First Class to France

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Dear Dharma,

Have I stepped back into 1818? I have stumbled on a wonderful opportunity to spend three weeks in the French countryside. I can get the time off work, thanks to forgoing vacations for years… and I have enough vacation benefits to cover the time and the cost of being off work. My parents can help get the kids to and from school. There is no reason for me not to go.

Except that my husband and his family don’t want me to go because “a woman does not travel alone.”

This is ridiculous! Not only am I taking over a vacation package a friend had to cancel, meaning there is no room for my husband and family on this trip, I actually don’t want them to come! A little me time is long overdue, and I’d welcome a small retreat from the busy work/mom/wife life.

Hubby and in-laws, however, think a lady on a solo trip is not “proper or becoming,” “people will talk,” and of course, some handsome French man will swoop in and I’ll be simply helpless to prevent myself from having an affair. **eye roll**.

Dharma, I’m a “proper lady.” I’m not running away to cheat. I just need a vacation. How do I make them see this?

Sincerely,

“Independent” Wife

Dear Wife,

First off, what the in-laws think needs to become irrelevant – to both you and your husband.  This is between the two of you, full stop.

Secondly – take me with you!  🙂

Of course, having your husband on board in regards to taking this trip would make things so much easier… But you realize you don’t actually need his blessing, right?  I mean, again, it would be great to have it, but…

And you should have it!  You aren’t proposing this trip as an act of defiance against him, you simply have a fantastic opportunity that doesn’t set anyone back.  And that’s what you have to focus on with your husband.

Assure him no one will “talk”, except maybe your in-laws (okay, not maybe…definitely they’ll talk!) and then get to the root of the problem, because it seems there may be an underlying issue here.

Is it trust?  Is it feeling left out or unimportant?  Because if it’s either of those things, those problems exist with or without the trip, and need to be addressed.

And try asking him how he would want you to react and behave if the situation were reversed… wouldn’t he want your support and encouragement?

Dharma doesn’t believe in the concept of “letting” or “allowing” when it comes to relationships.  When someone says, “My husband won’t let me do that”, or “My husband isn’t “allowed” to do this”, it makes my skin crawl.

Although you are married, no one actually owns anyone, and we all need to be given space to do the things that are important to us.  We don’t necessarily need to love every decision our spouse makes, but veto power should be used sparingly in relationships in order to honour the respect needed for things to thrive.

So maybe try that approach with him and see where that gets you – which is hopefully on your way to France… preferably in First Class!

Dharma

 

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