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The spark has gone. I want to save my marriage!

(58 Posts)
jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 00:59:17

Been married for 11 years. Two children, one at school and a 2 year old who still wakes up during the night. I'm a sahm not out of choice. I'm trying to find work. DH works long hours in a stressful job that he wants to move from. He's the main wage earner. Money is tight but we're ok if we're careful.

Our marriage is dying. We're both exhausted. He feels unappreciated and simply a source of cash. I feel drained, worn down and trapped at home. Our sex life is down to every 2 months if we're not exhausted which we usually are.

He loves me, finds me attract etc. I love him but I'm not sure I'm in love with him. We have date night every 6 weeks but were generally so tired we go out for an hour and come home to collapse.

We have family but my in laws have both being treated for cancer. My fil in bed.

jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 01:07:19

iPhone. Posted to soonconfused

My fil has never recovered from the shock of having cancer and is very depressive. He drains everyone. Mil lives in lala land. They rarely help out. My mum is about but is on her own and finds both children hard work so although she helps it's usually with me around. .

We don't have time for new hobbies etc we barely have time for the essentials.

We've talked, we know what's happening and we want to stop it. There is nobody else for either of us. It's simply a matter of two fed up adults exhausted from kids and life. A marriage that is suffering because of it.

We're both miserable. DH is on anti depressants because of prolonged work stress. I've had PND twice and being at home full time is bringing this back.

How do we turn this round?

2Retts Sun 02-Aug-15 01:45:58

Hey there jelly, sorry you're going through this and I don't have any particular pearls of wisdom but I'm sure those who do will be along shortly.

The thing that really stands out for me in your post is the balance and that you are both still actively communicating which is a great sign. There may not be any immediate respite for either of you in the current situation but the underlyng current remains strong and hopeful. It's so important to keep talking, acknowledging and validating one anothers feelings throughout the tough times.

This is just one of those periods in life which seems relentless (exacerbated by PIL illness and work stress) but it does pass. I know how unhelpful that sounds but it is so true.

Are there any friends in a similar situation that you could share the load with? Just a thought...probably completely impractical.

As I said, wiser MNetters will be along soon.

jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 07:50:11

Thank you.

I feel I've lost my way with this now.

Dd is so high maintenance that even a trip to the park is stressful. She's a toddler that pushes us to the brink daily.

We've had 1 night child free in 4 yearsconfused. This isn't something that's likely to change anytime soon.

We enjoy walking but dd is to young. The house needs decorating but not a chance with dd around. It also needs a clear out but we don't have the time.

Weekends are spent apart as it's the only way we get anything done. Midweek DH is out for 12 plus hours a day.

I miss him and resent him. This is not good.

I feel old, frumpy and unattractive. I have neither the time nor money to do anything about it.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 02-Aug-15 08:27:44

It's great that you are aware of the situation and talking about it.

I think when the DC are under four it can hurt a marriage.

Do you get your DC in bed by seven? That's a good way to get a little rest.

Also you mention that your house needs clearing. You'll be surprised how quickly this can be done. Get a black bag, go to any room in the house and start filling that bag with the stuff you don't want. Keep going. Even in ten minutes you can fill a bag.

Local nurserys usually do babysitting for a reasonable price. You just need to call them and ask.

Keep job hunting.

Things will change but it will require effort from both of you. You both need to change your perspective on the current situation and accept its temporary.

moopymoodle Sun 02-Aug-15 08:29:18

Sorry but all your posts seem really defeating. You give a bunch of reasons why you can't get anything done or go anywhere. I have two children 3 and 6, yes I agree with you it's hard but if you don't make the effort to recapture what gives your life zing you will feel down and defeated.

Get the decorating done, I manage it when the children are in bed if need be. Same for clearing out. Go for walks, take a stroller If you'd DD needs to rest her legs.

Why are weekends spent apart? Surely they should be spent as a family most the time.

I think there has to come a point where you stop thinking how hard life is and make it what you want it to be. I used to be really pessimistic and was always down and my relationship suffered, some times we have to change our attitude to change our lives smile

LaBette001 Sun 02-Aug-15 08:40:12

I'm so sorry that you're having this experience. I think having a child at toddler stage is incredibly tough for anyone and any couple- they demand so, so much from you.

I don't know about your financial situation but what about a weekend break somewhere with a crèche so you could sleep one afternoon and do something as a couple the following day? Or is there a teenage (or otherwise) neighbour on your street who could have them one Saturday afternoon a month?

Good luck OP flowers

LaBette001 Sun 02-Aug-15 08:41:50

I also agree that a little reframing might be useful, as moopy suggests!

Tanfastic Sun 02-Aug-15 08:46:00

My marriage was very much like this until my ds started school, we just went through the motions (neither of us would have left the other one but I'm sure we both wanted to sometimes). We just found life incredibly hard with a very demanding ds and very little family support at that time.

