Armchair everything


Does anyone have advice for dealing with a husband who is perfectly happy to sit in a chair and watch TV all the time? He is retired, no huge health problems. I know he has a tendencey for depression, but he is treated for it. Mostly he uses that as an excuse. I have my own problems with depression, but fight it any way I can, and am fairly successful at it. Actually, my biggest problem is dealing with someone who is such a drag. He is insistant that he is doing exactly what he wants. I am tired of this marriage, but there is no objective reason to divorce.


retirement is learning 2 things: how to be together and how to be alone

get your own life, have your own friends, your own activities, your own social schedule,
do not depend on him for entertainment, affirmation, or amusement or companionship
take care of your own health
cook and serve meals on your time schedule, for your diet, either he eats with you or he doesn’t
if he does not know how to work the microwave, leave the instruction manual out on the counter

above all, nurture your spiritual life and growth
set up your own prayer corner, go to Mass, adoration, retreats, bible studies etc. with or without him

don’t clean his little corner of the world, let him drown in dust, empty beer cans and dorito bags
If you enjoy TV, get your own TV and make the spare room over to your own sitting room
If you can move his LazyBoy and TV to a back room, do it

make sure your finances are in order, you know where everything is, you are part of the decision making, your kids know the set-up and where to find things and key people if something happens to you. If your husband is neglecting financial matters, take over.


find your own friends and take care of him at the same time… do not get so involved with everything else that you neglect the house and him…

go out and enjoy life… get involved in volunteer organizations…

i dont think you can make a man of that age do anything he doesnt want to do… all you can do is set a good example and hope he will follow…


Thank you for these suggestions. They are the kind of down to earth ideas I need.


I would have to agree that by you getting involved with other activities may eventually motivate him to do something as well. You can sit around the house and get mad at him for not doing anything and then you both will be depressed (in a manner of speaking) or you can get out and do something to make yourself feel better. I just think that he coudl bring you down as well if you continue to let yourself get frustrated.

I just think that by doing things he may get excited about that and start to do things as well.

Just my :twocents:


Does he say why he doesn’t feel motivated to leave the armchair much?


Another thing to do, in addition to getting to your own activities and doing stuff that you like, is to sit with him in front of the TV and (during the commercials) ask him what he likes about his TV shows.

Maybe pick one or two that you both like, and watch them with him - it’ll give you something to talk about with him, which will help with the communication. :slight_smile:


There is sometimes a reason(excuse). Some thing hurts, sleepy, resting up for later (what later I don’t know). He just does what he wants.


When you were dating, what did you do for fun? Did you go dancing? Did you go to movies, hiking, long drives - try to go back and remember what you used to do together. Make some suggestions about doing something that he used to enjoy doing with you.


Hmmm…well, I agree that you can’t force someone to get up and go…but, maybe start with just saying…hey honey, want to go for a walk with me, or will you come to the mall with me…I want to show you something–need your opinion. Don’t despair…I know that it can be frustrating…when we are confused by our spouses’ behaviors…but, keep praying…it makes all the difference in the world. Things will get better–I just know it.:slight_smile:


It might be post retirement depression. A lot of people, especially the recently retired, feel depressed and useless because of all the free time that their jobs used to fill. If that’s the case you might suggest finding a part time job, nothing stressful like clerking somewhere. While he’s doing that you could pursue your own interests and you’d probably find during his free time he’d be more interested in being active.


That’s interesting, CCM. And here I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock. But, maybe we humans get used to schedules, structure…and a job often provides that.


The biggest killer of old people is retirement. As a matter of statistical fact the longer you work the longer you live. Retirement is really a post-modern concept that never existed before the industrial era. Americans tend to over value employment, being employed is everything to a very large part of the American population. Retirement as a concept works a lot better in Europe where jobs are less important and people work less anyway. Fewer hours, generally 35 or fewer a week, state mandated and funded vacations which are longer than what most Americans receive combine with the large number of American workers that don’t use vacation time. They learn how to fill free time and come to define themselves by those activities instead of their jobs. Unemployment is also significantly higher and generally a longer term situation. Thus not having a job in Europe doesn’t negatively impact self image in the way does in the United States. As such Europeans don’t have a problem transitioning into retirement. Americans tend to feel that, just like they have through out their lives, if they don’t have a job they’re not productive members of soceity and “losers.”


I think this is probably the case, and also agree with CCMO8. Of course getting across to him is another question. That is why I am trying to engage him, but need to be aware of the fact that it may not happen, and then what do I do.


If you want something more drastic, drag him down here to Texas to visit retirement parks–RV, mobile home, or increasingly small brick patio homes. Us Winter Texans do not sit on our doofuses, we are all busier now than before retirement. You will find every activity imaginable available, plus friends to do them with, not just recreational but volunteer, social justice etc. Retirement is a state of mind, you choose the lazy-boy or you choose living. You can’t change him, but you can change yourself.

Also do what you can (may take a mobile crane to lift him out of the chair and get him to the doctor) to see he gets a good physical and keeps up with his depression meds. The cause of a lot of retirement inertia is over-medication, too many meds, or too high doses of meds. Make sure primary care doc reviews everything, including supplements, he takes, and get advice from a dietician, he could also be diabetic which can put you in a fog.


Can I put in a word to the doctor about his situation? Or would that be a medical faux pax?
He is signed up to go to a K of C organizational meeting at our parish tomorrow, which I hope he does. I think it might give him something to do that doesn’t come from me, which he interprets as bossiness.


My father is 85 and works 4 hours a day, five days a week in a museum. He is the receptionist. He laughs and says he is right at home with the rest of the old fossils. His father owned his own business and worked till he was 93. I fully intend to work as long as I can. See if you can get your DH out for a couple of hours a week at a job or volunteering or something else. My father became a different person when he got this job.


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