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Re-kindling romance?

(19 Posts)
Wanttobeinlove Wed 05-Mar-14 11:16:10

I have a lovely DH but things have gone a bit ...flat.

Basically, he has a very demanding (and well-paid!) job, and I have been a SAHM, which I have enjoyed. Having me at home has meant that he has been able to work long hours - it's been difficult to plan weekend activities etc, because there's always been the chance that he will have to cancel and work instead. But I have female friends to have lunch and coffee with, and my own hobbies and interests so it's been ok. I have a very nice life. Also, we've both prioritised him spending time with the DCs over us spending time together - he is a brilliant Dad and the DCs adore him.

However, we've both realised that we have drifted further apart than either of us ever wanted. He is not happy, but I feel that I got over being "not happy" ages ago and now I just feel a bit meh about the whole thing.

He wanted to book a romantic break in which I was going to get his undivided, adoring company 24/7 for a week to fix a decade of "sorry, I'm caught up in a meeting, no, I don't know when I'll be home, looks like I'll be working Saturday" and I realised that actually, I didn't want a romantic break because I just don't feel romantic any more.

We function well as a parenting partnership etc, but not really as a romantic couple. Perhaps this is normal in a long-lasting marriage. From the outside, I imagine our marriage looks idyllic.

His long hours and hard work have given the DCs and I a good life. He is a good man. I want to fall in love with him all over again.

How?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 05-Mar-14 11:30:41

I think what's missing here is closeness. Not big gestures which are nice admittedly, but intimacy, thoughtfulness and attention in a more regular & consistent sense. I think you'll have to start the ball rolling in a formal way almost by diarising this time you spend together and setting some rules. There has to be some kind of veto on the long hours and weekend working... some cut-off point that you both agree on and which he communicates to his customers/clients/colleagues or whoever it is that calls on his time. The phone goes off, there are no interruptions allowed and you talk and get to know each other again. I also think you should do some kind of activity together.... sport or learning something or joining a group. How did you meet? What first drew you together? Maybe that would give you some ideas for reconnection?

It's no point having a big house and all the trimmings if you're lonely.

Cabrinha Wed 05-Mar-14 11:57:36

My sister has been with her husband for 18 years, since she was 18, with 5 kids and plenty of life stresses (money, SN, health...)
Sometimes they smooch on my sofa and I have to tell them to get a room!
I think it is possible to be romantic in a long marriage.
I haven't managed it myself mind smile

I agree with Cogito that you need something more regular. But! Don't give up on the week off. I would suggest he has a week off to be home, no phone, no work contact.
Mon-Thu, he is there to cook and eat with you every day - with the kids. Maybe have a little project on the go do you're not "forced" into BEING A COUPLE - but have lunch just the two of you every day, dinner as a family. Then, when you've been a bit closer for 4 days, do a weekend away. You might want a structure to it, if it'll be odd just sitting around BEING A COUPLE. A hill to climb, a castle to visit... Depends what you're into. Hire a canoe!

I think you'll enjoy the time away together more if you've started to connect all week.

Without prying for exact details, if this lack of romance has meant infrequent sex, you might want a ground rule to take the pressure off, that it's a kissing only week.

arsenaltilidie Wed 05-Mar-14 12:04:38

Reiterating what Cog says there had to be a plan, not just empty promises to change.

AFTER the way forward has been discussed thoroughly, just go for the romantic trip, you might enjoy it.

Jan45 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:38:16

Exactly what Cog said.

anapitt Wed 05-Mar-14 12:45:57

for goodness sake give the man a chance! He's been slogging his guts out for years while you get to lunch with the girls when you are on downtime from being a mum!

anapitt Wed 05-Mar-14 12:49:05

Your husband sounds pretty wonderful to me a random outsider.
I was in his position for 16 years, absolutely bust a gut for the family while my dp got to do a of of fun stuff.
You two are in the fortunate position you BOTH want to rekindle ( or you wouldn't be asking here )

I think you two can make it. I hope you do!

me and dp separated and I am very happy. I felt completely used for my earnigns potential

anapitt Wed 05-Mar-14 12:52:04

and as you yourself say, he is lovely!! ( mine wasn't)

aw11 Wed 05-Mar-14 13:38:17

Pretty much what's been said already. Make sure you have an evening out together once a week. Doesn't really matter what you're doing but just some time together without the kids. You say you feel a bit 'meh' about it now, hopefully you won't soon!

I think a week away just the two of you is a great idea to kick start things off again.

struggling100 Wed 05-Mar-14 13:42:34

I hope you don't mind me saying, but I think you may have it the wrong way round! Perhaps the reason you don't feel romantic is that you haven't really made any time to enjoy spending time together, rather than the reason you don't spend time together being that you don't feel romantic.

Give the break a go! You might be surprised at how quickly you regain the spark given half a chance. I know it can be a bit awkward at first when you're not used to it, but it could be a great way of starting to enjoy date nights and special time again.

Wanttobeinlove Wed 05-Mar-14 22:33:29

Cogito It's no point having a big house and all the trimmings if you're lonely. I think part of the problem is that I was lonely, but now I've sorted myself out with female friends, interests etc.

