Here is an issue that many write about but I still struggle with it. My wife is going on a month long vacation to Europe without me. I work and can't take that long. Also, the time she is going is the height of the season... The ticket is north of $1800, with at least another $1500 for living expenses. We can afford it but I see that as an individual draining the family budget without thinking of the family. I would rather save this money for a family vacation, or a couple retreat.
She says she needs her time with a friend in Europe. The friend has a special occasion coming up so we can't pick a more reasonable time. Because she is going for to Europe for some girl time with her friend, she asked about sticking around another 4 weeks with our daughter who is spending a month to visit friends in Europe on her own dime as a post graduation treat. I can see a weekend with the girls, and spending a reasonable chuck of change but $3000 for a month trip through Europe without your spouse seems selfish.
I get the mother daughter joy, but honestly it really bothers me that she would choose to spend so much money and time away. I would never suggest doing this. I would never draw that much money from the family budget for "my" trip and leave my spouse behind. So there is some emotional hurt there as well.
This is the third time that she has gone on an expensive vacation without me in our 25 years of marriage. The first two times it created a lot of fighting. She went regardless. This time I reminded her how this hurt me, but she needs this and is not changing her mind. So I am trying to be supportive (I will make work adjustments to watch the youngest kids while she is gone) and I try to out on a smile.
Honestly, though, I want nothing to do with her right now. I want to just focus on the kids and avoid conversations where she and the daughter talk excitedly about this trip (that I am paying for as the principal earner) and avoid the situation altogether but that risks me coming across at sulking or being pouty (not attractive).
I know about self-validation. But choosing to do this over and over when you know the effect it has on your spouse makes me question her value system. But then she might see me as needy. Fine, go have some fun for a weekend or that but more than $3000 of our money on yourself and leaving the rest of us behind?
How do you cope effectively without harming the relationship?
I am trying to be mature and not overreact by spending $3k on a trip for myself or canceling family vacations planned going forward because she spent the money on herself. I know... Childish.
Well, let's see. I am quite good at parsing the messages that are hidden amidst words.
What message do I perceive that your wife is sending?
It's a bold, simple message:
It's this: "F**k you! And f**k the younger children!"
Would cancelling the family vacation really be childish? Actually, I do not see it that way.
It's certainly a rational response to the despicable and selfish actions of your wife.
Has she suggested any way to make it up to the younger children?
Or is that your job, too?
What might be possible is to book a Christmas vacation for you and the younger children and leave your wife at home.
Or a cheaper option, book you and the younger children into a hotel for a week or two starting on the exact day
your wife is due back and have a mini-break.
Your wife is disrespecting you and she is disrespecting your younger children.
There's something that doesn't smell right, here. I'm not saying it is cheating, but it smells wrong.