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DW, marriage, communication, sex and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MerryMarigold Thu 08-Aug-13 22:30:26

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.

Numberlock Thu 08-Aug-13 22:14:08

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.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Aug-13 23:15:51

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.

Glenshee Wed 07-Aug-13 22:21:04

MerryMarigold - thanks for sharing!

Glenshee Wed 07-Aug-13 22:20:18

Also from your last posts it seems like you are holding back quite a lot, and if that's your overall strategy (with the view to not upset DW too much), then this may breed all sorts of misunderstandings and also needs attention.

Glenshee Wed 07-Aug-13 22:18:33

If you both want to improve your relationship yet despite best efforts the result is not satisfactory, then surely:
1) something else is going on (mild depression, other health issues, affair etc),
2) you need external help to deal with it (as you both are trying but your methods/strategies are not working).

Glenshee Wed 07-Aug-13 22:14:17

I've mentioned seeking help, both with marriage counselling, and individual counselling, but I think she believes these are last-resort options.

A lot of people take up marriage counseling as a last resort option, and often at this point it is too late, and the relationship is no longer fixable.

Same with depression - if you diagnose it too late, your treatment options are much more aggressive. Why would you want to be in this position?

Could she simply be afraid that by suggesting these options you actually mean this is now the last resort / crisis point, so by declining these suggestions she is seeking re-assurance that everything's alright?

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 21:49:14

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.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Aug-13 21:34:26

Keepit You sound like a great guy. You deserve more.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Aug-13 21:33:37

Keepithidden i am honestly not trying to be hurtful here but it does read like shes making excuses. I agree with Numberlock.

I picked up this months Psychologies today and it does have section on sex therapy in there (September issue)

arsenaltilidie Wed 07-Aug-13 21:29:42

Because DW doesnt want to work on things, the OP is fighting a losing battle.

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 21:28:19

Yep Numberlock, but as you may have guessed I am weak.

Numberlock Wed 07-Aug-13 21:22:59

'DW' really does hold all the cards doesn't she. Doesn't like this, won't do that... I'd love to meet her in real life to get the measure of her.

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 10:43:25

If you suggested a cleaner would you really need to justify it financially?

Yes, DW tends to be the more thrifty in our relationship. Although I think the bigger concern is having an "unknown" come in to the house to clean though. I think DW views it as a bit of an invasion of her/our privacy. Maybe I have more faith in the professional behaviour of cleaners than she does!

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 10:08:51

Thanks Branleuse - Lack of affection was flagged up pretty early on in this thread, and by both DW and I for that matter. It's been something we've both been working on over the past month or so, an improved sex life should hopefully follow. I suspect there are a few other issues too, but lack of affection is the most obvous at the moment.

Time away from DCs would be great, but DW is not comfortable leaving them with someone she doesn't know for evenings, so a weekend away is a no-go for a few years yet. We have no family/friends we can ask to babysit and DW is reluctant to use Agencies/Childminders, hence my considering the ultimatum in my previous post.

MerryMarigold Wed 07-Aug-13 10:00:41

If you suggested a cleaner would you really need to justify it financially? I am permanently trying to convince dh to let me have a cleaner!!!

MerryMarigold Wed 07-Aug-13 09:59:20

I wouldn't get too hung up on her use of words. I am a SAHM. And yes it is hard work, but I wouldn't use the word 'Work' to describe it since I don't get a salary or have a boss (No the kids are NOT my boss!), plus the word 'Work' has all sorts of connotations to others. I'd rather use SAHM because it says what it is. I think I need to buy that book for DH though as it is my life's mission to make him realise that it is hard graft and that he only ever has the kids WITH me at the weekends or for a few hours (has has put them to bed the past 2 nights as I have been out).

Branleuse Wed 07-Aug-13 09:54:45

I havent read the entire thread, but what strikes me is the lack of affection.
I think having an emotional connection as a couple and taking pleasure in each others company is vital. I think this is going to be a journey for you. Just getting back into having sex isnt going to be enough.

Can you get any time away from your children. A weekend away together?

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 09:41:06

Thanks Merry, yet another book to add to my reading list! When Wifework arrived from Amazon DW said to me "But I like being a SAHP, I don't want to go back to work*", I thought that reaction was quite sad. Will have to get her to read it.

*Interesting that she doesn't view Parenting as work, I do, it's a lot harder than going out and being a wage slave!

I'm not going to mention I've been thinking about the seperation angle, I was considering using it as an argument that we could afford childminder/cleaner or similar at one point. I.e. a bit of an ultimatum - Either I leave or we spend the money that I would be spending on rent on getting some help around the house/with the DCs to give you (DW) a break. I think that would be very counter-productive though and the focus would be on the negatives rather than positives.

MerryMarigold Wed 07-Aug-13 09:19:57

Keepithidden. The way you describe you and your DW sounds very similar to myself and dh. I have been on antidepressants for 6 years (apart from pregnancy) and have finally come off - very gradually. I have sometimes wondered if they could help him as they did wonders for me at the time I needed them. Will see how it goes. I am willing to go back on, but have been off for about 6 months now. We are actually very different in our depressive tendencies (I am more very up and down, and he is more constantly a bit down!).