We are fine now, we got through it, ds is now 7 and we have a great life. I thought this was normal to be honest grin.

lilacclery Sun 02-Aug-15 08:47:43

Also have two young children. Dh works a lot as do I, found not getting time for exercise was getting me down now put ds into a baby carrier on my back and dd walks with me might not be as fast or far as I like but we're getting out & getting fresh air so it's great for everyone.

jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 08:57:05

I think your all right. I do need to reframe. I feel like I've given up on everything. I feel like it's all up to me to make better.

Mess gets to me and DH isn't good at tidying. He shuffles he doesn't tidy. We all know what kids are like for mess confused

Your right about clearing out. I'm not very good at sorting out because I never know what to do with the stuff I don't need so we just keep it hmm

I've got furniture we'll never use again.

My wardrobes are full of 'I might wear it' 'what if I need it' etc. This is because I don't have money to buy anything new.

I need to find walks near me that are country walks where dd can run and it doesn't matter. I have no idea how I do this.

Allgunsblazing Sun 02-Aug-15 08:59:29

You'll think I'm crazy, but take them all, 2 yo in buggy, and start running on Saturday mornings. Nevermind breakfast, snot, odd socks and messy hair. Just go for 20-30 mins!
Alternate Sundays with DH: take the older two cycling/walking for a couple of hours.
We're all feeling much better after some exercise, and we're not talking lycra clad top of the range gear. Whatever you've got and some old bikes.
The 2yo sounds like a handful! Have you tried not allowing her to join with the family activity unless she's behaving (ie ignoring and when she stops screaming etc you give her a big cuddle/praise and include her. Seemed to work with my DD for some reason).
Be kind to each other, you and DH.

redfairy Sun 02-Aug-15 09:04:09

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed I try not looking too far forward and try to cope one say at a time. To think that the decirating hasnt been done tiday us far easier to cope with than thinking it still wont be done next year. I would list all those things you are worried about and give them an order of importance. For instance, taking kids to the park or spending quality time with DH would come above the decorating. Also factor in thise things that are beyond your control and accept that there is little to be gained by worrying. Tackle the important things in life then you will find that all the other stuff gets into perspective and you will feel more capable of coping in the long term.
Above all be kind yourselves. This situation wont be forever; it's just for now.flowers

Itscurtainsforyou Sun 02-Aug-15 09:21:06

I'm sorry you're going through this, though it's great that you're communicating and both want to resolve it.

You said that money is tight - is there any scope for putting your 2 year old in nursery for a day/couple of mornings a week? That would give you a breather and get her used to being there for when you get a job (also will give you the space to job search). Failing that, do you think your mum would have her for a morning or could you do a swap with another parent for half a day?

I know what it's like when everything piles up and gets on top of you. Can you make a list of the things that you'd like to do, split it into big/small jobs (eg tidying day to day stuff is probably a shorter job than decorating) and then pit all the jobs in priority order? Then you can work through the list slowly when you have the time and space.

I hope you manage to work something out.

jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 09:36:36

We can't afford nursery or extra childcare until I'm earning. I'd love to have time to job hunt but it's reserved to night time.

The Dc don't go to bed till 8pm. Ds isn't an issue he goes no problems. Dd takes a lot of setting. We put her in and generally listen to her for at least an hour objecting to bedtime. It's wearing, stressful and another part of the problem. We're being firm with her but she seems to have been teething forever and she suffered badly.

The decorating won't be done till next year or until I can afford a decorator. Whichever comes first. But it annoys me. I like jobs to be done not half done.

I used to do loads of exercise I was never thin but fit. I'm completely shattered and with both DH and I job hunting a massive garden to control. Two kids to manage and a house to maintain. We have bikes but dd is to young and we can't afford a bike seat.

My mum does help but not every week. She has to much of her own things to do and can't really keep up with dd.

Yes she's a handful. She's lovely and we're working on it. She's challenging a lot of people comment on how lively she is. I spend all day saving her from herself!

ZetaPu Sun 02-Aug-15 09:44:01

It sounds like there's no joy in your life at the moment.
You're comfortable financially and you have a lovely family. You have a solid basis so start enjoying your time. Yes there are chores to do but that doesn't take up your whole life.

Why can't you spend the weekends doing something together?
Weekends are a great way to reconnect.
Spend time doing something as a family on Saturday. Go for a picnic and walk, take the kids swimming, go to the park with balls, frisbee or kites.
Do something active and get fresh air.
Have lots of physical contact too. Lots of hugs or cuddles, chasing and tickling/kissing games.
Snuggle up with your dh and watch some TV or a film together when the kids are in bed.

Allocate time for fun if you have to.

When you start feeling happier then the big jobs won't seem daunting.

As for stuff you don't need, either do a car boot sale to get some money or do your bit for the less fortunate and donate it. There are charities that will take your furniture to help set up people or who will sell it to help fund their charity.

spudlike1 Sun 02-Aug-15 09:45:44

Sounds like there are a lot of aspects to this issue and you are feeling overwhelmed, I would start with your 2 year old when does pre school.start ?
Do you got to a mother and toddler group, make friends with other mums share your strategies and ideas for coping.
Get yourself out of the house more .

Roonerspism Sun 02-Aug-15 09:52:35

Great advice already...

