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OH doesn't love me but financially stuck together(36 Posts)
My OH and I have been together over 10 years and have three young children 7,6,4. Our youngest was unexpected and tbh, great as he is, it was financially devastating. The cost of childcare meant my OH had to give up work and we went from having two reasonable jobs with manageable debt to scraping by on one wage with unmanageable debts (we have now got our finances on track - ie we can pay our bills but not much else). My OH now works evenings PT to bring in a little extra money (which we rely on). We don't have family who can, or do, help with childcare even for occasional babysitting
The result has been a slow grind down for the both of us. My own mood has been flat - I literally go to work and do nothing else. I haven't been out at all for 4 years and have said each year that I'll do something for my birthday but haven't managed it yet - the same will happen again this year. Not that birthdays matter all that much but it's just the slow grind of never having a night out. We haven't been out together for over 4 years. She occasionally - every couple of months - goes out with her friends and I don't begrudge her that. I, by this stage. haven't got any friends left because it's been that long since I've been out.
So that's the background. We basically exist and have little time or money to do anything together. I'm less concerned about what I don't get to do than the impact on our relationship. Over the course of the years my OH has become largely disinterested in. There is zero affection - I was tbf always the more affectionate one but she did bring some and was at receptive. But over the last few years she tended to respond more with irritation to attempts to be affectionate to the point where I don't do it now at all because it isn't well received.
If I do remind her about a kiss goodbye for example she will do it but will roll her eyes at me. Most of the time she seems disinterested in me (tbf I can't argue, my life is pretty boring) or just irritated. However, this doesn't extend to other people where she can be engaging and responsive. Which pretty clearly says it's a problem with me.
Our sex life has also suffered. It's not the sex itself that concerns me, more than the lack of intimacy. She will respond if I initiate (she hasn't initiated it again for years) but it is very much going through the motions and sex seems like something I do to her rather than with her. She joked a while back about my routine in sex - which tbf again it is but mostly because I'm the only one active. Again, it's not really the sex but what it says about her interest - ie. that there isn't any. I used to have a high sex drive but I don't tend to bother very often because who really wants to have sex with someone who seems like they aren't into it. I think when I do initiate it, I'm hoping for a connection and just end up feeling rejected by the lack of her involvement.
I have tried to discuss all of this with her many times over the years but she is not a talker when it comes to anything uncomfortable and she tends to close discussion down quickly. I'm very sure I'm a definite part of the dynamic in why things have gone wrong (it's a relationship after all) but I am at least open to talking about and she isn't. It's hard then to know what to change.
I have tried letting her know about my emotional needs (for affection and some intimacy)but it does not result in any changes.
I have asked her if she still loves me which she will either say yes without being willing to discuss further or will simply say "I'm still here aren't I?" which isn't that convincing tbh.
I am planning on having the discussion with her on her night off this week (I know it hardly seems fair but...) there is the added issue that even if we agree that ultimately it's over, we are only just managing financially there is no way we can afford to split. I have nowhere else to go and nor does she. We will end up having to go on living together regardless for the foreseeable and I've no idea if it's better to do that split or just muddling on as we are.
I don't really know what I'm asking for here really, it is what it is, but I just wanted to get someone else's perspectives before I make any decisions.
(apologies for the essay)
It doesn't sound great. Have you told her that you feel? That unless things change you will need to split up? Perhaps if you told her just that and said you don't want to but can't see a future without your relationship getting better it may make her consider precisely how you are feeling. Could you suggest going to marriage counselling if you don't want things to end like this.
Ah. That’s a very sad situation for you, I’m sorry.
The difficulty I see is that you have three young kids. They’re so hard and it’s very easy to lose yourself in the churn of life. I have two, 5 and 10 months. It’s relentless and knackering, then you have the financial strain to boot. It’s a tough situation for you both.
I don’t recall reading if you love your OH? Do you? If you do there may be some hope of getting through this, but if you don’t, then you need to agree a way forward.
