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Can I get a female perspective?

(138 Posts)
Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 18:11:19


I'm 34 and my wife is 36, we've been married for 7 years and have 2 amazing sons. We're a really tight family but over the years the relationship between my wife and myself has become almost entirely about the kids. My wife has little to no interest in sex and hasn't since she became pregnant with our second son 3 years ago (we've probably had sex 5 times in the last 3 years). She's quite a shy person and doesn't like to talk about such things and she always has a reason why she rejects me (generally it's tiredness). As its been going on so long I've tried a lot of different things from asking her to talk about it to backing right off.

The obvious assumption is that she isn't attracted to me anymore, well to me it is anyway so a couple of years back I joined the gym, started hitting that pretty hard in my lunch breaks and taking a lot more pride in my appearance. I'm not the best looking guy in the world but I'm in decent shape, I like to think I'm a good father and a lot of people comment on how close we are as a family. Outwardly I'm a very confident person but this is really ripping me apart. I could never leave because I love my wife and sons far too much - how do I get this back on track? I'm not out for sympathy, I just need some help!

Thanks everyone

If she's said tiredness then have you tried helping to relieve that? She may not be lying you know! Do you help a lot with the DCs?

Jazzicatz Fri 20-Sep-13 18:15:34

How much do you help around the house? Help with your boys? Give your wife time to herself?

edlyu Fri 20-Sep-13 18:24:02

Do you run the home if she is tired? Or take the kids out on a regular basis? Choose, shop for and cook meals ?

I would think all of these would come before your appearance when it comes down to sex in a long lasting relationship. In fact if my DH suddenly started taking more care in his looks and going to the gym I would not be inclined to think he was doing it for my benefit at all-quite the opposite in fact.

Maybe start talking to her about things other than the kids ? Date nights -at home if no baby sitter is available. Making sure she knows why you are going to the gym - but without being accusatory .

Maybe she is insecure about her body and is shy to return to the intimacy you once shared. She might need wooing again. But mostly she needs to know you love her unconditionally.

SpottyDottie Fri 20-Sep-13 18:25:48

Before we had our DC we were oblivious to the fact that for along time our lives would revolve around our children. I also didn't realise how tired I would feel day in day out, no matter how much I loved them or my DH.

All you can do is be supportive. As other posters have suggested Do you help with the children? I assume you are the main bread winner but do you help around the home with the chores and give your wife a break? My DH made me go out on a saturday. And by that I mean ALL DAY, with my girlfriends so that I could have some time to be myself, not just be mummy iyswim. We would do family things the rest of the week.

I do have a question though, how is your wife's self esteem? You say you go to the gym regularly and take pride in your appearance. I went from being slim and well dressed to slightly overweight and wore whatever I felt comfy in! Would she feel a little low about her post children body compared to your body? Sorry if I've offended, I'm just trying to think of possible helpful suggestions.

Bowlersarm Fri 20-Sep-13 18:27:30

Such a sensitive subject OP.

I agree with you that sex is very important in a relationship. Without it there is a lack of intimacy. If my DH was only interested in having sex 5 times in 3 years I would be very frustrated, worried and probably quite pissed off.

Does she have confidence issues with her body? Are there other issues she may be worried about?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 20-Sep-13 18:29:19

"As its been going on so long I've tried a lot of different things from asking her to talk about it to backing right off."

Then you have to say how you feel. I think you've been very patient but enough's enough. No-one, not even a mother of three, is 'tired' for three solid years. And so what if she's shy talking about sex?.. this is ripping you apart and, if she can't or won't communicate, you're destined for more years of misery. This isn't about how often you iron the shirts... something's badly wrong and 'silence' isn't fixing it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 20-Sep-13 18:29:52

Well, the obvious assumption is that she's tired! Like she says she is grin

Do you do your fair share of housework and childcare? Do the two of you pull together as a team? Do you get equal amounts of time 'off' to enjoy some hobby or activity? Do you each get lie ins and time to recharge? When you go on holiday, do you make it easy for each other or is she left running round after everyone?

You know, that sort of thing.

How do you show her that she is special (and not in a 'please have sex with me' way)

(she may no be tired per se but may be saying that because she feels she's doing more than her share, which definitely puts me right off. Just guessing really)!

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 18:37:20

Thanks for the comments everyone. In truth, I probably could do more around the home. I am a bit guilty of getting wrapped up in work (we're a 1 wage family) at times - maybe I just need to break the routine we seem to have found ourselves in.

Also a couple of you are right in that my wife isn't particularly confident, especially about her body which to me doesn't make much sense as it's often been said that she is too attractive for me.

headlesslambrini Fri 20-Sep-13 18:37:32

for a woman, sex can be about the emotion and the run up to it. Try just holding her, no groping, a cuddle, no wandering hands. Talk to her, tell her how lovely she looks, how happy you are with your lives, talk about the future, hopes and dreams. Make plans for the weekend, somewhere nice as a family.

Do NOT expect sex at the end of a nice day.

Oh, well if you have 3 kids and she's doing the majority of the house stuff then no wonder she;s not in the mood often grin

Bowlersarm Fri 20-Sep-13 18:40:06

Were there any issues with you sex life before you had children?

(if you are going to start helping out a bit more don't make it seem like a quid pro quo for sex. That will not go down well. Do it to ease her load a bit & show you want to support her. It will probably help the issue a lot by the sounds of it).

curlew Fri 20-Sep-13 18:44:40

I found it very difficult to be interested in sex when my children were small. It was as if all my capacity for intimacy
Was used up by them. I couldn't even bear the cat on my lap- I just didn't feel able to meet anyone else's needs. I explained this to dp and I think he sort of understood! I always enjoyed sex when we did it and I tried to
Initiate it once a fortnight or so just to keep out hand in!
It certainly wasn't about dp- and it did get better!

Fozziebearmum2be Fri 20-Sep-13 18:52:27

Agree with pp, tell her how lovely and attractive she is to you, but don't expect sex. I find that men sometimes jump from 0-100 in about 5 mins whereby your dw may need time so there will be lots of times you'll need to just cuddle her to increase her self esteem/body confidence.

It's a shame she can't talk to you about it, might be worth trying again once you've done some of the things suggested

stowsettler Fri 20-Sep-13 18:52:39

I think you sound like a pretty decent guy actually. I can only echo advice which has already been posted: try to help a bit around the house, and make sure she knows how much you love her / fancy her (i.e. if her self esteem is a bit low it'd be nice for her to be appreciated).
I also think that you do need to have the discussion though - it is a big thing and if there is an issue that a bit of rest / appreciation can't fix then you do need to talk about it.
Is there any way you could go away for a night together, without the kids? I don't suggest this as a way for you to 'get her on her own' so that you can get sex, I mean it in a romantic, get away from it all and enjoy yourselves as a couple kind of way. If sex happens then great - if it doesn't, perhaps she'd feel more at ease talking about it away from the kids over a few glasses of wine.
I hope it works out for you, you sound like one of the good guys.

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 19:18:30

100% agree about doing your share around the house and giving her chunks of time when she can either potter doing nothing on her own in the house, or out with friends.

Other suggestions are: are you proud of her in company? Do you big up her achievements? Do you tell people in front of her how beautiful/kind/clever/what a great friend to others she is? I specifically avoided bigging her up about motherhood because I don't think that will hit the spot as much as the other things. Don't just concentrate on looks and sexiness though. Talk about her as a whole person and the qualities you admire.

