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Getting relationship back on track(18 Posts)
So some brief background. Firstly I'm a guy, been with my wife for over 20yrs and have 2 great kids, one a teen and one just started school.
I think I have fallen in to the typical trap of losing direction in my marriage but just don't seem to be able to move forward. I love my wife and she does me but emotionally and physically we have been poles apart for a number of years. I'm a very tactile guy and like hugs, holding hands and other romantic stuff. My wife is similar to a point but not spontaneous or reciprocal when I hold or touch her.
Our sex life has ranged from a couple of times a month to nothing for months and is always predictable in how and where it happens.
We have talked about the emotional side of our life's and recognise that the challenges of kids, work and finding the time has got in the way and whilst we, mainly me, have suggested ideas such as a date night, evening to ourselves, a shared hobby etc they all seem to fall apart.
It came to a head a few months ago when the stress got the better of me and as a result we agreed to look at counselling to help us get back on track. So far this has not worked mainly due to cock ups on the part of Relate but it has allowed us to share some of our main concerns and talk through what is missing from each side. I have learnt that I was not always pulling my weight in some areas and my wife also that she had not communicated a few things to me and hoped I would guess what was wrong. That is not to say I don't do things at home, I do the cooking, help with the kids including getting up and putting the little one to bed, my share of cleaning and all the general maintenance and finances. Not that I shouldn't of course I just didn't want this to come across as I do nothing.
The problem I have is that I feel so guilty in that I have brought this about. I feel guilty that I should want the intimate part of our relationship to be strong and that even though I love my wife and family that without this I am considering wrecking it all.
I am currently having moments of wanting to make this work and others of not which is not great to the atmosphere. I just want the spark back and I just don't know where to begin. I do have a real concern though that our expected/needed levels of intimacy and what this means to each of us are at very different levels and in turn find it crazy that I see this as so important when other parts of our relationship and family are good.
I would welcome thoughts, no matter how harsh from Mumsnetters
Do you ever have time away to yourselves,,, date nights or breaks away.. or is it just lack of communication ?
We don't have much/any time away to ourselves. We moved away from our families a number of years ago and it has been hit and miss since finding childminders to get any real time away, not helped by having a child with some SNs.
Communicating about family and the practical things is fine. Where we struggle, particularly me, is to have general chats/conversation about anything other than the kids or work. I feel really bad as I start shutting off and, if honest, get bored with the conversations.
Pressed submit too soon.....
We seem to have the intention to do something on our own together but it never seems to happen or not happen as we hope. Work, money, kids, illness etc get in the way and I recognise, in part, we have probably not tried hard enough either
Whoah, did you just say you find conversations with your wife boring? And that you shut off?
Yes in a way I do. We seem to have lost our common interests outside of kids and family. I'm not saying its right to feel bored and that we shouldn't both find more topics to discuss together, I just think, like the intimate side of the relationship, we have lost our ability to really communicate together about anything other than the above.
The shutting off part and related to the shutting off is that she has a habit of telling the same story 3 times straight after each other. I'm not sure why and I wondered at first if it was because she felt like I was not taking an interest so I became more aware of making sure I was but it still happened and I'm sorry to say that by the third run through, come at from a slightly different angle, I do find myself shutting off
Have you ever thought she might be lonely, or to show her how greatful for what she does, I repeat myself sometimes and perhaps she knows you are not listening ... I must admit I think having been through this myself with my x , you have checked out of the marriage and you are looking for justification to not stay married maybe ?
I think you are right in a way. I am focussing on what is not right rather than the things that are.
I do show I am grateful for what she does and do compliment her, tell her I love her, give her a hug and try to surprise her when I can but maybe not always enough. I should say though that I would like some of these things in return.
Loneliness is something that could be a major part as well as I know she still misses her family and the stresses and isolation that having a little one at home can bring has not helped.
I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. My heads all over the place and I am trying to make sense of it all
You are very welcome, is there an option to move closer to your relatives, it might be an option and I think you will find she will appreciate you actually care about the marriage and that you will what it takes to make things work.
Then you can work on couple time... and work towards your communication skills as a couple
I think you are on dodgy ground here. If you are that bored with her- imagine how bored she is?
For her to have different stories to tell she needs to have stuff outside of the home and marriage.
I would move back near family.
i will have that discussion with her to understand how important it is to her. We have discussed it before and at the time she did say she misses them and their support but moving back would mean she would miss her friends she has here and the things that this part of the country has given to our kids and family life.
As I say we are undergoing counselling at the moment and have some joint and 1:1 sessions booked. I am hopeful that this will help us communicate better and also help be unravel what is going on in my head.
I really need to not go into myself though in the meantime, but I admit it is hard sometimes
She does have a more active social life than I do, being out with friends normally once or twice a week though
Friends are friends but family are paramount , perhaps resentment has built up and if it continues you both will implode. Good luck with the counselling .
Thanks FreeFromHarm, I am taking all of this onboard and will discuss with my wife to understand how integral to the situation it is. Really appreciate your reply
Does she work? The childcare years can be quite damaging to a woman's self-esteem and sense of themselves as an independent, vibrant, interesting, worthwhile person, which I think are all things that you need to think about yourself if you want to feel attractive and sexual.
It worries me that you find her conversation boring but that you still want to have sex with her. I would feel demeaned and exploited having sex with a man who felt that way about me.
Remember when you were dating. Most of the time you were interested in what your date had to say. Sometimes you might get onto a topic you weren't interested in or they repeated a story or opinion but you liked/loved them/wanted to get inside their knickers, so pretended to be interested out of love/courtesy/in order to get your leg-over.
If you've got your eye on someone else now, you find them fascinating, because you want to have sex with them. But in a few years' time, you'll be back where you are now.
Thanks for your reply HeddaGarbled
She works part time and will change soon to work around school hours. Our youngest has been going to a nursery for a couple of years now and I know that has helped somewhat as we have discussed the impact that my wife felt from staying at home full time. She is clearly split and sometimes feels guilty about using nursery and after school clubs rather than looking after our child herself but we are hoping that with school starting this will allow her to have more time to herself, whether she chooses to extend her working hours or not.
I should say that I am not pushing for or expecting sex. We have both lost our way here and the combination of kids and how we are both feeling means that it isn't instigated that often by either of us. The part I miss more is the holding of hands, hugs and general tactile things outside of the bedroom. I hope that by rediscovering that then the rest will follow.
I do understand your comments about listening, I get frustrated with myself when doing it, but I am finding it very difficult to remain engaged.
On your last point I am not sure whether you are saying I have my eye on someone else but for clarity I can confirm that there is nobody else involved here. I haven't felt or wanted to look outside our marriage, I would rather focus on getting it resolved, hopefully for the better but ultimately to a conclusion.
Thankyou again for your thoughts. I am gathering lots of topics to discuss and explore
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