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Is my marriage in trouble? How can we save it?

(21 Posts)
Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:43:45

I have name changed for this. I've been feeling very confused for a while now and I'm only now allowing myself to think the bad thoughts. Does that make sense?

Ok. I met my husband about six years ago, at Uni. We got married a couple of years ago and we have a daughter, who is nearly 1. We were nuts about each other. We were close friends before we got together and then it just happened and it was wonderful. The best relationship I've ever been in. Couldn't keep our hands off each other, type stuff.

He still is wonderful. He is a devoted and fantastic father. Absolutely worships our daughter, can't do enough for her. And she adores him equally, he's good fun, she screams with joy when he walks into the room.

He works hard, in a good job which he likes, but he often wishes he was at home more through the week to see more of DD (he has a policy of making sure he's home to see her and bath her every night before she goes to bed, even if that means he has to work from home later in the evening). He's helpful around the house, he's very supportive of me, he does nice things for me. His success in his job has allowed me to go back to work part time, which is exactly what I wanted.

I'm so lucky. On paper it's perfect. It should be perfect. But it's not.

Firstly, our sex life is non-existent just now. It didn't used to be. And he wants to, he doesn't put pressure on me over it, but he does. I just can't bear it. I have no idea why, I still fancy him, the spark is still there, but I just don't want to do it. And he's struggling with that a little bit I think.

There is no one else, for either of us. I frankly couldn't be bothered with anyone else. I think that might be the issue. Maybe I just can't be bothered. I'm tired.

He irritates me and I don't know why. I find myself being mean to him, or thinking mean thoughts, when he doesn't deserve it. He says he feels he can't do right for doing wrong. It's fair that he thinks that.

This is so hard to explain. Sometimes he can be a little bit....controlling is the wrong word. But, for example when he's off work at the weekends, he likes to take charge of DD, when she eats, what she eats, that kind of thing. He's never nasty about it but I feel myself getting tense/annoyed. Maybe I feel he's encroaching on my territory a little bit. He is a little bit intense sometimes, he gets anxious about finances (tight because I've been off on mat leave, but not so bad we risk losing the house or anything), if DD is sick he worries, I have little patience with him when he's like that.

I'm painting myself as a nightmare here, I know. Reading it back I sound awful. I'm worried that I don't love him any more. Or maybe I love him like I love a sibling or a friend I think. Maybe that's a better way to put it. I don't really know how I feel, other than that I desperately want this to work. I don't want my DD to grow up without her beloved daddy at home, but equally I don't want her to grow up listening to us sniping at each other all the time. I can't imagine being without him but it can't go on like this.

Please help me sort my thoughts out. I'm sorry for the incoherent rambling, I just needed to get this out.

LineyReborn Tue 17-Nov-15 13:58:27

I think you've been very brave to write it all down. Do you feel you'd like weekends to be more go-with-the-flow, but your DH is very regimented?

Do you think your lack of wanting sex is tied to undercurrents of resentment? Resentment can kill desire stone dead if it's not addressed.

Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:04:02

Thank you Liney. I feel like I'm being disloyal by posting this but I need some guidance. I don't really want to talk to anyone in real life aboutnp this yet.

I wouldn't say he's regimented. More that he sort of takes over as the "primary carer" and I don't really like it. I mean I like a wee break (which he will happily give me) but I don't want to give her up altogether. Particularly as I've gone back to work three days a week and she's in nursery.

I do feel some resentment, that sounds accurate, but I don't really know why. I can't put my finger on it.

He can be quite lazy. So when DD goes to bed, he'll help me square up the house then he'll sit down and read his phone. He's tired and he wants some peace. I get that. But sometimes I think he isn't really trying with me any more.

megandmogatthezoo Tue 17-Nov-15 14:06:11

You sound very down. How much time do you get for you? Do you ever get away from work and home responsibilities? Gym? Clubs? Meeting friends? Do you and your DH ever get time together without dd? I suspect you don't. Life can get anyone down when it is a continual cycle of doing things for other people and never anything for yourself.

