He Criticizes Her Closeness to Adult Children

By Amy Dickinson | April 5th, 2024

Is he obsessive or is she?

A husband resents his wife’s closeness to adult children from her previous marriage, and he demands that she spend less time with them. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson has to say.

A husband resents his wife’s closeness to adult children from her previous marriage, and he demands that she spend less time with them. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson has to say.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We both have adult children from previous marriages.

My husband isn’t as close with his children as I am with mine. My children and I have always spent a lot of time together and we connect through text or phone calls almost daily.

My husband believes this is excessive. As for his closeness to adult children, he doesn’t see or keep in touch with them that way. I try to explain to him that my children grew up in a close family, and we remain close. I think we should be glad that they like us and want to spend time with us.

I have recently retired. My husband is still working. He travels out of town about twice a month. When he goes out of town, I take the opportunity to see my children. This upsets my husband. He says, “Why do you always have to go somewhere or do something when I go out of town? Why can’t you just stay home?”

When I asked why this bothers him, he claimed that it was because “it costs money.”

We are not struggling financially, my kids always pay their own way, and most of the time I’m just spending time with them in their homes.

I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s not like I am going out to bars. I am always back home no later than 9 p.m. and I always keep in touch with my husband while I’m out.

I finally told him that this is his problem, and he needs to get over it because I am not doing anything wrong.

Well, it just happened again.

Am I missing something?

– At a Loss

Dear At a Loss:

It’s one thing for your husband to try to limit your time with your children when he is around, but his desire to also control who you see when he is away is completely ridiculous, over the top, and – concerning.

Your husband’s perspective might be that he would like for the two of you to spend more of your “together-time” socializing with people who are closer to your own age and stage in life. If so, then he should work harder to develop these friendships.

And unless your closeness to adult children, such as your daily phone and texting, is obsessive, damaging, or taking your attention away from your own work, hobbies, friendships, or unduly interfering with your marriage, then it is simply not his business.

Close and intimate marriages thrive when spouses place the marriage at the center of their lives, but it’s a simple fact that your relationship with your children is longer standing, lifelong and unique.

One way for your husband to honor his marriage to you would be for him to love and respect the kind of parent you are.

Because this is an ongoing issue, you would both benefit from talking it out with the aid of a counselor.

A reader response on controlling the closeness to adult children

Dear Amy:

“At a Loss” described the fact that her husband seemed to resent her closeness to her adult children.

You are right: his behavior is concerning.

Now that At A Loss is retired, her social relationships are important for her safety and wellness. Abusers work hard to alienate their victims.

My ex-husband did this. A healthy, caring spouse would not avoid his own children or seek to alienate her from her own.

– Abuse Survivor

Dear Survivor:

This husband seemed quite jealous over his wife’s affectionate attachment to her children. This does not bode well for their future.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from a wife’s closeness to adult children to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2024 by Amy Dickinson

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