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How do I justify to my husband that my sister who is caregiver to my mother needs my presence and me being there several times a year without me favoring my mother and sister over him? He is threatening to leave me after being together for 17 years!

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Brenda, I hate to say this but hubby is sounding like a spoiled child. Good grief, what if this was his Mother and he needed to go help his sibling every now and then. Women understand this, I just don't know why some men feel abandoned when the wife leaves.

Being home alone. One knows how scary those vacuum cleaners and washing machines machines can be :P
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We don't have enough information to weigh in. Do you have responsibilities at home that you are expecting him to take care of? Does he have health issues ? Are you both retired? Does he support you? I'm sorry you feel you have to justify what you feel you need to do. That's an awful feeling. You have to live with you when all is said and done. My first impulse was to say pack his bag but I realize it's not that easy.
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If your husband feels neglected or abandoned, there is nothing you can say or do that is going to change that feeling.

How long are you gone for each time, and how many times a year? Is he upset because he feels neglected, or is he upset because this is wearing you out?

Does your mother require a higher level of care than either you or your sister can provide at this point?
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For some reason men (and even some women) are needy and self centered. I agree with the other people, and at the same time I get where your sister is coming from.

Your husband needs to have some understanding and compassion, but this might be asking a lot especially if he's been like this for a long time. Nothing against him, it's just that some people don't understand and they need their eyes opened up.

Maybe take your husband for a short time with you to your sister, just a few days to open his eyes. He's a man and he needs to step up and be a man and support you, his wife and your family, because that is what a real man does.

If nothing else, maybe start small and the gradually increase the help?
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I agree that it depends upon how many times a year you visit and for how long.

Leaving 4 times a year for a month each time is much different than leaving 3 times a year for a week.
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What is "several times a year," and how long does each time last?
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I doubt he would leave but it sounds like you aren't losing a lot if he does. You have to do what you think is right and it doesn't matter if it's 4 times a year or 3, for weeks or months. Just do what your conscience tells you and tell him you hope he stays but if not, you understand. I'm sorry you are being pulled apart like this at an already difficult time.
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Wow, is this threat serious or just an empty threat?

When my mom needed help - my husband's immediate response was "we need to do the right thing". It wasn't easy but mom was family.

There is obviously more to the story here.
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I agree with the others, there is a lot you're not telling us so it is difficult to say anything. I know a lady that left her DH to live with her mother in another state and her mother lived another 8+ years!

When my dad needed my presence, we were fortunate that I could place a mobile home on my property and navigate between both abodes to care for Dad and DH however it was needed.

The only thing I can suggest is you sit down with your DH and find out the reason he is thinking of leaving you over this. The answer might surprise you - and again, maybe not. You can't fix a problem until and unless you understand it from all angles.
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If he is threatening to leave you because you are going to care for YOUR MOTHER several times a year....hm. Unless there is some really major detail you forgot (your Sister/Mom hate him & have always tried to break the two of you up, you are gone for months, you hang out with your ex-husband/high-school boyfriend, or go you partying at casinos & blow the household budget), I'm not sure what his objection is.
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