Ask Kari: My wife won’t let anyone babysit our kids — what can I do to get some alone time with her?

Dear Kari,

I am desperate for alone time with my wife. We have two children, ages 2 and 4, and she is a great mom but she will absolutely not let anyone babysit the kids so that we can have a date night. At first, I was understanding, but four years in, I have lost my patience. Help me, I am lonely in the marriage even though we are together all the time (but it’s with our kids 24/7). What do you suggest I do?

--Lonely in Seattle

Dear Lonely in Seattle,

I agree, four years is a long time to wait for a night out alone with your wife.  I recommend that you pick a good time to talk with your wife and share your feelings completely; tell her that you feel very lonely in your marriage and that you would like the two of you to focus on shifting the dynamics towards putting effort again into the relationship. Let her know that you miss your alone time as adults. Then, I recommend that the two of you focus on finding someone that you can trust to help care for your children while you go out together. Ask friends and family for babysitting recommendations, and then set-up a time for the babysitter to visit to your home to meet your family.  Take it slow, allowing your wife to grow her confidence in other people caring for your children in a healthy manner. If needed, ask your pediatrician to have a talk with her about the benefits of children growing relationships with others in their lives other than their parents. Good luck!


As published in the January 2018 issue of Connections. Republished in May 2020

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.