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Need some advice on how to get closer again to DP

(9 Posts)
AnotherAdviceNameChange Sat 13-Oct-12 18:55:12

Have name changed for this. I just need some advice on how to make things a little better in my relationship with DP.

We've been together 11 years now, since we were at university, and have a 9mo baby. Basically, like a lot of couples in this position I imagine, we're struggling to keep the intimacy going in our relationship. I'm now back at work f/t and DP works shifts, so we don't always see each other every day, we certainly don't have the more traditional set-up of being alone together once DD is in bed every evening.

Our sex life isn't great at all, but that's a combination of not being in the house at the same tired, being tired after work, and just having got out of the habit. I'm not too concerned about that, though, I don't feel its anything out of the ordinary for the position we're in.

Our problem seems to be spending time together. Before we had DD we had quite separate social lives and hobbies - we do have a large group of friends in common but also, with DP's shift work, we did get into the habits of seeing our own friends and following our own interests (by interests I don't mean anything much more exciting than computer games, TV, reading etc grin) This is a bit of a problem now, as our default setting for relaxation when we are in of an evening and DD is in bed is gaming (him) and TV (me - and MN, obviously...)

We're snappy and grumpy with each other at the moment, partly because we are both adjusting to our new life - me back at work f/t, him doing a lot of the childcare - and not spending quality time together really isn't helping at all. One problem is that we are new to where we live and though I have made a lot of friends through mums groups, we don't have family or friends without their own kids close enough to babysit for a few hours while DP and I go out together, and we can't really afford to pay for a professional sitter just to go out for a few drinks or to the cinema. Our parents do help out and have DD overnight occasionally so we can go away, but I don't want to do this too often as, with me working during the week, the weekends are when I get to see DD properly.

We've had a good talk about this, we know this is a problem, but I just wanted some advice on how to work on this. I'm wondering what other people do in the evening in that elusive time when everything is finally done and the baby is asleep. What could we do to spend quality time together? What do other people do to stay 'intimate' when you're both working and have DCs?

snoozed Sat 13-Oct-12 20:44:17

Hello, in almost exactly the same situation as you - it's wearing isn't it.

Do you get to spend weekends together, or does your DP usually work? We try to do something nice together at weekends rather than weekday evenings as both too tired. Yes we have dd with us, so not alone time but while she's at the age still when she'll happily sit in pushchair/on lap we can still have a reasonably 'adult' pub lunch/ long walk etc..

Also, we have on occasion gone for an early meal together after work in the week, with dd tucked up in the buggy.

Weekday evenings we do always make a habit of sitting down for dinner together at least.. Then maybe a cuddle on the sofa!

Could you set up a babysitting arrangement with other mums you know? I have started that recently with someone from my antenatal class.

People keep telling me that after the first year you find each other again! I get so sick of the constant snapping and bickering - never used to be like that- I'm guessing the same for you.

AnotherAdviceNameChange Sun 14-Oct-12 19:17:05

DP works some weekends too - its a rolling 10 day shift pattern, so there's not much consistency sad

Yes, its so much bickering and snapping! At the moment I think the problem is that we had just settled in to the reality of having a baby and feeling as if we knew what we were doing, and then I went back to work and its changed again!

Time-wise we can't go for a meal after work but I'll make sure we go out more when we are both off, DD is an easy baby so pubs and long walks are fine.

I like the idea that you find each other again though! That makes sense, its such a big adjustment at first, isn't it? I think now it feels a bit weird as we've obviously changed so much of our lives having a baby, but now it seems as though we have to change some of our 'hobbies' as well!

CailinDana Sun 14-Oct-12 20:09:49

I do think it takes at least a year, normally, to get things back on an even keel. You both have to make a conscious effort to be kind to each other - remind yourselves that you're both tired, you're both finding this all new and demanding and just let things go if you can. One small thing you can do is to agree to say one (or more) nice thing(s) to each other every day - just something simple like "thank you for a lovely dinner" or "You look after DD really well."

It can feel it a bit weird too but one night a week could you try going to bed together really early - say around 8 - just to chat and maybe more if it leads to that? You might not manage to do it every week, but even if you do it once a month it will keep you in touch with one another, and stop you drifting. Just a cuddle and a chat, although IME it rarely stops there smile

How does that sound?

tumbletumble Sun 14-Oct-12 23:13:46

Hi OP, some thoughts from me....

You say you have no friends without kids to babysit, but what about friends with kids? Your friend comes over while her DH stays at home with their kids - and you return the favour for them another night.

If you can't get a babysitter, how about having a 'date night' at home once a week? Cook something special together and keep the TV and computer switched off.

I do think it's worth making the effort to recharge your sex life. You say you aren't concerned, but I think that you can easily fall out of the habit of having sex and it can impact your relationship more than you realise.

Agree with Cailin that you need to make the effort to be nice to each other too. It's not hard to be polite and kind and considerate, and it makes such a difference!

AnotherAdviceNameChange Mon 15-Oct-12 17:07:00

I didn't word that sentence about sex very well - obviously I would like more (grin) but I meant I don't feel its a symptom of any big problem, just the usual tiredness and logistics with a little one. Though she has at last learnt to take 1-2 hour naps during the day, which will make things a lot easier than trying to sneak off the 20-30 mins she used to deign to sleep!

We don't have any friends with kids nearby either, sadly, but I will start floating the idea of swapping babysitting with the other mums in the area. We love the new town we've moved to, its great for commuting and nicely in the middle between all the grandparents, but we didn't really think about the lack of friends and babysitters.

But you're all right about being nice. I know I do moan at him all the time, but that's just because he is there, I think. I also do that terrible thing of talking about the baby all the time (which in some ways is fair enough, there's not much else to talk about on maternity leave!) I shall endeavor to start biting my tongue and not snapping at him for no real reason. And I'll suggest something like 'date night'. I'm going to put my foot down about eating dinner together at the table instead of in front of the telly, for one thing.

AnotherAdviceNameChange Mon 15-Oct-12 17:07:11

Oh, sorry - thanks! smile

snoozed Mon 15-Oct-12 20:36:11

Yes speak to other mums for sure- when I mentioned it it turned out lots of others didn't have family nearby and were keen to do some mutual babysitting.

That's a really good idea Callin about going to bed early together one night a week - definitely going to try that myself!

Kiwiinkits Tue 16-Oct-12 01:10:18

Throw out the x-box. Seriously. Do it now. That machine is what is ruining your intimacy.

(Or at least, agree with him to put it away for two months and see how things go.)

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