has your relationship weakened since having kids?

(23 Posts)
wildlingtribe Wed 04-May-16 19:55:13

I feel ours has. We bicker so much.
The romance isn't there.
We do have children young (5,4,2, 2 weeks) so it is all a bit fresh.

But we just don't seem to get on, or it's as if it's a temporary high as when we do.

I feel so sad that it's gone like this after ten years.

BackforGood Wed 04-May-16 23:43:45

I suspect many (most?) couples go through a bit of a strained patch in their relationship when they have small dc - the fact you have 4 who are all so small is going to compound that. Combine the strain of no sleep, very often money worries, that feeling of there being no light at the end of the tunnel, and the fact it's not easy to find time to relax, and I should imagine pretty impossible to find a sitter and spend any quality time together, means you are likely to go through one of those more difficult patches.
However, a strong relationship isn't one that never hits difficult times, it's one that comes through the difficult times, IMO.

NickyEds Thu 05-May-16 15:41:15

Definitely. We have a 2.5 year old and a 10 month old and the only thing to suffer more than our bank balance is our relationship. I worry about us daily but we were together 16 years before having dc so I think this is something we will get through. I seem to get angry with him at the drop of a hat, I feel like I have so little patience.

Msqueen33 Thu 05-May-16 15:46:47

Oh yes. We have three 8,7 and 3. The youngest two have autism and we just don't seem to be getting on. I'm a sahm and feel a lot of pressure because of the children's high needs. I could honestly do without him at times and he doesn't get that no I don't always want sex because I've spent the day being hit, screamed at and listened to the crying of my non verbal three year old.

underrugsswept Thu 05-May-16 15:50:38

No patience here either and it's so easy to blame each other for stuff when you're tired and overwhelmed by life. We plan occasional date days which I always really look forward to. We've been together over a decade so although it does worry me if I sit and think about it, I'm sure it's just a phase.

corythatwas Thu 05-May-16 15:55:49

I would not equate lack of romance with weakening relationship. But that may be because I am much further down the line (relationship of +30 years), so maybe I am putting more emphasis on other things than romance.

To me, what makes our relationship strong is knowing that we have come through some tough times together, that we have stood by each other and supported each other, that through all the nightmares being a couple has been important to us. And finding that as the children grow up and prepare to leave, I am actually looking forward to having more of his company.

MeMySonAndl Thu 05-May-16 16:17:34

Yes. Things change, and it is often thought that children should take absolute priority and the relationship needs to be put in the back burner for a few years while the little ones need so much attention.

Unfortunately, many relationships do not survive staying "on the back burner" for a few years. It is not unusual to finally have time to give to the relationship, just to find out that by then there is not much to talk about.

Children are important but more so is the relationship, as keeping a happy family unit is such an important thing for the children development. So, I would say that it is ok to make sure you and your DP/DH needs are also taken in consideration.

Every person in the family has a right to be at the front of the queue regularly (yes, parents have rights too).

Whether being in the front of the queue means a night out together, 1 hour of peace in the bath or not having to deal with the bedtime routine in a difficult day, it doesn't matter as long as everyone feels their needs are also cared for everything will be

MeMySonAndl Thu 05-May-16 16:17:42

Ok

FlyingScotsman Thu 05-May-16 16:41:45

I agree withcory
Yes the times when the dcs were young was hard.
But then I really think the dcs were just a catalyst. The problems were there before. It's just that they weren't as obvious (tiredness, lack of time, less time fur each other AND a change in roles in the family)

I also agree about ensuring that everyone needs are met. And ime, it means by starting to ensure that the Mum's needs are met.
And the needs of the 'relationship' if that makes sense. Love is a verb, not a noun and that's worth remembering too.

BackforGood Thu 05-May-16 19:40:51

I totally agree with cory too.
I don't need "romance", but am 100% aware that dh is there for me when I'm struggling, and with that safety blanket, I can cope with anything.
Our dc are teens (1 at University) and I too am enjoying spending more time with dh now than we have over the previous 10 yrs, and looking forward to that being even more so in the future.

wildlingtribe Fri 06-May-16 18:16:03

The thing is though is Dp doesn't seem to want to talk ever. If I feel I need support, I talk and don't get much back. Or I just end up feeling I'm burdening him.

I sometimes feel it's a case of 'just get on with it'

timeforheroes Fri 06-May-16 18:19:48

It's definitely changed. Less so when we had one DC, he would come everywhere with us and our lifestyle changed very little apart from nights out. Now we have twins as well, so 3 under 3...my parents who were our only childcare have also emigrated, so life is massively different. We see things differently now so the odd bicker happens, but we are too busy to argue.
When we do get the opportunity we have a night to ourselves or go away for the weekend, this helps us reconnect. I think as they children get older it might get easier, maybe that's just wishful thinking for myself and you OP! smile

MNetter15 Fri 06-May-16 18:25:44

Yes, especially in the early days, it's improving as DC get older (youngest almost 2). Then in other ways it has strengthened.

I envy the freedom of couples who have no DC.

singingstones Fri 06-May-16 18:26:03

Definitely changed for the worse for us, but everything improved once the youngest was about 5.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 06-May-16 18:36:37

Our relationship is stronger than it ever was.

