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Marriage Counseling Advice

My husband spends too much time and money on his family

Dear Dr. Ellen,
I need advice regarding my relationship with my husband. I am married for 8 years. My problem is that I work swing shift and every other weekend. I always try to be nice and polite with my husband but when I am not around he does things behind my back. He is nice and patient with me but he does things like spends too much money on his family and then tells me after a week or month that he did that and is upset. His family accepts too much from him and he doesn't know how to say, "No".

Last Saturday I was at work and he invited his family over our house. I feel uncomfortable when he told me that they were over when I was at work. Please help. I am so miserable. I told him at first that it was nice that they came over but he doesn't know that I feel it's not appropriate when I am not home. I understand that it's his mom, brother and sisters but it would be nice they came over when I am home.
- Dana

Dear Dana,
Obviously your husband knows what your reaction will be so he postpones telling you the truth as long as he can. There are only 2 reasons why people lie. Either they do not want to get into trouble or they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I think the first one applies here. I'm sure that in the past he must have told you what he was doing for the family and received a negative reaction. So, the next time he hides it from you.

I am glad you said, "That is nice" because that is the appropriate response to your husband. He is not a child who is not allowed to bring people over when you are not at home. I see nothing wrong with a grown man inviting his family over on a Saturday. He is probably very lonely with you working swing shifts and every other weekend, which, by the way, is not good for a marriage. When two people hardly spend time together and are "2 ships passing in the night" there is a good chance that one or the other is going to crave companionship of some kind. I think you should be happy that it is his family.

As for giving too much to his family, you married a man who is responsible, generous and dedicated to his family. I am sure you knew this right from the beginning.

Family is very important to him. He may act upset when he tells you because he knows you'll be upset as well. If you force him to do or give less you will have a husband who deeply resents you. If you make him choose between you and his family, I feel that you will lose in the end. You should be letting your husband know how lucky his family is having a son like him and how proud you are of him
- Dr. Ellen


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