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DW, marriage, communication, sex and stuff.

(329 Posts)
Keepithidden Tue 09-Jul-13 10:11:19

Hello, I’ve posted in Dadsnet and Feminism already for advice regarding specific parts of my slightly dysfunctional marriage, so it’s time to bite the bullet and whack a post in relationships!

Bit of background, I’m male, DW and I have been married five years, together ten. Both mid 30’s, two DCs (2 and 4) and no sex life. I’ve considered and tried various anaphrodisiacs and been reading a lot about PIV/Feminism womens views of sex and got myself thoroughly paranoid about the number of women with disappointing sex lives and I think DW may be one of them.

I’ve tried to broach the subject a few times, but she says it’s tiredness/stress (understandable considering the young kids I suppose), I’ve asked whether she enjoys it when we do have sex, she says yes. I’ve even asked if she fakes it! She says no. Not sure whether I believe any of it because I know she wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings, and there does seem to be a big proportion of women out there who aren’t happy.

I help around the house as much as I can (still got to buy a copy of Wifework to make sure I’m covering all bases) and I think we split things pretty equally despite me being fulltime working and DW a SAHM. She has the option of lie-ins at weekends (but rarely takes them), I try to do all the kiddy stuff at weekends to give her a break and cooking/cleaning in evenings is my responsibility most of the time too (she tends to do most of the laundry and cooking for the kids).
So I suppose the question is, how long should I wait before putting an ultimatum/suggesting counselling/ending the Marriage? (rhetorical: I know only I can answer that) I love DW and would do anything for her (have considered chemical castration at times), but this is getting me down and I’ve started having slightly suicidal thoughts which I know isn’t healthy. The constant rejection I could cope with if I knew what the reason was. Could be a case that counselling for me is required.

I think it all started about 5 years ago when we were TTC, after 1 year DW became pregnant and morning sickness put a kibosh on any intimacy, a year later we DTD once and number two came along, again Morning Sickness meant a nine month break, BFing extended this and it all fell into a rut so we’ve only DTD six times in the past five years! Putting that down in writing is quite shocking.

Anyway, DW has issues with her body post pregnancy. I find her sexy and attractive, but my constant reassurances fall on deaf ears (haven’t seen her naked for five years either). I think she may need some help to improve her confidence as nothing I can say changes it a jot. Not sure on the best way to approach this one, so any words would of advice would be good. I think once she’s happy with herself then we can talk more about what she wants out of life and whether she even wants me in it.

Sorry, this post is all a bit disjointed and I’ve probably missed stuff out but it’s cathartic to get it down even if this gets no responses!

Jan45 Tue 09-Jul-13 15:18:12

Wobbly, I agree, a relationship without sex isn't a relationship, it's a friendship so of course, male or female your needs should be met, what is the point being in a couple if the other person doesn't desire you or seduce you - and you're wrong for asking if you're a man????? So, it's okay if it's the other way around? I have noticed this here, men's needs are not important but by god if you are a woman it's a different story.

Of course you are entitled to want to have sex, it's what makes you close, brings you happiness and ultimately makes you stronger as a couple, it's not rocket science.

PoppyWearer Tue 09-Jul-13 15:21:43

Well done on getting the snip, not many men seem to do it these days! I would like to put good money on contraception concerns (not wanting another pregnancy, facing the possibility of a termination) being a factor here if you already think she's worried about that.

You do sound caring.

Jan45 Tue 09-Jul-13 15:21:57

Yes women do fake it and no you can't tell by things moving, rubbish! I know woman who have been faking it for years, sad, but true.

WitchOfEndor Tue 09-Jul-13 15:25:45

You sound like you are really trying to understand things from your wife's pov so kudos for that. She has already told you that it's tiredness and stress, and I think it is as simple as that. Motherhood can change some women's perception of their bodies and really knock their confidence too. I know it doesn't seem fair to you but if she is busy with the kids and slumps knackered into bed to be propositioned then she won't be particularly receptive as she just wants to sleep. Try getting a baby sitter/family member to take the kids one night and start going out and being people again, rather than parents. I wish you luck because you are obviously willing to make an effort to improve the situation. But the best person to talk to about this is your wife.

