Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
I need help to save my marriage :-((27 Posts)
I'll try not to let this get too long winded and forgive me If it's all jumbled up but I'm literally crying as I write so may well make no sense. H and I have been married 4yrs, have DS age 3 and DD age 1. Our main problem is down to me and my complete lack of desire for any intimacy. I don't know why. It's been going on since DS was born but definitely got worse since DD arrived. I know my dh loves me and still fancies me, despite me putting on weight since having kids etc. I don't like my body at the mo... Don't know If that's part of the problem but I guess it doesn't help. I know I need to diet/exercise but I have no will power for diets and literally no time or energy for exercise. I love my h very much .... I definitely don't want our family to break up. I grew up with divorced parents and its not something I want for my kids. But at the same time, we can't go on like this. Dh thinks I'd rather be with someone else, which isn't true. I have no desire to be intimate with anyone. It's like there's some sort of switch inside me relating to anything sexual and I can't turn it on. We don't really kiss/cuddle anymore - he tries but for some reason I always pull away. On the rare occasions we do have sex, I am doing it purely to keep him happy - not because I want to. But sometimes I can't even bring myself to do that .... I don't know why. Sometimes I am physically cringing when he tries to touch me. I hate making him so sad - I've seen him crying because he thinks I don't want him. Maybe he's right that I love him buy don't fancy him anymore. How can I get that desire back? We have the usual stresses and strains of having 2 young children but I know the lack of sex is the root of our issues and that's what needs sorting. I suggests counselling but he said what's the point if I don't know what the problem is (as in why the desire has gone). I've googled some local counsellors but this has made me realise we probably couldn't afford it anyway.
Is there some sort of info online that could help us? Or a book? I feel like I need to make myself fancy him again or something. We never have time alone together without the kids, which I guess may help but dh works shifts and the kids are both only at nursery 2 mornings a week (until DS goes 5 mornings in sept) so it rarely (ie never) works out that we are both home whilst they are not. Having babysitters for an evening isn't really an option either as DS is a pain at bedtime and won't self settle, which means I have to sit with him til he's asleep (and then usually go in a least once in the night when he wakes. I regularly spend 2-4hours in his bed overnight).
Any suggestions? I don't want my marriage to fall apart thank you
One thing's certain. Him heaping pressure on you... or heaping pressure on yourself... is not going to help in the slightest. Neither is having sex to keep him happy... there's a name for that and it's not nice. I suspect the reason you don't kiss or cuddle any more is that you fear it's just foreplay rather than a nice way to connect in its own right.
You do need time together but just to 'be' together in the first instance. To get to know each other again and be able to relax with each other without this big question mark hanging over you of whether it's going to be sex tonight or not. It's difficult with a baby and a toddler, I'll grant you, but it's so important to create that space and rebuild the relationship, reassure each other you love each other, and reconnect as a couple rather than just two very tired, stressed adults that don't even sit down and eat a meal together.
BTW.... DS is going to have to learn to self-settle, you may need to get tough there, and you're probably going to have to leave him with a few babysitters who will just have to cope. One partner spending hours in a child's bed is not a recipe for a happy adult relationship
Relate have a sliding scale. You may be Ok on the financial thing of having counselling.
What jumps out at me is you don't know why you recoil at his initiations.
I'd be trying to look at what turned you off - sometimes it is something the other person is doing, or has said or done, and we're not always aware of how it has affected us and our willingness to be intimate with them
Counselling could help you get to the root of it.
Another approach (not that the above is wrong, just thinking around the subject) would be to look at what does (or at least did) turn you on.
Think of one thing you'd like (holding hands during a walk/bringing home a bunch of flowers/laughing at a shared joke/whatever) and start with that.
Do it a couple of times. Then add another thing... and so forth.
Also you don't have to have sex/intimacy at home at night. If it is more convenient to leave kids with a grandparent/friend/babysitter one afternoon at a weekend and go for a 'date' then you can do that... and possibly just not being so tired will start to make a difference - snog in a cinema like teenagers (dark for you if you're feeling self concious and no pressure to go further as you're in public and you've got to pick up kids after).
You WILL feel better (and sexier) as soon as you start to exercise too. If you don't have time to do 'formal' sport do you have one of those buggies with big enough wheels that you can sort of jog behind it? Is nursery within jogging distance?
Or what about some kind of exercise you can share with the kids? Swimming?
Good luck OP. From your post it really sounds as though you both care about each other a lot and are just going though a tough patch.
It could be hormonal if related to pregnancy/birth but TBH sounds more like you're tired, stressed and needing to get back in shape so I'd start with those things where you can.
Are you on any sort of hormonal contraceptive?
Agree with a previous poster, you sound like you're feeling pressure around intimacy, but whether this is from your h or whether you're putting this on yourself isn't clear. But you clearly still love him (and him you) and want to work this through.
I saw a programme on this issue once and the councillor banned the couple from having sex for sometimes months. It took the pressure off both sides (it wasn't that they were doing it, but helped the couple agree that any kiss/cuddle didn't automatically lead to sex, which helped release the pressure). Wonder whether you feel that any approach from your husband may mean that he wants to? Which makes you back off?
