Marriage versus home and parents
August 28, 2013 1:24 PM Subscribe
I'm stuck. My wife and I have been married for a little over a year, and there's a looming issue I haven't been able to shake off since the engagement: being close to my home and family conflicts with my wife's goals and what's good for our marriage.
posted by winterroad to human relations (41 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I'm from a very small, somewhat remote village with a distinct local culture. All my family lives in that general area, including my parents, and I'm their only child. In our area, it's the norm that adult kids stay around with their new families and that their parents stay involved in their lives on a weekly basis. This is what my parents have always hoped for and what they see around them every day.
My wife is from another continent, is a cosmopolitan city girl, and is looking for adventure, for not being tied down to one place, and for living closer to her family for at least some time in our future.
Right now we live in a decent city about three hours from my parents. It feels like an acceptable compromise to me, but my wife doesn't like it that much. More importantly, she hates feeling trapped here because every talk about moving results in lots of anxiety on my part.
There's a complex mix of emotions going on in me that's hard to unravel. I feel guilty for leaving my parents alone now that they're about to retire. I'm homesick sometimes. I'm afraid of missing the good years my parents and uncles and aunts have left. I sometimes resent my wife for not making a bigger effort in settling down here, learning the language and making friends. On the other hand I totally understand her. It's not her culture and in marrying me she didn't sign up for giving up her dreams and her family. She says she doesn't feel the commitment from me of putting us and our new family first. (We have no kids yet, but want to.)
I do actually like adventure and have lived abroad before, but now this side of mine is shadowed by my fear of having to "give up" my parents and family and my home area for good. I'm afraid that since we already found out that my wife doesn't like it very much here, chances are slim we'd move back if we left.
I've seen two psychologists before about this. Their general consensus was that my attachment to my parents is a little unhealthy and partially driven by guilt, and that physical distance doesn't mean one cannot be close to each other. I see their points but somehow something is missing. My wife and I will see someone together next week.
As I said, I'm stuck and my confusion has led me to question my commitment to the marriage, like my wife already does. I love her, though. I'd be grateful for any hints about how to unravel this.