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Intimacy - reading the signals - always being ready(106 Posts)
Ok - so this is man posting - looking to learn. In v. long term relationship, with two lovely young children, and OH that I still find more attractive than ever.
If it was up to me, we would be spending more time together, kisses, cuddles, and yes sex - which makes me feel accepted and closer to her.
She would probably say she is very tired most of the time, and doesn't always feel comfortable in herself. She would probably also say that when we do have intimacy, she's feels happier.
The problem I am struggling with is getting a balance between initiating cuddles, massages, and sex versus being seen as pressurising. It is also emotionally and physically frustrating to go to bed every night 'on standby' hoping for closeness. After months of this it's then so easy to deal by switching off, and not trying. The worst outcome for me is not suggesting or going for a hug, because of wanting to look casual, and not pressurise WHILE all along this happens to be a night when she actually wants me to initiate..what a tragedy, it's a short life....
Stereotypical posts seem to be; posts where women complain their OH go nowhere near them anymore, and other posts where men complain of a lack of intimacy.
It's seems like an age old problem....bit sad really
If you haven't already done so, I would personally be quite ok with my partner saying exactly what you have said above to me, especially the struggling to get a balance part.
Sometimes it's just nice to get a random hug/kiss with no expectation of it leading to anything else (in the middle of making dinner for example) and that does help to maintain closeness IMHO.
Having two young children is very tiring - are you doing enough to help her around the house so you can create more free time to spend together, even if it's only enough to sit down, relax and chat for a short while each night once the kids are in bed? You don't give much info above (sorry) but it doesn't sound like you are communicating what either of you want and that would be a good start.
I agree with Not, you've got to talk to your wife about this, tell her your concerns. I was also going to suggest hugging and kissing when there's no implication it will lead to sex.
Do the other things. Take a full share of housework and childcare. Provide her with time for herself, money for clothes and make-up, outings to enjoy. Be that lovely man she wants to make time to be with.
I've been there where I've just felt too tired to want sex and it felt like yet another chore at the end of a long day. It got to the point were I was dreading going to bed. We came up with a compromise - a one on one off. That one night we'd go to bed and he'd not try anything on. Took the pressure off me. Next night he could make a move and we'd see if I was up for it. Sometimes I was sometimes I wasn't (if I wasn't then we did nothing obviously). This might sound clinical but it worked for us. However it was something we talked about (both the issue and our work around). It helped us get through a dry patch in our relationship but thinking about it now it was probably the talking about it that was useful too. (We are back to 'normal' now)
What HumblePie said too - it's such a great feeling when your partner acknowledges that you NEED some alone time, and to be allowed to spend that time however you damn well choose to!
Alone time with you AND without you and the kids I mean
Are you connecting in the evening before you go to bed? Chatting, doing something together? Or do you go to bed and you have been in each other's presence but not in each other's company until that moment?
People need to communicate these needs instead of consciously opting out of certain parts of a normal relationship..
Doing more housework and buying more gifts sounds dangerously similar to having to either earn or buy her affection.
Not really, domino - does each partner feel cherished, feel that they aren't taking an unfair share of the grunt work of life, feel close to and equal with their partner in a number of ways. This doesn't have to be gifts, might be a caring comment or a cup of tea.
Why is she tired, why is she uncomfortable in herself and why does she think that cuddles always lead to sex?
Unravel those and you may find a resolution.
Yes it's a tricky one. At one point DH and I had reached the point where if he started putting washing away I thought 'oh God he wants sex' - bad side effect of the whole do more housework line of thinking. You probably do need to do more housework by the way.
I don't know the answer but I think you need to talk about it openly at a time when it's clear sex is not on the agenda right now, like in the car or something. You can tell her you're not going to initiate sex but will always want to if she does - and keep telling her that at different times. And then work on doing things together that make you feel close. Don't just watch tv together - play a game, cook together, DH and I even did a jigsaw (saddos we are).
And find ways of telling her you fancy her that don't imply she ought to be shagging you right now.
You sound sensible; I'm sure you'll work it out. Good luck.
This could be my DH (some years ago).
It is hard to put this into words, especially on an open forum like this! Welcome to Mumsnet, jack.
Firstly I'd say, try not to feel rejected.
Secondly I'd say to explore some of the the millions and millions of ways that convey platonic love, care, interest, and warmth towards your DW. Smiles and gentle, interested tone of voice and little gestures of kindness from my DH spell out his love for me and draw me to him far more than a grasping hug or the bedroom eyes.