If you do decide to leave the relationship could you live independently as much as possible within the house?
Thanks for the reply. The writing has been on the wall I think for a long while but I’ve hung in there in hope that maybe we’d dig out of the hole. The plan will be to say exactly that this week. Tbh I think there will be some tears but I don’t think she will fight it. I have suggested relationship counselling in the past & it’s been dismissed - she’s too unwilling to open herself up in that way. She says it’s weird to have to do counselling. Whenever anything is too uncomfortable she just goes silent on me which isn’t a great sign that relationship counselling is going to happen.
Tbh I can’t even picture what happens next. If we do split usually someone leaves. No idea how it’ll work in the same house.
I do love her but I have come to realise that isn’t enough. Not if it only me. I have stopped expecting anything from her - she doesn’t owe me love or anything else - and that has helped tbf. Realising that expecting her to feel something she doesn’t was just getting me stuck trying to achieve the impossible. She has to want to do it. I guess we’ll see if she does, but I’m pretty certain she doesn’t.
Re living in the house. Beyond sleeping on the couch there isn’t much room to live independently. I think it’ll look much the same, we will just be honest about it.
What if your OH doesn't want to improve the situation and is content to carry on as you are?
Your logic is saying that it's not workable for you and you feel that something needs to happen but your OH might not have any desire to change things. They might do when it suits them, but not before.
Have you given any thought to what would happen then and how you would feel?
Good question - I can’t believe she’s happy with where we are. I imagine she feels as stuck as I do. If she’s happy to carry on as we are but not changing anything then it’s not a relationship I want. We can (will have to) continue working together anyway so much will look the same. But I don’t think I want to carry on in a relationship with someone who doesn’t express any love or affection for me. Though I am willing to see there may well be things I need to change as part of that but something would have to change about how we connect for us to continue together.
Sorry, that sounds like a shit situation for you both!
You say OH, so are you not married? In which case splitting is easier and no divorce costs to pay, so chaeper.
Do you still love her or are you also ready to end the relationship?
Do you see things getting easier once the youngest is at school full time so she can go back to work?
Maybe having more money coming in would relieve the pressure on you both so that you can reconnect again, or do you think it goes deeper than that?
Is there any way to pay a baby sitter so that you can spend time together relaxing? Even just once a month or so?
Do you think she's 'afraid' of saying how she feels as then there's no going back and you'll both have to face the situation and make decisions which she wants to avoid doing?
No shame in getting divorced OP.
Sounds a miserable life anyway. Is that how you want to live it? It's your choice at the end of the day...
What actual steps have you taken to improve your marriage? I’m just asking because you’ve written a lot about affection and intimacy but you’ve got 3 very young kids. How many babysitters have you booked and organised and paid for over the last year? How many weekends over the last year have you had the children from Friday to Monday on your own? Without her involvement. While she is away from your house?
If you’ve answered zero to those questions then you really need to wake up to your own part in this. When did she get to lie in bed on a Saturday morning until midday while you did everything? Are you and have you always been up at 6am every weekend morning with her and the kids. When did you last make her breakfast in bed?
I’d suggest you try the weekend off thing first. If anything, you’d best try it anyway, because that will be your life. Every other weekend you will have all 3 kids on your own. For good. Forever until they’ve all left home. Good luck finding any intimacy or affection when you’re doing 50/50 childcare. Her on the other hand will probably jump for joy. She’s going to get some nice long weekend lie ins with absolute peace and quiet and the chance to get her life back. Are you happy to see her find somebody else? Have you actually thought this through? Have you actually provided any proper support to her or are you just sulking around be “poor me, where are my cuddles”
I’ve also just re-read your posts.
You have 3 kids, the youngest not yet at school. We’ve been in lockdown so presumably your OH has been trying to homeschool AND with all of that she WORKS IN THE EVES!!??
Are you FRICKING KIDDING ME!!
She deserves a bloody medal.