The early days with our twins were tough on us both but we hung in there huddled together like shipwreck survivors. grin

He's such a great father, it's lovely to see him with the kids. However your relationship can't just be about the kids.

Wilding you said "he never wants to talk" but it sounds like you mean "listen".

Do you ever just talk about non kid, non family stuff? Just go for a walk, to the pub or to the cinema?

You need to take time to reconnect, and have a laugh together.

wildlingtribe Fri 06-May-16 21:42:08

Annamarlowe this is one of the main issues. We have ZERO alone time. We do need to reconnect. It just feels like it's hard to recover now to that point. We talk non kid stuff but I just feel like I'm boring him as his attention span is low so it seems when I talk after a long day

AnnaMarlowe Fri 06-May-16 21:55:16

wilding that makes it really hard.

I know your youngest is quite small but it might be worth looking out for a local babysitter if that is at all feasible.

If it isn't a possibility then arrange regular 'date nights' at home once the kids are in bed. Get a takeaway and watch a silly film with your feet up on the sofa. Have a glass of wine in front of the fire. Make a new recipe together. Sit and do a cross word together, play chess or monopoly or space invaders or whatever.

Making time for each other is possible (even if it's very hard) and it's really important.

Speak to your DH, positively say you want to improve things between you. Try to remember/find the energy to do little things for each other.

I know it all just sounds like more work but it takes hard work to build a marriage and your happiness and your children's happiness is worth a bit of effort on both your parts.

We have friends who post two DC only seem to talk to each other in sniping tones. It makes me sad because I remember how they were before bad habits formed.

NickyEds Fri 06-May-16 22:34:09

Tbh I'm just exhausted worrying about it. I know he thinks we're "not how we used to be" but he doesn't worry like I do. We only really have one family member who can babysit for us so it's few and far between but when we do go out we have a great time. It's like we haven't found a way to be together with two kids IYSWIM. I would love a date night in but generally I cook and he works on his laptop. If I suggest opening a bottle of wine he says he can't be arsed, which is fair enough as he isn't really a big drinker. He says he misses me. I just wish he'd do the washing up without being asked or empty the bin once in a while.

FlyingScotsman Sat 07-May-16 14:35:20

You don't need to go out to spend time alone with your DP though.

It's an issue of actually putting spending time together, cuddling on the sofa, having a chat to there, eating just the two of you top of the agenda.
It's an issue of making it something of importance so that there is 'Oh well, I can't be arsed tonight'.

What made a difference to start with was simply to cuddle in bed for 10mins as went to bed.
The other one was to make the time to have a chat (you can do that as you washing up if you want!) about the day, events in the news, important stuff about work/the children.
And to have a situation at home that feels 'balanced and fair'. I am personally completely unable to be happy and relaxed and have a nice time 'reconnecting' when you are still resentful that once again, your DP hasn't helped tidying up/taken the bins out etc...

getlostdailyfail Sat 07-May-16 18:57:13

Definitely, though we only have one. I suspect it'll get worse the more kids we have. I don't think there are many people that can say that their relationship has strengthened. We just don't have the time, space or energy to focus on our relationship. It's sad but true.

Miffyandme Sat 07-May-16 19:06:34

Yes, it has unfortunately. I feel at the moment that we just don't like each other that much. We only have two young kids, similar ages to Nickyeds so OP I can only imagine the juggling that goes with 4!

OP your youngest is so new I wonder if hormones may be playing a part in how you're feeling.

I personally plan to look at some of the suggestions from those who have got through the young kids years with intact relationships. It's bloody hard! Ours are both difficult in the evening at present so evenings out not possible. To make it worse my DH doesn't like to leave them on his days off stating that he misses them, so we don't get any couple time. I go to bed pretty early on my own / with the baby.

babyblabber Sat 07-May-16 21:14:35

Yes 100%. I get really worried sometimes that we won't last. I'm hoping it's normal and temporary (ours are 7,4&1) and this thread has made me feel better. Money is tight at the moment so we can't afford babysitters or even the meal in a restaurant if we had a babysitte! We managed to get the older two minded for a night last week away from home and put baby to bed and we had the m&s dine in meal and made an effort, set the table, lit candles etc. It was a lovely evening and we chatted for ages at the table rather than our usual evenings of one of us going out to exercise or both of us sitting in front of the tv, messing with our phones! We are going to try to do more dinners with just the two of us, after the kids are in bed, maybe once a fortnight or so. It's hard because we are wrecked and often tetchy and bit worried about money at the moment so defo bicker a lot.

I remember there was a quote I read from someone that you always love your spouse but throughout your life you fall in and out of love with them and the goal is to be in love more than out of it and recognise that it's normal.

corythatwas Sun 08-May-16 23:10:42

We did have a yearly night out (all we could afford+ parents a long way away/frail and disabled dd not good with babysitters), but apart from spending actual time together we found there were a lot of other things we could do to connect. Often tiny things like a smile over the children's heads when things were being difficult, or a hand gesture that showed that yes, I'm as frustrated as you are.

And what FlyingScotsman said about a fair and balanced situation: in fact, I think that is really the crux, not how much actual time you get together but how you feel about your part in the relationship.

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