Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My husband just asked what I thought if he volunteered to go on an international weeklong work trip. We have a toddler and I stay at home so it would be a long week for me but nothing I couldn’t handle.
I was more hurt by the reason he wanted to go. He thought it would be fun and a good opportunity for a free trip. His going is not essential to his company and I’m not seeing a great professional benefit to the trip. He’d basically be helping out when several other people at his company could do the same thing.
Am I wrong to see this as a whim he wants to indulge? I believe we both have a right to be selfish at times in a marriage and I could support other trips that seemed more beneficial to his career or hobby-related, but it’s hurtful to think he wants to go just because it will be fun and like a free vacation when his idea of fun and vacation apparently doesn’t include his wife and child.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
Why can’t his idea of fun include his wife and child, and also include a free low-drudgery work trip overseas on someone else’s dime? Why are they mutually exclusive in your mind?
I think you’re setting yourself up for failure if you set the bar this high for feeling loved and appreciated.
Maybe it'll help if you think of it this way: When you’re home with the baby, day in and day out, even if you love every minute of it, I have to think your mind drifts to something you’d love to do. Like, “I want to hang with my best friend at a cafe like we used to,” or, “I want to bury my toes in warm sand.” Now imagine your husband saying, “I’ve got this, Child and I will have a grand time together this weekend, you go see your friend for a couple of days.”
Do you think he should be hurt if you find this offer appealing?
And, if not, why don’t you support and encourage this trip, and say you’d like to have your turn, too? Maybe in the form of one weekend away in the near future and another in six to 12 months, or whatever configuration works.
People with partners and small children need whim indulgences, too – possibly more than ever. They just need to work out a way to be fair about it with said partners and kids.
Re: Trip: I think you misunderstood the letter-writer: She mentioned that it was a pretty random trip, not beneficial to his career, nor is it even hobby-related. This seems like something he wants to do instead of spending time with wife and kid. I’d be upset by that too. That’s a long time to support a random trip.
No, I understood. This is a straight-up lark. And, I believe in larks. I believe you can be over the moon for your mate and child and still want to seize an opportunity to see a different part of the world when it drops in your lap. I just think doing so requires attention to balance.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.