Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Wife wants to explore outdoors; Hubby wants to channel surf

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I am married to a couch potato. When we retired and bought our fifth wheel trailer I thought we were headed off to explore the country. I love to walk and I make sure we camp near hiking or biking trails or scenic areas where we can explore on foot. My husband is in good physical shape, but has no interest in hiking in these areas we visit. He just wants to watch his stupid TV. The most exercise he gets is adjusting his satellite dish. He could do that at home. How do I get him off the couch? —NASCAR widow in Wyoming

Dear Wyoming widow:
Let me start by saying, “There is nothing abnormal about watching TV and acting much the same way on the road as you would at home.” That said, there can be a point of boob-tube addiction. If you look forward to hiking and physical activity, it makes it that much more enjoyable, but it just doesn’t turn some people on. Those people need to work at it. Your husband may be in that category.

I would explain to him the fact that aging will catch up to him very quickly if he doesn’t move a bit more. “Use it or lose it.” I have known many people in my life that retired and did absolutely nothing. Most died from boredom, others from sedentary lifestyle disease.

A healthy relationship should include doing things with your partner you may not enjoy as much as they do. That could mean in your case that you learn some NASCAR lingo like “trading paint,” and your husband works his way up to doing a three-mile hike to a scenic overlook. Retirement and RV travel are all about doing the things and exploring the places you have always dreamed about. That can take some teamwork.

If he isn’t into all the hiking activity that you are, find a group to join. In most areas you can connect with other birders, ranger walks, historic tours, etc. For his own good, do get him to agree to more physical activity. In the long run it will be good for both of you. He doesn’t have to take up jogging. Photography, birding, paddling, hunting, metal detecting and dozens of other interests can get people motivated to get off the couch, out of the rig, and discover there is exercise more enjoyable and exhilarating than channel surfing. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.






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Ellen (@guest_33583)
5 years ago

There are a lot of daylight hours in the summer, and heartfelt requests always go further than nagging (IMHO). I’m not so much into TV, but I am a reader and writer, while my hubby is an outdoorsman. When I start to spend too much time with my head in my books, he reminds me he’d rather spend his time with me than with anyone, and that if we hike together we’re more likely to live longer lives together.

So we hike a lot — I take a lot of photos, which entertains me (delighting my hubby with how wrapped up I can get in trying to frame the perfect image of a meadow or pine tree….). In very hot weather, we get outdoors early; in cooler weather, I do some writing in the morning before we go out. Evenings are TV time. This has worked for us for more than 20 years.

You’re in your marriage together, not apart, right?

Drew (@guest_33490)
5 years ago

Boy Jerry, how hateful! (just kidding) I’ll bet your sister appreciates her rv’ing adventures even more since she couldn’t do it before. When we go rv’ing we have a group of friends we hang out with but I really love my tv as well. In the winter I enjoy movies-the old ones, westerns, and the occasional “I love Lucy” as well. My job left me partially disabled and so exercise is tough sometimes. My ankles, knees and feet can hurt a lot but I still try to get out. I had shoulder surgery to attempt to correct torn ligaments but it was not successful so I have very limited use of it. I enjoy making meals for me and my wife and I have a few recipes that we enjoy. Sometimes watching the tube is more enjoyable away from home where there is hustle-bustle around all the time.

Jerry X Shea (@guest_33471)
5 years ago

Dear NASCAR widow in Wyoming – Your story is not new, sad, but not new. I have a high school friend that would rather watch I love Lucy re-runs (same show over 100 times) , every episode of Gunsmoke, etc. His wife loves to travel and she does just that with friends. My sister’s husband would not RV. When he died, she sold the home, bought a RV and took off to see America. Spends winters with her 2 daughters (east & west coasts) and travels from April to November. As stated in The Shrink’s post, – do what you want and enjoy that outdoor life. P.S. Tell hubby “I’m having dinner with my hiking group – make your own meal tonight.”

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