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Wife resents husband's devotion to his family

DEAR AMY: My husband's mother became ill this winter. She's youngish (early 60s) and recovered fairly quickly, but has to have more surgery this spring to put everything back in place. She asked my husband to come out and take care of her for a few days when she is released from the hospital. My problem is that she did not ask me if this is OK. She is not taking into consideration the amount of stress she will place on our family when he's gone. She has a husband, sister and two daughters who live near her. We are a 3-1/2-hour plane trip away. My husband is the sole provider for our family, and we have three young children. I feel the amount of stress I will have when he is away is too much when she has other support close by. I gave him my blessing to go there for the initial surgery to make sure everything goes smoothly, but she is taking advantage of the situation to ask him to come home again. What's your take?

-- Conflicted

DEAR CONFLICTED: My take is that you feel overwhelmed and resentful that your husband has made a choice to be with his mother while she recovers from her reconstructive surgery.

If she had approached you before making this request, it might have made you feel better by being included.

But, honestly, does she need your permission to ask her son to do something for her? Answer: No.

Would your mother need your husband's permission to ask you to come home? I hope not.

This falls into the category of: "Stuff happens."

I can certainly see why it would be inconvenient and even unnecessary for your husband to make this long trip. But because he is doing it you need to assume he wants to.

He is the one with whom you should negotiate.

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