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Dilemma: my husband spurns me at the golf club

Katharine Whitehorn / 18 January 2016 ( 06 September 2019 )

Agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn hears from a reader whose husband has recently become president of the golf club, but has spurned his wife.

A reader's husband has rejected her support at the golf club

Dilemma: My husband ignores me at the golf club

My husband has belonged to a golf club for 30 years, in which I have always supported him. He is now president and the last few months have been hell.

One night I went to the club as a visitor, not a member, and thought I'd take a photo of him as president, wearing his chain of office.

While I was there he was polite to me but afterwards he was really nasty, saying "I don't want your support."

One of the members, a widow, has made it clear she fancies him. She organises dinners three times a year. Once I went over to them while he was talking to her about the dinners, and my husband, I felt, was very brutish, saying "What do you want, go and sit down."

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

I do sympathise. However, I think your husband possibly feels that his status in the club is the one thing that makes him feel like a successful male.

Some men can feel diminished and unsure of themselves when they reach retirement age; and something like this presidency is a lifeline for him, as different an aspect to his life at home as his work once was.

If he doesn't want you – as he sees it – muscling in on it, perhaps it's not that he's rejecting you, so much as that for him it's a separate and very important part of his existence.

At the club, he is not the married man, the good husband, but a tower of strength to that world.

That said, his behaviour towards you is unacceptable. Have a calm chat with him at home, letting him know how his sudden rejection of your support made you feel. If his treatment of you in front of this other woman made you feel small, tell him so, and ask him not to be so disrespectful again. 

Once you've had this chat and established some ground rules, I think your best course of action is to let him get on with it. If the admiration of this other woman makes him feel a bit better about growing older, there's not necessarily any harm in it; let him bask in it on his own. You are the sure, warm haven to which he can return. Perhaps look into finding your own hobby, and establish a bubble of your own that you can seek comfort in when he is at the golf club.

How to get a new sense of purpose in retirement

Saga readers say...

We also asked our Facebook followers for advice...

"He's totally in the wrong here and if he doesn't shape up after you've had a severe talk with him, then make it clear you're not having it. Unacceptable."

"Leave the disrespectful man. Do not be a doormat, as Katharine Whitehorn's advice is suggesting. Disgraceful."

" I would make sure he knew how I felt when we got home... my late husband would welcome me with a kiss or something and introduce me to army or football mates even if I was interrupting."

"Walk away... what's the point of staying with someone who treats you like that. You deserve better, don't give up on yourself."

"Never love anyone you doesn't love you back!"

"He would only speak to me like that once! Get some self-respect. Leave."


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.