Ask Amy: Wife resents husband’s family commitments

April 22

DEAR AMY: My husband’s mother became ill this winter. She’s youngish (early 60s) and recovered fairly quickly, but has to have more surgery this spring to put everything back in place. She asked my husband to come out and take care of her for a few days when she is released from the hospital.

My problem is that she did not ask me if this is okay. She is not taking into consideration the amount of stress she will place on our family when he’s gone. She has a husband, sister and two daughters who live near her. We are a 3 1 / 2-hour plane trip away. My husband is the sole provider for our family, and we have three young children.

I feel the amount of stress I will have when he is away is too much when she has other support close by. I gave him my blessing to go there for the initial surgery to make sure everything goes smoothly, but she is taking advantage of the situation to ask him to come home again. What’s your take? -- Conflicted

DEAR CONFLICTED: My take is that you feel overwhelmed and resentful that your husband has made a choice to be with his mother while she recovers from her reconstructive surgery.

If she had approached you before making this request, it might have made you feel better by being included. But, honestly, does she need your permission to ask her son to do something for her?

Answer: No.

Would your mother need your husband’s permission to ask you to come home? I hope not.

This falls into the category of: “Stuff happens.” I can certainly see why it would be inconvenient and even unnecessary for your husband to make this long trip. But because he is doing it you need to assume he wants to. He is the one with whom you should negotiate.

DEAR AMY: I have been married to my high school sweetheart for three years and we are expecting our first child next month (which we are both excited about). Our marriage is hot and cold. Basically we are polar opposites. I’m only 30 years old, and I already feel like we’re an old married couple. To be honest, I feel bored and like I’ve almost checked out emotionally.

I’ve always had a huge crush on one of my wife’s oldest and best friends (who I’ve also known since high school). I’m not delusional when I say that this feeling is mutual. Over the years we have been very flirtatious. She is someone I am very physically attracted to, we are interested in similar things, and even our parents are similar. I feel that we would have had a great family dynamic. I can’t stop thinking about her.

I’ve told her how I feel but she never responded or reciprocated. She has only smiled back and gives me a look like I should stop. I feel frustrated that we will never be together, and deep down I feel angry for never making a clean break with my wife and pursuing a relationship with her.

I’m tired of feeling like I’ve made a mistake. How can I overcome this? -- Sad Almost Dad

DEAR DAD: You are married. You have a baby on the way. It is pretty common at your stage in life to feel confused and/or trapped. But this is the life you have made for yourself, and you should work harder to make it a good one, rather than fantasize about ditching it.

You really should see a professional counselor to sort this out. Leaving your marriage may not rectify the “mistake” you feel you’ve made, but dealing with your panic will definitely help.

DEAR AMY: You must not be in your right mind in your response to “Too Much Contact.” It is never right to call someone on their honeymoon unless there is a real emergency.

But perhaps it is the bride’s fault for letting her parents know where they were going to be. -- Shocked Reader

DEAR SHOCKED: With cellphones, where you are doesn’t matter, and calls are easy to dodge.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2014 by the Chicago Tribune

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