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DW - She's just not that in to me.

(162 Posts)
Keepithidden Wed 25-Sep-13 09:01:14

Hello, back again for more useful advice from the nest of vipers! I had a previous thread on here whinging about my lack of sex life with DW and got a vast amount of very useful advice from a range of viewpoints. As ever in these situations it’s taken me a few months to process and take heed of that advice (and read all the recommended literature), but now I have I’m back for more.

So, quick potted history. DW and me been married five years, together before that for five. Two DCs ages 2 and 4. Limited sex life since DCs came along so thought I’d come here for advice a few months back. Made an effort to be more appreciative, attentive and physically affectionate (without pressure for anything more) and was happy for a time. DTD a couple of times at DWs instigation, got knocked back a few times and have realised that it was basically pity sex and I feel a bit sh*t now.

I have tried to talk about it a few times but without much success DW is quite reserved and when I suggested counselling last time I broached the subject it ended in tears, she said she didn’t want to lose me and assumed counselling was a precursor to divorce. Looking back I think she may have been thinking about the impacts of a split, rather than losing me personally, I’m confident I can support her and DCs and live elsewhere though so I don’t think that’ll be an issue.

Anyway, all this means I think she probably doesn’t see me as a romantic prospect anymore, we still get on well, good friends even affectionate with hugs and kisses, but sex feels forced and lonely (for me anyway). She deserves better and I’m not happy with the status quo, so I reckon we’ll be heading for a split soon. I don't see why this can’t be amicable and why co-parenting can’t work out well, but I still love her, I still want her as my wife and I want to try and emotionally detach myself from these feelings to enable the split to be amicable and with as little pain as possible. Any words of wisdom/advice/experiences of similar would be welcome.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 30-Sep-13 11:32:57

Absolutely MrsZimt. Take the pressure off but also take some time to be together.

AgathaF Mon 30-Sep-13 11:27:52

Good luck.

I second trying really hard to find babysitters from somewhere. Do you work with anyone with older, responsible teenagers who would welcome the odd tenner for sitting for a night. Any elderly neighbours around who might fancy it? We had one down the road from us when your children were small. She used to say she liked the change of "looking at someone else's decoration apart from her own". That was brilliant because, like you, we didn't have much in the way of family support for childcare. Asking around if anyone knows anyone who would babysit might produce some surprising results. That said, I would understand your DWs reluctance to leave your DC with people she doesn't know well, so see how that one plays out.

I hope you go with the counselling for yourself, and in time perhaps for both of you.

MrsZimt Mon 30-Sep-13 10:54:31

Op, my advice would be to really get some couple time, without dc.

I never had family around to help me but we managed to get babysitters through friends (and I would bake a birthday cake or give some tuition in return). You need time together without children.

My suggestion would be to arrange a date night, and make it absolutely clear from the beginning that there is no sex happening after returning home. You have to stick to it. It's the only way imo to take the pressure off, get your relationship back on track by starting at square one: talking to each other, being attentive, have conversations about other things than kids stuff.

From what you have written so far I can see the potential for you to be happy together, but fgs take the pressure out of it and start talking to each other.

Xollob Mon 30-Sep-13 10:38:23

Actually MrsMink I think a local hotel might be just the place for them (sorry keepit can't remember what, if anything, you said about your financial situation) if affordable - even a Travelodge type place. When I am at home, there is always something that needs doing that catches my eye and makes me 'Mummy' again.

probablyhadenough Mon 30-Sep-13 10:33:28

Good luck OP - that sounds a good plan and I am disproportionately pleased that you are sticking with it! Projection is everywhere I suppose!

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 30-Sep-13 10:05:41

Good luck OP thanks I really hope you can work it out. I have to say I have much more hope for your rs than many I read about on MN because you seem to be prepared to really put in the work and also to have a good hard look in the
I think counselling to work on your communication style is a really good start. I hope DW also finds a way to open up and start communicating more too as tbh although the lack of intimacy would be an issue for me the lack of communication would be a far bigger issue (because I would be worried about my DP) and it may be that once she can open up a bit she will feel relieved to get some of the things that may be bothering her out there and in so doing hopefully forge a stronger bond.