They were then asked to engage in massage only and agreed certain areas to touch beforehand, which they developed over time subject to how the parties felt about it (but it wasn't spur of the moment it was agreed beforehand). (I.e. agreed how naked they were prepared to get and increased over time). One party had to set up the room-nice lighting/warm/oils/wine etc and all it was meant to be about was touch and just being together and having a giggle.
Might be worth talking to your husband about doing something like this if you think it might work for you.
Obviously need time away from any dcs to do this properly!
How would you feel about talking to your husband about this? Even show him thus thread? Reassure him there's no one else?
I was also going to suggest you both agree to No Sex, and focus on just being intimate again, with no pressure to have sex?
Finally, I think a lot about feeling sexy is habit. It's very easy to loose that habit when you have to focus on mothering/surviving. What would help you get back in the habit of feeling sexy? Taking a sensual bath? Reading erotic fiction?
Thanks for the replies. I think the theory about pushing away any kind of kiss/cuddle because I think it will lead to sex is probably quite accurate. I'd love to just snuggle and cuddle in bed with dh but we rarely do anymore, probably because I don't encourage it as I think he'll then think it will automatically mean sex too.
I can't imagine even suggesting that we make a "no sex" rule as I think he'd just say that we're doing that anyway as I always push him away. I don't think he'd see how putting it off longer would help.
I'm on the pill - loestrin i think it's called - it's a mini pill (? Is that the right term?) as I didn't get on with the normal combined pills very well... Made me very moody / emotional. That side of things seems ok with this pill. I know hormonal contraceptives could affect sex drive but I felt the same before I started this one (wasn't taking any hormonal contraception between my 2 pregnancies)
It's definitely true that I am just so completely knackered all the time that when I finally do get into bed at night, the only thing I want to do is go to sleep. I know my sleep will be interrupted by one or both children throughout the night and that I'll be getting up again by about 6am, so I just want to get as much rest as I can.
I'm just so scared that we aren't going to be able to fix this and I desperately want to
You can't fix this by yourself, it has to be something you approach together. He feels rejected, unloved and deeply insecure and you have to acknowledge that. You feel disconnected from sex because you're prioritising other things and, as a result, you're interpreting any 'affection' as 'pressure'. If anything's going to improve, both of you have to acknowledge how the other is feeling and not dismiss ideas like counselling or techniques like controlled abstinence out of hand. Again, you both need to create the space to have some honest conversations rather than falling back into a behaviour pattern that has now become a bad habit.
Change your pill and see if that has any effect. Artificial hormones can wreck havoc on the libido
Nothing new to say compared to previous posters but as someone who has been there, I would agree that you need time away from the DCs, and to look at the pill you are taking. Both have helped me.
I sympathise as my DS is also a horrible sleeper and I bear the brunt of it. I have found that going away for a night or two and leaving him with grandparents has not only given DH and I some time alone, but also broken some of the bad habits around bedtime and sleep. Not that we have it cracked yet!
I think you also need to help your DH to understand that you need time to rest/relax but also that wanting to sleep with him means that he needs to be nice to you. I find myself less willing if my DH makes a flippant remark about the house being messy, for example.
You say you do all the night wakings and early mornings?
Recipie for being turned off, resentful and tired right there.
I work ft. Dh is sahd. We share night duty and alternate lie ins.
And hs I have said it dh. A man hovering is incredibly sexy. Or at least, it means I aren't crashing round hovering in a state of simmering resentment. Which means I feel much more kindly toward him.
I do all the night feeds/wakings and early mornings and still have desire for my H. I guess if you're very resentful though it would kill the desire.
How much does he do with the children? Does he get up with them in the night, settle them to bed?
Does he cook, do his share of housework and other tasks?
Him refusing to go to counselling makes me suspicious. If you knew what the problem was you wouldn't need it, would you? What is he afraid of?
My libido has been non-existent since having DS2, DH hasn't pressured me once or tried to make me feel bad for not wanting sex. It would be a massive turn off if he did.
I don't do all the night wakings/early mornings with my daughter ... We share that. Though my son is very much a mummy's boy and If he wakes in the night he pretty much gets hysterical if its not me that goes to him. He only wants me to put him to bed in the evening too, and to get up with him early in the mornings. Plus my dh works shifts and if he's on an early one, he has to get up at 4:15am, So he can't really get up to sort either child out in the middle of the night if he's getting up so early (though he has done occasionally if its been a particularly bad night and I've already been up several times)
He didn't dismiss counselling totally, just said he didn't see how it would help.
He doesn't really do any housework but does do the cleaning up after dinner / tidying toys etc most nights (when he's not on a late shift at work) as I'm generally stuck trying to settle DS for ages. I do all the cooking / meal planning / shopping / laundry / cleaning (not as often as I should!)
He doesn't pressure me to have sex, but does try to initiate it most nights. He gets grumpy and turns to lie facing the other way when I reject him, which I guess is understandable.
