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Can I get a female perspective?

(138 Posts)
Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 18:11:19


I'm 34 and my wife is 36, we've been married for 7 years and have 2 amazing sons. We're a really tight family but over the years the relationship between my wife and myself has become almost entirely about the kids. My wife has little to no interest in sex and hasn't since she became pregnant with our second son 3 years ago (we've probably had sex 5 times in the last 3 years). She's quite a shy person and doesn't like to talk about such things and she always has a reason why she rejects me (generally it's tiredness). As its been going on so long I've tried a lot of different things from asking her to talk about it to backing right off.

The obvious assumption is that she isn't attracted to me anymore, well to me it is anyway so a couple of years back I joined the gym, started hitting that pretty hard in my lunch breaks and taking a lot more pride in my appearance. I'm not the best looking guy in the world but I'm in decent shape, I like to think I'm a good father and a lot of people comment on how close we are as a family. Outwardly I'm a very confident person but this is really ripping me apart. I could never leave because I love my wife and sons far too much - how do I get this back on track? I'm not out for sympathy, I just need some help!

Thanks everyone

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:19:25

Poor woman was born in the wrong era. Having seen the horribly judgy threads on MNet when a woman dares to admit she's thinking of leaving her children for a night of nookie with her husband, the amount of pearl clutching and witterings about attachment parenting or somesuch rubbish, is a sight to behold. Us old Cosmo readers would have just said fuckit and farmed the kids out at the earliest opportunity grin.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:19:59

Oh and fwiw I did the sahm thing and I know how hard it is. But I just think it's not helpful to normalise this situation. Sex five times in three years is not normal, even for someone truly knackered with childcare. She sounds completely unmotivated to put things right.

Nearly all the sympathy is with the woman. Implicit in so much of this advice is that it is somehow the OP's fault that his wife won't have sex with him. IMO she is the one with the problem.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:21:53

This is not about sex. It is about communication.

Cog is absolutely right (again).

Communication is the foundation of intimacy.

You do not need to talk to a load of women on the Internet to 'get a female perspective' in fact that might make things worse.

It is a pattern I recognise from my relationship where the communication was dire and so my husband desperately tried to find the right thing to do to fix the problem, more housework, more childcare etc but it all made it worse because he was not listening to me and wasnt willing to talk to me (not saying this is you btw).

The only way you will regain intimacy and therefore a sexual relationship is through improving your communication.

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:23:23

I have thought about this and wonder if there is something your wife is interested in that she would like to pursue outside of the home? Maybe an evening class or a new hobby? I always feel much more positive about my relationship when I am enjoying other aspects of my life. That could be a day out window shopping with friends, being away on holiday or doing something that interests me. When my day revolves around chores and being stuck at home etc it can be difficult to feel in the mood.

Perhaps just reconnecting with herself, the person she was before children, might help? What sort of things did she enjoy doing before the children arrived?

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:25:12

You are right, too, Offred. But how can things change when she refuses to talk about it or deflects the questions?

The OP has tried to talk to her, she won't.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:25:41

Think about it, what point would there be in trying to guess how she feels, trying to take on extra work, having more sex? If you can't talk and share with each other all those things will be pointless and wasted effort and no-one will be happier.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:26:26

If she really won't talk he will have to leave... That's what I've just done.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:28:08

Yep, I agree with you again, Offred. Communication was crap in my marriage and after no improvements/flogging a dead horse for years I left, too. Hope you are doing OK x

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:31:36

Cross-posted Shape. I wrote my first post before I saw the OP's revisionist housework and childcare update, but there is a difference in bodily experiences between male parents and female parents, especially if a woman's had a difficult birth etc. Plus I stand by what I've said that some men just don't have a clue how exhausting it is being a full time carer, cook and bottle washer and also some men are atrociously untidy and messy when someone else (usually a woman) is doing the clearing up.

So it's often impossible to get around the gender issues and treat 'no sex' threads the same whether it's a man or a woman. But you won't see me shouting 'it's emotional abuse' on a thread about a man who doesn't want sex, unless of course it's part of a bigger pattern indicated by the OP.

I said in my first post though that this needs discussing and the OP shouldn't be fobbed off by shyness or an unwillingness to discuss. Because if any of this is to do with her being exhausted by his laziness/messiness and she's started to resent it, she needs to speak up about that and not suffer in silence, like he is.

stowsettler Fri 20-Sep-13 20:32:44

FrancescaBell, I suspect we could have a bloody good night together getting pissed and putting the world to rights!

FrancescaBell Fri 20-Sep-13 20:34:14

I'll drink to that!! wine thanks

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:07

I think that its been so long you need to basically start at the beginning.

You and your wife need to have a chat about what she wants from you. How can you do things to help her out more? Maybe she needs more her time etc. The best way to find put is to talk to each other.

You need to then start and date each other again. Make one night a week your night. You cook her a meal and tidy up. Watch a film on the sofa together. Listen to some music and drink a bottle of wine. Have a bath together etc etc.

Telling her each day you love her is really nice but for her self esteem pick something specific each d

Octopus7 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:22

Leaving isn't an option that I would look at. I have too much other good stuff, I am so happy with everything else. The last time I brought it up with her and told her I wasn't particularly happy, she was genuinely quite shocked. It's pretty interesting to hear from those that have felt similar things when they had young children. I appreciate there are certain aspects of the relationship that aren't considered that normal but I guess everyone has that in some way or another.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:31

To add to all the advice (most of which v good)

Do you compliment her? Tell her she's beautiful? Notice if she ever wears something new or different, or puts makeup on (or different makeup), or does her hair slightly differently, or tries some sort of new look out? Affectionately stroke her hair? Call her by an affectionate nickname every now and then? Offer her a cup of tea (or whatever) and present it by saying "there you go, gorgeous wife!" occasionally?

