Vacation Needy?

Question from a reader:

Been married 35 years. For the past 10 years my husband has
slowly been cutting me out of his life. He has his own friends, his own
activities. Our last vacation together was 5 years ago. I want a nice
vacation. It started with wanting a really nice vacation for our
anniversary. It didn’t happen. Every time I bring it up, he has a reason
why not: too expensive, can’t get the time off, don’t want to go there,
need to see how it goes for you at work, need to see if you get the new
job, etc. In the meantime he’s gone to Vegas with the boys, been to
Florida with his cousins and Mom several times, week long motorcycle rides.
I don’t want to go somewhere by myself. I want to go together. I’ve told
him this. Now what?


Hi M.,

Have you two talked lately about the status of your relationship? If not, maybe it’s time.

As you know, vacations are the time we escape our mundane lives together and re-explore what we like about each other. I cannot help but wonder if his not wanting to vacation together signals something more important: that he is possibly checking out of the relationship.

Rather than focus on lack of vacations as the primary problem, if it were me, I would use the vacation issue to lead into the bigger conversation about where we stand with each other. Of course, this conversation intimidates even the strongest of us. But, you already feel frustrated that you are getting less than what you deserve in your partnership. Perhaps by talking about how it makes you feel in a blunt, but non-judgmental way, you two can have a calm and honest conversation that may yield a stronger bond between you.

I am taking a wild guess you two do not have many talks about the nuts and bolts of your relationship. So, maybe you want to preface this conversation by first saying a few words to get his attention and compassion so he will be a better listener. Maybe something like:

“I need to say something that makes me nervous to talk about. Please help me by waiting to talk until I have finished.

I would love to take a vacation with you. Yet, whenever I ask about us vacationing together, you always have one reason or another why it cannot happen.

This has been going on for the past five years and is beginning to upset me a lot. I am concerned you do not enjoy spending time with me any more.

Maybe now is a good time to check in and talk about where we stand with each other. Please help me understand why you will not vacation with me.”

Hopefully, he will respect your need to be recognized, and will understand your need to know what he is thinking. Thirty-five years is a long time to be in a partnership. It is typical to experience an ebb and flow to our connectedness with each other. But, you have waited long enough for this phase to pass. I think it is reasonable for you to now request his attention to the needs of the relationship.


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