Carolyn Hax: Husband seeks solo vacation

Carolyn Hax:

November 11, 2013 

Dear Carolyn: I know how you feel about ultimatums, and agree with you. But what’s the alternative when one partner proposes something to which the other is strongly opposed?

My husband is proposing that he go on vacation solo — not with friends, just alone for the hell of it — for two weeks this summer. I think it’s an incredibly selfish idea: We have zero dollars in the bank, so he would be charging it to our credit card and thus making our precarious financial position even more so; and he would be leaving me alone with our baby and toddler for the third time in 12 months (the other trips were semi-business, semi-pleasure).

He feels entitled to the vacation because I wanted children more than he did and because he is the sole breadwinner. For the record, he is a loving and attentive father, albeit one who almost never changes a diaper.

How do I convey to him what a complete (glass bowl) this idea makes him without actually threatening to leave him?

ULTIMATUM ALTERNATIVE

Whatever he decides to do about the two weeks, it won’t change the fact that he’s willing to consider it. He’s out for himself, not you or the kids or the marriage; reckless about money; blind to the hard work it takes to be around young children … I could go on but surely you get the point.

Plus, I reject the idea outright that people who think they’re too good for grunt work can be good parents. Parents who are only superficially involved usually turn out to be only superficially invested.

This is a seriously precarious position for you to be in, with two littles and no income.

So my primary advice is for you to look past the vacation for a moment, and start thinking of how you can get yourself on more independent footing.

Do you have a career you can restart, a skill you can trade for wages, a trustworthy source of child care?

Making sure you can support yourself is important for everyone, but given your Plan A — zero savings, entitled spouse — means you need a Plan B, today.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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