I would start with you... You sound utterly exhausted. Yes, kids are exhausting but is something else going on? Have your thyroid checked/anaemia etc.

Could you exercise at night? Maybe a DVD like Jillian Michaels 20 minutes? If you feel well physically, then life is easier to cope with.

Your DD sounds lively... Could you get her to the park every morning. Throw a ball, take a trike, go bug hunting. Stick her in a buggy for a bit. She might then sleep better at night.

You sound defeated - and I don't mean this to sound like a criticism. Be kind to yourself

QuiteLikely5 Sun 02-Aug-15 09:54:36

The stuff you don't need anymore just bag it up and don't worry about where it will go. Bin it. Get the council to come and collect it or take it to the tip.

Or the clothes, bag up and take to a charity shop. You don't need a plan, just get the bag, go upstairs and start going through the drawers.

A tidy house is a tidy head.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 02-Aug-15 09:57:10

If your Dd takes an hour to settle I would take her up an hour early.

I don't know how old she is but if she's in a bed have you thought about putting a baby gate in her bedroom door so that she can't get out of her room?

spudlike1 Sun 02-Aug-15 10:04:32

Yes you need time on your own is it possible , 1 hour a week sit in a cafe with a book, go for a walk .

SylvanianCaracal Sun 02-Aug-15 10:09:53

We spend weekends together as a family, but we both get a lie-in until 10 or 11 am, one on each day. Can't tell you how much I look forward to it.

If things need doing, we take turns for example one person at a time might do a food shop, or some work, take time to go to the gym, or do a housework task while other has the DC for a bit. But it's not for the whole day and we usually do a family trip, picnic, sometimes camping overnight, lunch with friends, a long walk or just a shopping trip if there's something we need (e.g. to ikea), all together.

I do know how you feel, I am a bit worn out with family life and having so little spare time (also no family help), and I get very irritated with my DP as we're such opposites and it's annoying when it comes to practicalities – but I have noticed that we do have fun when we get a babysitter go out to a gig or something. It hardly ever happens but it is worth it.

Also, I know how it feels to be so tired and worn down you just can't face all those jobs like decorating etc., once the evening finally comes. But this has improved for me as my DC have got older (now 5 and 10) – a difficult toddler can bring you to your knees (been there!) but as time goes on you get free childcare, kids will amuse themselves more, etc. Just getting a break to be able to hear yourself think and relax for a bit can transform how you feel.

Also I take iron every day which massively helps. I use Feroglobin liquid iron, I've also heard good things about floradix.

LucySnow12 Sun 02-Aug-15 10:19:40

When my kids were young, there were times when I became someone unrecognisable to myself. Sleep issues are terribly draining. You sound overwhelmed and unable to see any light. Lots of mums feel the same but I think don't like to reveal it. Do you have any friends that you can swap childcare with to give each a break? Dedicate some time to really focus solely on your husband and he on you. My husband also would frequently complain I tuned him out and it was true. I thought the kids needed me more - he was an adult and could take care of himself. But he needs to also feel important and loved. Go give your husband a hug right now. I have really found the inspirational "Mindful" quotes of Sri Sri Ravishankar a great help in refocusing on the positive in my life. Google him.

SylvanianCaracal Sun 02-Aug-15 10:19:45

FWIW both my DC drew comments from people about how "lively"/difficult/tantrummy/demanding they were. We tried really, really hard, I was absolutely not a pushover and went on parenting courses and tried everything. It used to seriously piss me off when people would say things like "Well we use the naughty step and it works a treat!" That's nice if your DC will stay on the naughty step, but what if they just don't?

They grew out of it, and now we often get complimented on how well-behaved they are. Now I can look back on it and think "well I got through it" but I know just how hard it is. Sometimes I used to go into the bedroom and scream into a pillow, I was so frustrated and exhausted. But is is something that should pass.

jellyjiggles Sun 02-Aug-15 10:22:29

Yes your right. My head isn't clear enough to see it. I am feeling defeated it's isn't a criticism it's the truth.

I don't find much joy in anything. It's just all stress. Takes hours and I never gets finished in the meantime the kids and DH have caused more work and mess. I get frustrated with them all because I feel like I'm the only one who does anything. My standards have dropped significantly. The house is better when I work.

We've got blinds and light fittings to put up that we've had for months but never find the time to put up. DH takes hours to do the simplest of job and it's not because it's perfect he's just disorganised and has to hunt tools down in the garage because he never puts them away he just dumps them. I can't go in the garage. I'd lose the plot with him it's a tip and unless I do it it'll never get done properly. I don't have the time.

Dd and sleep I've tried everything! An hour earlier/later. Done loads during the day, alter nap times and lengths. Supper, altered mealtimes. I give up. None of it makes a difference. She's hard work but very lovely.

I am overwhelmed. I don't know where to start because everywhere I look is things to do, tidy up, clean, clear out.

You'd think my house was a complete tip it's not it's just I struggle to simply maintain.

If we could get rid of the kids for 3 days we could do it but that's never going to happen.

I struggle to not be consumed by it all. I would love to be more laid back

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