Do you give her some extra spending money just to treat herself with, not a big amount (depending on finances) but enough for even a new lipstick or a pair of shoes (or dressing gown if she's not a shoes/lipstick type)? Offer to run her a bath?

Not saying these are magic. Not saying these are "all the time" things to do. What I am trying to show is tiny ways in which a woman, worn out by small children, can feel a lot more womanly just by the little things that show her partner or husband still admires her. They are confidence boosters that even if you feel like shit and/or you think you look like shit, your DH still (apparently) admires you and loves you. Brings the roses to your cheeks smile

If you stroke her hair (for example) when you are out of bed then it won't be like you are just doing it for sex when you are in bed, and when you initiate non-sexual but intimate and loving contact like that in bed, it can make sexual feelings spring up, if they are connected to all the little feel-good confidence boosters and your DH has told you that you are beautiful or you looked sexy in your outfit quite recently smile

There's something quite irritating about the man who is forgets to make his woman feel good about herself outside of the bedroom but then expects all the action to happen in bed. It is annoying. Just be sure you are doing enough to make her feel good about herself out of bed.

insideout Fri 20-Sep-13 20:36:47

Octopus, that was me 3 years ago. I had no interest in sex after a traumatic birth 3 years previously. Things only started getting better after I was getting out away from the house (uni) and actually feeling like I was worth something as a human, not just mum, that I realised how awful it was for my partner.

Tbh that first time was terrifying (for both of us I found out later)its really difficult getting back into the 'habit' of sex. The only advice I can offer is make sure you get time as a couple not just as mum and dad. Also could you say to her something along the lines of 'although I still desire you can we just cuddle, I dont want sex tonight but I miss holding you?'

Part of my problem was the lack of casual touches so it seemed as though anytime my partner touched me he wanted sex. We ended up basically 'reverting' back to teenage girlfriend/boyfriend no pressure type thing with dates (even just a take away in front of the tv ) simply getting to know each other again. it took a good year but we slowly started getting closer again and now our relationship is really good.

I dont know how much , if any, help my post will be just couldnt read and not say anything.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:37:51

Yeah, I'm alright shape! Thanks v. Much! Everything that has happened since the split (Monday) has really confirmed it is just the right thing to do!
Apologies op for the mini-derail.

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:38:36

Pressed send too soon!

Pick something specific to compliment her on. Her hair looks nice, her skin looks good. You like her bum in those trousers etc. send her flowers to say thank you to her for being a lovely lady. Arrange a baby sitter and take her to the theatre.

Do not whatever you do try to sleep with her yet unless she seems interested. You do this she will think that's the only reason your doing it!

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 20:42:03

If you can't communicate and won't leave then you'll just have to live with it really though and if you're anything like me it will eat away at you and your kids.

Shapechanger Fri 20-Sep-13 20:45:30

Here you are 'gorgeous wife', go out and treat yourself to a lipstick


MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:46:31

OP, I can pretty much guarantee that your wife would be shocked if you told her you thought she didn't find you attractive any more. It really isn't about that.

You have work and the gym. Maybe she would benefit from doing something she wants to do for herself. Not a family thing or a couple thing. Her own thing! Something outside the home? Something that will offer her a network of friends who are sharing the same interest....not connected with being a wife and mother.

And quite right, you actually have a lot going for you both to leave.

cupcake78 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:48:18

One thing DH did for me which was lovely! He sent me to a spa for a day and looked after the children. Then we got babysitters and went out for dinner. So thoughtful and I really appreciated the time to relax and be me again.

MikeOxard Fri 20-Sep-13 20:48:49

First, start doing the shit out of the housework - nothing turns a woman off more than being taken the piss out of by a lazy or dirty bloke, yuck. Second, take the pressure off (or rather, don't apply it in the first place). Thirdly, after doing lots of 1 and 2, maybe she needs to think about seeing the dr or having some therapy.

Good luck to you.

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:50:18

Ha shapechanger I knew it wouldn't take long smile

None of us know the OP or the OP's wife. However, there's not many people in the world who don't like being appreciated in words and compliments, or treated to a small gift. Why are some people so snotty about this sort of thing? Would you not like to be complimented or given an unexpected gift? If a colleague or friend complimented your dress as gorgeous, or your mum or a relative passed on a gift card or something to you, would you be snotty about it? I guess not - but if it's a <shock> husband then how vary dare he! Not everything has to be so heavy duty and dramatic all the time. Sometimes you doesn't take a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Sometimes... just try a little tenderness.... smile

HeyJudith Fri 20-Sep-13 20:52:23

Cupcake see shapechangers response.

Your DH sent you to a <gasp> SPA?!?!?!?!?!


See shapechanger there's an example of someone who did appreciate a gesture from her DH.

Does your DH (if you have one) treat you to spas or something new? I'm guessing not, because if you did and if he did you would know it's really quite pleasant. smile

MudCity Fri 20-Sep-13 20:53:12

Cupcake78 is quite right. Whatever you do, has to be unconnected with sex.

Feeling pressured is the biggest turn off.

If your wife is anything like me, she may need to connect with herself and have her own needs met before she can be there for you. And that can be anything from having time to herself, meeting up with a friend or a good sleep while someone else does all the chores.

When my DH does the chores, I feel very positive towards him!

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