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Feeling Left Out when My Husband Is with His Family

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From the U.S.: I have been married to my husband for 3 years. His family is out of the country and visit us for 3 to 4 weeks every year. He has a younger sister who is very attention seeking and comes and lives with us for a month every year. She never tries to get friendly with me and is very clingy to her brother – my husband.

i always feel left out when she is around as they keep doing sibling things. she is immature and keeps hugging him taking pictures of the 2 of them etc.

i try to find something i can do alone for those few weeks, but at the back of my mind feel sad and depressed that my husband forgets about me when she is around. He is very loving when its just the 2 of us, but is overly attached to his family when they are around and I feel left out and ignored. If i let him know he says I should be ok with that for a few weeks when they are around.

Feeling Left Out when My Husband Is with His Family

Answered by on -


I don’t have enough information to comment on whether your husband is “over-attached.” He may simply be “attached,” which is a good thing. A man who is loving and loyal to his family is usually a man who knows how to be loving and loyal to his wife. If his family was asking him to choose them over you, it would be another story. I don’t see that in your letter. Instead, I see a family that misses him and that tries to pack 12 months of contact into 1 month.

You didn’t mention how old his sister is. If she is over 21 and inappropriately hugging, it might be advisable for your husband to start asserting some boundaries. That’s a “might.” Since I can’t witness what goes on, I can’t venture a definite. If she has a boyfriend or is dating, it’s probably not a problem but if her only affectionate contact with a male is your husband, it may not be helpful for him to go along with all of it.

If you were seeing me as a couple, I’d be asking your husband what he can do to reassure you that he hasn’t “forgotten” you during his family visits. And I’d be advising you to make more effort to befriend the sister by taking her on some “girls’ only” lunches or shopping trips or events. You’ll learn more about her when she isn’t so focused on her brother. It would be helpful if your husband supported you by encouraging his sister to go with you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Feeling Left Out when My Husband Is with His Family

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Feeling Left Out when My Husband Is with His Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 24 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.