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DW, marriage, communication, sex and stuff.(343 Posts)
Hello, Ive posted in Dadsnet and Feminism already for advice regarding specific parts of my slightly dysfunctional marriage, so its time to bite the bullet and whack a post in relationships!
Bit of background, Im male, DW and I have been married five years, together ten. Both mid 30s, two DCs (2 and 4) and no sex life. Ive considered and tried various anaphrodisiacs and been reading a lot about PIV/Feminism womens views of sex and got myself thoroughly paranoid about the number of women with disappointing sex lives and I think DW may be one of them.
Ive tried to broach the subject a few times, but she says its tiredness/stress (understandable considering the young kids I suppose), Ive asked whether she enjoys it when we do have sex, she says yes. Ive even asked if she fakes it! She says no. Not sure whether I believe any of it because I know she wouldnt want to hurt my feelings, and there does seem to be a big proportion of women out there who arent happy.
I help around the house as much as I can (still got to buy a copy of Wifework to make sure Im covering all bases) and I think we split things pretty equally despite me being fulltime working and DW a SAHM. She has the option of lie-ins at weekends (but rarely takes them), I try to do all the kiddy stuff at weekends to give her a break and cooking/cleaning in evenings is my responsibility most of the time too (she tends to do most of the laundry and cooking for the kids).
So I suppose the question is, how long should I wait before putting an ultimatum/suggesting counselling/ending the Marriage? (rhetorical: I know only I can answer that) I love DW and would do anything for her (have considered chemical castration at times), but this is getting me down and Ive started having slightly suicidal thoughts which I know isnt healthy. The constant rejection I could cope with if I knew what the reason was. Could be a case that counselling for me is required.
I think it all started about 5 years ago when we were TTC, after 1 year DW became pregnant and morning sickness put a kibosh on any intimacy, a year later we DTD once and number two came along, again Morning Sickness meant a nine month break, BFing extended this and it all fell into a rut so weve only DTD six times in the past five years! Putting that down in writing is quite shocking.
Anyway, DW has issues with her body post pregnancy. I find her sexy and attractive, but my constant reassurances fall on deaf ears (havent seen her naked for five years either). I think she may need some help to improve her confidence as nothing I can say changes it a jot. Not sure on the best way to approach this one, so any words would of advice would be good. I think once shes happy with herself then we can talk more about what she wants out of life and whether she even wants me in it.
Sorry, this post is all a bit disjointed and Ive probably missed stuff out but its cathartic to get it down even if this gets no responses!
Keepithidden Im really sorry if any of my posts upset you but im further down this road than you are and (although i do realise i can only go by whats been posted) i can see similar avoidance tactics that ive experienced.
Well, everyone knows you only get one side of the story with these threads. No doubt a different spin would be put on things from someone elses POV. Try not to judge my wife. Probably time to go now.
I don't think people are being overly judgemental but it's hard to understand why you're so protective of her and eager to make excuses for her, at the expense of your own happiness.
As long as there is progress, I don't think 2 people (just because they are married) can be in exactly the same place (emotionally speaking) at the same time. Perhaps she is not 'ready' just yet. It's likely that if she is more involved with the kids, she is less focussed on the marriage at the moment. But it does seem to be beginning to change. OP, you sound patient and committed. It doesn't mean you have to completely accept the status quo, but it does mean you need to take people where they're at and encourage them to move - not browbeat them into it.
How are things now keepithidden? Did you sort your issues?
Hi Jackandjill, thanks for asking. I can't believe this thread is pushing four years old now!
No, we haven't sorted anything, communication is worse, intimacy of any kind is pretty non existent. I don't bother trying to initiate these days and when she does it doesn't feel like she's into it. Try to talk about it probably every six/twelve months but get shut down or vague responses.
If I want to keep a long term relationship with DCs I need to stay here, so I'm pretty much resolved to maintaining the status quo for another 10/15 years, then talk about splitting up with DW around that time. Unless an unexpected windfall means buying/renting a suitable sized house so I can at least go for 50/50 residency is possible. Unlikely though and I've learnt not to pin my hopes on these things.
For now we get on well as a family, and when it's just the two of us post DC bedtime I go to bed early, DW goes to bed late and vice versa for getting up (hence me replying now on a Sunday morning!). It'd be a lot easier if we didn't share a bedroom. I'm conscious though that my concerns are small scale compared to most others on here.