If you are like my DH, you probably don't want to turn off that attraction you feel for your wife, the thought of that us making you sad, and that is not what I am suggesting. Don't try to supress that lizard lust, it won't work! Do try to practice thinking of her as more than just a wife. Add dimensions to how you relate to her...build on emotional maturity and intimacy, in the ways you think about her. I think that will speak volumes in the looks you give her and what you say and how you touch her. If she can come to you for just a hug then it deepens the relationship and adds layers. She can feel if you have more in mind...it isn't a nice feeling. From my point of view it felt like I could not touch my husband or even look him in the eye sometimes without it leading somewhere, and a constant expectation of sex was eminating from him. He seemed predatory to me (not at all how he felt) and it didn't feel healthy for me to 'give in' to that. Some days I just needed a friend to hold me or put his hand on my shoulders and look me in the eyes paternally, or pat my hand when there are just no words, and sometimes I need(ed) him to be that friend. I think it is aad that he was so bzsy thinking how attractive I was (to him) that he couldn't be the friend I really needed.
We go through so much as parents and sexual attraction is not enough. Love the bones of her.
Have you tried cuddles, kisses etc when there is no chance of sex so you can be close and build that back up again. E.g. A kiss while cooking dinner etc.
I would say try to bring some humour into the situation. If you feel frustrated and your wife feels pressured it will be hard to relax and get intimate. Just having a some time together with no expectations e.g. Cuddling on the sofa and watching TV together without her feeling that you expect sex afterwards.
I agree with Littleredridinghoodi
My DH slipped into a routine of not being affectionate at all unless he wanted sex (young DCs, we both have full on jobs, etc etc), there was nothing underlying this except just being busy getting on with the demands of life, but it killed our sex life dead. I felt used and objectified. The only way around your problem is to talk, and listen, to each other. When I told my DH how I felt he was mortified and had no idea, everyone's different you see. We now both make a huge effort to be affectionate at times when there's zero chance of sex, we talk when we would otherwise have let things fester. Our sex life is better than ever.
Also, make sure you do your fair share of family/domestic stuff.
You don't mention if your DP works, but after a woman has had children it's very easy to fall into a routine of her taking the lead on organising the family and home, even if she's back at work (one of the unintended consequences of extended periods of maternity leave IMO).
If she's a SAHM or works part time, this doesn't mean that she should be responsible for all domestic and family chores, everyone needs downtime and you're both responsible for getting jobs done in evenings and weekends. I think it's too easy to assume that if a woman isn't working she isn't "working". I'm currently on maternity leave with two young DCs and there are times when I fantasise about being back at work because it's bloody well easier some days!
Hang on - what makes you (pl) think that the OP doesn't do his fair share of the housework and parenting? There's nothing to suggest that he's leaving it to his wife.
I think people are just saying it can be one way to make somebody less tired and washed out - take on more of the housework.
Viv, I think because that comes up a lot as a potential source of tension. They are just suggestions and ideas.
Some of the responses were more accusations than suggestions Yonic
This is definitely a common problem and the trouble seems to be both partners slipping into a dynamic that just doesn't work
Talking about it with each other seems like such obvious advice but it really is the starting point, and I think it's important to remember that barring things like abuse or infidelity or mh problems the 'fault' is with both parties
So could you be doing more to support her? Do you do your fair share at home? With the children? Do you only touch her when you want sex?
On the other side if things does she do enough to support you? Does she initiate sex? Does she give you enough affection?
(You don't have to answer any of that, they're just starting points)
Someone mentioned the one day off one day on thing, I've also heard of the days of the week method- so you each have three days of the week in which you can initiate sex if you want it but if it's not 'your' day you can't, of course the offer can be refused without any problems and the last day is either a sex free day or a definitely have sex day depending on what you both agree to. It makes a lot of sense in that you don't have that feeling you describe of being nervous to touch each other/start things off that can happen in these situations
Hang on - what makes you (pl) think that the OP doesn't do his fair share of the housework and parenting? There's nothing to suggest that he's leaving it to his wife
She's tired, she's not comfortable, she's not after his body. Therefore, she has too much to do, she isn't provided with what she needs to be happy with herself (including time), and the outcome is she can't desire him and hasn't the energy to bear the burden of his sexual demands on top of all her other chores. Change the balance, get a different response.
OP, also, don't pester her. Remember, she's female, she loves men/you; she wants them/you. Just be there, being desirable and clearing the path - she'll come to you. A look is better than a kiss, until she's desperate for you.
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