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Vacationing Alone
If your spouse wants to vacation with friends—without you—should that raise a flag?

Taking off alone could mean you need to communicate better or nothing at all.

My husband likes to vacation by himself or with his friends. He makes it very clear that he does not want me to tag along. This really hurts my feelings and I feel very insecure and he knows it. I feel that he has something to hide. How do I cope with this? I feel like I am waiting for something to happen so that we can divorce.

In today’s society, traditional ways of doing things is no longer the case. Not only are there lots of variations of what is called the family unit, but the styles in which couples practice their relationship varies quite a bit also. The issue you raise is definitely one of those non-traditional styles of vacationing.

The good news is that this is not the first time I have heard of a spouse wanting to vacation with friends rather than with their spouse. Often, guys want to have their annual week away with their pals and the ladies look forward to sharing a bonding experience with their friends. Wanting to have time away from your spouse does not necessarily indicate that there is something wrong.

Of course, you raise some points that do sound a bit different. It is hard to tell from the way you are presenting the situation if your husband only wants to go away with others and never wants to vacation with you. If that is the case, I would be concerned. One of the biggest problems in a marriage is the fact that couples do not prioritize it. So, while I just indicated that spending time separately is fine and can be healthy, too much time separately may point to the fact that there is an underlying problem. And if there isn’t one, it can very well lead to one.

The other point that catches my attention is the fact that what your husband is doing is making you so uncomfortable. This is a bit complicated. How often does he, in fact, want to go away? Other than wanting to go on vacation with his friends, has your husband done anything that gives you reason to feel insecure? You really need to be self-reflective and assess whether the insecurity you feel is something that comes from your background or from your relationship with your husband. If this is more of a personal issue, then it is up to you to work on it.

Yet, I do believe marriage is a partnership. Even if this is your personal issue, your husband can be supportive in helping you in not exasperating it. There are things he can do to help reassure you—perhaps not take as many trips, shorten the length of his trip, or call you frequently while he is gone.

Part of a solid foundation in a partnership is based on mutual respect. Not only do you have to respect his needs, but he ought to be respecting yours in this area. Again, from the manner in which you have presented this matter, it doesn’t seem that he is being responsive or respectful of your concerns. Men do not do well with overly emotional reactions. Here are some pointers on how to approach him:

1. Acknowledge that you do understand that he enjoys his time with his friends.
2. Stay calm as you speak with him and present your points objectively.
3. Let him know that when he continues to act in ways that totally disregard your concerns, it feels to you that you are being disrespected.
4. Ask if the two of you might try to come up with some ideas so that both of you will feel like your needs are being met.

Though you probably would prefer that your spouse not go at all, part of working at a marriage is learning how to understand one another’s needs and how to compromise. Good communication will serve you well toward that end.

Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last.

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