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Please help me save my marriage(10 Posts)
DH and I have been together for 10 years, married 5. We have a 2.5 yr old DD and 4mo DS.
If I'm really honest, our marriage has been slowly dying since DD's arrival. I think that I have been so wrapped up in her (and subsequently DS) that I don't really have room in my heart for DH any more - but I so want to.
I want to have at least some of the feelings I used to have about him and I don't know if there's a way to get them back.
He's an incredible Dad and a very patient and loving husband. I love him most when I watch him with the kids - but it's almost a brotherly love.
Sex - we have very little. My sex drive is non existent when I'm not ovulating (breastfeeding) and DS was conceived as soon as my periods returned after DD.
We don't have any family nearby so we rarely get time together as a couple, but even when we do, I feel quite distant from him and just want to get back to the kids. I love spending time as a family all together so it's not that I don't want to spend time with him full stop.
We've talked about the situation a lot and he's willing to do whatever it takes to improve things, so I feel like I really need to step up or it's just going to fizzle out.
Has anyone else been in a similar situation and have any words of advice?
Yes, I have been in a very similar situation and yes we did fix it. It took time and frankly being pushed to the brink and realising we didn't want to be there.
I think it is very difficult to feel 'the same' when children are very little. They do take over. It is hard for the adults to put their partner any where near the top if the list, particularly because they may be struggling terribly for their own headspace. I think you have to bear in mind that this is a phase in your life, not the whole story of your marriage. This phase will end and another one will begin.
In the meantime taking the pressure off might be good. It feels like an emergency but it is not. You don't have to decide now. You can be kind to each other and good friends and that will go a long way to wanting the other in all sorts of ways.
Little kids want and need so much all the time that it is hard to see sometimes that they are fine. When they get older it is easier to see this and it can become you and dh in the driving seat again, making decisions for the family and enjoyed each other.
Do you think you could have hurt your DHs feelings? If so, maybe try to be kind and acknowledge that to yourself. Then make it up to him because it's the right thing to do.
Did you stop having time alone?
Are you still doing things just the two of you?
I'd let the sex take a back seat and try to reconnect in a different way first.
Make date nights, even if at home with the children in bed, or get someone to mind them.
Talk about each other's lives and feelings. Watch a movie together.
Having said that, your hormones may be playing up and reducing your libido and maybe you just need to ride this phase as you would if one of you had an illness.
4 months isn't that long after birth, but it's a good time to stop focusing so much on the baby and slowly restart your love life.
It needs to be a joint thing, though. He's willing to do whatever it takes, but he should also show some initiative and give you attention.
At some point, it might be worth considering counselling if you don't seem to find a way to reconnect.
margarita everything you say is kind of what I've been telling myself - and indeed what we as a couple have been telling ourselves - but I'm scared that we will also get to the brink and not find a way back. Do you mind me asking how you saved things?
Lweji those are things we can do. Yes, we stopped spending time together and prioritising each other. I do a bit of freelance work so that's always evenings and he often ends up working in the evenings too. I'd love to try counselling but not sure how we'd manage with childcare situation. I think making a practical plan - date nights at home etc - is a must or we'll both just let it slide.
I'm not sure if our way is the best way. Essentially we took a long hard look at ourselves, not the other, worked out what we were doing wrong and what we needed to be happy as human beings. Fortunately for us, for both of us that was a stable family life. We didn't thrash out our problems with each other. That would have led us nowhere. We rather concluded that they were created by the situation (which was aggravated by other things like multiple bereavement and workplace bullying) and our problematic way of dealing with them. Then we drew a line under it and moved on.
I think this is completely worth saving from what you have said and the only thing going wrong is this very difficult time with young children.
I think the other posters here are right, especially Margarita and Lweji (I do not know if you were actually unkind).
Really really try to do something alone once a week away, and at home even just an hour or two say watching a film you like, hold hands. Eat something you both like talk about little things that are not the children.
Do special, but simple little things, together, outside of your routine, with the children too. Walks, picnics, cafes, museums? Hold hands, have little touches.
You need to re-exist as an individual to to even feel you actually exist enough to have a relationship - with anyone other than your children: have you been able to get your hair done, get a pretty dress, do a little something you like on your own, read a book that is not about babies?
All this would be good for the children too and, oddly, is the opposite of being selfish.
I would say that we found the 'date night' approach didn't work while our situation remained the same. It felt like too much if a test to see if we were still the same, still 'good enough ' while at the same time we were both still feeling terrible. It was too much pressure.
Time and kindness are also good if you find that approach difficult. We actually gave each other time and space to unwind alone as much as anything (although I don't think disappearing into screen time helps at all).
Basket sorry I missed your comment earlier. I think we've probably hurt each other's feelings at times but I don't think, on balance, that it's been much more one way or the other.
KindDogs yes, I think it's worth saving too. Very much so. And in fact just the act of posting this has galvanised me and DH and I had a really good chat about it today.
I think you're right that I need to focus on myself a little bit. Now that DS is going a bit longer between feeds I think that would be possible.
Thank you all.
I like to think that having small kids is the equivalent to having grenades continually thrown at a relationship. It's really very very hard. You've got two very small people and I can imagine you don't have much time for anything other than kids at the moment.
It does get easier as they get older. Or better to say it changes.
You will come out the other side of the kids thing. If you love him and he's generally a good bloke (not cheating abusive etc).
I'd say a bit of brotherly love is not bad considering where you are at with your kids.
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