I don't think it's ever fair for a subject to be totally off limits though and I never come at these threads from the perspective that men like sex more than women, because IME that's poppycock. I tend to think that women go off sex with a particular partner when they are exhausted, resentful, when they don't fancy their partner, when the sex available is not satisfying or at the extreme end, when they are having an affair.

The other thing is, do you encourage her to spend money on herself? If she feels guilty about buying new clothes or grooming products, she might have got into a habit of not caring too much about her appearance and IME, that leads to feeling sexless and undesirable.

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 19:35:35

I'd say try and help her not to be tired, but 5 times in 3years makes me think its not tiredness and something more underlying.
Hope you work it out

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 19:48:41

I find this a frustrating thread.

All you can do is be supportive

The OP has had sex five times in three years. I think this would try anyone's patience. Life is for living - and sex, intimacy are important things. There seems to be largely a consensus that the OP should earn some sex by loading the dishwasher etc.

I'll be blunt with you OP; your assumption that your wife doesn't find you attractive any more might be right. Irrespective of that, the fact that you can't have a conversation with her about all of this doesn't suggest you have a good relationship. Not only does she not want to have sex with you, she isn't communicating.

The problems in your marriage are more deep seated than just not having sex. Some posters here say they went off sex when children were small. That's not uncommon but not for three years, surely? Having sex five times in three years in your early thirties is a miserable state of affairs.

My marriage became sexless. I spoke to my husband's cousin about it. Her suggestion: have an affair. I came close but didn't; but I did leave in the end because it's no way to live.

A healthy loving relationship between a man and his wife includes a sexual relationship, unless there are health problems.

I'd be saying exactly the same thing if you were a woman.

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 19:56:35

Don't get me wrong, I do quite a bit around the house - particularly with the kids but I guess there's always more I could do.

My wife's low confidence is a long standing thing and obviously I tell her she looks great and that I love her on a daily basis but I think she just thinks I say those things because she wants to hear them (hope that makes sense!).

The more I write here and the more options I hear lead me to think there isn't specifically one reason, I think it's a c

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:00:11

Oops, accidentally hit the wrong button...

I was saying I think it's a combination of tiredness, low self esteem and just generally that she's really not that into sex. Hopefully it will work itself out - I have to say our youngest is an absolute handful at the best of times!

I liked the idea of almost having a no strings attached date night at home, she might go for something like that because she's not a big fan of leaving the kids for a night out (in fact she just plain wouldn't do that)

Thanks again to everyone that's commented

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:07:53

It's not about earning some sex by loading the dishwasher at all. But some men severely under-estimate the amount of work involved looking after children and a home, plus when a man comes on this board and admits he could do more at home, that usually means he does practically nothing in the way of chores or solo childcare. People who go to work have a clocking off time and they usually get two days off as well. People responsible for children and a home who get no real help with either don't have a clocking off time or weekends off. It can be truly exhausting.

Add to this the effect on the body of having two pregnancies in 4 years and the physical demands of children wanting feeding, cuddles and clinging off you all the time, it can feel that a woman's bodily autonomy is not her own anymore.

So it's not as simple as trading sex for chores. It's often about feeling sexier and more kindly disposed towards a partner who pulls his weight, isn't work and gym obsessed and who you don't want to batter with a frying pan when he leaves his underwear on the floor or the sink, full of his shaving hairs yet again.

stowsettler Fri 20-Sep-13 20:13:41

Not leave the kids at all? Not even for one night at a local hotel or something?

Gosh. I suppose it's not that unusual but surely the odd night with Grandma is ok? I remember as a kid we used to live for those nights and had a truly great time. DD, aged 6months, has already stayed over at Grandma's 3 times and Auntie's twice.

But if she won't then fair enough, I suppose. You have to work with what you've got. And pressurising her into leaving them won't be a good start.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:15:51

Sure Francesca but the OP says he does do a fair bit around the house and he also works to support his family.

He pays her compliments and tells her he loves her every day.

Imagine what people would think if a woman came on here complaining her dh wouldn't have sex with her and she was told to help more around the house, 'big him up' and pay him compliments in front of others. It's a joke!

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:19:25

Poor woman was born in the wrong era. Having seen the horribly judgy threads on MNet when a woman dares to admit she's thinking of leaving her children for a night of nookie with her husband, the amount of pearl clutching and witterings about attachment parenting or somesuch rubbish, is a sight to behold. Us old Cosmo readers would have just said fuckit and farmed the kids out at the earliest opportunity grin.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:19:59

Oh and fwiw I did the sahm thing and I know how hard it is. But I just think it's not helpful to normalise this situation. Sex five times in three years is not normal, even for someone truly knackered with childcare. She sounds completely unmotivated to put things right.

Nearly all the sympathy is with the woman. Implicit in so much of this advice is that it is somehow the OP's fault that his wife won't have sex with him. IMO she is the one with the problem.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:21:53

This is not about sex. It is about communication.

Cog is absolutely right (again).

Communication is the foundation of intimacy.

You do not need to talk to a load of women on the Internet to 'get a female perspective' in fact that might make things worse.

It is a pattern I recognise from my relationship where the communication was dire and so my husband desperately tried to find the right thing to do to fix the problem, more housework, more childcare etc but it all made it worse because he was not listening to me and wasnt willing to talk to me (not saying this is you btw).

The only way you will regain intimacy and therefore a sexual relationship is through improving your communication.

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:23:23

I have thought about this and wonder if there is something your wife is interested in that she would like to pursue outside of the home? Maybe an evening class or a new hobby? I always feel much more positive about my relationship when I am enjoying other aspects of my life. That could be a day out window shopping with friends, being away on holiday or doing something that interests me. When my day revolves around chores and being stuck at home etc it can be difficult to feel in the mood.

Perhaps just reconnecting with herself, the person she was before children, might help? What sort of things did she enjoy doing before the children arrived?

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:25:12

You are right, too, Offred. But how can things change when she refuses to talk about it or deflects the questions?

The OP has tried to talk to her, she won't.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:25:41

Think about it, what point would there be in trying to guess how she feels, trying to take on extra work, having more sex? If you can't talk and share with each other all those things will be pointless and wasted effort and no-one will be happier.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:26:26

If she really won't talk he will have to leave... That's what I've just done.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:28:08

Yep, I agree with you again, Offred. Communication was crap in my marriage and after no improvements/flogging a dead horse for years I left, too. Hope you are doing OK x

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:31:36

Cross-posted Shape. I wrote my first post before I saw the OP's revisionist housework and childcare update, but there is a difference in bodily experiences between male parents and female parents, especially if a woman's had a difficult birth etc. Plus I stand by what I've said that some men just don't have a clue how exhausting it is being a full time carer, cook and bottle washer and also some men are atrociously untidy and messy when someone else (usually a woman) is doing the clearing up.

So it's often impossible to get around the gender issues and treat 'no sex' threads the same whether it's a man or a woman. But you won't see me shouting 'it's emotional abuse' on a thread about a man who doesn't want sex, unless of course it's part of a bigger pattern indicated by the OP.

I said in my first post though that this needs discussing and the OP shouldn't be fobbed off by shyness or an unwillingness to discuss. Because if any of this is to do with her being exhausted by his laziness/messiness and she's started to resent it, she needs to speak up about that and not suffer in silence, like he is.

stowsettler Fri 20-Sep-13 20:32:44

FrancescaBell, I suspect we could have a bloody good night together getting pissed and putting the world to rights!

