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Ask Ellie: Wife fed up with husband's annual trip with the boys

Research couples therapy and find a quiet moment to calmly raise the idea
Advice columnist Ellie Tesher

Dear Ellie: My husband and his closest mates — five guys in their late 30s and early 40s, friends since they played sports at the same university — just left their workplaces, homes, wives, and children, for their annual getaway.

They board a plane together, have a couple of drinks, reach their chosen hotel, then toast their favourite sports team, repeatedly. They’ve been doing this for 10 years.

As one of the wives, I’m pretty fed up with it.

I understand the natural desire for taking holiday breaks when affordable, especially when it’s for the whole family. But these diehard football fans are only interested in their team winning. Enter more alcohol, back-thumping, and betting on the winning team (though they don’t always mention that to their wives).

But this year, it’s all harder for me to accept. My husband and I have grown further apart. I’ve become more involved in my work in theatre arts, and his job already requires travel for the company at least once a month when I’m left alone with our kids.

So, where do I go from here? I mentioned couples’ counselling, but he brushed it off, saying he’s too busy with work. He also made it clear that “the big game” is a highlight in his life that he absolutely needs. I said, “What about me? I also have needs you know nothing about.” He walked away.

What do I do now?

Big Game Widow

You wish him a safe trip before he leaves the house because he’s your children’s father.

Next, research the approach to marital counselling you think you’d be interested in learning about.

This isn’t something you greet him with as soon as he’s back, but slowly, after you’ve heard all about “the game,” look for an opportunity to talk together, and yes, to also listen.

Describe the approach to couples’ therapy that interested you. Then, tell him you think this can be helpful to your marriage, and to your children’s’ and family life.

It may take a few sessions for both of you to try meeting each other’s needs. But I assure you, it’s worth a try.

Dear Ellie: I married a divorced man with an only daughter, age 21 at the time. She’s now 56.

For over three decades, she’s returned my gifts, most notably a handbag which we filled with $3,000. She took the money and gave me back the handbag.

She came to visit with her fiancé and announced she was getting married in two hours. She doesn’t respond to my texts or emails.

Throughout our marriage, I’ve encouraged her to spend time with her father, who pays for her airfares and car rentals to visit us.

She tells her father that she had syphilis and venereal warts. To me, this is sexually provocative.

Her mother and I get along extremely well. I’ve now decided not to be home when she visits. Her father’s upset with my decision.

Am I doing the right thing?

Angry Stepmother

When someone is determined to not engage with you, preferring instead to express long-standing anger at her father’s divorce and marriage to you, there’s little to no chance of a reconciliation.

You have no relationship together. Her father needs to recognize that and accept your decision.

That her mother and you get along well is unusual, but your stepdaughter’s reporting of her sexual diseases, if true, indicate what are likely ongoing bids for attention from him.

I suggest you not make hard and fast rules about whether to be home or not when she visits. When she’s rude, say “hello,” but avoid conversation.

This woman is an adult, who feeds on the hurt she felt when her parents divorced.

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