Jan45 Tue 09-Jul-13 15:28:02

Sex 6 times in 5 years is something more than being tired and stressed, I rreally hope you find out what OP. I actually think your OH is taking you for granted and basically not caring much about you, she's lucky you are so attentive towards her, perhaps that is the problem...

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 09-Jul-13 17:59:43

" Men are NOT animals for wanting sex."

A man that said 'give me sex or I'll get my sexual needs met elsewhere' would be an animal... hmm

He'd be an entitled arse. Unlike this OP, who quite obviously isn't...

ladybranston Tue 09-Jul-13 18:57:51

Dear Keepithidden,
I see that someone has already suggested that you "man up". I don't think that language is particularly helpful but suggest you perhaps examine the blog and the books written by Athol Kay.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Married-Life-Primer-2011/dp/1460981731/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373392579&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Married+Man+Sex+Life+Primer+2011

it has helped me immensely.

2much2young Tue 09-Jul-13 19:17:33

Could be lots of things happening here

Could be that she doesn't want sex because she doesn't feel sexy attractive, it's lovely that you tell her you find her all of these things but if she doesn't feel the same way about herself she will feel self conscious and unable to relax/let go. Her self esteem is probably quite low and until that improves it's likely that your sex life will stay the same.

She might prefer being a SAHM but may be feeling the drudgery of it all, you're obviously doing your share but can you get a cleaner for a couple of hours a week to take care of doing the bathroom/floors/bit of ironing/etc? free you both up a bit

She may not be feeling it from a hormonal place - I'm a bit older, early 40s and I only really get the horn now just before I ovulate (or when pissed blush and quite often timings are off for one reason or another and nothing happens!

You sound like a lovely man, really sensitive and caring, talk to your wife and take it from there but don't expect to get to the bottom of it all straight away - it could take time. Good luck

Keepithidden Tue 09-Jul-13 22:37:02

Thanks for the further comments Folks, lots of food for thought there. I'll try and check out a copy of the Married Life Primer too. Both me and DW are quite passive individuals so maybe there's stuff there that we could both learn.

Her self confidence has never been great, but post pregnancy it seems to be a lot lower and I haven't a clue how to change that. Hormones, tiredness and stress all seem likely factors, also convenient excuses for something more. I don't know. At least I've got a few starting points now.

CityTiliDie Wed 10-Jul-13 07:29:07

Hi, Keepit,

Reading your OP was a bit DejaVu for me as I could have written that myself...... My DW and I have been through an almost identical situation.
Many times I have thought about ending my life as there seemed to be no point and that DW and DD would be happier without me and she could find someone that would make her relly happy as I cnat seem to do that. I have also thought about just packing a bag a buggering off too.

We have tried to have many discussions about our dwindling sex life but each time she refuses to talk about it as this 'puts too much pressure on her'! I tried backing off and not mentioning.

I too share all the housework and childcare, lie in at the weekend, flowers, arranging child care for meals out, lots of compliments, hug and affection........ all to no avail. WHile our sexlife is not as bad as yours (every four weeks here) I know DW only does it out of duty not because she wants to.

Counselling didnt work for us but it might work for you so try it, you have nothing to lose.

TBH my advice having been through it for the past few years is........ Leave now. It wont get any better and you will have both wasted a good portion of your life that you will never get back.

I do regret not ending my relationship years ago but we have stuck at it and now have a 'friends sharing a child with monthly sex' kind of relationship. Its not ideal but at my age (49) its probably the best I am going to get and I adore my DD so much the idea of someone else becomming a step dad to her is so abhorrent I stay and do the best I can under the circumstances.