Anyway, MN has definitely been a lifeline for me, so many open, understanding and challenging opinions, I've learnt loads from this place (especially the feminism section), it's great!
Could you upsize to get a bedroom each?
In your situation I would be gently exploring whether your wife would be agreeable to separating but staying together to coparent the children. She may not go for it but to be honest after 8 years of no sex life it won't be a surprise to her that you might not be happy.
We don't have the finances to upsize and we live in SE England so everything is expensive. There's only one wage coming in at the moment, DW has her own business, but it's not exactly profit making yet. I've thought about other options, but the garage can get a bit cold in winter and a bit hot in summer plus DCs would probably notice and if I can insulate them from the situation for as long as possible so much the better.
I think in her heart-of-hearts she probably does know I'm not happy, but as you say after eight years maybe she has convinced herself that I can accept the lack of intimacy? Or maybe she feels that as she doesn't need it I don't either. I don't know. We've never talked about it in sufficient depth for me to be able to know, hence the frustration I have with the lack of communication.
I don't think it would be wise to talk about separation without having the means to actually do it, it could cause years of edgy atmosphere, or could result in me losing the relationship I have with DCs (i.e. moving into a shared house/bedsit, DW would not prevent me seeing them I'm sure). I really don't want to jeopardise that.
The answer, surely, is for your dw to start earning an income now. She has been running this business for. .. how many years? And it's still not bringing any money in?
Time for her to go out and get a job of some sort (I'm guessing both dc are at school? )I'm sure it's much nicer for her to be at home with her business, but real life is knocking at her door now.
Once you have 2 incomes coming in, you can start to think about buying another place for yourself and going for 50:50 custody.
I very rarely take the man's side on here () but in this case I think it's time to start thinking seriously about separating, for the sake of your happiness and mental health.
I agree it's time to think about separating.
You're allowed to be happy.
We agreed that DW would not go back to "normal" work until DCs were at secondary school. I don't have a preference either way, but I would be going back on that agreement if I forced her into a position to find full time, normal hours work.
As well as her business she also helps out at school a couple of days a week, so that would be lost too. Despite the lack of finances I think the latter work is very important. Although I do think it may help to get some kind of life outside of the DCs bubble.
Its complicated, and I do still love her.
Op, you sound like a nice guy but you really are being too passive in your approach to all this, imo.
What about her going back on her "agreement" to love and honour that she made when you got married?? She doesn't seem to be doing much of either, or even showing much consideration for your feelings (and mental health).
I know it's easy to talk about these things online, and MUCH harder to actually do them, but openness, honesty and courage (for want of a better word) really are the way forward here.
Good luck with it all.
Thanks Naive, you're probably right. Unfortunately one persons definition of love and honour aren't necessarily the same as another's. Another mismatch in our marriage.
Your kids will not thank you for consistently modelling a disempowered father/male figure to them, OP. I know this profoundly.
Have you considered an open relationship?Your dw must surely know that you are not happy and if she has no intention of doing anything about it (8 years would suggest not) then she surely wouldn't object ...
Perhaps in an ideal world, your DW wouldn't go back to work till the DC are at secondary school, however in the REAL world, where parents separate, get ill, lose jobs etc - that's not an option. Very few women nowadays have the option not to work. Needs must, and all that.
Also, one thing to ask yourself: could you be co-dependant? Even a tiny bit? Are you happy to continue as part of a dysfunctional relationship?
MsStrictly - I do worry about the effect on DCs, but as far as I'm concerned it is a case of Hobson's Choice: neither option is ideal, but this one seems the better of the two.
Robinia - Yes, I have considered an open relationship, unfortunately I'm one of the types who struggles to separate sex and love, and can see it leading to emotional difficulties for me. Besides, it's not just the sex that's missing, it's the other stuff associated with it - intimacy, bonding etc.
MoreProsecco - Interesting point about being codependant. I've just read up a bit about it and can see how that may be the case. It's something I clearly need to consider seriously and do some more research on. Some of the stuff I've read I can relate to, but others certainly not, so maybe a "tiny bit" is accurate.
Just chiming-in with a little empathy.
I'm in a similar situation and it stinks. I haven't found a solution either yet, beyond what you've said - ie: wait a number of years until the kids are old enough to understand, or hope there's a cash windfall before then to make a separation workable.
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