My spouse doesn’t want to do anything, ever

Published 9:56 am Monday, April 18, 2022

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Dear Aunty Pam,


You often get letters from women complaining about their boring husbands and I’m writing to put the shoe on the other foot. 

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My wife doesn’t want to do anything, ever. It’s all I can get her to go get lunch someplace together, but even then it’s like pulling teeth. She takes forever to get ready and I feel like she deliberately moves as slowly as possible. We’re both retired and I’ve always been active and have enjoyed trying new things, but ‘Sheila’ just wants to sit around the house. She does a few crafts, but has no interest in doing even simple things like going for a walk, etc. Her lifestyle has made her put on a lot of weight too.


I love my wife but to be honest, I don’t like her very much lately. Am I being selfish? 


Bored Bill



Dear Bill,


Because the only thing in my life experience that I feel confident in giving correct advice about is horses or comedy, I’m going to pretend Sheila is a horse. And if someone said to me, “My horse doesn’t want to come out of the barn, doesn’t have any energy and seems really listless, what should I do?” my answer would be, ‘Could be worms. Call the vet. Do a blood panel and get the weight off.’


It’s very possible that your wife has, if not hooves or worms, another medical issue that is creating fatigue and even depression. If she’s on any prescription medications, they can also have side effects of fatigue. Even dizziness. And putting on weight can also feel debilitating.


Think back: has Sheila always behaved like this, or is this behavior relatively recent? If recent, I’d be a little concerned and wonder if besides a physical, perhaps engaging a mental health professional could be helpful. And, on the other hand, I think we all know people in our lives that truly dislike being outdoors (which I’ll never understand, unless they were attacked by a nest of wasps or chased by pit bulls) and these people would far rather find their entertainment indoors—watching tv, playing video games, ’scrapbooking’ or reading. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their life.


However, if this has been Sheila’s personality all along, or an escalation of it now that she’s older, the problem is that her lifestyle isn’t yours. And Aunty Pam thinks it’s nuts, frankly, for anyone to curtail their healthy, adventurous spirit because their spouse/mate/horse doesn’t care to share in those activities. For goodness sake, Bill, you’re married, not a conjoined twin. If Sheila doesn’t want to go to lunch, go on your own—or take a friend. I see tables full of guys all the time when I go out for lunch—workmates, widowers, friends. Go take that walk or hike by yourself, or join a walking group. North Carolina is full to bursting with state parks and waterfalls. What a shame to miss all that!


Listen, it’s a drag that Sheila doesn’t want to take part in any of this. But YOU do. So get out there, do it and enjoy every moment. Life is short and resentment can be long. You’ll find that doing what you want to do will put you in a better mood when you come home and who knows—maybe Sheila will be inspired to come along next time.


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam