Dear Annie: As a longtime reader, I want to say that I love your column. I am writing now to ask for your advice.
I have a wonderful marriage with someone I met when we were teenagers. We have a beautiful family with two boys and some pets, and almost everything is good. However, my wife becomes obsessed with causes at times, and for the past year or so, she is so intensely invested in feral cats. She got involved with a local group, and just about every day, sometimes twice a day, they go check their traps to see if a new cat has wandered in. They then have a relationship with a vet to rapidly spay/neuter the cats, and then our family and a few others foster them for a few days until it's time to release.
I am the breadwinner, and I can't tell you how much money has gone into spaying and neutering all these cats. She leaves me to cook for the kids when she checks the traps in the evenings, and the bottom line is that I don't like having a part-time wife, and my kids are confused why Momma leaves for a few hours every night.
I have tried talking to her, but it just starts a fight since she claims I "hate animals" because I refuse to become a vegan as well. Plus, I feel like all sentient creatures have the right to their own choices, and by forcibly kidnapping and spaying these cats, they are taking their choices and natural rights away. Should I just hope to sweat this out and wait until she moves on to the next cause? I am open to counseling, but she isn't. What would you suggest? -- Done With Cats
Dear Done With Cats: It's not the cats that you are done with; it's the feeling of being second fiddle to all of your wife's causes. What your wife is doing is very admirable and important. Without organizations that trap, spay, neuter and release feral cats, cities would be overrun with them. What is not admirable is your wife's distribution of time.
Bringing up the fact that you are the breadwinner and expect dinner on the table is a bit dated, but expecting a partner and mother of your children to be around and put the family as her priority is not. It is always important. It does sound like she is running from something, albeit running to a good cause -- but still running. Seek the help of a professional counselor for yourself to sort out why you two are having a hard time connecting.
Sometimes it's easier to constantly stay busy and on the move to avoid sitting down for quality family time. As you progress in therapy, you will gain insights into approaching this subject without having it devolve into a fight, and she might even join you for counseling together.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.