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Hubby is planning to retire next year (age 65) or any time after that. He is completely burned out with work and life. He has had some pretty epic health issues in the past, and I have been there, caring for him through every single one. (HepC, Liver Cancer, Liver Transplant, Post-op INfections, 84 weeks of GRUELING chemo, a nearly life-ending motorcycle wreck and finally, (hooray!) TX for the hepC which worked.) He is as healthy as he is going to be, yet he chooses to sleep for 3-4 days per week. I mean, he still gets his 40+ hours in, but sleeps all weekend, every weekend for the last 10 years. Also usually takes a day in the week and sleeps all day. He literally eats all meals in bed, even when he has worked and could sit at the table with me for 10 minutes, he takes his food in the bedroom and turns on the TV and eats there. I ask what he wants to do in retirement and he says "sleep, just sleep". And I think he will do it, too. I'm no saint, but I have taken care of him for the last 40 years as a wife and the last 10 as a nurse. I am burned out taking care of him. I don't understand how he can work a demanding "mental" job (it's not physically hard) and then crash for up to 72 hours at a stretch. I still run the house, work PT and do all the stuff he can't/won't do to run our home. I am lonely and very depressed as he chooses to watch TV over having time with me. Retirement terrifies me. He says "Hey, you're retiring too--" but anybody knows a woman who has been a SAHM NEVER gets to retire, nor do I want to. I', sick, sick, sick, of caring for a man who won't even get up to get an ibuprofen when he has a headache! Nothing I suggest sounds like fun to him--any time I bring up what his plans are, he just says to leave him alone and let him sleep. I'm incredibly discouraged by this. Anybody else have this situation?? I am tired, too, and having him home 24/7 will increase my workload a lot. He doesn't do anything around the house. I do love him but don't love this situation. I'm putting this up in "caregiver Burnout" because I have been caring for him for so long and I AM burned OUT!

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Cwillie--
I had never thought of that, not personally knowing any alcoholics--but it does seem to fit the profile. He has a lot of people fooled, since he still works FT, but the family knows he sleeps way too much and doesn't "help" around the house. A dynamic that, until now, has not been much of an issue.
As life would have it, my SIL is coming to town for a convention. He is a GI doc and has a lot of knowledge--maybe I'll ask him a few questions. He does not see his FIL enough to really make a dx, and he wouldn't if he wasn't asked anyhow. He has quite a few transplant patients--he probably knows if this ongoing fatigue is normal or not.

Couples therapy will be discussed when he arrives home next week from his trip. I already know he will not be keen on it, but I think I may have to insist, at the risk of saving our marriage. It is scary to me, for one thing, to remember that his own parents retired and were divorced within 6 months. I know we're NOT his parents, but his brother is also divorced---sooo, there is something in the men in this family (or maybe the women they choose!)
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I see a lot of parallels in your husband's behaviour to a functional alcoholic, I know of a man who had the ability to go out and perform well in his working world, never missed a day, but drank himself stupid every waking moment beyond that. I don't know if there is such a thing as a functional depressive, and it is clear your husband's doctor isn't able to help someone who isn't honest with him. I'm sorry.
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He is on medication for depression, has been for years, but he is trying to wean off of it. I really don't think it does a thing for him.

Also, he is only 64---but has been "sick" for the last 10+ years. I know he just got in the habit of sleeping when he wasn't actively at work, esp when he did chemo after his transplant. The HepC was tiring him out, too, but when he WANTS to do something, you can't stop him, so I know this is a mental problem. He still works and travels full time for his job! He's FINE on the job, it's when he walks in the door at home--he becomes pathetic. His dr is not aware of his lack of activity, and since I am not on his medical records as a contact, I cannot talk to his dr about him.

Yes, I agree this is a marriage problem. I see a therapist regularly and she is giving me the names of couples counselors. We did counseling once in the past and it went very poorly. The therapist was over 80 and very "man in charge" and deemed me to be the problem from the first visit on. On my last session with this guy he said "You should get off your fat ass and get a job". I said "I think I will". Walked out halfway into the session and GOT A JOB. Never saw the guy again---what a misogynist! I am willing to take ownership of my part in this relationship---but I am not 100% "the problem".

Whether or not he will agree to counseling is up to him, it's not a deal breaker. I will just move "his room" downstairs where he can stay in bed and watch TV and sleep for days on end and I won't have to look at him and be sad. Right now he has the master suite to himself and he doesn't clean it (neither do I) and it's making me crazy.

Last night he called me (he's out of town) to plan a trip to see our daughter. He informed me he only has one week of vacation left this year--he gets 4. I said "We haven't BEEN on vacation this year--where did the days all go?" and he had to confess that the days he sleeps during the week, are all taking as vacation days. So, he's taken a week of sick days and 3 weeks of vacay to sleep. Never was sick, not one day. I guess if he takes more days off, they will be non-paid days. I was shocked, to put it mildly. I said "I think you better really think about what you just told me. That's wrong in a lot of ways". He got angry at me, said it wasn't his fault and we just quickly planned the trip (he has to come home early) and let it go at that.