I know if it were the other way around and it was me wanting sex and him not, then I would feel incredibly sad and unloved. I just wish I could flick a switch and change whatever it is that went wrong.
Sounds like either a hormonal problem or you just don't fancy him anymore.
"try to initiate it most nights."
Most nights is way too much pressure and it's also pretty insensitive of him to get grumpy and turn the other way. That's the kind of thing you really have to talk about either independently or with a counsellor. How to break the cycle of this turn-off behaviour, remove pressure, remove expectations and allow everyone involved to relax so that they can be affectionate and spontaneous.
Hi. I could have written your post myself! I was in the same situation with my husband...i was never intimate toward him incase it initiated sex....which I was just too tired for! I love him so much and hated pushing him away but it was just the reaction I had..this went on for 4 years....last week he said he'd had enough and he didn't love me anymore, he said I had pushed him away too many times and it made him miserable. We seperated, said he needs time to sort his head out but he can't see a way back for us. Ive googled alot about whats happened and there are alot of couples in the same situation....i think for me it is too late now, but if we did have another chance I would grab it with both hands and never let go....ive realised how much i love him and what he means to me and that makes me want to be intimate with him...The best advice I have is talk talk talk....let your partner know how you aref feeling....I have 2 children too both under 3 and we never had anyone babysitting either....maybe try putting them to bed early one night, make a nice meal for you and partner, light candles, watch a film and just hold hands, talk....see where that leads...hope i can help before its too late for you..xx
Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Lots of women develop under active thyroids after pregnancy and that can make you tired & gain weight. I agree with the other posters that you need to sort out your son's sleeping, do you feel as if you just want your body back for yourself? Is there anyway in which you can prioritise your relationship rather than your children? At the last ante natal class we attended we were told to remember we had chosen to be with each other & that our children would grow up & leave us so to make sure we remembered to be kind to each other. We were told we should try & have dinner together once a week - light candles, turn off the tv etc & concentrate on us... Doesn't have to be fancy food, just that time connecting.
Wenchelda, I really do think you should try counseling. It does not matter that you don't know what the problem is. That's the whole purpose of counseling - to gain an insight into a situation that you do not understand.
On a more immediate level, many women lose sex drive after having babies. It is a natural hormonal thing, especially if a woman is breastfeeding. It's a natural form of contraception as popping out one kid after the other can be a bit hard for the woman and the children. You had two children very close together. Plus you are on the pill. Pills are EVIL when it comes to some women's sex drives. They completely wiped out mine. Just ditch the thing, even though you may feel it was the same before you started it (remember that you were just after having a baby when you started it). And get that thyroid checked.
Talk, talk, talk with your DH. For instance, what are his immediate expectations of sex? Does he want you to go all sex goddess on him or would he be happy is you just lie there like a warm log, use lubricant and give him an odd affectionate hug while he does the deed? The pressure to "perform" can be extremely off-putting when you don't fancy sex in the first place. But if your DH's desires are rather more modest, then maybe it will not be so scary. Can sex be had in ways other than penetration?
It also sounds like there is much more than sex tied up here. Perhaps sex has become a code for some deeper contention? You speak very warmly of your DH and, from your words, he seems to love you very much too, so it is surprising that even an occasional thought about England has become a traumatic issue.
Thanks everyone - I took the plunge and told h everything I was feeling (well cheated a bit by writing it all down but it was the only way I could make sure I said everything I wanted to say clearly. If I'd tried to actually talk to him I know I would've forgotten stuff / cried / been too emotional)
Anyway he read it all and then we talked through each bit (wasn't just about sex , it was other stuff too). So I guess that's a start. I know it will take time to sort properly and I hope we can get there but I think him reading it all enabled him to actually "get" what I was feeling (and for me to understand his point of view about some of it better once we talked).
I'm considering ditching the pill altogether - h won't want me too as he hates using condoms but I do think any sort of pill / injection etc messes me around and I'd be better without.
Anyway, things are a bit better - or at least heading that way I think.
Thanks for all the comments and advice, I really appreciate it x
You can use non hormonal contraception without resorting to condoms, I have a coil fitted. Not the mirena, an ordinary copper one. The pill is evil!
Good luck - sounds pretty normal to me when you are exhausted.
I could have written your post. We have 3 yr old and 18 month old and I work part time, severe financial problems, no family around. It is bloody hard. My children both need me to settle and my 18 month old still wakes up every 1.5 to 2 hrs in the night. I hate my body and after 2 instrumental deliveries things don't feel completely right 'done below', so like u very little time together and so much shit to shovel every day means little intimacy. We have both been utterly miserable about it but in a slump. Anyway, earlier this week we had sex for the first time properly since having my son. I sort of made myself because I want us to get back on track and I love my husband very much and I know that we just had to get over this hurdle as I had built it up so much in my head. It was quite uncomfortable but it was so so good to feel that connection again and since then we have been easier ith each other, some of the underlying tension has faded. Not sure if this helps you!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.