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Ask Lisi: Couple’s getaway without kids won’t save marriage

Your baby will suffer the separation, you’ll suffer from guilt and hormonal fluctuation, and the trip away will do nothing to fix your marriage.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: My marriage is on the rocks. We have a three-year-old and a seven-month-old baby. To be honest, we probably shouldn’t have had the second baby, but we thought it would help and we didn’t want our son to be an only child.

But we’re just not meant to be together anymore. We have different values, different thoughts on parenting, and different hopes and dreams for the future. One of us really just needs to pull the plug.

My husband is insisting that we go away together. One last attempt or one last hurrah, I’m not sure which. But it will mean I have to stop breastfeeding my baby, and I’m not ready for that. I know that if I use that as an excuse to not go away, my husband will be gutted and angry.

I don’t know what to do. What’s your advice?

Hubby vs. baby

This is tricky because, as a mother myself, my advice may not be what I would have done in your situation. You have to really look within and decide – is your marriage really over? If it is, going away when you’re still attached to your baby isn’t going to be fair on any of you. Your baby will suffer the separation, you’ll suffer from self-imposed guilt and hormonal fluctuation, and your husband won’t get the best of you no matter what his hopes or intentions.

I think you need to be honest with him. Tell him that while a getaway just the two of you is necessary no matter what state your marriage is in, now is not the opportune time. Agree on a proposed date, whether that’s three, six, or 12 months from now, and work towards that goal.

He may not like it, and feel you’ve chosen the baby over him, but that’s an unfair claim on a breastfeeding mother. The physiological connection is significant and affects a woman’s emotional equilibrium. You need to be in a more balanced hormonal position to be able to calmly work through fixing your marriage, or its demise.

FEEDBACK regarding the unwanted husband (April 27):

Reader – “I read this letter and thought that it could have been written by my husband. We have been married almost 50 years. Even on vacation, I am often stuck in the wife mode.

“My sleep schedule is opposite to his so I am up and active early, bringing coffee back to the room and waiting for him to get up. He likes to slowly get into the day, so I do my own thing. I do what my husband wants for most of the day because it isn’t worth fighting over. After years of trying to vacation in different locations, doing interesting activities, we always end up compromising and neither of us is truly happy.

“Your advice to this unhappy fellow is spot-on. He might consider looking into some personal counseling if he thinks he is doing all the right things already because he needs help with self-reflection. I have been there with my husband. Couples counseling led to individual which I continued after my husband told me that I needed it and he didn’t. It helped me immensely with my self-worth and setting boundaries.

“I can also see where my husband is coming from and understand my part in our issues. It has helped me continue in a relationship that has been stagnant for years, but we are decent partners overall. We lead very separate lives for the most part but in my case, it is the happiest I’ve been in decades.”

FEEDBACK Regarding the daughter who doesn’t want anything to do with the new pup (April 6):

Reader – “The writer answered their own question: ‘Our son needs the love and friendship of a therapy dog…. It’s the best gift we could have ever given him.’

“I imagine this is how the dog was introduced to the family.

The daughter feels like she’s been left out of this situation. It’s not her dog. It wasn’t gifted to her along with the son. He’s getting a therapy dog, she gets nothing.

“I truly understand how she feels. It’s been made plain that the dog isn’t hers so why would she want anything to do with it?”

Reader 2 — “Was the daughter ever asked for her opinion before getting the dog?

“Keep pushing and you will have bigger issues you need to deal with. Three want the dog, one does not. Leave it there.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected] or [email protected]