I appreciate the answers--I have a struggle making friends, and need to get over that. I have found that single women are a close knit group and don't want a "married, but single" woman in with them. Still, I'm working on it!
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do you know retired women you can do things with?
He seems depressed..is he on meds for that?
If the dr says he can be alone then I would start doing things you like to do...
Plan a trip with the girls. I know you want him to join you, but you cannot wait. it isnt your job to join him in his wallow... and calling you crazy is controlling.
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Has he ever been treated for depression, the fatigue really sounds much more a mental problem at this point than a physical one.
As for taking care of him, there is no reason for you to wait on him or do things that he should do for himself even if he is suffering from clinical depression, he needs to have some reason to get out of bed. Your marriage up until now seems to be more like two room mates sharing expenses so I would just continue on doing your own thing and pleasing yourself.
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Midkid, you could go on strike... I tried that once and after a month gave up as sig other never even noticed :P

What is difficult, like you had mention, is seeing the neighbor husbands out mowing the lawn, doing the landscaping, washing the cars, shoveling snow, etc. Sig other was an outstanding employee working up the corporate ladder, but as soon as he came through the front door, he was a different person. Maybe if I gave him a salary he would help around the house.... [rolling eyes].
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Turn the "you're retiring too!" perception around. Advise him that you're retiring from your duties as housewife, so he'll have to get his own aspirin, etc.

Start spending more time away from the house - get together with friends, go to the coffee and conversation events at the library, go for walks (better than the other suggestions) - create a life of your own.

Give him a list of where the aspirin is kept, where other things he'll need, then spend some time indulging in things you've wanted to do.

If he were about 20 years old, I'd say that his attitude is typical for men of that age, but he's really not old, so perhaps it's just his personality....and he's apparently used to getting what he wants. So that will have to change.

You can also plan events with the grandchildren, ones in which the family pitches in for the food, so you don't end up doing it all on behalf of you and your husband.
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Thank you both for your answers. I HAVE created this "monster" so to speak, by catering to him for so many years. I was fully prepared to be a widow at the age of 49...then miracles came and we are blessed to still have him here---but he is so ornery and hard to live with. He is on antidepressants and has tried to go off of them, as they really don't help, but it's a slow, patient process. He's lost the hearing in one ear and is slowly losing it in his other ear. So I shout all day at him--my kids have commented that I talk extremely loudly and over-enunciate my words--yet hubby says I mumble. His thyroid is low, but the thyroid meds aren't helping. He liver doc says he should be living an absolutely healthy and fine life---yet he still acts like a patient.

I am going to give him a list of couples counselors that we can see. I will ask HIM to check on of them out and we'll see the one he picks. Hopefully, if he feels like he's choosing the counselor he might be more likely to accept help.

I don't want to retire and just get divorced--I am 40 years married with 5 kids and 13 grandkids. I WANT him to be involved and at least somewhat active in life. I see cute retired couples all over my neighborhood and I want to cry--they are busy, active and AWAKE, and they seem to genuinely LIKE each other.

Thanks for your advice--it is nice to hear that I am not "crazy" which is all I get from him. It shuts me up and shuts me down when he says that, which is why he does it. I'm sure it's not intentional, if it is, wow, that sucks!
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Midkid, you are so right, housewives never retire as there is still all the housework, cooking, laundry, bill paying, and 101 other things we have to do. Yet some hubby can go off fishing, watching sports 24 hours a day, and not lift a finger or very few fingers to help you around the house so that you both can have time to go things together. Oh, that's "women's work". Yet there are husbands/sig others who will pitch in and help us with the work and feel it's part of team work.

I am dealing with such a person who isn't much help, who is healthy and now is semi-retired but he feels he earned the right to do what he wants.... ok, when do I get the right to do what I want? The house would crumble down around us. I've been paying someone to mow the lawn for the past 10 years.... yet sig other will go the gym... go figure. Housework is becoming very time consuming as I don't have the energy I once had 20 years ago plus dealing with very elderly parents. No wonder I had crashed and burned from exhaustion.

For meals, when my sig other is finished eating, he also gets up from the table and leaves. I use to joke that I eat half my meals alone.

Midkid, it could be your husband is upset with himself with all the medical issues he has had. Staying in bed is a sign of depression but for some people it is had to get them to admit that they have depression and there are meds that will help.

I know for some spouses, asking them for suggestions/recommendation to help do something might spark an interest. Especially if he is handy around the house. Wouldn't work for my sig other, he can't figure out how to open the tool box... [sigh]. Glad my Dad taught me how to fix things around the house :)
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This is far more a marriage problem, and far less a caregiver problem.

My advice to you is to stop being a caregiver for him. He has been taking for years (emotionally, mentally, physically) and he's not going to stop now. You need to start living your life with joy and happiness and not let a single minute more pass in this situation. As Dr. Phil says...the only thing worse than being in a bad relationship for a year is being in a bad relationship for a year and one minute.

You seem to have forgotten that you have the power to change this situation...by deciding to no longer participate in it. LIVE YOUR LIFE...take care of yourself, enjoy your kids and grands (if there are grands), travel, go out to eat...and KNOW that you can be happy without him...after all he is just a burden, not a partner. If he needs care, he can hire a caregiver...your services are no longer available.

Am I being cruel? Absolutely not. Should you feel guilt? Absolutely not (but you might because you are a caring, compassionate, empathetic person).

Angel
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