Dad Shares His Intense 'Feelings Of Loneliness & Exclusion' Because Of Wife's Intense Parenting Style

There will always be a push-and-pull between balancing the responsibilities of parenting and maintaining a healthy partnership.

mom dad and baby smiling happy Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

A dad wrote into the r/Parenting subreddit for guidance on a conflict most, if not all, parents experience: trying to find some semblance of balance between a parenting role and a partner role.

He stated that he and his wife have “a lovely 19-month-old son, who’s a really sweet child,” before explaining that his wife stayed at home until their son was 14 months old, then returned to work.

The dad expressed feeling 'lonely and excluded' because of his wife’s intense parenting style and ‘very deep connection’ to their son.

He explained that his wife’s undivided, one-on-one interactions with their son are “excellent for his social, affective and language development,” while acknowledging that his own father-son time is “45 to 60 minutes max, then I encourage him to play on his own while I go do something else.”


“She’s so absorbed by him when we’re sitting [with] the three of us for a meal that I can’t engage in the most basic conversation with her,” the dad said. “She tends to ignore (unintentionally, I hope) my questions and generally talks to him.”

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dad feels lonely and excluded from parenting his son with his wifePhoto: Dmitiry Ganin / Pexels


The dad went on to say that while they were on vacation, his wife expressed “that a full week like that is exhausting for her because now he’s so used to it that he asks for her all the time and is generally unable to be on his own, or even just with me when she’s at home.”

"I feel like we don’t interact as a healthy couple anymore," the dad proclaimed, as a result of how much his wife focuses on their toddler.

He noted that his wife doesn’t have a fulfilled “social [or] cultural life” because of “the sheer time she dedicates” to parenting. He also expressed worries that “not letting our son explore on his own and find his own ways to self-entertain or even be a little bored alone might hinder his autonomy skills.”

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He and his wife have had open conversations about parenting, in which he shared his 'feelings of loneliness and of being excluded.'

“I am counting on the fact that this will be temporary when he’s still a baby and that, eventually, things will settle back to normal,” the dad added. He noted that even though he and his wife have talked openly about their parenting conflicts, “she can’t seem to be able to act on it... include me more and let the child be more on his own.”

The dad added an edit to his original post, explaining that the 45 to 60 minutes of one-on-one time he claimed that he spends with his son doesn’t represent a full day’s time; rather, “it’s in a single sitting to illustrate the fact that I have other things to handle besides exclusively playing and interacting with my son.” The dad clarified further, saying, “I am a part-time stay-at-home dad so stuff needs [to be] done around the house during the day.”

Many comments from other parents pointed out that from a developmental standpoint, a 19-month-old baby is still young and, at that age, kids do need major one-on-one focus.

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While some parents criticized the dad, offering the opinion that he needed to contribute more and complain less, others were more generous, offering validation and guidance on ways to navigate feeling excluded from his family life and distant from his wife. 

One woman offered a view of the situation from a mom’s perspective, saying, “Becoming a mother really does change you into another person... Now is the time where she can slowly start to build her new life back up.” The mom suggested that his wife join a mom’s group, so she could make friends in a similar situation while their son learns to play and socialize with other kids. She noted, “It's a journey to find your new self,” advising them to “support each other and work on a new balance.”

Another parent noted the inherent impermanence involved in parenting, explaining, “It’s important to remember that no stage lasts forever.” They commented that his wife is balancing many new roles, and he should “give her grace.”


They noted that there’s validity to the dad “feeling displaced,” yet he should “be intentional” in working to fix that feeling, advising him to “take action to work on your relationship, don’t just complain to her and then expect her to do everything to make it better.”

dad feels lonely and excluded from parenting his son with his wifePhoto: Tatiana Syrikova / Pexels 

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Within the comments thread, the dad posted a reaction to some of the responses, proclaiming, “I think we haven’t quite landed yet from having a baby, our relationship is still reshaping itself and maybe I should embrace it and not cling to how things were.”

He vocalized an extremely common feeling that can occur for couples after they have a baby — the sense that their worlds have shifted and they have to find their footing as both partners and parents.

For parents, there will always be a push-and-pull between balancing the responsibilities of parenting and maintaining both a sense of self and a healthy partnership. Openly discussing family dynamics and expectations is the first step for parents navigating a complex emotional situation, one that is sure to ebb and flow as their children grow.


The dad is valid in wanting a deeper connection with his wife, and his wife is valid in how she interacts with their son. As the two come together to reestablish a routine, they will likely feel more connected, by virtue of supporting each other’s happiness. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.