to try to find a male view on this?(167 Posts)
I am posting here because I know this gets more traffic than anywhere else, and also because I know I will get genuine points of view - which is what I want right now. I have support at home, but of course they are all on my side and I really want some impartial comments (if possible, from any male MNers as well?)
I will try to be as factual and accurate as I can rather than biased in my own direction. Tricky though...
I always believed that DH and I were meant to be together, but about 6 weeks ago he told me that he was no longer sure that he loved me any more. He likes me, cares for me and fancies me but it's "the love thing" (I quote him). He felt that our marriage has been cold for the last 18 months - for me, this was a total shock as it was the first I knew of it.
As background, we have been married for 3 1/2 years, together for 5, have a 2.2 year old dd and a 3 month old ds. He felt that my style of parenting was too child-centred (I carry them in slings, keep them in our room - although not full-time co-sleep - and full-term breastfeed). He felt that I no longer loved him and this chipped away at his love for me until he realised that it had gone. I have tried to reassure him that I love him more than anything, and that I was struggling with a young child, return to work, difficulties and chronic pain breastfeeding and then a second - not easy - pregnancy and birth.
He felt that intimacy had gone (we had had sex a few times but he has a very high sex drive) - from my pov we couldn't be physical without the pressure to have sex, so I think subconsciously I avoided it. We have always done a lot of cuddling etc though, and I have always told him I loved him every day.
Since he told me, we have been going to Relate and trying to be more physical but he says that "the love thing" is not coming back - I am worried that he is expecting to wake up one morning to find it suddenly reappeared, or that he is not allowing himself to feel it. I don't know - which is why I would like other viewpoints.
I am aware that it is difficult to know the whole story (even I don't!) and therefore difficult to pass judgment, but is it common to assume that a wife in a fug of exhaustion and discomfort no longer loves you? And for it to then stop you loving her? Has anyone else been through this and did they get the feelings back - how?
My DH is a lovely, warm, funny man but seems very angry - it's like treading on eggshells. He can't tell me that he wants our marriage to continue, or that he doesn't. His actions say one thing and his words another - we still get on very very well and he treats me really well, but calls me cold. I am also a nice person, and also warm....I just tend to retreat when things get hard and put effort into not letting it show. We know that communication is an issue, and are working on that, but "the love thing" is the real sticking point - apparently this has happened in two previous relationships and they did not last. I feel very much that he blames me, though.
If anyone can shed light on where he is coming from to help me understand and try to fix this I would be so grateful.
Could he be depressed? Young dcs/ lack of sleep - life will be hard at the moment.
It's not just your responsibility to 'fix' this and him putting the onus on you is not right. If you're knackered then he needs to do more to give you a break. When you're no longer knackered, then he'll stand a little more chance of intimacy. There's also the fact that if you have a cuddle, he sees it as a red light to sex, which is enough to put many off when all you want IS a cuddle.
He seems jealous that the children have taken your attention off him, and he's acting like a 3rd child. He has to also make an effort. It's not just your fault.
I personally think that's likely, but he gets really angry when I suggest it (the fact that I am thinking he has a mental illness does not go down well ). I have asked him to see someone to check it out but I know he won't. He says that any of his friends or family would laugh at that suggestion - being the funny, optimistic one and the one at the centre of everything seems to be very important to him. If only he could be more optimistic about our marriage .
the depression is likely...
madlizzy - thankfully he is happy to come to Relate, but it is hard to know if he is allowing it to help or just going through the motions, iyswim.
Only you'll be able to see if there's any difference. Just don't let him heap all the responsibility on you and get him to help you more so you're not so tired.
Madlizzy, you're right but once a man feels that he is a poor fourth in the pecking order (after dp and dcs) he will not feel that way. IME men get this feeling when other aspects of their life are not working for them (eg work drudgery or disappointment can make a man want to feel special at home).
I think he has an unrealistic expectation of marital love after you have been together a few years if he expects it to be like it was in the early romantic days. Also unrealistic expectations of parenthood and of your relationship when you have small children.
Sometimes us blokes are a little selfish when evaluating things. I know that I, for example, will take one incident and add it to other unconnected ones almost to prove a point that I have. E.g. DW doesn't fancy sex, I then remember that she used to be very tired. In my head I go "but she's not tired now, so what's her reason this time? It must be me!". When I take a step back I realise that just because she isn't tired at a particular time doesn't mean she's suddenly gagging for it.
We do sometimes have that childish outlook which gets in the way of rational thinking and also gives us something to hide behind if we don't want to talk about it or think about it fully.
These days I know that life gets in the way of lots of things and appreciating what DW does makes me see that it's a wonder she can get out of bed, let alone be the same now as she was when we first met.