A baby sitter might be your best starting point.

Twitterqueen Tue 17-Nov-15 14:07:45

Hi Candle. Firstly, don't panic! I know exactly what you mean about allowing yourself to think the bad thoughts, but you have to allow it and not be scared by it. Just because you think something (ie divorce) it doesn't mean you have to do it.

It sounds to me like the equilibrium in your marriage is out of kilter. Your DH being so controlling at weekends is odd and I would find that immensely difficult to cope with. But maybe it's just his way of feeling that he's a proper hands-on dad? You need to tell him how you feel.

You don't want sex because you have a lot of hidden resentment that you need to get out into the open. Call it a marriage health-check.

You don't sound like a nightmare at all but clearly the two of you are struggling with roles and responsibilities. You definitely need to talk.

LineyReborn Tue 17-Nov-15 14:08:20

I think you are doing well and starting to put your finger on a few things that are an issue (and which are fixable). Do you still sit and eat together, sometimes, just the two of you, without phones? Do you feel he's still there with you?

Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:23:34

Thanks everyone. Really appreciate your comments.

No - I guess I don't take much time out for myself. That's not his fault though. If I wanted to go out with my friends, he'd happily take over at home and let me do so. I just feel tired and demotivated and the house is constantly cluttered so I feel I need to be doing housework. I have a lot of guilt about leaving my daughter. She likes it best when she's here with us. We have left her with both sets of grandparents before (not often) but I can't relax when I'm not with her, I have a knot in my stomach, it's easier to just not bother tbh.

He does like to take over because he misses her through the week and feels he wants to be hands on and an equal parent to me.

We do need to talk. I'm finding it hard to talk to him right now. I had issues with returning to work and I didn't confide in him and my mum mentioned the issue in front of him (she didn't know I hadn't spoken to him) and he was hurt that I'd chosen to keep it from him.

I think I am quite down, actually. I feel like everything stresses me out and I spend a lot of time with the above mentioned 'knot' in my stomach. He says I'm tense a lot and he finds this stressful because then I snap at him and he feels he's walking on eggshells. I'm trying not to do this any more.

We tend to eat in front of the TV these days. Literally chucking something in the oven and collapsing on the couch. He's there if I want him, I think, i can feel myself pushing him away sometimes.

Zippingupmyboots Tue 17-Nov-15 14:23:31

In a way it sounds like a completely normal relationship. Can't get enough of each other at the start, then you start irritating each other, the sex dwindles a bit, then a baby and everything goes pear-shaped for a few years, over -work, exhaustion, juggling everything.

From what you say you could get back on track, especially if he calms down a bit on weekends.

Can you be specific with him about what you want on weekends for your family?

If your feelings for him don't come back in the next year or so you might have deeper problems but honestly the years when children are so young and you are all so busy are hard. But they pass.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 17-Nov-15 14:30:26

I think you might have a touch of depression. The feeling tired and can't be bothered, the lack of sex drive, irritability and anxiety could all be linked to depression.
Maybe go to the GP to talk about that, and then sit down with dh and have a good talk about what comes next? Although you describe him as a little controlling, are you sure you aren't struggling to hand over your control at the weekend? Personally, I couldn't care less if someone else came and took responsibility for feeding my DS at weekends when he was a baby, I was grateful for the break.
Are you planning on going back to work? I think another thing that can cause relationships to suffer when there is a baby and one parent at home is that there isn't much common ground to talk about apart from the baby. Maybe you need some outside interests!
I think you sound like you have the basis for a good marriage so try those things and most of all talk to him smile

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 17-Nov-15 14:31:31

Sorry I see you went back to work.
Communication is key

FrancisdeSales Tue 17-Nov-15 14:33:50

I think talking to someone IRL would help. Have you considered couple counseling?