Glad you are making good progress. I wouldn't recommend communicating to your wife that you have thought through separation and it could work. Speaking as myself, I would be devastated, and even if you said it was unlikely the fact you'd thought it all through properly and financially would really upset me. (But I am not your DW). I also think the issues need sorting, as they will just follow both of you into any new relationships.

I do recommend the Just Do It book as it's really funny and dry (even though it's American!!). Sometimes when things are too emotionally intense, it can be draining and you just need a good laugh to lighten everything up. Nothing makes me feel more like sex than a good laugh with dh. Do sort things out, but have some down time in between which is just the 2 of you, not talking about sex or marriage, but just being with each other.

Keepithidden Wed 07-Aug-13 08:13:48

I didn't think this thread would still be alive!

Hototboilanegg - Not going to judge you, but I'd rather be in/out than be in you situation. If I or DW had an affair I can imagine it would be very easy for it to go from "just" sex. Marriage shouldn't be dutiful in my book, or unhappy. If it is then it needs to be fixed or ended as far as I'm concerned. The problem is figuring out how to fix it, or plucking up the courage to end it.

Glenshee - DW and I talked a bit about medical issues, she knows I have low self esteem and a generally fragile ego (stereotypical male really), and I know she's got very poor body image and self confidence. I've mentioned seeking help, both with marriage counselling, and individual counselling, but I think she believes these are last-resort options. I'm working on persuading her differently though. I haven't suggested depression or seeking advice from a GP, I'm hopeful that if we get to the counselling stage then the counsellor may suggest investigating this avenue. At least with a third party suggesting it there's likely to be more of an incentive to consider it.

Hiumoutdoors - I'm glad the thread has been helpful for you and DW, I wish I had the guts to show my DW. She'd be very upset at some of the stuff I've related though and probably get me sectioned...!

MerryMarigold - Thanks for your words, you echo what another poster has said in this thread and they give me hope for the future. For what it's worth we are showing more affection to each other since I started looking for support on MN. The talking thing is something she struggles with and I'm looking at different ways to encourage her to open up a bit more.

I've been reading a lot of self help stuff recently too, there is a wealth of material in this market and the approaches recommended do vary quite dramatically. It has made me a lot more introspective and aware of my own behaviour which can only be a good thing really, but when trying to apply some of the methods and techniques to other peoples behaviour (not just DW) it is a bit more hit-and-miss. People are so complicated and when there's two (or more) in any given relationship a few hundred pages of words seems a bit lacking when trying to describe the reasoning behind behaviour/communication. It makes me wonder why we bother being social animals at all sometimes.

I've also been looking at options of possible seperation and have come to the conclusion that we could survive on my wage with me moving out and DW remaining with DCs. It's not something I think is likley to happen but I figured it's probably a good idea to cover all possible scenarios. At least I know now that they will all be financially secure if our Mmarriage does fail.

MerryMarigold Tue 06-Aug-13 23:36:36

Hi. You sound like me and my dh. We probably had sex the same number of times in 5 years. I think the longest we went was 2 years with nothing, not once. Things are improving, kids getting a bit bigger. A lot is about focussing on each other and not just the kids, house, work and getting by. There hasn't been a revolution in our sex life, it's maybe once a month now, but that is still progress. We are working on doing our bedroom up so it's a bit of a haven (with a lock on the door!) but not got round to it yet, probably for our 10th anniversary! Reading a book called 'Just do it' where a couple have sex 100 nights in a row. It is funny and for me, (as a woman), just broke the ice a bit on the whole subject and it does totally cement the idea that sex leads to emotional intimacy (not just comes from it). I think really 'getting' the idea of how important sex is, and how you don't always need to be 'in the mood' helps. Although we are still way off where I'd like to be in our sex life, I do believe we will get there.

Believe me, it is not anything you are doing wrong, but from a woman's point of view after having children your self esteem goes down, focussing on yourself goes down, focussing on your marriage goes down so of course your sexual activity goes down. I'm sure your wife wants to feel closer to you even if she doesn't equate it to having more sex (maybe she does though). You need to have a really good chat about this.

Glenshee Tue 06-Aug-13 23:05:47

Any news, Keepit?

Himoutdoors Fri 26-Jul-13 21:00:35

For your interest DW stumbled on my earlier postings in this thread. Mad with me initially as it only told my perspective but crystallised more discussion, me accepting the blame followed by us being more genuinely caring and not angry with each other. OP great to see that you are on a good track.

Glenshee Wed 24-Jul-13 23:43:05


She could be depressed, I'm not a medic so don't know about diagnosing it. Thanks for your words. What made you finally decide to seek help? Was it a decision you made or did DH persuade you? I'm really not sure where to start in persuading someone to seek help.

I think you can safely suggest it to your DW in a 'let's rule this one out' sort of way, possibly alongside other medical checks.

Getting round to seeking help for depression is difficult, because unless you are severely depressed, you feel different from one day to the next. On bad days you don't feel like doing anything (that's what tomorrows are for). On good days there seems nothing to worry about or report to the doctor.

So, you would really have to either reach a point where you're quite clearly upset all of the time, or when you're regularly getting upset over trivial things for no reason.

If she's not there yet, it's quite difficult to initiate a conversation with the doctor, because it feels like the only reason for her to go is because you want it to happen. Which is okay, I guess. But awkward/uncomfortable.

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