I have less children. I don’t work and I’m absolutely DEAD on my feet.
Do you have any idea how completely selfish and unreasonable you are. Where exactly are you expecting her to fit “hot passion” in to her daily schedule? The 30 minutes between getting the 3rd kid to bed and starting her evening job?
You say she’s probably not happy with the situation either. You’re about to add to her troubles by blowing your relationship out of the water.
You had these 3 kids and now here you are bellyaching about “poor me and no jiggy jiggy”
You are taking the absolute piss mate. Sorry but you are. Right now, you sort yourself out with a wank when you can and you SUPPORT your OH.
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Overlooked this is a terrible response to someone bearing their heart. He did not say the issues started during lockdown. They seem more long term than that. Just because he is a man doesn't mean what he's feeling is any less valid and also doesn't seem to be just about sex. He has tried to talk to her and has suggested counselling. He loves her and at this stage is not sure it is reciprocated anymore. Surely that deserves a constructive response?
OP I suggest you communicate that you really would like to go to counselling (if that's what you want) and that you are committed to saving the marriage and would really appreciate her going to a few sessions. You may both benefit from doing individual counselling sessions too. Hopefully this will help you both find the language to express why things are not working for you both whether it's money worries, feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, not having time for each other etc. If after a trial she feels she doesn't want to continue then maybe you can have the conversation about not being together. Good luck!
@user1481840227 while @overlooker has been harsh, I can see where her view that this is an unfair situation lies.
I find it quite telling the OP hasn’t mentioned anything about division of chores & labour within the household.
The focus on lack of intimacy, while reading between the lines are a stressed, overworked family with 3 small children doesn’t paint a picture of a partner pulling their weight at home.
In fact, there is little mention of the children, his connection with them, other than to say the 3rd was a financial disaster. That’s understandable to think, but the omission of details about the kids themselves sounds to me like a father who is disconnected from them.
He mentions he will on occasion remind his wife about his kids goodbye - but what about just giving her a kiss goodbye himself?
It all sounds like his main gripe is the intimacy he isn’t getting, without listing the main obvious practical ways he has tried to help, other than complain.
I’d like to know more details about the dynamic looking after children / household during the day + working in the evenings - on those days does OP do dinner/ bedtimes? Who gets the sleep ins & more rest time on weekends ? What is the current division of household labour/life admin ?
Overlooked take a fucking hike, just because YOU are struggling at managing "less children and no job" doesn't mean you can mouth off at someone who is struggling emotionally. This isn't just about sex for the OP but an emotional connection, lack of intimacy with the person he loves most, where is your empathy?
Op ignore the nasty posts, sit her down and have frank honest conversation, even if does end up being over you have some closure about moving forward. Good luck
I think Overlooker makes so very valid points and nothing said was rude, nor that harsh.
Op although I may have worded it more gently I do think @overlooker has asked some interesting questions that might help understand why things are as they are in your relationship.
My oh and I had a fairly similar issues, 2 young children, both work, almost no family support with the children, he feels there is a lack of intimacy etc. And guess what...all of what overlooked has mentioned is happening in our household. He lays in bed long at the weekend, I don’t. I always have to remember the things for the children (party’s/schools stuff etc), he doesn’t. I give the majority of affection the children recieve, he doesn’t. The children talk at me constantly not stop and want things non stop, then he wants to talk AT me too....there’s no space for me.
It has been interesting to see your perspective as it’s the opposite situation to my own. Lack of intimacy and sex is a real issue and it’s not nice to live a life without affection when you crave it. However if any of what overlooked says applies to you then you may have you answer about why the relationship has drifted. I spend a lot of time feeling incredibly angry and frustrated that I am doing the majority of the childcare, meeting children’s needs, housework and it means I have little left to give after.
An unexpected child, having to quit work (loss of income and social contact with grown ups), financial struggles, no family support, both of you having no spare time or cash and unable to see friends...wow it's no surprise the relationship is in difficulty.
The lack of sex is a symptom.
