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Posted by: Not Sure... | 2009/03/23

When his family is always priority!

Hi all,

I am in a situation. I am traditionally married to a very wonderful and caring man. Even though we are married, we are not yet living together as we first want to have our matrimonal ceremony before we move in together, so currently he lives in Jozi and I live in Pretoria.

The problem is that, he is the bread winner of his family and I have always known this from the word go, I don' t have a problem with this, my problem is that he seems to have more time for his family than for me. The reason I say this is that when we first met, we used to make time for each other. He would come over and spend the night and leave the next day and I would go and spend the night and sometimes even spend my whole weekend there. But now, things seems to have changed, I do most of the travelling. I make time to go and see him on the weekend when it' s my turn to go. But when it is his turn to come to my place, he always has execuses and, his sister needs this, his mum, his nephew, it' s always something or he is busy. The other worry is that he is always at his parents'  house. He sees them at least 3 times during the week and if he doesn' t see them on Saturday, he has to see them on Sunday, something he always has a problem to do for me.I don' t want to spend every weekend with him, but the last time he came to my place was about 3 months ago, all this time I have been doing the travelling.

I know and I am very aware of the distance issue, but I just feel he could work on it. We don' t see each other during work, because we go to school after work, so on weekends, I want to spend time with him, but he just seems to be occupied to come to my place.

I have spoken to him about it and it seems that he just doesn' t see why I keep raising it. There are times when he will even say, he is not feeling well, so that I have to do the driving to Jozi.

I love this man, Im just so worried that his priorities lies first with his family, and I feel as though if a situation came up that he had to choose between me and his family, he will definately choose them.

How do I handle this without upsetting the relationship, because it is really starting to break me down. And talking to him just seems pointless.. because I have done so many times.

Please advise

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Our expert says:
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So your concern isn't about his breadwinning for his family, but his allocation of time and attention ? He's not really ready for a formal or long-term relationship, if he both sees himself as more unchangeably committed to time spent with his parents and other family than with his spouse, and if he can't see why you would have any problems with his situation. Apart from occasional visits with you, he doesn't sound committed to any traditional or even modern concept of a mariage. He owes you and the children, time and emotional as well as financial support.
Is marriage counselling a possibility ? And you don't mention your own parents or family --- couldn't and shouldn't they also be involved, perhaps in some discussions ?
Any relationship involves compromises, but it should be that one partner always gets the 20 % share , with the 80 & share always going to others.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Not Sure | 2009/03/23

Thanks CS,

Counselling Sounds like the route to go....... even though I would want my family inolved... and I love them dearly, they are in another country....This does not make it any easier on my part.
:-(

Reply to Not Sure
Posted by: Maria | 2009/03/23

You' re very welcome. Yes relationship can mess you up. But a good relationship builds you up, gives you confidence, gives you someone who shares your joys and sorrows. It involves give and take, personal growth, and a feeling that the two of you function better together than you do apart.

Good luck with your decisions.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Not Sure | 2009/03/23

Hey Maria,

Thanks, will look for the book and consider the counselor route too... relationships, sometimes they can really mess you up!

Reply to Not Sure
Posted by: Maria | 2009/03/23

I can really recommend a book called " The Five Love Languages"  by Gary Chapman. Please read it, it might give you insite into where things are going wrong in your relationship. It would be great if you could get him to read it too.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2009/03/23

You' re right, no relationship will ever meet all our needs. But if you are not a priority to your husband, and he is not meeting your emotional needs, then how long will you be happy in your marriage? Won' t you be very lonely and vulnerable to any man who comes along and is willing to spend time with you and support you emotionally?

A marriage has many facets, and only you can decide what you are willing to live with or without. Just make very sure of your motives, and his. Why don' t you go and see a counseller by yourself to talk this through and get very clear in your own mind about what is going on here.

Take care.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Not Sure | 2009/03/23

Hey Soul,

My relationship with his family is good, (for in-laws).... it' s just that I sometimes feel as though, they are in control of him...

I spend a lot of time with them, I attend most of their family gatherings and the nieces and nephews are great. ( he has a huge extended family). But like I say.. I do most of the travelling, and my concern right now is how HE always jumps when any of them click fingers!

Maria,

Thanks for the advice... it' s true, we might have a history.. and maybe thinking about marrying him is the most realistic thing to do..but isn' t it true that sometimes in relationships, we only ever get 80% and never the other 20%?

I am just so confused about his priorities when it comes to quality time and I know that in our relationship, this has always been my concern and never anything else! Am I just making a big issue out of nothing???

Reply to Not Sure
Posted by: Maria | 2009/03/23

To me it sounds as if you are trying to convince yourself that you want to marry this man, because you clearly have a lot of shared history and responsibilities and he supports you financially. If spending time with you and going to the trouble of coming to see you is not a priority for him now then it is unlikely to be a priority for him after you get married. Clearly he is not meeting your emotional and physical needs. You need to ask yourself if you can go through life in a marriage where your needs are not met. You can' t whine about it afterwards because you are getting the message clearly now. Marriage does not change a man. He has to support his kids financially even if you don' t marry him.

You can ask him to join you in some marriage counselling but it seems unlikely that he would be willing to do this. I' m sorry to tell you this but it sounds as if your idea of what a relationship should be like is very different to his. Won' t his only lead to tears in the long run?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Soul | 2009/03/23

I understand and I gree with you completely. I just feel he should make an effort. His bending backwards for his family and his neglecting you.

What is your relationship like with his family?

Reply to Soul
Posted by: Not Sure | 2009/03/23

Thanks Soul,

I feel exactly the same, but I will be honest with you, he provides for me and the kids that we shares financially very well, but it seems that I think he feels this is enough. I need more than just financial closeness, and even though we talk on the phone every day... it' s just that I feel physically neglected and I think spending time with someone in person is so much more than paying their bills and phoning them..

Don' t get me wrong, Iam very appreciative and thankfulof his other support, I just want him to be here when he should, like I am when I should.

:-(

Reply to Not Sure
Posted by: Soul | 2009/03/23

Whatever you do don' t move out yet, this needs to be resolved before you leave to move in with him. You are putting alot of effort in the relationship and he none.
Let things be for a while don' t contact him don' t visit him let him be the one to do it, I think it' s one way of knowing where you stand. I do understand your frustration but a relationship is a two way street not always from from one person doing everything.

He needs to stop making excuses and make up his mind on what he wants and let you know. I know that the not knowing drives you insane but he needs to make a decision on what he wants so you can carry on with your life.

Reply to Soul

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