My Husband’s Obsession With Our Adult Son’s Career Is Wrecking My Marriage

My kids both played high level competitive sports through their entire youth. My son started at six, playing at least two sports simultaneously all year round. Sometimes three. They often overlapped, took over most weekends and holidays, and helped us find amazing friends who are like family.

Our daughter started around the same age- maybe seven or eight, and played one sport consistently. We navigated the crazy schedules with “divide and conquer” planning, packed cars, and uniform changes sitting amongst the snack bags and coolers, chairs and umbrellas.

We did this every weekend for years. And when I say years, I mean it. There were plenty of times we prayed for rain, so we could just have a canceled tournament and a weekend off. I think about those times now with an ache-I would love to go back even for just one packed weekend.

My husband lives for our son’s baseball performance and it is ruining our marriage. (Shutterstock: Kinga)

My son is now a professional athlete

But now…now the kids are grown and flown. My daughter is in college, and my son is a professional athlete.

Wait what???

I am not minimizing the fact that this is amazing. That he is one of the very, very few to “make it,” getting drafted after three years of college and now playing in the Minor Leagues of baseball. Kinda makes all those crazy weekends worth it.

Turning pro was my son’s dream, not mine

But that wasn’t my dream, it was his. I’m thrilled for him, following his dreams and playing the game he loves for a living (albeit not much of a paycheck), learning about himself and growing, striving to get promoted. In many ways he is just like all of our adult kids at the beginning of their careers.

But my husband is ruining the fun. I am not blind to the fact that he’s always been a little crazy, tougher on the kids in their sports than he needed to be, and laser focused on their performances. This isn’t NEW.

What is new is the intensity and focus he has on the game; the over-analysis of our son’s play every single day. The stress and worry about his failures. The mood changes when the days are good or bad-like this is all that matters.

My husband is ruining everything with his laser focus on my son’s performances

He lives, breathes, sleeps and eats baseball, and specifically, our son’s baseball performance. The texts and phone calls with other baseball dads are endless. The review of at-bats and stats, comparison to other players, negative comments about the game/team/others go on and on.

He worries. I understand this. It’s a competitive industry with plenty of talent and our son is one in a million, practically. It’s perform or be pushed out. There is another guy waiting for your spot. But, it’s affecting me. It’s affecting our marriage. It’s affecting his relationship with our daughter, our families, and our non-baseball focused friends.

My husband’s behavior is affecting all of his other relationships

He doesn’t want to do anything or go anywhere during the games, which are live-streamed. That’s every single day for three+ hours, in the evening. One could argue that he’s supporting his son, but it’s unhealthy to have your life completely coopted by someone else’s schedule.

I was thinking about this today because in no other job does a parent scrutinize their child’s performance daily. Imagine your kid gets a new job, as a sales rep. Do you get daily reports on how many calls they made, how their sales pitch slide deck went over with a client, whether they made the requisite number of calls today, and if they were on time to work?

This level of involvement isn’t healthy no matter what field your young adult goes into

Or maybe your son or daughter graduates college and starts in a finance role. Do you ask on a nightly call whether they impressed the boss today-or did someone else do better work? Was their participation in the team meeting stellar? Did they have a brilliant idea that wowed the execs and are they thinking about their next step up?

I could go on and on, but the answer is…NO. This level of involvement isn’t normal, or healthy. In no other world are you watching your kid’s every move, and then re-watching it because you can.

I see the problem but I’m not sure what to do about it. It has become a huge issue for me, and others are noticing and commenting. Especially our daughter. Why can’t he be a fan, cheer and encourage without being affected by every bad swing? Why can’t he be excited by a great day, and not overanalyze what was better, different? Why is he always thinking the worst?

My husband’s behavior affects me adversely but i have no idea what to do about it

It’s affecting me too. I don’t want to watch games together. I don’t talk about baseball or the game. I don’t want to engage, because it’s literally always negativity.

After all these years, you think I would have the answers. But I don’t. People change. No one is perfect. I’m optimistic by nature and I hope that we can talk it out and make some changes before things are permanently broken.

I refuse to have my family ruined over baseball.

The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.

More Great Reading:

After A Devastating Sports Injury, My College Junior Said, “I Got This

From Little League to College to Heartbreak: Our Baseball Journey

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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