April 30, 2009,
C.C. asks from Dallas, TX on April 23, 2009
Husband Spends More Time with His Parents than Me and His Son
My husband is extremely close to his family, especially his mom. When I say this, I mean he is over at his parent's house on a DAILY basis, sometimes 3 times a day. He works a full time job and goes to school on top of that so obviously he rarely has time off. Some days I literally see him only when he gets home from school and comes to bed and in the morning when he gets up to go to work. So, I am understandably frustrated when he goes to his parents after work or school before coming home to see our son and myself. My husband is Hispanic and I am white so I truly believe there is a cultural aspect to all of this. I have tried to explain to him that me and the baby are his family now and we come first. When I do that, he views it as me saying "It's them or me," which is not the way I mean it at all. Any spare time he gets, even if it's only a couple hours, he is over at his parents house. He sometimes even showers over there! That's how much time he spends over there. He is the youngest(26) and his brother and sister(both of whom have families of their own) only see their parents on weekends at most. I would love some advice on how to convey to him the importance of him spending time with me, but especially with his son without sounding like I am attacking his parents.
P.G. answers from Dallas on April 23, 2009
Hi C.. I'm sure a lot of it is cultural, and also he's the baby of the family, and now he has a baby himself and may be freaked out a little. Was this something he did before you were married? If so, it's not a surprise, and though you are understandably upset by it, you had an idea of what you were getting when you married him. Americans are a bit wierd in that we have this nuclear family thing going and can't quite figure out how the huge family dynamics work. Like you said, that could be part of the issue.
That said, perhaps (if you have a pleasant relationship with his family) you and the baby could spend more time with his family for several reasons: extended family is VERY good for kids socially; also, very good for MOMMY when she needs a break!, and he will feel better if you are there as well. You may be able to build a relationship with his mom where she can help you when she notices stresses he has that he might not be able to share? See if you can visit when he does sometimes. Everyone go over on the weekend - bring some dessert and make it a family dinner night. Considering you had the illnesses in the very recent past, it would be good to have a family support structure for yourself, and you might be more blessed than you know if you can navigate the culture shock :)
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M.D. answers from Dallas on April 23, 2009
My heart goes out to you... I'm sure you've talked to your husband about this many of times, but you are right it needs to stop. I'm sure some of it is cultural, however, you did say his sister and brother don't go over all the time so it's a personal matter for him.
I would sit down and have another talk with him... Start it off with how much you love him and his strong points why you married him. Reverse his actions a bit on him, tell him you know how important family is to him and you do appreciate it, and that he needs to meet his responsibility as a HUSBAND first, and that means taking care of you and his child. If he's religious any, quote the bible (and probably in your marriage ceremony) , were it says "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24)." I found this link below that might be helpful when talking with him.
May God strengthen your marriage!
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K.B. answers from Dallas on April 23, 2009
It's cultural!!! I am half asian, half american and married to a wonderful man from Peru. Being asian, I was already aware of the cultural differences that could exist. It was not too hard for me to accept. My husband is the youngest of 8. We have a very, very large family on his side (and most lived in the same state) and a very small family on my side! I have had to be very understanding over the last 27 years! But he has been very understanding about my family as well. Things changed quite a bit when our kiddos started getting older and we needed a structured day and week. The visiting cut down to one weekend day or event (b-day parties, etc.). Plus, I invited them over quite a bit as well. This word makes me cringe when someone says it to me...patience! Time will change his attachment to his family to "your" family! Good Luck!
L.W. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2009
Hispanic versus caucasian... His parents are enabling him to be over there. Try talking to his parents but that will probably not work either... Do what you want to do and when he's home, enjoy the time... look at this way, you are saving money by him showering/eating at his folks/his mama is probably picking up after him! Meet him at his parents when you know it's chow time. Good luck.
C.H. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2009
I am hispanic and brought up very close to my mother (dad has passed on) and all my siblings. This is not normal even for hispanics who do tend to be very close. You are correct to feel he should spend his spare time with you and his son. His parents have their lives and he needs to start establishing and making his bond stronger with his own child and yourself. Maybe he does not feel about you guys the way that you feel about him. Sounds like you need to find out why he chooses them over you. He needs to find a happy medium like his other siblings do and prioritize his time. Taking showers at their parents is a bit much, he has his own home and should be tending to it and his family. A child will always remember his father was not there for him to share in special moments of his life; even if it's just being home to play with him for a few minutes before he goes to bed. Sorry you're going through this and I hope things get better for you. I truly hope he wakes up before you tire of it.
C.M. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2009
Let me just be the one to say it is NOT cultural. My first husband was spanish and I am white and he did the same thing. My second husband is white like me and he is worse. It is their mother's fault. They are mamma's boys. They haven't cut the umbilical cord. It doesn't get better...my experience. I have tried spending more time with him with them. And it doesn't change anything.
L.F. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2009
You have already gotten good advise here. I agree with spending more time yourself with his family. Invite them over or ask your husband to come home first, because you would like to go with him over there. He is more likely to slow down on the visits there, if you are supportive of him than if you try to put a stop to it. That will just make it worse. Time does help, but some families are just closer than others. Be supportive of his time over there but also let him know how much you miss him and ask him how it could be worked out. A lot of children would LOVE to have that kind of relationship with their parents, so see it as good support for you too, and make use of instant babysitters for you and your husband to have time alone together.