I know things here will not get any better and may well only get worse so with hindsight I would go and make a new life for yourself, a life you will be happier with and where you DW can find her own happiness.

Good luck

Numberlock Wed 10-Jul-13 07:45:19

What he said ^^

arsenaltilidie Wed 10-Jul-13 08:32:32

Cant believe some of the stuff i'm reading.
Get out of there now, she is not attracted to you.

You sound like one of those passive, doormat 'nice' guy.
For once be assertive and do something for yourself.

city life is much better than that. You reap what you sow.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Wed 10-Jul-13 08:43:36

Sorry, but I agree with the most recent posters. Have seen it first hand. Things won't improve. She may have completely lost her libido. There could be a physical problem. There could be a psychological problem. She may not fancy you any more through no fault of your own. She may simply, but selfishly have got want she wants - children - and have no need for you any more (that sounds awful but I have actually known that).

Point is, she refuses to address it or discuss it reasonably which is what you do in a marriage or partnership. That is unreasonable and unfair. I'm sorry, but this will not improve. If you wish to have a sexual relationship in future, you must leave your wife and end the marriage. It is clear you have followed the 'standard guidelines' that a lot of women say men should do to improve things on this score and, as in the majority of cases, it makes no difference.

She is totally within her rights to decide she no longer wants sex with you. But by so doing she is basically saying you can't ever have sex again either. If you're happy with that for the next 40 years, fine. If you're not, then leave and find someone who is willing to be more than just a child-rearing partner with no physical involvement. Your wife has already checked out.

You might have read the last few posts with mounting horror Keepit. Often posters on this board suggest LTB and one or two call caution.

Today that seems to be me, even though I usually keep my nose so far out of relationships I've only posted on one or two threads.

Have you explained to your wife everything you are feeling? Not in a "poor me, I am not getting what I want from this relationship" or "I want sex and if you won't provide it I may go elsewhere" but instead:

I miss the closeness and attraction we both used to enjoy. I know things are hard and you are tired (trust me, I empathise with your wife having been at one point a SAHM with two young kids) but I want us to be happy again. What do you think? Would you consider counselling?

If she doesn't want to discuss it at the moment you choose, then I'd probably respect that, but if you keep 'choosing the wrong moment' and nothing gets discussed, then this is clearly unfair to you. You are not the only one who is responsible for keeping this relationship alive. If she really won't discuss it, then perhaps you need to start thinking about what will make you happy if you can't actually change things with your wife...

But from what you've said, I don't think you're quite ready to give up yet?

That said, if you wife isn't willing to try and make things better for you so that you are happy, and she should, it's her marriage too plus she is supposed to love you, then nobody should blame you for making changes in your life so that you are happy.

Also, I don't think its fair to the OP to derail this thread into the old mumsnet hates men / double standard argument. He doesn't care about sexual politics, he wants help and support to make his marriage better. No?

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Wed 10-Jul-13 09:43:53

Buffy - to a point, yes, but how long does he continue banging his head against the brick wall. This has been going on for years, not months, and every time he has tried to get his wife to discuss it she brings up "too tired". Sorry, but that is NOT FAIR. She is making NO effort whatsoever and he can't go on ad infinitum. Before he realises it, 10 years will have passed. We've seen it so often on these threads.

"From what you've said, I don't think you're quite ready to give up yet?"

No, he isn't. But she's already given up and nothing he will do now is going to change that.

Whether and when he gives up is the OP's decision to make. All we know is what he has posted here, and I suspect (though I don't know of course smile that he is making a particular effort to be very diplomatic in how he phrases his posts so as not to prod the nest of vipers, so to speak.

Of course you have a right to try and achieve a fulfilling sex life keepit and I even think that you could consider 'manning up' oh, the irony a bit about it, so that you wife can respect you as a self-confident person rather than someone who is just there to tiptoe around her needs.

