Mother-daughter vacation: OK for Dad?
Q. I like to spend alone time with my child because I feel closer with her when my husband is not there. What are the potential ramifications of vacationing alone with her?
A. "There's nothing wrong with that, per se," says Wendi Fischer, a family psychologist in private practice in West Islip. A one-on-one vacation can strengthen the individual relationship between parent and child.
However, you're right to examine potential ramifications, depending on the way you handle a separate vacation, she says. "You should be very careful that there's a balance," she says. Each parent should have the chance to share a one-on-one vacation with the child, and there also should be vacations that the three of you take together. "There's something called triangulation, when two of the people have a bond that leaves out the other one," Fischer says. You should guard against developing this dynamic, whether it's your daughter and husband making you feel left out, or if your new vacation plan makes your husband feel hurt.
In an intact family, one-on-one vacations shouldn't become the norm, Fischer says. "When one parent goes alone with the child and the other parent goes alone with the child -- that's divorce," she says. "Normally, the addition of the extra parent should make vacation better."
Ask yourself this hard question: Do you prefer the company of your child to your spouse? If so, maybe your marital relationship needs to be looked at with a professional, Fischer says.