RNBrie Tue 17-Nov-15 14:37:02

I can recommend the book Baby Proofing Your Marriage by Stacie Cockrell, it really helped us through this phase of our marriage. It mainly helps with understanding how your roles have changed once you have children and what might be happening when things feel off kilter. It helps if you both read it!!

I think how you are feeling is really normal with a one year old. My relationship with dh is unrecognisable to how it used to to before we had dc. It's not worse, in fact probably better, but it's very different. It took us a while to come out of the other side and we had to talk about it a lot. We were both willing to make changes and work on the relationship which was key to it surviving.

MyPantsAreGreen Tue 17-Nov-15 14:45:49

I feel like you OP and constantly have mean thoughts towards my husband who is actually a gem of human being. I then feel guilty and even worse about myself! I think with me resentment is key - his life and career and personal development have gone upwards over the last 7 years. Mine as a SAHM of three have been the opposite. We don't talk anymore at all about "feelings" as he becomes very defensive and I more aggressive so I am literally getting through it until my youngest goes to school so I can rebuild my life and confidence. I wish I could talk to my husband I have no other family and don't like to talk to friends about these issues. However I am hoping it's a phase that will pass and time together when children are at school will repair the bond and cancel out the resentment. Life with young children is extremely hard but I think resilience and focussing on possible future happiness as a couple when the pressure of young children lifts is really important. You're not alone OP and I was heartened to read your post.

Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 15:14:30

I'm really glad I posted now. This place is fab.

In all honesty I've been wondering about the depression thing. Some days I just want to stay in bed and not see anyone, just to sleep. My self confidence is very very low, which my husband knows and is worried about. I worry about work a lot, I find it stressful and I miss the baby so much. But I have to work, we can't afford for me not to work and in the long run I think it's better for me to work than to stay at home (husband feels I would just be hiding from the world if I did that).

mypantsaregreen thank you for your comments. It is hard. My husband becomes defensive too, feels I'm trying to blame him for everything and that I'm always on his case. It's just easier to say nothing sometimes.

Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 15:15:16

RNBrie I might give that book a shot. It's good to hear that others have gone through similar and come out the other skde

Zippingupmyboots Tue 17-Nov-15 15:20:47

Can I say be careful about introducing another child into this situation. I felt like you and we were just coming out the other side when we had dc2. We never recovered I'm

ImperialBlether Tue 17-Nov-15 15:23:13

I think two things have happened. One is that you have fallen in love with your baby and you are getting everything you need there - all the fun, affection etc. You are probably touched out by your daughter so far less likely to want or need to be touched by your husband.

Secondly you sound really depressed, as though everything's greyed out. It's really common for mothers to have PND and not recognise it until several months after the birth. It would be worth speaking to your doctor about the way you feel.

rollmeover Tue 17-Nov-15 15:24:21

I have two DC and it wasnt until the youngest was 2 that I got my va va voom back. I was all touched out during the day and just was so exhaustedby the evening that sex was off the cards. Its only go better in the last six months.

It sounds like you have a good relationship but under the stress of young children the small things can become big things.

Take some time for yourself, take some time as a couple, speak to each other.

I think what you are feeling is very "normal" but not good longer term. definately get to the doctor - you might have a dodgy thyroid or something, so you might be depressed and need a wee helping hand for a while.

rollmeover Tue 17-Nov-15 15:25:12

or you might be depressed

wickedwaterwitch Tue 17-Nov-15 15:29:48

I agree with the PP who says it sounds as if you haven't adjusted as a couple to the new lives you have with a baby. Also maybe you are depressed.

It sounds like there's a lot to salvage though. Good luck.

Candlelight30 Tue 17-Nov-15 16:46:59

Thanks everyone, oh I can assure you a second baby is not on the agenda at the moment! Maybe in a few

imperialblether what you say makes a lot of sense. I do find that once the baby is in bed, I do like my own space. As for PND, I had quite a traumatic labour and I know the health visitor had concerns about this in the past. She never really did anything to help, just told me months after the birth that she "had been concerned".

Loss of "va va voom" is actually a great way of putting it. Very accurate.

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