15 years of mar­riage and par­ents are still wife’s main pri­or­ity

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

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.

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