Post # 1
A little background: I have always been very close with my family. Six years ago, when I agreed to move to my now husband’s (they boyfriend’s) hometown permanently (it’s 1.5 hours from my hometown) I made it clear to Darling Husband that I would still visit my family regularly. This has never, ever been an issue, as Darling Husband loves my parents and we all get along really well. In the intervening years, I have visited my family a little less than I used to (has probably gone from twice a month to once a month). Also note that I have two families (my parents divorced and both got remarried by the time I was 2 years old) so I’ve always had four parents to visit, which makes it a bit more of a significant time commitment.
In recent months though this has changed. My stepdad passed away in April. I was incredibly close to him and, of course, so was my mother. In this time of her adjusting to life as a widow, I have been spending more time with her than usual. I am her only child, so I can’t rely on siblings to support her. Darling Husband and I have spent quite a bit of time with her over the summer at her cottage and I’m planning two more weekends with her – one this month and one in October – in the coming weeks.
Current issue: My mum and stepdad travelled extensively around the world, but the one city my mum hasn’t made it to is Vienna. Going to Vienna is the top item on her “bucket list,” and after my stepdad passed away I suggested to Darling Husband that we go there with my mum in 2012. He was totally on board but just recently let me know that he doesn’t think he can swing it financially, since we plan to TTC in mid-2012 and therefore are working hard on building up our savings, but that he was 100% fine with me going without him.
So, my mum and I went ahead and started planning the trip. Then, last night, when I broached it again to ensure that he really is okay with it, he mentioned that he has mixed feelings and thinks I’m spending too much time with my family. I pointed out that I wouldn’t have continued with planning the trip if he hadn’t originally said he was totally okay with it. But now that I’ve committed to it, it would be very upsetting to my mum for me to back out of the trip.
I feel so conflicted as I 100% believe that my allegiance should always be to my husband first, and then my family second. But given the events of the last number of months, I feel like I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for spending time with my mother and planning to take one 10 day long trip with her.
Am I totally off base here for wanting to move ahead with the trip? Sorry this was so long!
Post # 3
I didn’t see that this was in “newlyweds” until I read it, but I figure I can still put my two cents in even if I’m not married yet.
In my mind, I don’t think you’re changing your allegiance from your husband to your family. It is not as though you are shoving him aside just because. This is a specific circumstance where your mother depends on you for emotional support. A death in the family is very tragic, and your husband shouldn’t expect you to turn your back on your mother. If he was 100% fine with you going to Vienna, it isn’t fair for him to take it back now. Not only have you committed to the trip by investing time (and money?), you have committed to your mother and he shouldn’t have you back out of committments with your family. I don’t think you’re off base for wanting to move ahead with the trip, and I think you should talk to your husband (though I’m sure you already have) about how this trip isn’t just about you, it’s about something much bigger than that. It’s about your relationship with your mom, helping her through her grieving process, and giving her something to look forward to. I hope it works out for you.
Post # 4
@whitwhit: Thanks so much for saying what you said. It confirms what I believe it be true, but it always helps to have an objective opinion! I agree that this is born out of a specific (and very difficult and emotional) circumstance and that it isn’t representative of how I plan to live my life/handle the balance between husband/parents for the rest of my life.
All my close girlfriends are out of town at the moment (did they really all have to go on vacation at the same time?!) so I’m so grateful the Bee is here to listen to my vent!
Post # 5
I think if you have already been seeing your family less, it is only fair you get to take this one long trip. As @whitwhit: said, this is a very difficult time and taking a trip is probably very important for her right now. I am sure if the same thing happened to a member of your husband’s family, you would “allow” him to go without an issue. I don’t mean allow like you control him or anything, I just can’t think of a better word.
Post # 6
I agree with @whitwhit.
Good luck working this out, OP! Hope your husband comes around and is able to understand the situation a little better.
Post # 7
it’s completely fine for you to do this trip! i spend a lot of time without Fiance with my friends and family and one of the reasons I love him is that he is ok with me doing that and knows how important those people are in my life! plus, you have already said you’re going and it’s his fault for not being honest about it to begin with… so you have nothing to feel badly about. and enjoy Vienna!!!
Post # 8
I think you need to try to work on the buidling resentment Darling Husband has with the way you are spending your time before you proceed. I say this, realizing that I think deep down he is fine with the trip – but perhaps he’s sad he isn’t joining you and/or resents that money will be taken from the nest-egg you are trying to create.
Put yourself in his shoes – meaning, if he was starting to spend a lot of time with him family and you were starting to feel strange about it – how would you want him to respond.
Again – I don’t think it’s necessarily cancelling the trip that’s at stake (even though I realize it feels like it) – because I don’t really feel this is about a 10-day trip – but the overall feeling of being neglected.
