When Reddit user Mysterious_Attempt and her husband first started dating, he would always joke about not living past the age of 55.
The Reddit user said she “barely even paid attention when he said it at first,” figuring that “he was just being young and blowing off steam.”
Six months ago, the pair decided to elope. The Reddit user bought a wedding dress from a thrift store and the two of them ran down to the court house to promise each other forever.
After they exchanged vows, the “joke” of not wanting to live past 55 started bothering the Reddit user. She said:
Marriage I think is changing my view of his attitudes towards his life. While before it was just something he said and I would kind of chuckle at, the more I pay attention to his life, the more I think he is really serious about it, and that makes me incredibly sad.
She listed some of the habits he has that are not “great for his long-term survival”:
He used to smoke cigarettes. I got him to mostly stop that (he did it because I asked, not out of any consideration for his own health), though he still smokes a black and mild most nights just after getting off of work.
He eats with basically zero regard to how it might affect him. lots of red-meat. A lot of steak, barbecue, burgers, etc. i will sometimes try to encourage him to eat a little healthier, but those attempts always crash and burn. He’ll stick to healthy eating for maybe a day or two, then he gets tired of it and returns to his old eating habits.
He downs tons of energy drinks and coffee. I mean like, three [to] four cups of coffee before work, and probably two or three red bulls while at work. He drinks so much coffee he will have two cups with dinner and still be able to go sleep like a log. I tried to point out that eating healthier would give him more actual energy, so he wouldn't need so much caffeine, but it had no real affect.
He also rides a motorcycle, with the bare amount of safety gear allowed by law. He loves riding his bike and I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I feel like he is going to have an accident eventually, his fault or otherwise.
The Reddit user said she sat her husband down to talk about her thoughts on his lifestyle and his unwillingness to change it.
She wrote on Reddit that when she told him she “really wanted him to try to be healthier so [that] he’ll last,” her husband responded by saying:
He would rather have half a lifetime that he enjoys instead of a long, full lifetime with “salads and boredom.”
The husband started talking about his grandparents, which made the Reddit user think that her husband actually has a phobia of getting old.
She explained that he practically told her he wants “no part in getting old”:
I never met them, they died before we got together. Basically their twilight years don’t seem to have been pleasant. His grandmother got dimensia and could barely remember who she was for the last few years of her life. His grandfather was sharp as a tack until he died, but his body deteriorated quickly and he could barely even move for the last five years of his life.
The wife went on to say that while she has no intentions of leaving her husband, she wants to try her best to help him get over his fear of aging so that he stops living his life in a way that will set him up for the life he's afraid of.
She said she wants to be able to celebrate 60 years of marriage with him:
While I can appreciate why he might feel that way, I’m just sad about it. I love my husband. He is my life partner come whatever. But I want to be with him for a long time. I want to celebrate a 60 year anniversary with him and try to do that interlocked-arm toast and mess it up and have the video go to America’s Funniest Home Videos, damn it.
My husband is a good man. I don’t have any intentions of leaving him or something. I just want him to get over his fear of aging now, before he sets himself up for the exact kind of old age he is afraid of, or actually succeeds in having a heart attack in his 50’s.
Many commented on her post saying that they weren't sure how to help the Reddit user, but they hope that for her sake and the sake of their future children he ends up realizing that 55 years on this earth just isn't long enough.
How would you approach this situation?