02-03-2011, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
| | Couple time vs. Extended Family time
I am hoping that some of you will lend your opinion and help me understand whether I am way off base about something that has come up in my marriage.
Background: Married 9 years, two boys 8 and 5. We have nearly separated but have been working through issues which basically have stemmed from a sexless marriage (i am the higher drive spouse), and not prioritizing each other once the kids arrived (she tended to hyperfocus on work and family, while I felt left behind). My wife is extremely social with a large family and is usually out and about or Facebooking most days/nights as her work allows, while I generally prefer one on one time at home or out as a couple with her when it is available - I am not nearly as much of a social butterfly.
She is very bonded to her family. We have had a total of 1 overnight and zero vacations in eight years that haven't involved someone from her family being part of it. She loves her family and truth be told they are very nice people, but I crave alone time with her which I have not been able to get.
Two nights ago, we tried to come up with a plan for a vacation. She suggested a Disney World trip, which she knows is my favorite vacation spot. (Disney is a 5 hour plane ride for us, quite a distance away.) Almost immediately she suggested that we spend a day visiting her brother in Florida, as he lives 2-3 hours away. Admittedly, she only gets to see him 2-3 times a year.
I was very disappointed by this. I asked her if we could have one vacation that didn't involve her family. She said no, she couldn't do this Disney trip without seeing her brother.
My suggested compromise: Go take a trip to see your brother, and then when you are ready we can go to Disney as just us, without in-laws. This was not acceptable.
Her compromises: Take a one-day trip to Disney. Or, take a vacation to a different place. I couldn't help but feel that a) I shouldn't have to shorten my vacation and/or b) shouldn't have to change my destination just because her brother lives in that state.
Yesterday she came up with another compromise which entailed us taking the Disney vacation without the family but having to LIE to her family to cover it up. Of course, I was very disappointed by this because it sounds like she is basically embarrassed to go anywhere with just me.
Am I really off base here, or after almost 10 years of marriage should we be at the point where I could expect one time - just one time - where she could tell her family "I'm choosing to make this a family trip with my husband and kids, we can meet up next time"? The actual vacation is secondary to the idea of her committing to her marriage and not her family. To her, my request to have this vacation without her brother was a request for her "to abandon her family, and [she's] not going to do that."
Thanks for any opinions.