to want affection in my marriage?

(29 Posts)
amievil Fri 08-Mar-13 14:46:59

First an apology, man here (boo hiss), but I wanted a woman's point of view.

My wife and I have been married for quite a few years now and things have usually been very good between us. She's always been the centre of my world. I'm not the kind of man to make plans with mates etc. without checking that she doesn't mind. Infact I don't tend to do anything without running it past her first.

A few years ago we had DC1 after many years of "on again, off again" trying. The birth was rather traumatic and the first year was a nightmare. It tested us as people but our marriage stayed strong.

Well a couple of months ago my wife gave birth to DC2. This was a more straightforward pregnancy, by no means by the book perfect, and a far less traumatic birth. The first few weeks were brilliant, we seemed to be more in love and happier than we ever had been. In recent weeks though it is like someone has flicked a switch and turned our marriage to a steaming brown nappy filling.

If we cuddle, I have to instigate it. If we kiss, it's because I instigate. If she tells me she loves me, it's only a reply to me saying it first. I stopped trying to have a conversation outside of the usual inane "How are you? How have the kids been today?" As these are generally responded to with as few words as possible.

It's got to the point where last night I found myself wondering if the only reason she keeps me around is because my wages pay the mortgage, all of the household bills..... well you get the idea.

Now I'm not wanting to be permanently attached at the groin but I would really like it if once in a while she just came up to when I'm doing something and give me a hug or a kiss, the way that I do to her. When she went out this afternoon she didn't even say bye, let alone "Love you".

Am I being unreasonable or paranoid. Someone tell me that it's all going to be fine as I love both of my children very much and don't want to be reduced to weekend visits and child support payments.

Thanks

Shodan Fri 08-Mar-13 14:51:22

Um. I am by no means an expert in this area (and there are many on Mumsnet who'll be better able to give you some answers), but ...

You say your wife gave birth just a couple of months ago? So there will still be post-natal hormones rattling around. PND is a possibility, too. If it's not that, it may just be that she is totally exhausted and just wants to have a few minutes without being touched by any other human being (children included)- having to 'give' of herself, really, all the time.

FBmum Fri 08-Mar-13 14:53:01

Didn't want to read and run, although it's difficult to advise as every women is different. In my experience, after giving birth to child number 2, I was knackered for MONTHS AND MONTHS, and could barely raise a smile. I was fairly overcome with the responsibility of motherhood, and my world was just that - motherhood. Sorry to say, but DH came second and physical affection was not free flowing for a good long time. Talk to her about it, but don't demand anything of her right now - but give her lots of time and space - she may be feeling just as confused as you.

WileyRoadRunner Fri 08-Mar-13 14:55:14

How is her mood generally? Do you think she may be suffering from depression?

Is she doing all the night feeds - could it be that she is just totally exhausted?

I don't think it is uncommon for husbands to feel "pushed out" in the first few months after having a baby. Don't forget that she will probably feel emotionally exhausted as well as physically at the moment. Going from one child to two is a big upheaval for a lot of people. Perhaps she's just feeling overwhelmed.

Maybe she feels like you always want more/ may want more physically than she is ready to offer. That the hugging/kissing is just a warm up....

I think it is a bit early to start thinking about being a weekend dad if your marriage has always been strong. You need to talk to her and not come across as though you are wanting something . . . your first priority should be whether she is struggling.

I hope you work things out.

scaevola Fri 08-Mar-13 14:56:54

I think you're going to need to look deeper.

It seems far too fast to go from OK via difficult to thinking visualising separation in the space of only a few weeks.

She has become distant towards you. You need to begin by examining why. And that includes looking hard at yourself and the emotional connexion you have with your wife and how the roles in your family are working.

What is communication like between you? I suspect poor at the moment. Focus on rebuilding this and going genuinely available to her both emotionally and practically might be a start point. That way, I hope, you will discover her current aims and motivations and you can then have the basis for healthy progress.

If she has two young children and has recently given birth, she's most likely exhausted. How much rest does she get? Does she ever get a break? Is it possible she might be feeling low or having PND?

If she is exhausted and/or depressed, the best thing you can do is be supportive and help her get better. It's sort of an indirect way to bringing affection back. She may just be completely tapped out, but it's unlikely to last forever if your marriage is strong.

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 15:40:54

She sounds like she may well be totally knackered. The second birth might have been less traumatic from your view but not hers.

I'd suggest keeping sex totally out of the equation and actually talking to your dw to see how she's feeling. She might be completely overwhelmed having 2 young children.

Do you do housework? Do you see to your children's needs? You might work hard but I can bet she is working harder at the moment. Be supportive. Don't put her down and don't stop telling her you love her.

amievil Fri 08-Mar-13 15:50:59

Thanks for your responses, they were very quick and helpful.

