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Man calls wife 'wasteful' for wanting to visit ill, recently widowed mom for Christmas. + Update

Man calls wife 'wasteful' for wanting to visit ill, recently widowed mom for Christmas. + Update


"Am I (39F) being selfish by leaving my husband (44M) at home for Christmas?"


Context: My (39F) parents and I live across the country from each other. My older brother and his family live closer to them, but still requires a flight to visit. My dad (73) passed away from a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer in mid-September.

My mom (73) has also been in the process of diagnosing why she has increasing memory issues, specifically with language (understanding words and remembering names of everyday things).

Right after he died, my mom’s cognitive tests showed a significant decline and she is currently in the process of being diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s or dementia. My brother (44M) and I were by our dad’s side when he passed away and my husband (44M) flew in quickly after.

We then had a memorial service about a month later in late October, where lots of extended family attended and it was lovely. To top it off, the week before Thanksgiving, my friend/coworker (42M) died unexpectedly. I’m devastated.

Thanksgiving - my husband and I stayed local and had a nice, low-key holiday with his parents. My mom, brother, and much of my family got together on the other side of the country.

Christmas plans - I have 2 weeks off work. It’s my mom’s 74th birthday on 12/23. It’s also my 40th birthday on 1/1. My brother and his family plan to go for an extended time, just as I would ideally like to, to be with her at this time and to work on getting the house ready to be sold in the next 3-6 months and figure out if she needs to move into memory care and where, etc.

Dilemma: It’s very expensive to fly across country for Christmas and my husband is very practical with spending money. However, I don’t really care how much it’s costs right now - my mom needs me.

I also need my mom. I’m reeling from 2 deaths in 2 months, plus her biggest challenge is communicating and using technology (so even FaceTime is tricky), and I don’t know how much time we have left with her.

My husband is saying I’m being “selfish for leaving him alone at Christmas and deal with the dog and house.” He thinks it’s enough that my brother is going to be there with her, and that we were just there twice (for my dad’s final breaths and subsequent funeral) so we should go some time in January or February.

Husband will technically not be “alone” while I’m gone - his brother (with a wife and kids) and parents live nearby and another brother (also wife and kids) will be visiting for 3 weeks.

I’ve said he could come with me and we figure out who can watch the dog. His response is that it’s too $$ and he doesn’t view it as a “vacation” since the bed in my old room is small, etc.

He has suggested that we should go away somewhere for a few days since I have the time off work…but obviously not across the country to my mom’s house. I could structure the travel dates to leave for 10 days and still see his family that’s visiting, and be back before my birthday. So we’d still have time together while I’m off work/celebrate together.

Regardless, to him - if I go I’m being selfish. But I disagree because it’s not about him right now. So should I book a ticket or am I a jerk who should put my husband higher up on my priority list?

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


"he doesn’t view it as a 'vacation'"

Um yeah, because its not a vacation?! Its a trip to visit your mom, who lost her husband, you lost your dad just recently.

Your mom is ill, who knows how much time you have left with her (her ability to recognise you might quickly fade too) Your husband really wants to put a $sign on this? On spending the maybe last Christmas with your mom while she is still able to know who you are?

"He thinks it’s enough that my brother is going to be there with her"

What about your feelings. You WANT to be there. That alone is more than enough reason to go.

“selfish for leaving him alone at Christmas and deal with the dog and house.”

Wtf, is he a little kid? I would probably be very blunt with him. "I don't care how much it costs. I want to see my mom so I will. I need you to support me in this. If you don't want to join me, that's fine. But don't you dare trying to make me feel guilty for going to see her. She is ill. I don't know how much time we have left with her.

I'm still grieving the loss of my dad and my friend and being with my mom will give me comfort for that. Do my feelings matter so little to you, that you are bothered by how it's a little more expensive or that you will be 'alone' on Christmas? I can't believe you call me selfish. Please take a look in the mirror."


This. This is the first Christmas for your mom without your dad. Plus, from what you are saying, this may be one of the last Christmases with your mom where your mom actually knows who you are. Sorry to put it so bluntly.

If you don't go, you may regret losing this time with her and it's not time you can get back. Your husband doesn't have the same issues because he gets to have his parents close by. That is pretty unfair and selfish of him not to see that. It's not like you are asking him to move across the country to be near your mom.

FYI, you might want to make sure your mom has been checked for a UTI. They present differently in older women and she may have one and not even know it. Apparently they can also cause rapid cognitive decline.


100% go see your mum. Your 44 year old husband will just need to pull on his big boy pants and feed the dog and vacuum without you. If he can't manage that, you have bigger issues than you realise.


Your husband is the one being selfish. You and your brother need to get over there and get things sorted. All the paperwork, the POA, the house, a team game plan for your mother’s care, plus be together this first Xmas after the loss of your father.

I wish I had no experience in this but your time is limited to make an execute a plan. When I was in a similar sitch, my then husband was about to be deployed for a year. Had the kids and dogs. I had to go to my GMA for 3 mos to get her well enough to travel so she could at least get moved closer to where family lived.

I spent 7 years trying to help manage things from a afar before she finally passed and it was all of the stuff…selling a house in state A, organizing care in state B, trying to run my household and work my job and make frequent trips to pull things out of the fire.

You are in for some tough stuff here and your husband could be quite a lot more supportive. I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of this. Go to your mom. Spend all the time you can while she still knows who you are and can make decisions and get things aligned. You won’t regret it.

Nine days later, the OP returned with an update.

"[UPDATE] Am I (39F) being selfish for leaving my husband (44M) at home for Christmas"


I wanted to give everyone a quick update and huge thank you for all the advice and support! I’m embarrassed to even have to ask about this but your validation this past week really has helped me a ton.

With all your encouragement, I booked my departure flight to go see my mom so that I could lock in a decent price and relieve some anxiety. A few days later, I was able to book my return flight with points that I’ve been saving for ages, so the cost really hasn’t been too terrible.

I opted to go for 10 days and sadly I’ve been getting the cold shoulder (as expected) since telling my husband, and my mental health is at an all time low. I reached out to a grievance counselor today to help process the loss of my dad and friend, and cope with my mom’s upcoming diagnosis.

We have a lot to consider in the future but thank you for helping me have the confidence to do what’s right in my heart and spend time with my precious mama for her birthday and first holiday season after losing my dad in September. With gratitude, hugs 🖤

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's update:


Go enjoy your time with your mom! I also lost my dad to pancreatic cancer and it was devastating. That will be 20 years ago next year and it does get better. I can think about my dad without crying and that was a huge hurdle for me. Your husband will get over it after he pouts a bit! Best of luck and have a merry Christmas.


so he says she can do what she wants and then he punishes her for it.

living with him sounds much lonelier than being alone.


It isn't a vacation and it won't even be just about a last holiday. This woman's children will be having the hard conversations and decisions - while mom still has input. I'm angry for her. Frankly, I'd be of the mindset that it might not be my last Christmas with my mother - but it would be with my husband.


I know people make fun of reddit for going "divorce him!" but... she really should divorce him.


Let’s take Christmas out of it. He doesn’t want to left alone with the dog and house. Makes me wonder how much she does around vs him. And with her gone he is going to have to do those things.


So the husband is a selfish baby. This is the "for worse" part of wedding vows. I hope she yeets that AH out of her life.

So, do you think the OP's husband is being unsupportive and possibly cruel? What advice would you give the OP?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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