Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 47 years to a man who is 13 years older than I am. He reminds me often that he is 86 and set in his ways.
For much of our marriage, I have carried the load around the house, but now it is worse. My husband barely does anything. At least he has a hobby that keeps him busy. Otherwise, he would sit in our den recliner watching TV all day.
I mostly confine myself to our bedroom because if I set foot in the den, it becomes a shouting match since he cannot hear me because the TV is so loud. And he gets angry if I ask him to turn it down. He got a new TV for Father’s Day, and I am barely allowed to watch it.
I know where I am on the totem pole. I get no respect from him. I guess things are not going to get better. I went as far as packing my bags and renting a car. You would think that would have made a difference, but no such luck.
I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems, especially my children. I have cried many nights. It helps simply to unburden myself to you, but I know it won’t last. What do I do? – An Unhappy Prisoner
Dear Unhappy: Your husband has decided to settle into a sedentary old age, and you aren’t ready for that. But marriage vows include “in sickness and in health,” and this is part of the deal. Unless you are looking to divorce him, we recommend you immerse yourself in your own hobbies and interests. If the TV is too loud, see whether you can find amplifying headphones that he is willing to use. Don’t try to converse with him when he’s watching. Get out of the house instead. You’re not a “prisoner.”
Meet friends for dinner. Work out at the health club. Ask a girlfriend to go to the movies. Take the grandchildren on a field trip. Join a choir or community theater. Find ways to keep yourself occupied so you are fulfilled and content, and so that your problems with Hubby recede into the background of your life.
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