And – I know that your reasoning is completely justified (ie: you guys talked about your need to see your family pre-move, there is a higher need than normal, etc.). AND I think it’s great you mentioned it to him. But, even if you are in the ‘right’, it still makes the way he feels valid and a sad situation (even though no one did anything ‘wrong’) – if that makes any sense.
Post # 9
I wouldn’t cancel this trip since you’ve already started to plan it and committed to it. But in the future, I would recommend that you plan trips with your husband first, then see how you can fit in your parents the rest of the year. So that way you’re giving him and your relationship first priority (i.e. you’ve both always wanted to see the pyramids so you book that vacation in advance before deciding when to spend a week with your Mom).
Also, after the baby comes you can start requiring parents to come to YOU instead of the other way around. That will greatly cut down on your traveling and give you a little more space since you can ask them to stay in a hotel while visiting.
I’m speaking from experience since we also have 3 sets of parents to visit and 2 sets live a plane ride away. It’s been a challenge and everyone has had to make sacrifices, but it works. I think the thing that saves my sanity is giving first priority to what Darling Husband and I want to do while just knowing in the back of our minds we will see our parents whenever possible. We’ve also asked them to start coming to see us since we have spent so much of our disposable income on plane tickets and our limited vacation days are practically cut in half off the bat from having to travel to see them so much.
Post # 10
@oracle: Yes, you`ve hit the nail on the head -it’s the resentment that I’m most worried about. That is precisely why I brought it up again last night, as I’m worried this could affect our relationship above and beyond the trip (which seems to just be the trigger).
I’ve been trying to keep the communication about this as open as possible. This morning I suggested to him that before I make any further plans to go out of town for the weekend to visit family that he and I will first chat about it to make sure it works for both of us. That seemed to help.
As for potential resentment over taking money out of our savings for the trip, my mother has very generously offered to pay for the whole trip, which means that this is a non-issue. (thank goodness, as that would add a whole other level of complexity!).
I have been trying my best to put myself in his shoes and try to understand what he
s feeling and Im sure he must be feeling somewhat left out and I feel bad about that (even though it was due to his own decision not to come on the trip). I think it
s difficult for him to empathize with me, as his family lives 10 minutes away from us and he sees them at least twice a week, so its like comparing apples and oranges.
Post # 11
@moderndaisy: Yes, totally agree. Darling Husband and I have already planned a week away together in the Caribbean in the winter, as well as two weeks off together next summer. I am not foresaking him in favour of my mother
Post # 12
@hergreenapples: how did the conversation go when he felt like you were spending too much time over there? Perhaps he feels like the accelerated time with your mom will be a permanent thing.
I totally understand what you mean, though – I went through something similar with Darling Husband (although with spending time with friends not family – although, I have a similar worry with my mom and always touch base with him about that too).
At the end of the day – your primary responsibility is to him and how he may be feeling. If I were in your shoes I would sincerely approach it from a standpoint of being willing to cancel the trip and see what he says (and I say ‘sincerely’ to be meant without any bitterness or anger about it). I think that would show him that he is #1 (which is where the resentment is building). If he takes you up on that, be prepared to follow-through…. but, I think he just needs to FEEL where your loyalty lies. But, again – I’ll say – I don’t think it it’s about going or not going on the trip….so, if you really want to take the trip – perhaps hold off on saying that, and just approach it from a: how do we need to deal with you feeling like I’m spending too much time away from you……
Post # 13
@oracle: Yes, I agree with you and had been tossing around the idea of offering the call the trip off. I
m going to sit on that for a little while until I feel that I could sincerely offer it as an option without being angry about it. Thanks for your honest and insightful advice, its just what I needed today.
When we talked about how I
ve been spending more time with my mother lately, I did point out that its an anomaly that arose from my stepdad
s death and my mums current needs and not something that will continue ad infinitum. I do feel bad for Darling Husband though, as I know his feelings are coming from a place of love and that he genuinely misses me when I`m not around. I will talk to him again tonight about what I can do that will help him once again feel as though he is my top priority.
Post # 14
You mentioned that your mom has offered to pay for the trip now – was that part of the equation when Darling Husband turned down the vacation originally? If not, maybe he’s upset about missing out on the trip and that your mom has only offered to pay now that he’s not going.
If when you first discussed the trip, she hadn’t offered to pay, I would go back to her and ask if the offer also extends to Darling Husband because he might be interested in going, but didn’t think you’d both be able to attend, so he bowed out. Then, if she’s okay paying his portion, bring it up again and say “when mom offered to pay, she offered to pay for both of us. Now that the expense won’t affect our TTC savings, would you like to come along?”