It sounds to me as though you are doing things right: pulling your weight at home, recognising that she has a tiring and stressful job just as you do. Respecting her boundaries, etc. It doesn't sound to me like what is happening is your fault.

Seriously. If you are so unhappy that you've considered suicide, find a counsellor asap to talk through your situation and feelings. Ask your wife to join you in couples counselling.

If she will not, then you have a right to make changes in your life, with or without her support, so that you are happy.

Also, we have no idea whatsoever about how his wife feels, why she isn't interested in sex and whether or not she has "given up". We should remember that, I think.

blueshoes Wed 10-Jul-13 10:25:24

I have sympathy for both points of view.

The only thing I will add is that your children are only 2 and 4 and they at the age where parenting is full on, particularly since your wife is a SAHM.

I think it is only when ds my youngest was 5 when I started coming out of my shell sexually. Prior to that, I had very little interest in sex and did it out of duty maybe once a week. Not always full sex, sometimes handjobs, blow jobs. I am sure my dh noticed but he did not make an issue out of it. It would not occur to me to deny him sex because that is so fundamental to a marriage. Things are much better now that ds is 6 and our sex drives are evenly matched.

BTW, your wife is still not breast-feeding, is she? I was and it killed my sex drive, plus made me feel very touched-out, so did not like my dh to approach.

If you are prepared to wait, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. But you are perfectly within your rights to be more insistent in the meantime. How your DW reacts will indicate to her whether she is prepared to be fair to you. I think suggesting an open marriage to your DW is acceptable in your situation down the line if you feel you are getting nowhere.

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 10-Jul-13 10:49:57

I think people are being way too kind here... I've noticed on the few threads written by men they get way more sympathy than women!

This is far from a normal relationship, does your wife have a medical problem that is making her so tired? Because surely a SAHM can manage to look after the kids and do more than the laundry and cook for the kids? And as far as getting a cleaner in, why would you need a cleaner? she's a, dare I say it 'housewife' surely that is her 'job'

I think you need to see someone about this, GP, counsellor or solicitor... It sounds to me this marriage is over.

I am sorry to be so brutal but to be suicidal over this, you need to take drastic action.

Jan45 Wed 10-Jul-13 11:16:44

CitytilIdie: you feel at 49 what you have got is the best you'll get at this age????? You're the same age as me and are entitled to a sexual relationship hopefully up until the day you die, you still have time to find that with someone else unless of course you are happy in a sexless relationship then fair do's, I just had to respond as I certainly don't feel that way.

Jan45 Wed 10-Jul-13 11:20:29

Sorry CitytilIdie I didn't read your whole post property. You are not happy with this situation and you think your wife is having sex with you out of duty and nothing else - get out, there's a big world out there with people who like to have sex in their relationships, go grab yourself one, life is too short to settle for second best.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Wed 10-Jul-13 14:57:43

"she's a, dare I say it 'housewife' surely that is her 'job'"?? She's a SAHM - her "job" is parenting her children: anything else around the house should be shared!

Cheeseatmidnight Wed 10-Jul-13 15:26:32

Good luck op, I have no idea how you can approach this. We dtd once a month and I am struggling to put my finger on the issue, so if dp asks me all I can think is that I feel like a milk machine and have dd all over me bf all day.. Minded children clambering on me too.

I just need space, but am working on it to keep our relationship intimate. I am sure this is a lull due to having a small dd.

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 10-Jul-13 15:38:09

onilkley I understand its now called Stay at home mum but surely that is the same as a housewife and housework and things become part of that role too? I have read threads on here when the mum works and dad stays at home and does nothing other than look after the kids and they get the standard LTB response....
If I didn't go out to work I wouldn't expect my other half to come home and do all the housework and cook meals, maybe I am wrong?!
I was just wondering if there is a medical reason why after just looking after the kids and not doing the rest of the jobs around the home, the OP's wife is too tired for sex? 2 kids can't be that exhausting?!

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