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:34:14

I'll drink to that!! wine thanks

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:07

I think that its been so long you need to basically start at the beginning.

You and your wife need to have a chat about what she wants from you. How can you do things to help her out more? Maybe she needs more her time etc. The best way to find put is to talk to each other.

You need to then start and date each other again. Make one night a week your night. You cook her a meal and tidy up. Watch a film on the sofa together. Listen to some music and drink a bottle of wine. Have a bath together etc etc.

Telling her each day you love her is really nice but for her self esteem pick something specific each d

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:22

Leaving isn't an option that I would look at. I have too much other good stuff, I am so happy with everything else. The last time I brought it up with her and told her I wasn't particularly happy, she was genuinely quite shocked. It's pretty interesting to hear from those that have felt similar things when they had young children. I appreciate there are certain aspects of the relationship that aren't considered that normal but I guess everyone has that in some way or another.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:31

To add to all the advice (most of which v good)

Do you compliment her? Tell her she's beautiful? Notice if she ever wears something new or different, or puts makeup on (or different makeup), or does her hair slightly differently, or tries some sort of new look out? Affectionately stroke her hair? Call her by an affectionate nickname every now and then? Offer her a cup of tea (or whatever) and present it by saying "there you go, gorgeous wife!" occasionally?

Do you give her some extra spending money just to treat herself with, not a big amount (depending on finances) but enough for even a new lipstick or a pair of shoes (or dressing gown if she's not a shoes/lipstick type)? Offer to run her a bath?

Not saying these are magic. Not saying these are "all the time" things to do. What I am trying to show is tiny ways in which a woman, worn out by small children, can feel a lot more womanly just by the little things that show her partner or husband still admires her. They are confidence boosters that even if you feel like shit and/or you think you look like shit, your DH still (apparently) admires you and loves you. Brings the roses to your cheeks smile

If you stroke her hair (for example) when you are out of bed then it won't be like you are just doing it for sex when you are in bed, and when you initiate non-sexual but intimate and loving contact like that in bed, it can make sexual feelings spring up, if they are connected to all the little feel-good confidence boosters and your DH has told you that you are beautiful or you looked sexy in your outfit quite recently smile

There's something quite irritating about the man who is forgets to make his woman feel good about herself outside of the bedroom but then expects all the action to happen in bed. It is annoying. Just be sure you are doing enough to make her feel good about herself out of bed.

insideout Fri 20-Sep-13 20:36:47

Octopus, that was me 3 years ago. I had no interest in sex after a traumatic birth 3 years previously. Things only started getting better after I was getting out away from the house (uni) and actually feeling like I was worth something as a human, not just mum, that I realised how awful it was for my partner.

Tbh that first time was terrifying (for both of us I found out later)its really difficult getting back into the 'habit' of sex. The only advice I can offer is make sure you get time as a couple not just as mum and dad. Also could you say to her something along the lines of 'although I still desire you can we just cuddle, I dont want sex tonight but I miss holding you?'

Part of my problem was the lack of casual touches so it seemed as though anytime my partner touched me he wanted sex. We ended up basically 'reverting' back to teenage girlfriend/boyfriend no pressure type thing with dates (even just a take away in front of the tv ) simply getting to know each other again. it took a good year but we slowly started getting closer again and now our relationship is really good.

I dont know how much , if any, help my post will be just couldnt read and not say anything.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:37:51

Yeah, I'm alright shape! Thanks v. Much! Everything that has happened since the split (Monday) has really confirmed it is just the right thing to do!
Apologies op for the mini-derail.

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:38:36

Pressed send too soon!

Pick something specific to compliment her on. Her hair looks nice, her skin looks good. You like her bum in those trousers etc. send her flowers to say thank you to her for being a lovely lady. Arrange a baby sitter and take her to the theatre.

Do not whatever you do try to sleep with her yet unless she seems interested. You do this she will think that's the only reason your doing it!

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:42:03

If you can't communicate and won't leave then you'll just have to live with it really though and if you're anything like me it will eat away at you and your kids.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:45:30

Here you are 'gorgeous wife', go out and treat yourself to a lipstick


MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:46:31

OP, I can pretty much guarantee that your wife would be shocked if you told her you thought she didn't find you attractive any more. It really isn't about that.

You have work and the gym. Maybe she would benefit from doing something she wants to do for herself. Not a family thing or a couple thing. Her own thing! Something outside the home? Something that will offer her a network of friends who are sharing the same interest....not connected with being a wife and mother.

And quite right, you actually have a lot going for you both to leave.

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:48:18

One thing DH did for me which was lovely! He sent me to a spa for a day and looked after the children. Then we got babysitters and went out for dinner. So thoughtful and I really appreciated the time to relax and be me again.

MikeOxard Fri 20-Sep-13 20:48:49

First, start doing the shit out of the housework - nothing turns a woman off more than being taken the piss out of by a lazy or dirty bloke, yuck. Second, take the pressure off (or rather, don't apply it in the first place). Thirdly, after doing lots of 1 and 2, maybe she needs to think about seeing the dr or having some therapy.

Good luck to you.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:50:18

Ha shapechanger I knew it wouldn't take long smile

None of us know the OP or the OP's wife. However, there's not many people in the world who don't like being appreciated in words and compliments, or treated to a small gift. Why are some people so snotty about this sort of thing? Would you not like to be complimented or given an unexpected gift? If a colleague or friend complimented your dress as gorgeous, or your mum or a relative passed on a gift card or something to you, would you be snotty about it? I guess not - but if it's a <shock> husband then how vary dare he! Not everything has to be so heavy duty and dramatic all the time. Sometimes you doesn't take a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Sometimes... just try a little tenderness.... smile

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:52:23

Cupcake see shapechangers response.

Your DH sent you to a <gasp> SPA?!?!?!?!?!


See shapechanger there's an example of someone who did appreciate a gesture from her DH.

Does your DH (if you have one) treat you to spas or something new? I'm guessing not, because if you did and if he did you would know it's really quite pleasant. smile

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:53:12

Cupcake78 is quite right. Whatever you do, has to be unconnected with sex.

Feeling pressured is the biggest turn off.

If your wife is anything like me, she may need to connect with herself and have her own needs met before she can be there for you. And that can be anything from having time to herself, meeting up with a friend or a good sleep while someone else does all the chores.

When my DH does the chores, I feel very positive towards him!

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:53:24

Shudders at spa days

Look just talk about it, already.

But listen too.

Then scrub up and clean the loos.

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:56:25 have hit the nail on the head.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:58:53

Francesca cleaning the loo? hmm

My DH cleans the loo, but he uses it too. If he cleaned the loo because he's doing me a favour or in any way shape or form it was related to getting more sex I would be hmm

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:59:30

FrancescaBell. Spot on about the loos. Nothing pleases me more than going out for the day, coming home and finding the kitchen and bathroom smelling of Cillit Bang.

Much better than watching DVDs together or anything!

Bowlersarm Fri 20-Sep-13 21:01:09

I don't think if they've only had sex once very 7 months approx Mike he can be applying too much 'pressure'?

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 21:03:33

Jolly good. Mine uses and cleans the loos too. We have sex. Often.

I link it to being married to a man who doesn't require me to be his mother and who gets my sense of humour and knows when I'm taking the piss wink

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 21:03:48

Seriously, I don't think fussing around being pathetic and trying to guess what she might want will help do anything other than destroy your marriage. I REALLY, REALLY, think you need to demand that she does something about the lack of communication.

