Real Life

Husband hides in woods for 10 years to escape his nagging wife

Before you go casting your ballot for the World's Worst Husband award, let's try to hear him out.

By Debbie Strong

Ladies, is there anything more offensive than being called a "nagging wife" by your spouse?. Apparently, there is: A 62-year-old man in Birmingham, U.K. got so fed up with his wife's constant complaining that he hid in the woods to escape her — for 10 years.

Now, before you go casting your ballot for the World's Worst Husband award, let's try to hear him out. Malcolm Applegate — who has since returned from his decade-long hideout — says he had been married for three years when his wife began to argue with him quite frequently over the increased amount of time he was spending at work. (He's a gardener.) When she demanded that he lower his hours, Applegate decided to leave her instead... except he didn't tell her.

"For three years it was alright; we got on with one another. And then the gardening got too much for her," he told the Daily Mail. "I just upped and left. I got fed up with her."

Pretty harsh! If it sounds like something out of a comedy movie, said film would also have to include some elements of adventure: Applegate says that shortly after walking out, his bicycle was stolen, so he entered the woods and camped out with two other people in "thick woodland" near southwest London. He also continued working, helping out on the gardens at a community center for the elderly.

"There were three of us camping," Applegate said. 'They were just camping around with me because at the time I was working in the centre and we used to go there for a wash and a shower. No one knew we were there. It's not well known — nobody would go in there," he added of his secluded hiding spot.

Bizarrely, he stayed for the next 10 years. And not only did Applegate fail to tell his wife where he was going, he also didn't clue in any of his other family members or friends. He lost complete contact with his sister, who spent years searching for him in various hostels and shelters and was afraid he was dead. (The brother and sister have since been reunited, according to Fox News, after he sent her a letter.)

“I think she assumed I was dead," he said of his sister. "I wrote her a letter once I was settled in Greenwich and she phoned me up, in floods of tears. We now have a great relationship again."

Applegate, who has now moved into a homeless shelter in south London, seems unfazed by his 10-year marriage hiatus.

"I was married to her for three years, but unfortunately it got too much," he said.

No word on whether he'll talk to or see his wife again — though we have a feeling that ship may have sailed, at least as far as she's concerned. Can't say we blame her!

This post was originally published on First for Women.