15 years of marriage and parents are still wife’s main priority
DEAR ANNIE: My wife, “Kate,” and I are in our early 40s and have been married for 15 years. We have two children.
Kate has a deeply troubling emotional dependence on her parents that shows no sign of changing. They wanted to come with us on our honeymoon, which I initially thought was a joke. It wasn’t. I flatly refused, and Kate became angry.
Early in the marriage, I overlooked a lot of this overcloseness, because I thought she would eventually grow out of it when she became a wife and mother. But it hasn’t happened. Kate calls her parents every day and discusses all of our personal issues with them. She has let me know that they come before the rest of us and always will.
We’ve tried counseling several times, but she cannot or will not change and it leaves me frustrated. The only reason I’m still in this marriage is because of my kids. I’m ready to find a girlfriend. What should I do?
— Stuck in San Francisco
Dear Stuck: Finding a girlfriend will not ease the problem with your wife, so let’s not do that. When someone marries, t he spouse should always come before the parents, even though some parents don’t like that and may, in fact, encourage the grown child to put them first. This is unfair to the child, keeping them infantilized and dependent. Kate wasn’t mature enough to get married, but you expected her to change anyway.
The f act t hat Kate phones her parents daily is not a big deal. But discussing personal marital issues with them allows them to be a bigger part of your marriage than they should be, and Kate refuses to change that. You need to determine which aspects of this are worth being upset about, and which are unimportant to the basic wellbeing of your children and your marriage. Please get counseling, with or without Kate, so you can work on this.