3 years is a really long time to go without sex and I'm guessing the communication problem has been going on longer.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 21:04:22

Actually, I think the spa idea is a good one, Judith. Not because it's a gift but because it gives her some time out. Don't make assumptions about my response to advice that is better than yours. 'Treat her to a lipstick', 'stroke her hair' sounds like something out of a 1950s guide to married living.

Very bitchy of you to say 'if I have' a husband and you're guessing he gives me nothing. I don't have a husband any more as it happens. If you read upthread you will see that I left him.

He surprised me with a Rolex once so at least I got something good out of the marriage smile . He often bought me flowers and a cup of tea in bed every morning. But it didn't work because we could never talk about anything important without having an argument.

Now I buy my own flowers. It's not ideal and it's a bit lonely but it is better than keeping myself and my kids in a marriage where we reached an impasse every time we tried to talk.

Balloonist Fri 20-Sep-13 21:08:09

I don't think it's that unusual for women to go off sex after having children, especially if they had a low sex drive to begin with and have been in the relationship for a long time. You do need to talk to your wife though. It's possible she just can't forsee having sex ever again in which case she'll need to be honest with you so you know where you stand.

It may signal the end of the relationship of course and then you'll have to work with her on a way you can hopefully continue to meet your sons needs whilst meeting your own too. I do know of a couple of couples who have decided to co-parent because they no longer wish to have an intimate relationship but they do want to do the best by their children.

But obviously you need to find out exactly what is going on and whether you can do anything to save the situation as it stands. You sound a lovely caring partner by the way and you should not take this personally (difficult I know). I suspect life, caring for young children etc has just knocked these impulses out of her, whether temporarily or for good that's what you need to explore.

I wish you well

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 21:14:44

Perhaps just acknowledge how much she does, every day, for you and the children by telling her that...and telling her that you appreciate the things she does. Then give her a day off to do what she wants because she deserves it.

Feeling valued for what you are doing already goes a long way in my book.

Dobbiesmum Fri 20-Sep-13 21:15:53

You said something that struck a chord with me in one of your posts about routine. That's key to me. I'm a SAHM of 3 and routine in many ways is good for me, it keeps me, DH, the DC's and the house up to scratch and where we should be. Nothing wrong with routine at all. I'm also something of an introvert btw and find talking about intimate issues a struggle.
Breaking the routine can be good. Being spontaneous can be good, not necessarily in a sexual way, just doing things you/she wouldn't normally do. It's a way to reconnect with each other and remembering what you actually liked about each other in the first place.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 21:21:03

Shapechanger nothing 1950s about having or liking your hair stroked?

Lipstick does sounds 1950s I agree, but not knowing the OP's financial situation, I used that as an example of something small that can very inexpensive, plus a lot of women use them so it wouldn't be too far out of the ordinary or the pocket. Spa days are great but they can cost £££ and I am always very wary of suggesting things that are maybe outside of people's finances, because that is demoralising to think that maybe hope lies in a spa day but you can't really afford it. I'm not as, um, stupid as you think. I am probably selling myself a bit short in order to think of things that might be generically pleasing that aren't reliant on bigger finances, but that's ok. Anyway, I would personally prefer day to day gestures and being made to feel special to the main person who I would like to see me as special, than one big gesture like a spa day (but that's just me - I have nothing against spa days, it's just given the choice that's what I would choose).

I didn't read that you had had a husband and that you're not with him any more. I'm not bitchy like that. That would be far too obvious wink

What I was instinctively getting from the OP was that his wife might not feel very good about herself at the moment and I have seen time and again that small gestures that cost nothing can have a massive impact on self esteem and confidence. The communication is the real key but if OP's wife has shut down then often small but regular compliments and feel good boosts can at least maybe, possibly, get her to feel more like talking. I don't know.

NandH Fri 20-Sep-13 21:30:44

Agree with what everyone else is saying but one thing I can't see suggested is this,

My dp is always too tired and often falls asleep on the sofa by 8pm, he works long hours so fair enough, until he was always too tired for sex, I left it months before I got stupidly pissed off with him and had a rant, his suggestion was to have sex in the mornings, and that's now what we do smile

Maybe try this? Your wife can't be tired in the morning after a night sleep surely?... if this doesn't work then its crystal clear that the tiredness is just an excuse smile

Hope you can get this sorted soon op!

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 21:42:01

Ok Judith. Don't want to derail further. It was the bit about 'extra spending money to treat herself', really does sound like it's on top of 'the housekeeping'. wink

I think 'small gestures' are lovely in a fundamentally healthy relationship (in a bad one they make things feel even worse and I should know). But first of all you absolutely have to be able to talk about the big things. Sex is a big thing. She fobs him off with excuses. He can't second guess why she isn't interested, she needs to tell him, doesn't she?

Yes, she may feel like shit after having small children (been there with the traumatic birth injuries) but she won't TALK. I still think she seems to be the one with the problem. Yes we are hearing it from his perspective but he does sound like a pretty decent partner. He certainly gives a shit, just the fact that he's even on here suggests that.

The main problem is communication... without that gifts, tokens of 'appreciation' are like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Not that any woman who stays at home with kids wouldn't appreciate time away from them, to herself.

The OP is at a stalemate because, fundamentally, he can only guess what his wife thinks and feels. Look at the title of the thread... he doesn't know what she's thinking because she doesn't communicate. In his desperation he wants to get some insight from other women.

But only she can provide the answers, every marriage is different.

Sex five times in three years (even my stbxdh and I managed it more often that that) and her treating it like a non-issue by not discussing it is seriously wrong.

But to try to be more constructive, OP, if she won't talk, have you considered writing her a letter explaining how you feel? I get the impression she doesn't really know and might be a bit shocked if you told her (another thing that suggests that finding some other way - any way - to communicate might be helpful).

Sadly my husband and I have managed to spill out our feelings and be frank with each other about where our marriage went wrong via email, since we split. We've both accepted some responsibility for it and can see with more clarity now where it went wrong. It's an awful shame we never managed to do that face to face but it always became too confrontational, or I got stonewalled. Too late now sad

You can't just bury your head in the sand about this OP and 'hope it will get better'. Intimacy is a difficult thing to restore once it is gone.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 21:43:48

I don't think it is acceptable to 'shut down' for three years. Nor do I think it is ok to expect the person who has been shut down on to make all the effort to fix things tbh.

I'm not saying the op should be insensitive but as I've said before, the problem is not sex here I don't think, I actually think the problem is much much bigger and more important than that and that if you don't do something about it properly the relationship will be over, if it isn't already.

NandH Fri 20-Sep-13 21:44:37

Really think you should listen to shapechanger too smile

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 21:45:04

Great post shape.

fabergeegg Fri 20-Sep-13 21:49:24

it's not that I think your position is unreasonable, but you may not improve it by putting any pressure on. You're obviously aware of this. In your shoes, I would really try to offer emotional intimacy with no strings attached and affection that doesn't lead to anything sexual. I would also work my ass off in the house and leave nothing undone. Make sure she has time with her friends when you have the kids. if nothing else, her friends are bound to praise you and tell her how lucky she is smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 20-Sep-13 21:51:04

A question for the OP.... sex is clearly few and far between but are you affectionate with each other? Do you hold hands in the street? Cuddle on the sofa? Physically demonstrative in other ways? Even if sex is too much like hard work, it is possible to keep going and for everyone to feel loved and attractive with affectionate behaviour. So if the answer to the above is 'yes' and you are physically affectionate with each other, that might get you through this and I'd see it as a good sign.