re. babysitting- if you cannot e.g. find a friend with an older child/student that she might trust, how about taking some time during the day if the kids go to nursery? As a parent who spends almost all of the time when I am not working, with my dcs, as I too have limited babysitting, I think it is still really worth while to just grab a few hours here or there to get away from the home otherwise it becomes a bit all consuming. So I very occasionally take a decadent day off work when the dcs are at nursery/school and go and do something else. Because parenting is, as has been pointed out up thread many times, hard, it is important sometimes just to have a rest from itsmile and be {your first name} not {your dc's first name's mum/dad}. I am not suggesting you take the day off and book into a hotel! just a walk or a spa day or anything that is not getting something done and perhaps that might help either the communication to flow a bit better or to give a bit more perspective on the balance between living to be a parent and also having some kind of life (which will in fact further enrich your dcs life to see that their parents are also people) and because eventually your dcs will grow up and need you both less and it is important to have preserved something of yourself for when that time arrives.

Xollob Mon 30-Sep-13 09:50:26

Good luck keepithidden . She may surprise you yet.

I was lucky not to have the loss of libido problem you mention, but I did find that in the first few years of having children I put a lot into parenting and lost a chunk of me. It's back now though, so hopefully your wife will be the same.

Keepithidden Mon 30-Sep-13 09:31:49

Sorry didn't get a chance to reply yesterday. Once again thanks for your responses (I seem to start every post with that).

Perfectstorm - As ever a lot of good advice and very diplomatic, you'd make a good negotiator. Ever though about a career in Counselling? Weekends away aren't really affordable, we couldn't 'comfortably' afford to run two households. In a worst case scenario I'd be moving into a bedsit/shared house and it would be a struggle, but doable. While still maintaining the family home.

Babysitting is also a bit of a problem, DW doesn't really trust the various Agencies that provide babysitting services and we don't have much support from family so there's a limit to the amount of "us" time we can get. It is pretty limited to being at home for the date nights. It's something that we could both make an effort with a bit more though.

Xollob - That's an interesting experiment, I'm not going to try it if that's okay. Partly because I couldn't manage it physically or mentally, and partly because it would raise a few suspicions at home! However, I don't think you really intended me to do it, it was more to illustrate what DW has gone through and on that point it was a success. I have been lacking empathy.

Xenadog - Yes that's a pretty good description of the thread. Simplistic? Yes, but accurate. I haven't written a letter, but I think it could be an option when I've learnt a bit more about how to communicate without judgement.

Mumtosome - What you said really worries me, and harks back to what Cog said earlier in the thread. The last thing I want to do is let DW apportion blame, especially when it seems I'm the party at fault (if anyone and it isn't simply incompatability) and I can pretty much guarantee she'd blame herself. I don't think I'd have a problem being discredited after the failure of a relationship on the basis of lack of sex, but there's no way on earth I'd want to scuttle any chance of future happiness for DW.

Depression has been mentioned on this thread and previous ones, but again it comes back to the lack of communication. I don't know if she's depressed, and I don't know if she'd want to seek help if she was, I wouldn't know where to begin helping her.

Anyway, this thread does seem to be going round in circles a wee bit so I'll probably start drawing a few conclusions:

First off, I'm not going to speak/write to DW without getting some help myself with communication first, probably counselling from relate on my own. I don't think talking about it the way I have been trying to has been helpful and I'm worried writing it down will produce the same result - fear and distress and self blame.

Secondly - It has only been a few years, others have gone decades in these kind of cricumstances, so I figure if they've been strong why can't I? I'm going to revisit my marriage vows and try to dig up some of my own personal integrity to stick to them. I've been shamed into doing that at least by some posts on this thread!

I've got a few book recommendations from this thread, and the whole of MN is an invaluable resource so I'll keep looking here and learn from other peoples expereinces before jumping to any more conclusions! I've really got to stop over analysing stuff and being defensive, that'll be the projection stuff again!

Lazyjaney Mon 30-Sep-13 00:59:01

Ah, I see what you mean, it's not clear what I meant. In my mind I was following on from my initial post about that comment, which you graciously noted, so apologies.

perfectstorm Sun 29-Sep-13 23:54:59

I did like the idea of the bloke being told he had to perform twice a week or else, and IMO at some point the OP here is going to have to spell out what he needs too.

