Dear Maura: Since retiring his life’s paused
Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Dear Maura:My retired husband is ruining my life. He retired last summer and is only in his late 60s, same as myself. But he has taken to stopping at home most of the time. If he does go out, it’s always with me — I don’t mind that at all, only he gets agitated if I meet someone and have a chat with them.
I want him to enjoy himself and make the most of this time, since he always worked so hard. He had a well-respected, highly paid job, which makes it difficult for me to understand why he is not active now.
The other day I was out and sent him off to have a coffee. I met a friend and was talking to her when the next thing, he appears in the door asking what was taking me so long. He’s lost contact with his work colleagues, which is sad. His brother calls around and they might go for a pint and watch a match but it’s not often enough.
I had a lovely routine for years, which I felt I deserved after the children left home. I worry about my husband but I’m worried about me too. How do I resolve this situation without hurting his feelings?
Answer:You will have to call in back-up. Your husband’s confidence has been diluted since he retired. He’s lost, and hasn’t yet found anything to replace the dynamic of a job that gave him fulfilment.
It’s great his brother calls around, but he needs to be encouraged to visit more, so have a word in his ear. Are there any friends you know well enough to contact and explain this situation? If your husband isn’t contacting anyone, they may think he’s not interested in keeping up the friendship.
If he is invited out, insist he takes up the offer. Gradually he will recognise that he stepped back a little too far and now he needs to enjoy his life and friendships.
My sister won’t help care for our mam
Dear Maura: One of my sisters is making the care of our elderly mother difficult, as she won’t do her bit. There are four of us. We all help and do our turn. We have carers coming in. But whenever it’s her turn to spend the day with Mam, she backs out last minute — then we’re the ones trying to make phone calls to get someone. But when we tackle her about it, she just passes us off. The awful thing is that she’s Mam’s favourite. She’s the youngest and was spoiled by everyone, especially our mam. All the more reason to now take care of her when she has the chance to give back. These arguments with her are causing us more anxiety than taking care of our mam. Answer: If you can manage without your uncooperative sister, that’s the direction I would go in. You said it yourself when you mentioned the annoyance this causes you — she’s not going to change. It’s difficult to understand her behaviour but you don’t have time to do that. Your focus is on your mam. Arrange her days between carers, you and your siblings. Cancel out the annoyance of trying to organise your sister who isn’t working with you.
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