If the answer to the above is 'no' however, IME that can be one of two things and neither of them are favourable. a) She's simply not attracted to you any more or b) (very common) she won't engage physically on any level because she thinks it'll automatically lead to the sex she doesn't want.

Again, it comes down to communication.

MikeOxard Fri 20-Sep-13 21:51:22

Bowlersarm, that comment made me throw up in my mouth. Pressure will lead to less sex, not more. Except if you count rape.

Shape, I think you mean reasons, not excuses. We have moved on from sex being a marital duty haven't we?

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 21:56:04

I thought 'excuses' was appropriate. Come on no-one is totally exhausted for 3 years straight. She's making excuses because she doesn't want to talk about why she doesn't want sex.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 22:08:26

Yes agreed. I don't think it's acceptable to shut down for three years, at all, or for OP to be stonewalled or do all the running. I just wondered if starting small and light might encourage the channels of communication to reopen, as you can't force someone to talk but, sometimes, people respond to being coaxed out of a stalemate position.

Extra spending money was because he says that they are on one wage and he works, she doesn't? (I have really not read the thread thoroughly I admit) so there was no better way of putting it than extra spending money, because if the money in the house comes from him, then how can he differentiate to her between the money she has/is given for essentials and day to day, and money that's just for her and not to feel guilty about spending it just on her.

If she's rubbish at treating herself or has got in the habit of not being able to justify spending anything on herself, or only buys new for the kids, then some people have to be literally forced to buy themselves something new. Not that it is demeaning by being given cash just for you but like I said some people literally have to be forced because they feel guilty. I know because I have been there - feeling like shit, looking like shit and feeling that I didn't deserve anything new because it was hardly worth it, I looked so shit (put on 4.5st for DC1 smile...

I don't know if this applies to OP's DW because we don't know him or her, or what her take on this is, we only know one side of the story and we are guessing at her issues as such even more than he is!!!
but we are all putting our angles on it so that OP can sift through the info and pick and choose bits that he thinks might be useful and/or he could try.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 22:10:23

X lots of posts smile

ParvatiTheWitch Fri 20-Sep-13 22:10:32

Ok, on a purely practical note, is it worth her while? When you do have sex together, does she manage to have an orgasm, same as you? If the answer is "no", OP, ask yourself how keen you'd be if you didn't come.
Sorry to be so blunt, but in past months (after nearly two decades together) DH has turned me down on a couple of occasions, but I have always been up for it.
On a more practical note, both of our children are at school now, it does get easier and I am definitely looking better, spending more time on myself and getting my mojo back. All is not lost, it does come back to you; especially if you get on well and had a decent sex life before kids. Good luck to you.

Bowlersarm Fri 20-Sep-13 22:20:34

Mike why did my comment make you throw up in your mouth?

ageofgrandillusion Fri 20-Sep-13 22:24:45

My guess - she is actually a lesbian, still in the closet. If you get on well and dont want to split the family up, what about ... brothels now and again for you? I really don't see the harm. It would be a white lie, so to speak.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 22:32:09

age do try harder smile

Monty27 Fri 20-Sep-13 22:32:33

Do you take her out for meals, do you make her feel special, attractive, loved/ get time together both as a family and a couple? Do you listen to her, make her laugh, laugh at her jokes, smile at her, talk to her, and as upthread does she feel appreciated?

That would work for me.

Good luck. smile

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 22:41:15

Mike of course sex isn't a marital duty. No one would argue that; I certainly wouldn't.

But 'too tired' for three years?

MikeOxard Fri 20-Sep-13 22:51:49

Bowlersarm, because you implied that if he had put more pressure on, they would have had more sex - even though she clearly didn't want to. That's abuse.

melanie58 Fri 20-Sep-13 22:59:04

Realistically, surely you have to accept that either she has gone off sex full stop or she doesn't fancy you any more. If you fancy someone you want sex with them even if you're tired. Even if they haven't done the hoovering. Sad though it is, you will have to face the fact that your sex life with your wife is over.

I stayed with my husband for years after he stopped wanting sex. I wish I hadn't.

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 23:00:52

Wow, so many replies!

Reading all the replies really makes me think I need to really show her that I love and appreciate her. I mean, I do but I probably aren't showing that enough. I know the communication isn't perfect but I'm also of the opinion that all relationships will have some flaws - I'm very much the kind of person that would rather work at something than throw the towel in.

I do hold out hope that she still finds me attractive as she is quite jealous and I also believe that she still loves me - whether this is because of the life I give her and because of I'm the father of our kids I'm not so sure.

I am pretty encouraged by a lot of the replies though.

Monty27 Fri 20-Sep-13 23:05:19

Get on with it then, book that babysitter and table smile

melanie58 Fri 20-Sep-13 23:08:50

well, good luck and I hope I'm wrong...

Lazyjaney Fri 20-Sep-13 23:41:01

Minimal sex in 3 years is unlikely to be solved by cleaning loos or "not putting any pressure" on, or romantic dinners. Try it by all means, as if it works thats great, but I'd not be surprised that will probably just get you where you are now, several months from now.

I strongly suspect she is avoiding communication because she doesn't want to communicate, as in all likelihood then it'd all be over and out.

If the problem was the same but the sexes were reversed the advice would be very different. MN tends to bias towards the woman in a situation, understandably, but read those threads where its reversed and take that advice on board too.

Monty27 Fri 20-Sep-13 23:53:08

Ah see, now you're showing your true colours, your post at 11.00pm about the life that you give her.

That's arrogant, selfish in the extreme and I wouldn't counter your presence with that attitude to be quite frank, what wanker talk.

What about the life she has given you?

I would leave you, imminently. Let alone have sex with you, no wonder she has no confidence.

Darkesteyes Fri 20-Sep-13 23:55:29

Sorry to hear what you are going through OP Im not going to say any more in case i get accused of derailing again. Someone has already had a dig upthread even though my first appearance on this thread is this post.

I hope you and yr DW can get this resolved OP.

Darkesteyes Fri 20-Sep-13 23:56:45

OH Monty i didnt spot that.

HeyJudith Sat 21-Sep-13 00:08:31

Monty How the heck do you know that OP's wife doesn't take advantage of him in some way? I'm not saying she does or doesn't, but your response of calling OP arrogant and selfish in the extreme, that you would leave him immediately, blaming OP for W's lack of confidence is very extreme especially when you don't even know OP or OP's W , because he has used the phrase "the life that I give her".

Why not ask what he means by the life that he gives her instead of jumping to conclusions? You've taken one sentence and built a whole raft of unpleasant characteristics from it.

Monty27 Sat 21-Sep-13 00:19:36

Dark I did after having sympathy initially.

Hey well the OP can come back on thread can't he? I'm sure he doesn't need you to make suppositions. I'm quite entitled to construe his post in whatever context I feel when I read it, as the OP is quite entitled to post what he wishes and respond as he wishes.

Of course I don't know the OP or his wife, I'm just responding in the way I feel appropriate confused.

Shapechanger Sat 21-Sep-13 00:21:30

Yup, not very reasonable Monty. In fact rude, and presumptuous.

The OP might mean that in a nice way, like he wants to give his wife a good life, it's only an expression that you are choosing to take literally.

And what about 'the life she is giving him?' Are you referring to that sexless one?

