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How can I make my marriage better?(22 Posts)
I have been with DH for more than a decade, married for six years. We have one DS. My DH is a lovely chap, there are no serious problems in our marriage (no adultery, abuse, financial issues) and our lives are going reasonably well. I feel like our marriage is going downhill and I want to stop it but I'm really not sure how. The major problem is this: he doesn't touch me. At all. Except for on the rare occasions he wants sex (about twice a month). He has never been particularly touchy feely but we used to kiss goodbye every day, hold hands sometimes, snuggle up on the sofa, etc. I have tried to reintroduce some of this but I felt like he was tolerating it when I tried for a cuddle and the other day I leaned in for a kiss and he walked off (in fairness I don't think he realised what I was doing!) DS is not massively cuddly either and I'm starting to feel rather unloved!
We are not great talkers of feelings (I do try, DH sits silently like a bunny in the headlights when I do - I rarely get any input. He does at least listen though). I think he still loves me. I have put on weight since DS so I'm not as attractive as I was but then neither is he!
I don't know, it might just be a blip but it feels like it's becoming more of an issue, in my head at least.
You said you've tried to reintroduce more touching, but have you actually talked to him about it? Maybe you need to have a real conversation. I'd suggest doing it away from the house and every day distractions. Don't be accusatory, instead explain to him your concerns. Tell him you love him and fancy him, and that you miss his touch.
To add to what I said above, you mentioned that you've both gained weight. I think a great way for the two of you to reconnect would be to embark on a healthy regime together. Take walks for exercise and cook healthy meals together. Maybe even go to a few couples cooking classes. They are really fun and a great way to do something together that doesn't involve your son.
Carry on with what you're doing. Are you playful at all? Sometimes a bit of playfulness touching helps - a little tickle or pat on the bum but don't worry if that's not your thing.
Have a cuddle, give each other a massage, sit closely next to each other on the sofa. It all helps.
Talking can also help to bring you closer together. Just spend time together talking without any distractions.
Communication is the key, my marriage was in a much worse state than yours and while we still have a long way to go its far far better now than it has been in years.
In my case it was being clear, and I mean brutally so, that I didn't see us being still married in another 5 years if we carried on as we are.
We have both made efforts and it is working, we are re-connecting and communicating far better. What's more in the the last of months we've been closer and more intimate than we have since before we became parents!
Spending time together i.e. date nights, snuggling to watch films, walks in the countryside, and establishing what each of us need from the relationship and working towards meeting those needs is what has worked, so far, for us and the more we do the better it's getting.
Don't do subtle, tell him exactly what you want
Aquamarine Sort of. I have mentioned it once or twice but tried not to make a big thing out of it. I don't want to turn it into a nag. The exercise thing is a great idea but DH is violently resistant to exercise (I am trying not to get angry about it). I'm running at least three times a week and I've tried to get him to do that too but he won't. He has made noises about cycling but at the moment he works long hours and is too knackered when he comes home. I (and DS) are pushing for a dog when we move house, my thinking being that I walk it in the morning and he walks it in the evening. It turns out that he is not very keen on that either (happy with the dog, not so much the walks).
We do spend every evening together - slobbing on the sofa with lots of screens going mostly. We eat together and chat about our days but we rarely go out, partly through lack of babysitters and partly just laziness (and the fear that we won't have anything to say to each other I suspect).
I tried making a special dinner for Valentine's Day. I laid the table nicely and put out candles and made special desserts. He's never been one for compliments but he didn't even really acknowledge it. I ended up apologising for doing it! That sounds awful but it wasn't him being nasty, I suspect he panicked a bit and thought he should have been doing something.
I know we need to talk but it's so hard to do that without it coming across as an attack and that's the last thing I want.
Unless the I and my become we and our then it will be hard work. It has to be both parties who want things to change and both parties who do something about it.
User yes, I know and I hear it. But he is very closed with his feelings so I'm working on the basis of what I see, feel and know. He is a pessimistic type at the best of times so I worry (yes, I know "I" again!) that by bringing up this stuff I will make him miserable.
I am your husband in spirit. I too am not snuggly, I am for the first few years (and this is second marriage) and then I just "go off " that side of things. I honestly dont know why, I cant explain it. My husband feels exactly as you do. I am not sure if we will stay married for all kinds of reasons. I am loving in deeds, just not really in the "physical" . I do sometimes wonder if its because both husbands seem to have thought any affection is automatically a precursor to sex and my mind has become attuned to that..
yetmorecrap You see, I'm going off it all too but I think it's a bad sign? My DH is also exceptionally loving in deeds (honestly - he is truly wonderful in how supportive he is and how thoughtful) which is another reason why I feel bad for criticising...
However, while I've always been more keen on sex than him (and infertility issues made sex a bit of a trudge for a while) I don't think he would see me wanting to snuggle on the sofa as an invitation or demand for sex, more an imposition which would force him to hold his fart in (a bit).
Ha, LOL, in my case its simply that I like to "spread out" on the other sofa. Im sure a psychiatrist would say it was something to do with my childhood, my parents were extremely affectionate and yet "both" had affairs too which I discovered when i was about 16 , in my dads case, several of them.
Oh I'm sorry yetmorecrap. His parents are weirdly non-touchy (they didn't even hug on our wedding day). My parents are fairly standard British-bit-touchy-but-slightly-uncertain-whether-its-appropriate so we have both inherited a bit of reserve although him definitely more than me. My mum was often convinced Dad was having affairs but I think she was very very wrong (and paranoid). And I don't think for one moment that DH would do anything like have an affair.
I like spreading out too so it's not like it's all him. But I think we need to find a way back to each other you know? We've had a really tricky couple of years which we've each dealt with in our own way but we really haven't talked about properly because he really doesn't talk.
It's difficult MB. The disconnect can be very hard to repair.
An update. The other night he rolled over and did his usual "let's have a shag" grope. I had had a glass (or three) of wine and I pointed out that it was the only time he had touched me AT ALL since the last time we had sex. It was an accusation, just a statement. He thought for a moment, said sorry, gave me a kiss and rolled over to go to sleep.
That was a week or so ago and since then I've had pre-sleep cuddles, daytime bum pinches , handholds and kisses. No sex. My DH may not be perfect but he does listen. I need to have more faith in him.
That's brilliant OP, nice to hear a positive outcome for a change. High five to you
OP glad your update is positive, but another suggestion. Have you heard of love languages? It's a quiz that shows how we show and interpret love. It was recommended to me as my DH is not very good at talking but he cooks and now I acknowledge that this is him showing his love for us. Have a google and maybe you can each do the quiz.
That sounds really interesting - and something that would definitely help us. Thank you!
This is hilarious! I have found the 5 Languages of Love (apparently I'm all about "service" and "touch"). I then told
poor, long-suffering DH about it and sent him a link. He is now sat angrily (but obediently) filling in a questionnaire that is making him wince with every question. Bless him.
There isn't a "love language" for not putting your other half through spurious relationship profiling, is there?
Glad it was hilarious, hope your DH sees the benefit too
"How to Fix Your Marriage Without Talking" is a great book. (On kindle, strangely, it has a different title: "Why Women Talk, Why Men Walk".)
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