To answer a couple of your queries; She doesn't do all of the night feeds, I do the weekends and one or two in the week. I try to give her a break when I can by taking DC1 out, DC2 sleeps really well between feeds so isn't a huge effort to take care of most of the time. Communication is almost none existent, in the evening, once the children are in bed she tends to disappear in to the Internet rather than try and have a conversation.

Just to straighten one thing out, I have NO intention of leaving. I was making the point that I feel like I wouldn't be welcome at home if my wife would be financially stable without me.

So far you all seem to be backing the "I'm being paranoid and need to support her getting used to the upheaval" theory.

I hope and pray that you're right.

Stropzilla Fri 08-Mar-13 15:56:30

I think I acted a bit like that after the birth of DD2. After running round after DD1 all day, and being held onto all day by DD2, I really didn't feel like being cuddly! We sat at opposite ends of the sofa, and I too disapperead off onto the internet. Evening would be the only time I could get "me" time. DH was much like you, did what he could and I think he too felt I could get by quite well without him. I think after birth, so many men see their wives being 100% there for their kids, and marriage can suffer while the new roles people have are settled into. If you can, give her space, ask her if she'd like a bath, and (if you don't already) offer to cook sometimes.

Please DONT tell her that you'd love to be at home instead of work, or in any way imply she has it easier than you. DH did, jokingly and it was Not Funny.

Dh and I fixed a lot of issues by having a sort of date night. On a friday, kids would be fed early and put down, and he would cook for me or order me a takeout. We'd sit up at the table just him and me, no music no tele and our 1 rule was no talking about kids. It's hard but making time for eachother as a couple not just the other parent helped loads.

Jonno94 Fri 08-Mar-13 16:04:22

nah you have to give her time mate. Lots of time. Go with the flow and RELAX. Its only been two months and they are full of hormones and knackered. She might even be depressed. Many are. Just give her love and reassurance. I won't worry about nooky. Remember its all about the babies at the moment.
So chill out. Just count to 10. Be supportive. Give 100%. Don't expect anything back for a year. Give love and just be there for her. Ok son? Trust me I've got 4. It is a nightmare but try and remember its not about us at the moment. Once the babies are bit less work and she is a bit more human by having some sleep then everything will be tickety boo. I promise. She loves you. You got two kids, just have confidence and be there for her. Do the cooking, do the shopping, do the listening, give her hugs, give her compliments and don't complain. She brought your kids into this world, its her time, its what she is designed to do so just be there and support her

WileyRoadRunner Fri 08-Mar-13 16:08:11

DC2 sleeps really well between feeds so isn't a huge effort to take care of most of the time

She is probably doing things around the house in this time though - cleaning, tidying, making up bottles, washing, ironing....

Is DC1 at school?

Is she breastfeeding? I felt for many months that I was permanently attached to a human being who wanted love, hugs, food and security from me. I didn't have a lot of physical affection left for DH as well. Give her time. I just wanted my body to be left alone for five minutes.

LineRunner Fri 08-Mar-13 16:20:15

Is this about sex?

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 08-Mar-13 16:34:45

I was a bit like this, just had nothing to talk about. Felt like I was just a mum with nothing of interest or relevance. Space, time & opportunity to be herself and she'll soon be back I'm sure.

amievil Fri 08-Mar-13 16:39:34

Linerunner - This is most definitely NOT about sex. It's about feeling loved, be that spoken or a gesture such as a spontaneous hug.

Stropzilla - You seem to have summed up the situation perfectly.

hiddenhome Fri 08-Mar-13 16:44:02

Sometimes, women feel that a cuddle has to develop into sex and, if they can't be bothered, then even a cuddle may be unwanted. We also feel like our bodies aren't our own after we've had dcs and simply want some space. Also, resentment can build up if chores aren't shared - nobody feels sexy if they're just spending the day skivvying.

LineRunner Fri 08-Mar-13 17:41:21

I agree with hiddenhome that sometimes it can seem that a gesture of affection is a kind of pressure to have sex. It's a tricky cycle to break and that's why sometimes the 'no sex' rule works, so that the affection can be shown without the pressure that it has to lead to something.

Stropzilla Fri 08-Mar-13 17:49:56

It's alright to feel sidelined and like she could happily not have you there. It will pass, honest. I did start to feel pressured to have sex, a nice cuddle would evolve into kissing, then tounges, then he'd go straight for my boobs. NOOOO! That definately made me withdraw. The rare times I did let him close he pulled that stunt, so that didn't help matters. You might say "she knows I won't pressure her" or whatever but when you go for a hug, reassure her of that anyway. Tell her she's doing a great job. And I know you're saying the baby sleeps well so isn't a problem, that's not the case. Mums have this internal radio that's on 24/7. She will ALWAYS have an ear out for the baby, like a coiled spring ready to jump to whatever baby needs at any time. Even if baby is sleeping. It's not restful! Even if she doesn't leap up the minute baby wants her, the urge to do so is there. The only way out of that for me was not to be in the same house as baby.