Monty27 Sat 21-Sep-13 00:42:06

Shape she has given him dc's. Maybe she's not happy.

And I am never rude or presumptious, I'm responding to OP's 11.00pm comment. Which I'm quite entitled to do.

Your presumption that I was making reference to a sexless marriage is way off, I certainly wasn't. As I say, maybe the OP's wife isn't any happier or even unhappier then he is. We don't know what 'life' the OP gives her? Do we?

HMG83 Sat 21-Sep-13 00:45:45

Ouch, 3 years "too tired" and no communication about it. That's not right at all.

As previous posters have said, sounds like there are much deeper things going on, likely things that won't be resolved by cleaning more (?!) or wining/dining.

Are you prepared to live in a sexless marriage forever? My gut is saying "she's just not that in to you"....anymore....

Shapechanger Sat 21-Sep-13 00:46:42

No, we don't know what 'life' he gives her. Maybe if he'd put lifestyle instead... I think that is probably what he meant.

I wasn't assuming you were talking about the sexless marriage, I was pointing out myself that this is 'the life she is giving him' - a sexless one.

Monty27 Sat 21-Sep-13 00:57:26

Shape but maybe she doesn't like the life he's giving her. Let's not have a row, his posts are too wide. By the way I'm blush about saying dw gave him dc's. They had them together of course.

I'm clearly a bit biased. That could be my exdh posting that. Shy? That was me because I couldn't express my feelings to him because he was so arrogant. (He pulled me once for using a split infinitive). No luxury or holidays or cash would compensate me for that humiliation. I would have preferred to live in a tent with my dcs.

So, we just don't know enough of OP's story really.

<shakes hand with Change>

springybuffy Sat 21-Sep-13 02:46:26

Had to check we weren't in AIBU because the OP doesn't seem to be being taken seriously here by a lot of posters. If it was a woman posting, she'd get far more kindly and careful responses imo. I'm sorry you've been subjected to some vile posts here OP (the lesbian one stands out angry ) as well as some posters largely talking over your head and treating the whole thing (which is 'ripping you apart') like a joke. Shame on you MNers.

OP, one thing: how do you get time to go to the gym? What is she doing while you're at the gym?

ok, two: what do you mean 'the life you give her'? You have a deal: she keeps the home, you go out to work. It could be the other way around, she could go out to work and you'd get the thrilling home job. Working at home can be soul-destroying - you have to be endlessly creative to make cleaning up for the 5,823rd time seem a worthwhile thing to do. You, meanwhile, get to see people, go here, go there - you're a free agent during working hours, up to a point (and, it seems, after working hours re gym). If she's at home with a 3yo she probably isn't a free agent for hours/days/weeks/months on end. Do you get up in the night for the kids?

If you're 'giving her' a 'good' life (what is she 'giving' you? She gives you a lovely home, domestic set-up and lovely kids) and you've time to regularly go to the gym, you could be acting like a single bloke - life not changed too much since the kids came along (whereas hers has probably changed beyond recognition). If so, that would piss her off BIG time and all ardour would vanish. Have you ever had the kids for the w/e while she goes off to do something lovely for herself? 1. She'd get a break and 2. you'd see how gruelling childcare is in a big chunk. Which is her daily life and has been for years.

I'm not saying you don't work hard and I'm also not saying that going to the gym is a crime (though I can't honestly see how you have the time to go regularly if you have a young family). I also don't know what her day looks like - she could be getting help and mummy-free time etc.

I'm sorry this is so painful for you.

springybuffy Sat 21-Sep-13 02:54:52

*child-free time (it's late ok)

ageofgrandillusion Sat 21-Sep-13 06:38:03

I would honestly ask her outright OP whether she is a lesbian. You sound like a nice guy, you deserve to know what you are dealing with.

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 07:04:39

There are many things that can put a woman off sex, particularly if she is tired or worried, but also if she is in any way annoyed.

Yes, she may be getting off you.
But it may be that she's just not happy, or has lost her sex drive.

A lot of physical affection without leading up to sex may work wonders.

The best way will be for you to talk to her about it and to listen to her.
She may not know herself.
Perhaps you should both go down the counselling route to be able to get to the bottom of the problem?

Ehhn Sat 21-Sep-13 07:10:13

Op I have a version that you may not want to hear. My dp is kind, thoughtful, cooks, cleans, brings thoughtful little presents and plays rugby/goes to the gym so looks great. We go on spa days together. He supports my rugby and riding and encourages me to go out with him ans alone. He gets along with my rather difficult mother ans can often do it better than i can. He is Mr Perfect and I love him so much.

I still don't want to have sex with him. It upsets me that that's the way ii feel and I get on with it (thanks to lube) so he doesn't really know that's how I feel. I feel I can't tell him as it would be so dreadfully hurtful. I thought it was because I was on the pill/tired/stressed. Then I met this guy and the chemical/hormonal connection or whatever it is hit me big time. My goodness I DESIRED him so badly. He wasn't tall or handsome, not as easy going or kind as my dp. Yet my body of its own volition reacted and prepared itself for sex!

I am so disappointed with my own body. Why can't it react in that way to my wonderful dp? Sorry to give you my negative story. I guess I'm also wondering if anyone has been in my situation and switched their bodies back on somehow? Advice sought here as it may help op understand his wife. Though I hope it isn't true for her, because I find myself in a sad position and my dp deserves better.

januarysnowdrop Sat 21-Sep-13 07:16:52

Can you find a way to talk about the subject obliquely? Gossiping about a made-up colleague with relationship issues/discuss something from a Sunday colour supplement (my dh and I are very good at talking about relationships in the context of discussing Mariella Frostrup's latest advice column in The Observer!) I guess I'm wondering whether there are ways to help you communicate about your relationship which don't make her feel pressurised and therefore clam up.

Has she got a really good old friend you could get on board? I don't mean to tell the friend about your sex life, I just mean to say you'd really like your dw to have a bit more 'me' time and can the friend suggest something that she might enjoy/take her out for the evening or weekend to do something totally unrelated to childcare and housework.

And flowers! (But that might just be me.....)

Fwiw I think you're right to hang on in there and be optimistic that those posters suggesting your relationship is over/she must be a lesbian will turn out to be wrong. I agree with whoever it was up-thread who said that you can just get out of the habit of having regular sex, but that doesn't mean you can't get back into the habit, and who knows - that whole process might turn out to be really enjoyable for both of you. Think positive and good luck!

jasminerose Sat 21-Sep-13 07:19:21

I think ehhns story might be right. If someone can go without sex for 3 years its probably because thry are a person who isnt really into sex with you and I doubt it will ever change to a regular sex life.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 07:44:31

OP please listen about the communication issue. It is no small problem. It sounds as if the communication is a lot worse than just "not perfect".

It is easy to ignore I think in the face of a wife who won't talk when you've tried and a thread full of apparently easy fixes.

However, my experience may well be relevant to you.

My husband has always been shy, nervous of discussing sex, afraid of touching me, had a lower sex drive, didn't like being out of his comfort zone.

We didn't have sex for a year after the twins were born because I was exhausted and because for me the sex was shit so why would I bother?

I eventually made myself restart the sexual relationship because I knew without it the relationship would die but the sex was still shit and still infrequent.

I also felt very worn down and insignificant being a SAHM.

We are now separating, not because of any of these problems we encountered but because whenever I was miserable and whenever I tried talking to him he never listened or heard me.