Honestly, Lazeyjaney, if you didn't really think that something the OP should seek to emulate as a suggestion then you did phrase that pretty unfortunately, and you can't blame the other poster for thinking you were sincere. It simply didn't read as ironic when you add the second half of the statement to the first. It read as though you were genuinely approving of that attitude - which gelled with your "why can't she find the time" attitude - as if sex is all about a spare few minutes and nothing more. I'm relieved to hear you thought it appalling, too (which was certainly how I read your original reference to it, in fairness).

And I'm not sure why you think counselling has failed - the OP backed off when his wife became distressed and saw it as the first step towards a split, understandably and kindly enough. But at this point I think he needs to make it clear that there might indeed be a split if communication can't be improved.

I agree a few others have been unsympathetic to the OP, rather than simply trying to offer alternative perspectives. I feel sad for both of them. But the reality is that this is a site that is dominated by women, just as many others are dominated by men. There's nothing wrong with women offering a perspective that reflects their own life experiences - indeed I imagine the OP, like some other men, posted here to try to understand that alternative viewpoint. I don't really understand why some posters want to try to "correct" that in the way they seemingly do. It isn't as though the world at large doesn't support dominant male narratives, is it. Why be so threatened by the few spaces that are female dominated?

Lazyjaney Sun 29-Sep-13 22:22:51

Of course it isnt OK, that was my bloody point!

I think Irony slips by you too....

Lizzabadger Sun 29-Sep-13 22:17:03

To expand on the above now my jaw is back off the floor:

1. It is not OK to threaten people into having sex with you under any circumstances
2. I have no idea why anyone would want to do this to someone they love, above all people
3. I have no idea how anyone could enjoy having sex with someone who had been coerced into it.

Lizzabadger Sun 29-Sep-13 22:09:55

"I did like the idea of the bloke being told he had to perform twice a week or else"

Words fail me.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Sun 29-Sep-13 22:05:58

xollob of course i am not bring deliberately dim are you being deliberately patronising? The emotional fall out of giving birth may be hard to comprehend the physical demands are not especially difficult to imagine if you have been there, which he was/is. he doesn't need you to lay him out an imaginary obstacle course for a month.

Lazyjaney Sun 29-Sep-13 21:47:05

@perfectstorm & lizzabadger I suggested some way upthread that the OP read all the reverse threads, as I do think some posters are giving him a hard time here, they write as if the kids are 2 and 4 months old, not years. As someone else said upthread, at their ages it's not that hard to find 30 minutes every week or so.

No one reverse thread is exactly the same, but taken as a whole the advice on reverse threads is typically far kinder to the woman not getting any IMO, and typically far more brusque on the non performing male, and I think the OP should read them too for balance.

I also said upthread that another throw at joint counseling and communication are the next steps, and only if that doesn't work should he go for further separation. But given that hasn't succeeded so far though, I think it's unlikely to work again.

I did like the idea of the bloke being told he had to perform twice a week or else, and IMO at some point the OP here is going to have to spell out what he needs too.

mumtosome61 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:15:53

I just wanted to add a comment, and not that I am experienced in this at all but just as an outsider looking in (albeit on a small part of a big story, I imagine).

Although the sex is, of course, a big dynamic of this disharmony within the relationship, I should imagine the lack of sex or guilt over pursuing sex is a side effect of another factor. The factor may be depression. It may be your DW does not feel attractive in herself no matter what you say to the contrary. It could be deep rooted reasons that have existed for years, or have only sprung up since childbirth. Obviously it's not clear otherwise they would have been addressed.

Because of the possibility of other factors, making the split or potential for splitting with the inference of sex being "the" issue (or even a fairly big issue) is only going to make the whole process of sexual relationships for your DW in future (either rekindling with yourself or others) so much harder to deal with. I'm not speaking for your wife because I don't know her, much less assume that all women are the same, but sex can have many emotional attachments, especially if you've had children. Making the cause of the parting either about sex wholly or significantly will discredit you in a way you probably do not deserve to be; sex is of course a very important component of a functional relationship for most people and we are entitled to our needs, but bear in mind a lot may view it harshly.

