Helicopter Mom is crashing her marriage

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DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 20 years. Before our two children started high school two years ago, we had a great marriage. Unfortunately, my wife has put our children's high school education above everything else. She's a classic "helicopter mom" who says that once the kids leave for college, our relationship will become great again.

As the months go by, I find myself being more of a father and a tutor than a husband and "intimate friend" to my wife. We have little in common with each other, little intimacy, and everything revolves around our children - not us.

I have talked to her about this, and we have seen a counselor and a priest who told my wife that what she's doing is wrong. But things are getting worse, not better.

Any suggestions on how to get the message across before we get totally separated or even divorced? Or am I the one who needs to see things differently?

- No Helicopter Dad

DEAR DAD: Your letter touches upon a conversation I have had several times over the last few years, and it involves whether helicopter parents are giving their children an advantage or preventing them from developing social skills and independence. If your kids are having problems in school and need extra parental guidance, then I'm all for it. But if they aren't - and their teachers should be able to tell you that - then your wife isn't doing this because of their need but her own.

Because you say you're not sure your marriage will be intact by the time they graduate, I'm urging that you both have more marriage counseling now. I hate to see a 20-year marriage go down the drain, because that's where it's headed.

 


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.