He responded by trying to find the thing to do to fix broken wife; more childcare, more housework etc but he didn't listen to me or talk to me meaning he did the jobs wrong and made more work for me, wanted credit and never listened to me about how to do them.

In bed he would make a half hearted attempt to touch me sometimes but would really just focus on his orgasm.

Also he would never share with me his feelings or his life. Stupid daily crap that made me feel included. He would never consider me in decisions he made. When I talked about how I felt he would read into what I was saying a thing to do to fix it without talking to me and this would result in him doing some mad things "because you told me to".

Eventually I left (on Monday this week) because I have discussed and discussed and discussed how I feel, tried to get him to discuss how he feels etc and it was making me suicidal.

Him taking it upon himself to do housework, bringing me cups of tea, telling me I was lovely, none of that helped because we didn't communicate. Lots of the time it was worse because I felt he was treating me as a pet and not as an equal partner.

There is absolutely no going back for me, the thought of trying again makes me ill.

I know it is slightly different because your wife seems to be the one not talking but the effect of trying to guess what to do to fix it may be the same.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 07:46:48

It is the being treated like a pet that finally did it I think.

78bunion Sat 21-Sep-13 07:59:24

I suspect some of the problems on the thread are caused by unequal marriage and men working and women staying home. If she went to work, had to dress in smart work suits every day, high heels, had attention from other men at work, shared all housework 50./50 as both earning full time everything might become better.

Octopus7 Sat 21-Sep-13 09:00:22

It seems I have a comment to defend, when I mentioned the life that I give her - maybe it sounded arrogant (although I don't see it that way). All I meant is that I'm fortunate enough to get paid enough money that my wife doesn't have to work. This is something that we both wanted rather than the kids going into child care and it was very much a stroke of luck that it worked out this way. I was only referring to this and that my wife likes not having to work (and I like that she doesn't have to too but would have no problem if she wanted to start working again).

As for the gym, I only ever go in my lunch hours - I don't think it would be fair for me to be out all day at work and then sloping off to the gym as soon as I got home!

78bunion Sat 21-Sep-13 09:52:39

I suspect you would be both happier had you married a feminist and obtained an undertaking from her before marriage she would never give up work. you would both get more sex too. A lot of sex and attraction is about money and power.

microserf Sat 21-Sep-13 10:00:12

We had similar issues and went for counselling with a specialist in this area. It really helped. I was able to tell my husband why I'd gotten out of the habit and we worked on some communication strategies. It ended up (surprise) being all about a wider inability to communicate that was causing us problems.

Going to counselling isn't just for marriages that are on the rocks - we decided to get in early before ours hit the rocks.

fortyplus Sat 21-Sep-13 10:02:59

Octopus7 I was full time sahm for 12 year, and looking back it's not healthy. Encourage dw to take a part time job, even if it's voluntary work in a charity shop. It'll provide a huge boost to her self esteem. I had become a 'mummy' and nothing else. Women need to feel valued by the outside world. Or what I should say is that everyone does, but there are more sahm mums than dads.

springybuffy Sat 21-Sep-13 11:03:57

But you said it OP - I give her a good life. By that you mean that because you work, she can have a good life. But her work gives you a good life, too - you could be living alone with no-one to come home to, no children, no warmth. Or you could be struggling to find appropriate and adequate childcare; or not see your kids much. You very specifically don't want this; what she does is very valuable to you and the quality of your life. You both work to give one another a good life. (btw my personal experience is that I have done both your roles - the high-powered job in the workplace, the SAHM - and there is no question that, for me, the latter was by far the hardest.) If you say you give her a good life, you sound like her patron. Is she your patron because of what she does for you?

Shapechanger Sat 21-Sep-13 12:54:58

Offred at 07:44:31 - you have described my life before separating (except the twins bit phew)

OP you say your wife likes the lifestyle and the money but she doesn't want to be intimate with you in bed or out.

You have to question whether your arrangement is working. springbuffy hit the nail on the head when she said you sound like her patron. Are you content to bankroll her lifestyle when she is so disengaged from you?

If the gender roles were reversed in this thread she'd be mocked as a cocklodger.

springybuffy Sat 21-Sep-13 13:05:52

erm... she's not doing nothing though, is she. She's running the home and the kids - a very hard job. A cocklodger does nothing.

Shapechanger Sat 21-Sep-13 13:11:35

Fair enough spring but there seems to be a pretty dim view taken of sahds. And their partners aren't encouraged to boost their self esteem and 'treat' them all the time, they are considered fucking lucky and maybe a bit emasculated being bankrolled by a woman who goes out to work full time.

Darkesteyes Sat 21-Sep-13 14:30:43

In the wider world though single dads are hero worshipped and single mums are vilified You only need to look at the Daily Mail and Gov policy to see it.
Mysogynistic comments like "she shouldnt have opened her legs if she cant afford to support those kids" are tossed around frequently.
But with single dads "oh isnt he wonderful doing all that on his own"

fabergeegg Sat 21-Sep-13 23:50:19

I like the sound of you, OP - I think you sound like a genuinely nice guy. When you made the 'life that I give her' comment, it didn't grate because I was assuming you were making it from a place of deep insecurity, thinking, 'Is she only keeping me on because I'm helpful to her lifestyle?' Only you can know if this was the way you meant it. Then I started thinking about how I'd feel if my husband said I to me. I'd be furious! I would be thinking about the family life I give him by giving up the satisfaction that would come from work (not that I'm not pleased not to have to, either). When you're pulling together against the tide, you both do whatever jobs you have to do - for the other. Her for you as much as you for her. Don't forget it because I think you're probably a cut above that kind of chauvinistic comment.

Darkesteyes Sat 21-Sep-13 23:58:04

Thats a great post faberge

ifonawintersday Sun 22-Sep-13 00:18:02

I love my husband very much. He if handsome, and I find him attractive. But, I am not keen on physical closeness at all. This is why, and you need to think hard if you do any of these things. Because my husband would say he was doing housework, and chores, but I see things very differently.

This is a standard evening at our house:

- He will just go off to bed when he is tired. I am left with ensuring all the doors are closed, windows shut, and lights off, etc.

- If the washing machine is still going, I will stay up and wait for it, and hang the clothes up.

- I will walk around the house to look for dirty mugs, cups, left behind. Then clean up the kitchen, stack the dishwasher and turn it on.

- Every night he leaves his dirty socks and underpants on the top of the landing. Every morning he goes downstairs, leaving his dirty clothing on top of the landing.

- He uses the dinging room as his personal clothes storage, and chairs will be laden with trousers, gym shorts, t shirts, etc. (I dont have my own dressing room, how do I manage to keep all my clothes in our bedroom, in the wardrobe, hung up and tidy?)

- All his correspondence is left where ever it falls, and I end up putting it all away.

BUT, he cooks breakfast every morning, he takes the rubbish out, he clears the table after dinner and stack the dishwasher. He leaves the surfaces for me to wipe though. He takes the kids out swimming or to the park on his own. He reads bed time story every night. So he would say he does a lot in the house. But compared to what I do, it is very little. We both work though, I work part time.

And when I come to bed, he has been laying there reading, and is in a huff as he has been kept up saying "why are you up so late, I need to get some sleep" He wont go to sleep before me as he does not like to be woken up when I come to bed. So when I come to bed, I lie down, I turn my back to him and go to sleep.

I have given up asking him to pick up after himself, and I just dont see HOW he can just walk past an untidy kitchen and go to bed when clearly he can see that there is still lots left to do before going to bed.

