"If it's causing you more stress than it's worth... it's not worth it." - Yellow
Question #90654 posted on 12/08/2017 12:56 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm facing some conflict in my marriage and want an unbiased outsider's opinion. I've been married for three years and have no kids. I grew up in a very well-off, close-knit family that loved to travel. Our vacations weren't exceptionally glamorous or excessive, but I have so many great memories of seeing new places with the people I love most. Traveling is my passion!

I'm now married (no kids), and I understand that no longer can I expect to go on every single vacation with my parents and siblings. But my husband refuses to go on these family trips, whether they're big or small. He'll go on one trip, but then for two years after that he won't go on any more because he feels like its excessive and unhealthy--even little weekend trips! He says he enjoys spending time with my family but feels we need to have our "own life" now. He doesn't like to travel and thinks I'm not growing up and that I want to be married but still have all the benefits of when I was single.

I've gone on some of these trips solo because I really enjoy them. I have a big fear of missing out, especially because my mom is battling a terminal illness that won't allow her to travel for very much longer. We know her years on earth are very limited at this point.

I feel like I end up having to choose between staying home and missing out this precious family time doing something I love, vs. going on these trips solo and causing a huge rift in my marriage. When I go it causes conflict because he feels like I'm abandoning him/choosing my family over him.

It's hard to see or hear about my my married friends going on all these annual family trips or weekend getaways with their family and in-laws because their spouses seem to not care nor count the number of days spent with the in-laws.

My husbands family doesn't travel, but we visit them often on weekends (they live about 4 hours away) and I've never once refused to go or even mentioned not wanting to go.

Is it ridiculous of me to expect my husband to go on an annual trip with my family when our schedules allow? What about time off during the holidays to go on weekend getaways or camping?

Also, I feel like I should mention that these trips aren't two-week stints or anything crazy. I'm talking two four- or five-day trips a year at best over weekends.

My husband knows how I feel and vice-versa, but neither of us seem to understand each other's point of view no matter how much we talk about it. It's been a huge unresolved conflict for a couple years now. I'm kind of at loss for what to do at this point. I feel like I'm having to choose between my family and my husband. I feel like my husband should just go on these trips because they're important to me.

Any insight or advice? Am I being that demanding?

-Sleepless in Seattle

A:

Dear Sleepless,

When I read through your question, the only explanation that came to mind was that maybe your husband has financial concerns about these trips. You didn't specify how these trips are paid for, but either way I could see where potential concerns would come from.

If your parents are paying for you to go on these vacations, that's something to think about. Having your parents pay for you to go on vacations isn't the most mature choice, considering you're adults. On the other hand, if you and your husband are paying for these trips, that's likely a fairly serious expense that might be a strain on your budget.

If your parents are paying for you, it could be that your husband has serious qualms about other people gifting him something so extravagant as a vacation, even if it comes from family. It could also be that he feels a responsibility to provide for your family, and feels bad when you go on trips that the two of you couldn't otherwise afford.

I didn't grow up in the most affluent family, and the idea of anyone else paying for me to go on vacation makes me feel guilty. Likewise, I believe in working hard, and even taking time off for a vacation seems kind of extravagant to me. I'm not saying that's the most rational sentiment, but if your husband grew up in a family that wasn't quite as well-off as yours, he might have similar feelings. I'm not sure those feelings will ever really go away, so if he's similar to me, you and your husband will have to be honest with each other and come up with some sort of compromise.

I don't know any of the specifics of your discussions with your husband, but hopefully this helps.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear person,

I'm having a bit of trouble from your question telling if (a) you are mostly upset that you don't get to spend much time with your parents and siblings or if (b) you are mostly upset because you are being denied travel opportunities. I'm proceeding on the assumption that you are mainly upset about (a) and that your family happens to spend a lot of their designated family time on vacation, but I could be wrong. If I messed up and you want me to try again, feel free to submit another question with some clarification.

To me, it sounds like he is being a little inconsistent. First he says this:

He says he enjoys spending time with my family but feels we need to have our "own life" now. 

And yet:

My husbands family doesn't travel, but we visit them often on weekends (they live about 4 hours away) and I've never once refused to go or even mentioned not wanting to go. 

It seems like some of your anger is coming from this apparent contradiction. Obviously this isn't professional advice, but perhaps it could be worth bringing this up with your husband in a tactful and calm - yet direct - way? Also, your mom having a terminal illness is a really big deal and I'm sorry you don't get to see her as often as you'd like. If this is a major stressor in your marriage, you may want to look into marriage counseling to see if someone can help you two to understand each other's perspectives better when you talk. 

-Sheebs