Idocrazythings Fri 08-Mar-13 20:23:40

She could just feel all touched out. For me sometimes it feels that everyone wants a piece of me and there's no respite- children hanging off me all day. Then you sit down, the cat jumps on your lap, then DH wants attention too. Because you've been at work all day (I presume) you havn't had that level of contact, it's probably hard to understand as well, unless you're the "touched out" person.

Good on you for trying to be understanding about it, it won't last forever.

Smartiepants79 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:28:22

This is me and my husband right now!
My second daughter is 11 weeks and all I want in the evenings is my own space.
My baby is fairly easy also but it is still very emotionally and physically demanding and I feel like I have given all I have to give by 7pm.
I do also feel like some cuddles have an ulterior motive and so sometimes I just try and avoid.
Try and reassure her that you are not trying to push her, you will wait til she is ready and has her libido back!
Watch her carefully for signs of depression.
Lastly give both of you a break, it is very early days!

Mollydoggerson Fri 08-Mar-13 21:35:45

Hormones and being sick of some little being hanging off you 24/7 might be causing problems.

I know I recoiled at physical touch for ages, literally my skin crawled, I think it was due to someone constantly wanting my attention. It's exhausting and all consuming and I think the woman gets the brunt of it in the early days. If you combine the heavy demands of motherhood with the physical depletion of energy from birth (possibly reduced iron stores), you are left with a completely drained woman.

Just support her for 12 months, suck it up, see how it goes and reassess when things calm down a little.

chandellina Fri 08-Mar-13 21:41:38

Give it some time, I felt incredibly pressured to be everything to everyone in the first 8 months or so after our second child, but things do get closer to normal. That said, it doesn't hurt to nurture the affection, it is crucial, and you can let her know how it would grease the wheels of the daily grind.

exexpat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:42:35

I think it's very common for women with small children to feel "all touched out" (google it - it's an increasingly recognised phenomenon), usually worse with the second/third etc ones, because then there are more people making physical/emotional/tactile demands on you. I think I went through it myself, and I expect it was hard on DH at the time, but with time and patience we got through it.

Of course there may be other things going on, but it could be as simple as this, and might get better soon.

Smartiepants79 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:43:14

This is actually quite reassuring for me!
Was starting to think it was just me.

LadyPessaryPam Fri 08-Mar-13 22:04:55

amievil sometimes when you are overwhelmed with responsibility and mothery things you just yearn to be left alone. Please allow a year to see how it pans out. Me and DH went through twins and I was terribly neurotic and I am sure very hurtful to him. Now we are fine and all is good. You sound like a really lovely DH and I hope it all resolves for you both soon.

TroublesomeEx Fri 08-Mar-13 23:09:36

Hi

I think that in these situations, women know that their partner wants sex and it becomes a bit of an elephant in the room. We can quite often shy away from showing affection because of the worry of being seen as leading the man on if we don't intend for the affection to result in sex.

My advice would be to take some of the load off her for an evening or two. Give her chance to have a glass of wine in the bath or something like that. Show her some affection through consideration, rather than the physical, and then talk to her about it.

My husband and I split up last year. The most tragic thing about it is that there isn't a single thing he has cited as a reason for us getting to the point we did that couldn't have been resolved if he had opened up and spoken to me about how he was feeling rather than just becoming silently more resentful of me because I couldn't read his mind sad

Don't let that happen to you. I'm sure she wants affection as much as you do, she just doesn't want to feel like she'll be seen as instigating sex, because at this stage she probably won't be.

Good luck.

Jonno94 Fri 15-Mar-13 17:17:51

No mate it ain't you!!

Haa you wait til you have four kids. You'll be lucky to have a peck on the cheek son....lol

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Mar-13 17:26:42

Am I the only one who thinks the op sounds like a really wonderful guy?

I love that you're asking for help and advice, op. I can tell you're listening. Good luck to you and your family.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 15-Mar-13 19:03:43

Oh yes she'll be feeling all wrung out of energy. Good you are concerned about this and listening to advice.
My last birth was a relatively easy one compared to the one before. I had breast fed all my children to various stages but this time something was different.
DS4 was an easy baby, really happy and pleasant, but I couldn't cope with his demands for breast feeding on top of everything else. As I fed him the feelings of pure rage built up, not at him but as a representation of how sucked dry of energy I was by everyone around me.

I hadn't run out of love but I had run out of energy to express that love. I stopped breast feeding and that alone left me with enough slack to deal with it all. It still took till he was turned 1 for me to completely feel 100% though.

This isn't about breast feeding though your wife may or may not be doing this but even if she isn't she may be just out of energy to deal with the whole lot and may feel a bit of a non entity having lost herself in the demands of a new baby within an existing family. It can take a while to find a balance once again.

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