Cabrinha if this lack of romance has meant infrequent sex Yup. We've pretty much forgotten how to.

anapitt Your husband sounds pretty wonderful to me a random outsider. Yes, he is.

aw11 Make sure you have an evening out together once a week. A couple of years ago I wasn't happy and we resolved to have a monthly romantic dinner. The first one was great. Second one was ok, but DH had an early morning breakfast meeting next day, so didn't want a late night, or sex when we got home. Third one, I got the phone call that he was held up at work and would meet me at the restaurant, no time to change out of his business suit. Fourth month I didn't book a meal, waited to see if he'd remember, but he didn't.
A few months later, we tried again, but this time meeting at lunchtime. That fizzled out, as DH kept having to cancel or re-jig the dates.
A year later we tried to reserve Saturday morning for us to be couple-y. That fizzled out. So I think I'm finding it hard to get enthusiastic about another attempt.

livingzuid Thu 06-Mar-14 02:08:09

He's got to draw a line between work time and home time. Seeing your last post I'm not surprised you're cynical about a week away if he's going to spend most of it working.

There need to be boundaries on family time, couple time and work. And he needs to make that clear. The blackberry goes off, no sneaking off to check emails or take calls.

I know what it is like to be in a relationship like this and it's not fun when his job is always the priority. All I can say is that there's more to life than a big house etc if you're sitting there lonely and sad in it. He may need to consider a job change or you return to work part time to ease the pressure.

It's about making time to show the other person they are still the priority. Not some faceless client or customer coming first.

Good luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Mar-14 06:00:08

There's nothing more depressing than realising you're not a priority in your partner's life. Work is important but what everyone needs to hear is that they are more important than work. Not all the time, admittedly, but enough to be reassured.

I think you may be at the stage where you would benefit from relationship counselling. It doesn't particularly sound like the way he behaves is malicious, but I don't think he realises how destructive it is either.

Oblomov Thu 06-Mar-14 06:08:14

Blimey. He really is married to the job, isn't he?
My dh is a bit like that.

Wanttobeinlove Thu 06-Mar-14 08:29:03

Cogito - It's not malicious at all. I honestly believe that nothing is more important to DH than the DCs and I. It isn't as though he's doing anything else - he can't commit to a hobby of his own because of work spilling over. He doesn't have much / any of a social life that isn't work or with me.

The snag now is that I have got enough interests that DH isn't essential to me (apart from financially, I'm totally dependent on him financially).

But if I step back and look at him, he's still pretty much my ideal man. All the reasons I fell for him in the first place are still there. It's just, I've learned to manage without him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Mar-14 08:34:31

You need to tell him that last sentence. You said originally that you both realise you've drifted apart and that he's not happy. If that's the case, and if you both want to rebalance your life and make your relationship a higher priority, I think a commitment to counselling has to be in there. What does he do for a living?

livingzuid Thu 06-Mar-14 09:02:06

Good men do have a slight obsession with providing for their family. I mean that in a good way. My dh and his dad are the same. Dh was working 3 jobs at one point to provide what he thought was enough cash for us all. He always felt resentful growing up that his dad wasn't around, even though he understands the reasons and we've got no intention with our new arrival of him spending all his days at work.

How is your dh with your dc?

Can I ask (and I'm not having a go) what is more important to you - the lifestyle or having him there? Or is the problem that you think you've fallen out of love? Your last sentence is really interesting - that you don't need him any more. Is the concept of need tied up in loving someone for you?

I second the counselling. I would think you both need to reassess your priorities and figure out what you want long term. He does sound very lovely as do you, but you need more than a good provider to make the relationship work for you both.

Joysmum Thu 06-Mar-14 09:28:20

This isn't about grand gestures of a week away together, this is about everyday life and everyday thoughtfulness.

I had the same thing with my DH a number of years back and his way to deal with it was to throw money at it, I'd have 'things' not him. He still needs to be reminded about this with our DD on occasion. It's not money or things we want, it's him.

I think there's little excuse for getting called away from you proposed date nights. Let's be brutally honest here, if he were in a meeting with a client and something came up,he could just drop the client. Why should he be able to do this to you then.

If you're comfortably well off you need to discuss priorities. If he has to be that focused to provide the basics, that's more difficult.

Wanttobeinlove Thu 06-Mar-14 22:29:27

livingzuid, he's great Dad. We've both to make sure that when his time was limited, the DCs were the priority.

Your last sentence is really interesting - that you don't need him any more. Is the concept of need tied up in loving someone for you?

It just feels unbalanced. I need him financially, I'm totally dependent on him for the roof over my head / food/ everything, but that's about it. He needs me to cook his dinners, do his laundry, remember birthdays, pay bills, keep the car running, do the garden, take the dog to the vet, do minor DIY, be nice to his relatives, look after him when he's ill etc etc. I've done most of the decorating single-handed. I don't think he knows who our mortgage provider is - stuff like that is my responsibility. I know I don't need him when I'm ill, because I've been ill when he's been away and I've coped.

That's not to say he doesn't do stuff at all - he does. But mostly I can't plan on it, it's a bonus when it happens.

It's not the "concept of need" so much as DH's working hours means I have come to regard him as superfluous in terms of running our home / life together.

Joysmum, we're comfortably off, without being wealthy.

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