You need to sit her down and tell her you still love her but you are very unhappy, she seems unhappy too, and see if she is willing to work on the relationship. Have that conversation openly. Don't talk about separating or the fact you are financially "stuck" together, as first you just want to get her talking.
Do you think she might be suffering from depression?
I was also going to mention that you could ask if she knows if there is a babysitting sharing group locally? It is a simple thing - you get your kids into their pyjamas and then into bed (ideally) then a parent pops over for 3 hours or whatever to babysit while you pop out. Then you return the favour for someone else in the babysitting group. Someone keeps a tally of hours that everyone spends babysitting, or using the services, so no one ends up in too much "debt". If she is a SAHM she probably knows loads of parents and may be able to set something up.
I think it is very important you try to find time to reconnect emotionally - sexual and physical attention might follow but without spending time together, you can't expect kisses and cuddles and more. The first step to connecting emotionally is spending time together. It is essential. And that time shouldn't all be spent going on and on about the relationship. You need time just to be together and remember what you like about each other. Take her on a summer picnic on her evening off while you have babysitters in. Or a walk somewhere beautiful. Or book a table at a pub and have a drink together. Or go jogging together, even if you are rubbish it can be fun.
It doesn't have to be expensive. I know you are both busy but you simply HAVE to find time and a way to do this.
Lastly if the relationship is going to fail, you will need friends. I remember when my first baby was born, for various reasons my husband decided to simply stop seeing all his friends. He thought it was "only fair" because I was so busy with the baby and back at work.He stopped exercising. He changed into a different person. I felt so guilty that by having a baby I had somehow "broken" him and so angry at him for letting himself fall into this awful depression and making no attempt to identify it or fix it. I was silently furious and I began to resent him for it.
What I'm saying is, I suppose, giving up your own friends and social life isn't the right answer. What does your wife take from this? Who knows? But you should confront this with her and say you regret losing touch with your friends, you are deeply miserable that life is just about work, kids, survival. And you need it to change for your own sake. Get her opinion, see what she thinks.
By the way, if you had good mates, I'm sure it would be fine to reconnect after a few years. Be brave, get in touch. They might be really glad to hear from you again. Good friends are hard to come by, and you sound alright.
Good luck ,x
I thought overlooker seems to be projecting.
If you have a row with her OP, what does she say?
I also wondered whether with “attempts to be affectionate” if you were putting the cart before the horse. What you feel is an “attempt to be affectionate” might be perceived as “expected to perform sexually after the kids touching me all day, then watching me finish bedtime before I get to cleaning up downstairs”. Is the work shared equally between you from when you come home in the evening or are you off duty?
You say you have become ground down. Have you become boring? And/or overbearing? What do you talk about? Is it possible you express views that have made her lose respect for you?
What about physically, is there anything there?
If you read here there are all sorts of reasons why things go south. But by far the most common is men being oblivious to the amount of effort required to bring up small children, particularly emotional effort, and then not pulling their weight. Obviously, when obliviousness is part of the problem it is tricky to get it solved. So I would examine that very carefully.
OP. You're a bloke so people like @overlooker will always blame you, regardless.
That said, what do you do regarding the kids. Evenings and weekends. Is it all on your partner to sort them out or do you do your share at weekends or does your partner do all the mornings bathrobes etc.?
I don't necessarily think overlooker has worded it well. But does raise some of the points I thought of reading your post.
How does your OH feel about giving up work? What does your OH want for things to improve in the marriage? How does your OH feel about having no money and spiraling debts? You hinted on something about the sex, I think she's tried to tell you she didn't enjoy it and wants you to do something different.
I've been where your OH is right down to the working evenings. My DH and I almost split up over our relationship. But he was also miserable and depressed too and difficult to live with too. The first thing I would do is instead of going to her with a list of your demands in the relationship, is ask her what she would like and really listen to what she has to say. If you are anything like we were, she is silently screaming and you're not hearing it.
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