All too frequently you hear women lament “all he does is watch TV all day!” They’ve retired to their favorite recliner and seem reluctant to doing anything meaningful.
By that point, these women are at their wits end and at a loss as to his withdrawal.
This can be a real challenge with what to do with a retired husband with no hobbies or friends.
Although many men appear ill prepared after retiring, the culprit could be they’re exhausted after so many years of working and, simply, want to put their feet up for a while.
In addition, they may have never taken the time to explore or develop interest in anything other than their job. In all fairness, the same problems arise for some women.
Why Is It A Problem?
Initially, it may not be a problem. Think of taking a vacation where you do absolutely nothing but relax.
That’s not a bad thing as we all need some downtime. When it persists, it becomes a matter of concern.
The simplest way of stating it, a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy! Further, such behavior stresses a relationship creating resentment and loss of respect.
Perhaps the shell of a marriage will remain, yet for all intents and purposes the relationship withers.
If he or she refuses to engage in meaningful activities, the partner may eventually move on.
Is It Normal Not to Have A Hobby or Interest?
Our working lives were, often, busy with little free time or energy.
Between keeping and advancing in your career, raising children, and all the other daily demands, it’s not surprising many of us haven’t cultivated any hobbies or interests.
Another issue could be trying to find something that stimulates and keeps your interest. You know, something that gets you so excited you want to know as much about it as possible.
You’ve probably been told you’re gong to be boring because you’ll have nothing to talk about. I don’t believe that to be the case.
You can discuss current events, things that have happened in your life or just listen to them talk about their hobbies.
You can still get that sense of connection by sharing opinions, thoughts and ideas. Even a bit of silliness and joking around promotes closeness.
Is It Normal for Men to Have Fewer Friends?
Friendships are important to ensure you have a healthy balanced life. Having a social support system promotes our ability to bounce back from set backs, be they mental or physical.
Women have always been better at developing their social networks. They tend to form closer emotional bonds.
Men tend to be more task-oriented and not prone to developing those deeper friendships.
By the time they retire, the average male typically has only one or two close friends. There's a tendency not to develop those deep personal and emotional connections
Many feel they can’t truly share any sensitive details or concerns about their lives. It doesn’t mean they don’t want those types of connections. In most cases, they’re unsure how to go about establishing these relationships.
As men grow older, they may lose contact with the few friends they have leading to potential social isolation. Unfortunately, both men and woman suffer loss of work friends after retirement.
Understanding Your Partner's Behavior
What to do with a retired husband with no hobbies? After retiring, they now have almost endless free time and may be at a loss on how to fill it. There's nothing that truly interests them.
As we’re all creatures of habit, we tend to fall back on the things we know. Whether it be TV or getting immersed in social media, these become “time fillers”.
Another big factor is we're living in troubled times! A full-blown global pandemic, major social unrest, and an onslaught of “fake news”.
All the false information propagated is polarizing, divisive, and creating fears. Then there’s the many conspiracy theories altering our perceptions.
While it’s important to be aware of what’s happening, a regular diet of doom and gloom isn’t healthy either.
The other evening, we watched “The Social Dilemma”, a Netflix documentary. I found it deeply disturbing how we’re being manipulated by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others.
In many respects, our thoughts are being shaped by others creating feelings of anxiety of what’s to come.
Finally, some retirees suffer from a loss of identity. Their sense of self was so intertwined with their position, they’ve lost motivation. This can lead to loneliness and even depression.
Listening to Your Spouse
When was the last time you had an open honest conversation with your partner? And, I don’t mean about the weather or how the kids are doing.
Have you discussed how each of you is doing and how to make things better? What to do with a husband with no hobbies could be as simple as just having a discussion.
While we all want to be heard, most of us could do a better job when it comes to listening. Usually, we’re busy formulating a response before someone has even finished speaking! All too often, we interrupt with our own thoughts.
The most important skill in any relationship is communication. It's a two-way street requiring both of you fully participating.
For more insights, see will your marriage survive retirement or the 7 most common marriage problems after retirement.
Be Supportive, Not Critical
What to do with a retired husband with no hobbies is to have empathy for him. He is navigating uncharted waters and, likely, doing the best he can.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride at first! The last thing you want is him feeling offended. Have patience and be supportive.
Take advantage of this time to reconnect with your spouse. This could be the greatest gift you could give them and rebuild your relationship.
The joy and comfort of being with someone you truly love makes all these trials and tribulations worth it.
However, being supportive doesn’t mean enabling “bad behavior”. There’s no excuse for being bossed around or marginalized. That’s not a healthy relationship!
Encourage and Engage Your Spouse
There’s lots of ways to start becoming more active. The ultimate guide of things to do in retirement breaks it down into four areas:
It could be as simple as watching a YouTube to figure out how to build or fix something. Or learning tai chi. Maybe it’s enrolling in a class or two at the local college or finding a part time job.
As human beings, we act and feel happier when we’re being encouraged rather than guilted out. Once he finds something he wants to try, encourage him.
Praise him on his progress. Even if he tries his hand at gourmet cooking and it’s a disaster, this isn’t the time to be critical.
Closing Thoughts on What to Do with A Retired Husband with No Hobbies
It becomes a “no win” situation when you nag or otherwise force someone to do something they don’t want to do.
As much as you might like to, society frowns upon using a “cattle prod” upon your couch potato. There are better options.
Instead, try to be understanding, supportive, and encouraging. Help them realize they need purpose and fulfilment.
Ultimately, it’s their choice on what interests them. Patience and time will get you through this together.