My husband has recently retired, he has completely let himself go.
He is bald on top and let his hair grow to his shoulders.
He now has an unkempt beard and mustache and he wears worn out clothes.
He has neglected his teeth and his breath is appallingly bad.
He refuses to seek help for his very loud snoring.
We no longer are intimate and live like roommates for too long now.
What do you suggest I do?
I have been very unhappy for a very long time.
The Good Enough Coach Natalie Trice says: I'm sorry to hear you are so unhappy and I think many people will identify with some of the issues you are experiencing.
Navigating retirement is a challenge that can take time to deal with and coming to terms with such a huge life change can be tough for all parties concerned and isn't, as you know, always the start of a happy new life together.
As you are already seeing, retirement can bring up a myriad of issues and finding a new way of being together as your roles change and time changes as well.
From what you say, it sounds as if your husband is struggling with his new normal and it's taking time for him to make the significant shift to retirement status. It could be that he is feeling he has a lack of purpose, that his status has been taken away and can't see a clear role for him now in his career, as well as in your marriage and life generally.
Although your husband is responsible for his behaviour, he's probably suffering and could be feeling depressed, sad or angry about his career being over and maybe he'd benefit from getting some help and being able talk about the things that are clearly affecting him.
I don’t know if you’ve shared your worries and experiences with friends and family, but wonder what support you are getting from them and if they have commented on how he is behaving?
Situations like this are often kept behind closed doors, and women, as well as men, in your situation can feel shame and sadness that can’t readily be shared with others they may be close to. I’d really encourage you to reach out if you can and talk to someone who you trust.
Maybe friends and family can support him to get help but from what you say, this is likely to fall on fallow ground.
All of this said, this isn't an excuse for him to discount your feelings or his attitude towards you.
I am not sure if you are still working, but having your own interests, and time out of the house will allow you to maintain some level of normality and give you both time and space apart. You could then see if there is a way for you to spend time together, and it could be that a simple shopping trip to buy some new clothes, and a suggestion while you are out to get a haircut could help?
I know these are small things, but it may well be that taking small steps together would open up the opportunity for the two of you to talk and find out what is really going on with him?
The reality is that it's not your job to change or fix him and you don’t have to stay in the marriage if things don't change and you really are miserable.
There is a life out there for you which could be a happier one.
Take some time to really reflect on what you want and most importantly need from this stage in your life.
Speak to your close friends and access professional help.
Retirement is difficult sometimes and it can take quite a while to feel ‘normal’ for everyone involved but it takes both partners to make something good happen.
You can’t do all of this on your own, and I'm glad you have reached out to us as a starting point, and I hope you can find a way forward that will give you the happiness you deserve.
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