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Resentment of Spouse Not Working/Retired Early

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My spouse injured his back 8 years ago and retired early due to this injury. He works very occasionally at a community college and does have his retirement income.  I have multiple medical concerns and 3 years after he retired, we downsized so that I could retire as well. This was 5 years ago and as it is, I have no chance of retiring.  Spouse has told me, “Sure, you can retire.  We will just be homeless”. I feel stuck working and feeling fatigued and sick and really resent him. I think he is anxious about working as he has been retired for 7 1/2 years. I have encouraged him to do volunteer work so he has something to be passionate about. Overall, his retiring early has affected me greatly and not him. He has a wonderful life of going to the gym and doing some housework and laundry. I have a good job and got a 30% pay raise last year. That was a total disincentive for him. I want us to work on retirement together, not me working till I die and him having a great time. I am angry and becoming bitter and I don’t like me the way I am. Whenever we talk about this issue, he looks at it as a problem with me. I need to be more positive, which I know is true.  How do I get his actions to affect him? I am planning on a major cruise with my daughter and don’t plan to ask him to go. I figure, if he wants to come, he can pay his own way. Is that a wrong attitude? He just bought a truck and said he needed to work to pay his car loan. Now, I am paying for more bills and he says he doesn’t need to work. I feel I need more boundaries with him and finances. Any words you can give me to assist are most welcome! (From the USA)

Resentment of Spouse Not Working/Retired Early

Answered by on -


 I’m not detecting much love in this relationship. In fact, I hear of systematic alienation, a desire to be separate from him, resentment, unfairness, and a lack of support. My question is more fundamental than you’re working status: Do you want to remain together? Would you be better off on your own? Do you have a reason to stay together beyond financial?

The fact that you don’t even want to take a vacation with him speaks volumes. Even if you had time to be together it doesn’t sound like you want to around him. I think I’d ask these other questions first as the retirement issue may be secondary.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Resentment of Spouse Not Working/Retired Early

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Resentment of Spouse Not Working/Retired Early. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 11 Sep 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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