If you recognize any of this, think twice, because while you may be doing chores, it could be things that you dont do that is wearing your wife out.

Darkesteyes Sun 22-Sep-13 00:29:51

wintersday leaving his dirty socks/pants for you to pick up is disrespectful.
And you have already asked him and he continues to do it. So he KNOWS hes being disrespectful.
Hes doing the bare minimum he can get away with but because he really thinks that its all womens work and that he shouldnt be doing it really, he passively aggresively leaves his dirty underwear for you to pick up. How old is he Because my DH is 63 and he doesnt do that (im 40 btw) We seem to be going backwards.

ifonawintersday Sun 22-Sep-13 00:33:24

We are both 40. I really dislike how he just swans off to bed when HE is tired, leaving to me to "finalise" all chores. Am I not tired? Why is it always ME that has to be responsible and pick up his slack?

Darkesteyes Sun 22-Sep-13 00:37:57

Winter its not as if he doesnt know how you feel because you have already told him. thats why i think its passive aggressive Have you tried just leaving his shite on the landing What would he do if you did?

springybuffy Sun 22-Sep-13 00:41:54

I had a lodger like this. He thought he was being so wonderful to do a miniscule amount of tasks - he clearly expected a medal. When one fine summer day I asked him to mow the lawn [petrol mower, takes about 20 minutes] he took off and I never saw him again. (there was a thread about it: half the posters thought IWBU to ask him to mow the lawn. But he used the garden more than me. He also never once wiped the surfaces. The magic fairy did all that.)

Darkesteyes Sun 22-Sep-13 00:42:17

So he fucks off to bed when he is tired and then moans at you for coming to bed late when the reason that you are is cos you are finishing off the chores that he sees as womens work.? Jesus what a selfish twonk And moaning about what time you go to bed also strikes meas a bit controlling.

ifonawintersday Sun 22-Sep-13 00:53:57

Yes, but the point is, because he does do chores, and is generally helpful, he would say he helps a lot around the house. He does. BUT, the fact is still, by the time he is tired and wants to go to bed, there are still things that needs doing, and this is left to me. Yet his perception is that he does plenty. He does not realize how important that final run is. If he was sharing the load, we would both get to bed earlier.

Darkesteyes Sun 22-Sep-13 01:11:52

Winter thats the problem I hate this phrase "helping out" or helpful. Its not being helpful its picking up his OWN mess and contributing to the running of his own home.
When he takes the kids out on his own have you heard him make reference to this? If so does he refer to it as parenting or babysitting.

Lazyjaney Sun 22-Sep-13 10:01:45

The OP is being led a merry dance, becoming a domestic god is very unlikely to be effective in this case IMO.

Read the reverse threads on here OP, and you will see (many of these same) women recommending far more assertive steps for other women to take. Communication is of course recommended, but more of the shape up or ship out mode.

I think most of the advice on those threads is more genuine, and is probably the better advice to take.

ifonawintersday Sun 22-Sep-13 10:10:56

I know Darkesteyes. I know.

He does not refer to spending time with his kids as baby sitting. He enjoys spending time with them and takes his parenting seriously. If I want a lie in, he will get up with them early. If I want to go out and see friends, he is happy to be home with them. He rarely goes out himself. He goes to the gym a few times per week, this does not impact on anything. He always ask if there is a session I would like to go to before he goes, as he says he is happy to let me have "first digs".

He takes the kids to school every day before work. Sometimes, he also picks them up. I cook dinner 90% of the time and we eat together. He is also happy to cook tea for one child if I am out with the other. I just say, "look I will be at x with dc2, so dc1 will need a meal" I find that we parent very efficiently together.

My only issue is what happens in the evening after the kids have gone to sleep. Because they fall asleep quite late, I like to sit and relax for a little before doing all the last dashes, maybe with a book, a glass of wine, some tv, spend time online just to take easy and enjoy my evening a bit. And then BOOM, "I am going to bed", without sharing that last bit.

I know it is a small thing as everything works fine and is running smooth up to that point. But that is enough to make me not want physical closeness.

Writing this, I realize I may be unreasonable because he is such an equal partner while the kids are still awake. When they go to bed, he goes to his study to answer emails.

HeyJudith Sun 22-Sep-13 17:46:53

winters my DH did this "I'm going to bed" and off up the stairs too leaving me with the final tasks. Drove me mad.

I argued about it with him a few times. Then I started making sure I went to bed first so he had no choice but to do it (or risk leaving the house unsecured). I would also call down "oh and the washing needs taking out, or else or your clothes will smell smile".

Then I introduced the concept of sharing the tasks. Ie Him: "I'm off to bed". Me "Well before you go, you check the doors and windows and I will put the last bits in the dishwasher". (or whatever). I changed it around so we both got to do all the last minute tasks including waiting for the washing machine, locking up, letting the cats in or out etc etc.

Now we do it all between us without discussion because we both know exactly what needs doing. I believe if you know pretty good in other ways, then it's a bit of a blind spot/learned behaviour.

Octopus7 Mon 23-Sep-13 01:04:49

So over the weekend I've done a lot more around the house, put work on the back burner and we've generally spent a lot more time together as a couple (watching movies and things) - my wife totally caught me off guard and asked if I wanted to come up to bed this afternoon! Maybe it's coincidental, maybe not!

fabergeegg Mon 23-Sep-13 01:09:28

amazing!! Chuffed for you! Now, before your coach turns into a pumpkin, ask for the thread to be pulled!

springybuffy Mon 23-Sep-13 01:21:02

WOW! smile smile

springybuffy Mon 23-Sep-13 01:21:52

where were the kids

NameChangedForAChange Mon 23-Sep-13 01:59:55

Blimey, OP! See what a few changes in your behaviour have made to your wife, eh?

My two penn'orth on this is that, when my (many) DC were tiny and in nappies or potty training and waking a lot at night, sex was just another job on the to-do list. Even worse, it was yet another job that involved dealing with someone else's bottom! At that time all I wanted to do was either SLEEP or BE ON MY OWN.

So, erm, think on, OP. You may, perhaps, have cracked it by actually doing a bit more supporting stuff.

Lazyjaney Mon 23-Sep-13 06:58:04

Things that make you go hmmmm

Wellwobbly Mon 23-Sep-13 14:34:26

And don't underestimate EVER how much women need affection.

Affection: non-sexualised touching. Hugs, cuddles, kisses, stroking hair and non-erogenous zones.

In my next life I want to come back as a Englishman's horse. Those long lovely brush strokes ...

Monty27 Thu 26-Sep-13 23:45:17

She felt equal, appreciated and loved. It's not all about physical stuff, it's working together and having joint goals. That has some mileage.
I'm happy for you both smile

Monty27 Thu 26-Sep-13 23:50:11

Feeling on top of the priorties list makes me feel special. Freedom of course each way and space, but you need to appreciate what dw does for you.

I'm coming back as a dog in my next life not really grin

queenbitchapparently Fri 27-Sep-13 16:51:04

Sounds like she has replaced her life with children.
It is far to common and not very healthy.
Try to get her out more just the two of you.
Try to have some fun.
Be really frank about how you are feeling, think about counseling for you both. Maybe a sex therapist.
You shouldn't have to be without intimacy.

queenbitchapparently Fri 27-Sep-13 16:52:48

Missed the update. Very cool, keep making her feel special and hopefully it won't be a one off

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