Spending time with his family (parents, brothers and their families) is the one thing that truly makes my partner happy. He completely comes alive when they are together. It's nice to see him so elated and at the same time I feel like time with us must feel like a death sentence for him. Maybe it's an Italian thing, that deep connection to your family. Of course when I say 'my family' I think of the kids and my partner. Getting hitched meant officially leaving my folks and starting anew. Not so with my partner.
Maybe it's because there is no real obligation with extended family, not like at home. Everyday is a struggle with three young kids. There is no real break to be had. But with extended family, they take care of you and you don't really have to give back. Maybe he just misses being a kid and likes to have someone dote on him again? I feel that way with my family. My Mom is my biggest supporter. I know that she and my Dad will never let me down. I also know that they love me unconditionally. Whereas at home, we have to earn each other's love. Yeah, I'm starting to get this now. And there's nothing wrong with loving those that love you the most. I know I can't make him that happy and that's okay.