Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Conflict over visiting parents


Hello, my husband and I have been married over 17 years, as of late, we have yearly conflict over me seeing my parents who live in Spain. Since we have 2 dogs, we've been forced to travel separately to see our loved ones. Our dogs are old and suffer terribly when left alone, we don't have anybody here to watch them and they're not easy to care for, and since the trip is so long and we don't see our parents for a year we visit family for at least 1 month, which is also too long to keep them in a kennel even if we wanted to.

Now that summer is around the corner, my parents are asking me to visit them, they even want to pay the ticket for me. I feel horrible, because I see them once a year and they are getting old, my dad is 80 my mom is 76 and they are starting to feel the effects of aging. As the years go by, I realize that I won't have many opportunities to see them. I feel like crying when I think about this.

So my husband doesn't say I can't go, but he tells me doesn't like it. He thinks we should not separate. He dreads being left alone. I understand him. Last year, his mom was on her death bed and he went to see her for 1 month. My parents at that time, took the first plane from Spain and rushed to keep me company as they were worried sick of me being alone as we live in a very isolated area and I had no car. So since my parents did that last year, my husband wants them to come see me instead of me going there. Yet, my husband has no idea what they went through to come see me last year! My dad got chest pains from being anxious about flying. He had to see the doctor the night before and and get tests done. He was told he was healthy and was a matter or "nerves" so was given the green light to fly. Anyhow, they are getting old and I don't want them to risk their health as it's a very long trip (21 hours with 3 plane change). My mom walks slow and is often weak. In addition, my parents don't like to leave my sister who lives with them alone. (Last year when they came to visit, my sister had taken a month leave from work, so it worked out)

So hear we are again. My mom pleading me to visit on the phone, my husband complaining and me in the middle. Feeling awful not seeing my parents after a year of not seeing them, feeling awful of leaving my husband alone for a whole month, and feeling awful that we can't leave our dogs alone and they can't come with us as there are 3 plane changes and it's terribly stressful as they would travel in cargo.  So I don't know what to do....

PS: my husband isn't planning to see his dad this year, he saw him last September so he's thinking to maybe wait another year. He lost his wife (my husband's mom) in the fall and is now starting to go out and date so my husband doesn't feel he really needs to see him as he's starting to recover from the loss. So we can't really compromise like I go then you go.

Make a list of possible solutions to "what to do about Mom" such as:
1. don't visit her ever
2. have her move in with you
3. visit once a year, per month, etc.
4. get a divorce

Each of you privately choose three of eight that seem most practical.
Compare choices.
The overlap is your agreement.

Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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Daniel Keeran, MSW


I can answer questions about issues arising in marriage: conflict, communication, listening, anger, verbal abuse, household responsibilities, infidelity, addiction/substance abuse, pornography, physical abuse, time spent together, finances, in-laws, death of a spouse or child, separation and divorce, problem-solving and much more. FREE PDF DOWNLOAD "Counseling In A Book"


I have over 30 years as a counselor for couples experiencing difficulties. I have been a counselor for over 30 years in private practice and hospital settings. For deeper understanding and healing childhood experiences affecting adult life and relationships with self and others see the reader-friendly source

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MA (University of Kentucky), MSW (Kent School of Social Work)

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