 23, 2024
The woman shared how her husband's complete reliance on her for everything had become overwhelming, leaving her feeling trapped and drowning in a sea of responsibilities. Source: Getty Images.

In a candid online admission, a woman has opened up about the suffocating dependency she’s experiencing from her husband of 49 years since their retirement two years ago.

The woman revealed how her husband’s complete reliance on her for everything had become overwhelming, leaving her feeling trapped and drowning in a sea of responsibilities.

“We’ve been married for 49 years & together since I was 15. Since we retired 2 years ago & relocated his total dependency on me is suffocating,” she explained to Gransnet. 

“He has no friends & no interest in making any. He won’t have a phone or even a bank card so I control everything, he’s had to surrender his driving license recently so doesn’t even do that anymore. When I was working full time I had plenty of distractions and more social interaction.

“I’m trying to make friends and get new interests but it’s not easy. I still care for him but I’m not in love with him anymore. I can’t leave as my children & my grandchildren would never forgive me. I find myself getting more despondent & angry by the day even though I have a lot to be grateful for I just fear for the future.”

The post prompted an outpouring of advice from sympathetic online users, each offering words of wisdom and strategies to cope with the overwhelming situation.

One user suggested a bold approach: “Take yourself out to shop, visit friends, or anywhere, but take twice as long as you usually would. Don’t keep to a timetable or explain where you are going. Just do things at times to suit you, not him. If you do go out, leave a sandwich or a meal out for him so you don’t have to rush back. You need your own space; it’s time for you to be vocal, something you obviously have not been recently.”

Others advised exploring new social avenues for both the woman and her husband. “Looks like some men like to shrink into a reclusive existence when they retire. However, there are Mens Sheds popping up around the place and clubs where your DH (Dear Husband) might feel useful. Helping someone with their garden perhaps? You should join a few groups yourself. Start with the library; there are usually lists and notice boards with things going on. Don’t let his state of mind prevent you from living your life.”

A more pragmatic perspective was shared, emphasising the importance of preparing the husband for potential independence: “It is important that you encourage your husband to be more practical in case you die first. He may have to cope on his own. Small steps. Good luck.”

Finally, a user urged the woman to speak up and seek support from her grown children: “Stand up for yourself; your children are not kids anymore. Speak to them and tell them how you feel, as you need support. You cannot spend the remaining years of your life living like a servant who has no life of her own.”

It remains to be seen how the woman will choose to address her circumstances, but the outpouring of support suggests that she is not alone in her struggle, and there are resources and empathetic voices ready to guide her toward a more fulfilling future.

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