It takes two to fix a marriage though and hopefully he can see that he's not looking at the full picture, at the moment. It's like he's got his head in the sand.
I have a strong feeling he is having an affair.
read your post back to yourself
he calls you cold, its like walking on eggshells, he can't tell you if he wants to continue with the marriage or not yet he is very nice to you. no wonder you are confused. what do you really want, he seems to be wanting it to be all about him, your life has changed that does not mean your love for him has but its not all about him anymore
Grovel, I've a lovely husband who helped me though triplets plus one and the associated knackeredness and fog that went hand in hand with it. He didn't feel emasculated or pushed out, he just worked with me. He still does. Techloving dad - good post.
Sorry to hear you are dealing with this,
I've been there, 2 dcs under 18mnths pulled us apart, neither of us can explain it or pinpoint where it happened but we just existed together, luckily we just plodded on and are stronger than ever, 2yrs later. I can't offer advice just hope maybe.
does sound like you have been neglecting him a bit, dont agree with the women on here that say that men just have to put up and shut up when kids come along, you do have to work hard to keep intimacy lvls up after kids are born. if he is feeling that his needs are low on your scale of things to do he will feel unloved and then i can see why he would feel that would affect his feeling for you.
i think he prob still does love you but is struggling with how to behave now you are different towards him. he is sulking but not necessarily without cause.
grovel - you are right, he told me that he felt that he was nowhere on my list of priorities. of course the truth is that he was - much higher up than myself - but i did a crap job of showing him. i know i can be quite distant when upset/down/tired.
insomnia11 - yep, i agree. he says that he is not expecting things to stay the same but i think that is just lip service. he doesn't seem to allow that love may change.
techlovingdad - thank you, that is so helpful; a little piece of what may be going on in his head. how did you get to the point at which you are now?
thetruth - i am aware that it could look like that, but i have asked him straight out and believe him when he says he isn't. he is trying to be (perhaps a little too) honest at the moment. i do trust him on this one.
freudianslipper - sounds pathetic, but i want him to love me again! i felt so special and beautiful when i knew that he did - amazed that such a popular and attractive man would love me. now i just feel awful, he said that he has got harder and colder because he thought i didn't love him, and just seems so angry. the worst thing that i am guilty of, surely, is taking his love for granted - and figuring that he could understand if he didn't get all the attention that he needed whereas a tiny child wouldn't. (this was not a conscious thought at the time).
Not one person on this thread has said that men just have to put up and shut up. If parents work as a team, then no one person needs to be left out. When you become a parent, your priorities quite rightly do change and the small person is the most needy. Things change as these small people get bigger and less needy.
jj - thank you. I am glad that you worked it out.
cannydolt - I suspect you have a point. I just didn't have the energy to cope with everything (this "coldness" seems to date back to when I started work again). DD's birth was also a difficult one and bfing/pg hormones really knocked my libido for a burton. I do know what I am like; rather too introverted and rather than speak up if I am struggling or upset I retreat and wait for someone to ask me if I am alright. Which he never did.... Like I said, communication is crap. I am really trying hard now though, but it doesn't seem to be having an effect except to make him feel that he is taking advantage of me and me feel upset because I am trying to be intimate with someone who does not love me and that goes against my nature.... Just seems like a catch-22 and too little too late.
I think that this is one of those 'setting you up to fail' conversations that cheating husbands have with their wives when they have already given themselves permission to have an affair.
Sorry, I would have worded that less harchly, but this is AIBU.
If WhenWillIFeelNormal sees this (where is she?? Haven't seen her for a while) she would be able to explain much more about what I mean. Maybe do a search for some of her threads?
Whenever I have seen an OP on here that starts with 'He says he loves me but he's not in love with me', it's usually an affair
coffeedodger - the frustrating thing is that I never did leave him out! I always made sure that he was happy with the way I was doing things (and he said to my mother that he was happy to leave the way we parent up to me). A lot of the things I did I did with him in mind - i clearly did not make it obvious enough. The only way in which he was neglected was physically, and I was probably quieter than usual (although he knew I was more introverted than him when he married me!). But I can see how he might have felt left out, certainly.
Then yes, I agree with Madonnawhore. It does sound like you're being set up to fail.
you are being far too hard on yourself. why should you not expect him to still feel the same way. he is jsut as lucky to have you as you him and that you have 2 wonderful children together. does sound a little like this is all about him and his needs, he is not centre of attention anymore but this is life he is an adult not a child
He will need to get over that "what about me?" attitude. As someone has said, when you have children they, naturally, become the centre of everything. You need DH to join in with this, instead of fighting against it.
It's not like children are going to disappear and DH will get his "freedom" back, is it?
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