I’d known my husband for several years before we married, so I also knew he had a very close family of parents, two sisters, and several cousins.
But he never told me how intense the connection with his parents was, and now still is.
His father calls him first-thing daily (when we have a young daughter and son to get to school, and I have to be at work). He also emails him in the evening, when we’re busy helping with homework, and bedtime routines.
There are added contacts from his sisters and regular calls from cousins about getting together.
My father-in-law is active in his community. There are frequent urgings to join his latest neighbourhood project, or help with someone’s needs, taking my husband away from our home many an evening.
If we didn’t have children, I’m pretty sure I’d never have stayed in my marriage this long.
My husband says that he loves me, and he’s also a very good father when he’s present. When we have rare time alone together, I’m happy… but that feeling is lessening.
Our work and children already take priority. So, why does he let our home and couple time be constantly intruded on by his family?
Staying for the Kids
It’s a puzzle you both need to resolve. Your husband is a loving family man. But his goodwill includes extended family and others who need help, because that’s how he was raised.
Your children are also learning many positive things from his and his family’s example.
Your own background growing up was apparently different since the constant contacts and expectations feel very annoying.
However, you only have one foot near the door so far, because of your children.
At heart, you’re a good mother, and know that some feelings of love still exist in your marriage.
But you’re lonely and you feel that you place second after everyone else.
Talk to your husband. Without anger or blaming his parents, tell him your feeling of being on your own in the marriage because of all the added commitments beyond jobs and children.
Look together at ways to increase your emotional and physical connection. A certified life coach may be helpful with this.
My wife is very fit, slim and good-looking. She loves me, but frequently embarrasses me. When eating with friends, she’ll comment negatively about my having dessert, then say I need to lose 12 pounds.
She’s right. But between the Covid lockdowns and months of working from home, I did gain that much. Now that I’m back in the office and feeling more positive generally, I’m more energized and have lost three pounds.
Yet she’s still monitoring my food choices. At 42, weight doesn’t just fall off.
What can I say to her when I know she just wants me as healthy and attractive as I can be?
What matters most is how you feel. And being criticized about your appearance in front of others is a depressant, not an energizer, no matter how well-intended.
Decide your own intention. Are you suddenly uncomfortable eating foods you like in front of her, then bingeing when she’s not nearby?
Have a chat (online is fine) with your family doctor and/or a nutritionist about healthy weight loss.
Then decide what basic fitness efforts you can make - e.g., walking a half-hour several days weekly, then building to 45 minutes.
Get comfortable with yourself in mind and body. Tell your wife you’ve got this covered.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding meeting the half-sister (October 7):
“Two years ago, a woman seeking her birth mother found a DNA connection with my cousin. My mother (now deceased) had given birth at 18 and secretly placed her daughter for adoption.
“The families wouldn’t allow my mom and her high-school sweetheart to marry. This was 1950.
“My sister’s adoptive parents shared the story with their adopted daughter over time.
“Mom married my father, had my older brother (now deceased) and me.
“After several months I confided in my father. He didn’t know the story, but encouraged me to meet my half-sister.
“We spent four wonderful days together in her city. She’s been a blessing in my life, and she feels the same.
“When possible, she’s coming to meet the rest of the family.
“It’s been the most wonderful, life-changing experience, and I’d encourage anyone doubtful to at least make the attempt.”
Tip of the day:
Busy working parents need agreed time-spots for connecting emotionally/physically. Ask grandparents for help, not distraction.