Personally, the fear of the relationship splitting over a sexual incompatibility, even if it has been a short term problem would probably exacerbate the fear of consummation and would lead to resentment and negativity from pressure. If someone pressures me to do something, I end up fearing it more than if I had been left alone to figure it out myself in my own time; if that makes any sense.

perfectstorm Sun 29-Sep-13 20:00:57

Darkest it was a month ago I think? I'll have a good look for you when I have the chance as I do understand why you'd like to see it. She didn't want a split because they were best friends, but didn't want more. The OW was horrified by the situation (her as OW) and trying to do the right thing and so was the H, and as far as I recall OP admitted in an ideal scenario she and her DH would be co-parents and best friends, but she didn't want him as more. It was all rather heartbreaking tbh.

Retro I completely agree - counselling is the best way forward here.

OP I so hope, for everyone's sake, that she's just stuck in the baby rut and sunlight will dawn for you all soon. Once more, good luck.

Retroformica Sun 29-Sep-13 18:33:08

I think you need to go through basic steps and arrange couples counselling. Tell her when the appointment is and arrange sitters so that she is free. If you still love your wife, you need to help her through this blip. Having young kids is totally wearing and I like many if my friends loose ourselves a little. Sex often temporarily takes a lower priority.

Darkesteyes Sun 29-Sep-13 18:07:31

perfectstorm would you mind pming me this thread when you have a min.
Ive looked but i cant work out which one it is Thanks.

I would have pointed to the thread where a woman is devastated her husband has an OW, where she was bluntly told that a marriage without sex for 3 years with no intention or desire on her part to alter that is no marriage, and she is hard placed to blame him. That's a fairer snapshot, frankly.

Xenadog Sun 29-Sep-13 15:51:43

I've skim read this thread so apologies if I have missed a lot of stuff out and have got the wrong end of the stick but am I right in saying the OP loves his wife and wants things to work with her but due to the lack of sex (of which there is no real explanation yet from his DW as she doesn't appear to want to discuss the matter) he is prepared to walk away, divorce and start again at some point?

If that's too simplistic I am sorry.

OP I guess you have written your "D"W a letter and told her how you feel and what your needs are? In the same letter you have emphasised how much she means to you and how much you actually want the relationship to work and how happy you want her to be. Guessing you have also stated that couples counselling would be a place to start to rebuild the relationship and not as a precursor to splitting up? Also guessing you have stated that you understand that having young children to care for will have a negative effect upon her libido but you are willing to work with her.

If you haven't then that is that surely the place to begin?

It sounds like communication isn't great in this household and instead of pouring it all out on here the OP needs to find a way to talk (even if it's begun by a letter) to his wife and establish what is going on in her mind and then find a way to move forward either separately or as a couple.

However, if this has already been said I apologise as I have skimmed through the whole thread quickly.

Lizzabadger Sun 29-Sep-13 15:32:04

Lazyjaney the guy in the thread I think you are talking about spends his time gaming till the small hours and watching "nasty" internet porn. Hardly equivalent to being knackered and drained caring for small children.

perfectstorm Sun 29-Sep-13 14:50:59

Lazeyjaney, if you're talking about the thread where a bloke is online gaming every second he's able and going without sleep to do it, and the relationship is dead in consequence, I don't think the situations are comparable. The one is totally self-centred and neglectful of the family in preference to a fantasy world, the other is down to unavoidable real life demands that haven't yet receded. Your own male bias is showing if you really think that obsessive computer gaming is comparable in any way, in terms of culpability and choice element, to the demands of babies and toddlers. In fact I would say that selecting that comparison says more about you than anything else - I would have pointed to the thread where a woman is devastated her husband has an OW, where she was bluntly told that a marriage without sex for 3 years with no intention or desire on her part to alter that is no marriage, and she is hard placed to blame him. That's a fairer snapshot, frankly.

Though I would agree that trying to sort the situation out would always work better than ultimatums (not seen that thread past the first few comments). That's no way to run any relationship, IMO.

Xollob Sun 29-Sep-13 13:40:09

MrsMink are you deliberately being dim? Jeez ... Let me explain again. I know he's a parent. I was saying to him that it would be hard to replicate what his wife had possibly been through. An interesting experiment would to be go through those things for a month. That would be like a compressed mini-version of what she has been through. I know, at two, a child would not (hopefully) be waking every ten minutes - but if he did that for a month, that would be an insight into sleep deprivation. Got it?

MrsMinkBernardLundy Sun 29-Sep-13 12:57:32

He is a parent!

Xollob Sun 29-Sep-13 12:55:47

I didn't mean literally that a parent would be doing that MrsMink I was trying to condense it a bit for him into a month!

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