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Wife Wishes to Travel to See Family Alone

by hrcounts

We have very close relationship, all areas are great, both agree to this.  We work hard, and get very little time alone together. (in fact in 16 years we have had perhaps 4 weekends alone without daughter). Wife wants me with her to travel and see all family. However, she wants to travel to see her sister alone. Her sister does not have close relationship with husband and tries to get alone time taking my wife away. After 16 years, it finally became apparent that my wife also wants to go to see sister without me. Not often, but still does not want me there. It is not because of our relationship, she wants alone time with sister. I am having difficulty accepting this. I know it is normal when young, but I did not sign up to work a lot and then have to stay home when my wife leaves. I want to be there with her. It is very important to her, and should be to me because of it, however, it is very important for me not to be alone without my partner. She left today to go and be with her sisters and father, I am supposed to understand that it is not about me… But I got married to have a full-time partner. Something to understand, we have no real friends, my wife has a few close ones. I have her. I like my company which I started years ago, and I like my family.  I have always be more a loner, my wife is very similar this way.  This only occurs with her and her sister. When she goes, she also becomes someone different. Either way, I don’t think she can go on with me like this and I did not sign up to not be put to the side.  It makes it worse for me when I do not know anyone who make it work when they does things apart. for an afternoon, or something like that anytime is acceptable if I am asked for my opinion, but not to be invited to travel away for days does not seem right. (age 49, from US)

First of all, you and your wife need to find a way to have more alone time together. It can be difficult once you have children, but it is healthy. Second, I don’t think it is unusual or unreasonable that your wife and her sister occasionally like to spend time together without their spouses. Just as a marital relationship is special, so is a sibling relationship. I’m not sure why you feel threatened by their bond.

It sounds like you and your wife spend a great deal of time together and have a close relationship. However, I disagree with you in stating that new relationships should be able to handle time apart, but it’s not acceptable once you have been together longer. I actually feel that it is typically the opposite. Most people in new relationships want to spend all their time together but as we mature and feel more secure in our relationship, time apart is quite normal for most couples. There needs to be an “I” and a “we” in a healthy marriage.

I would suggest that you plan a vacation — or at least a weekend away — alone with your wife, and work on making more friends or picking up a new hobby for the occasional times that your wife goes to see her sister.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

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