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Getting back the romance(12 Posts)
DH and I love each other very much. Life has happened (a toddler and a 12 week old baby for a start) and romance is now lacking in our relationship. We are good at getting the housework done/looking after the kids/sorting out finances etc etc but we are rubbish at being romantic. DH wants more sex and I want to be treated as though I'm special and worth spending time with. I figure that a bit of romance would help both of us to feel a bit more fulfilled in our marriage. I've decided that I am going to make the first move as I would love to get back some of the romance and make DH even happier in our marriage.
So, any ideas?
BTW, we've been married for 5 years and just had the worst wedding anniversary. DD1 had to go to hospital and we've still not exchanged cards yet (DH hasn't even written mine ) so we clearly need to start making a bit more effort!
Do you have any babysitting options? Just getting out and having adult conversation together was the first stage to reconnecting as a couple for us. I also found that I had to spell it out a bit for DH - I like spontaneous kisses, spontaneous hugs, comments if you think that I look nice today, appreciation for what I do etc. etc. I am a SAHM (don't know if you are) and I found that it did compound the issue a bit that he has a life outside the home and gets to talk to grown ups and be validated in what he does (in money and in good performance reviews). Whereas nothing I do is good enough, as I can't simultaneously give 100% of my attention to my toddler and 100% of my attention to my 9 month old baby.
Agree with spontaneous kissing/hugging, telling your other half you love them, even making them a cup of tea. Doesn't need to be grand gestures, its the little things that count and hopefully they will follow your lead.
Do you get enough time to curl up on the couch and watch a film together, lights dimmed with some snacks/bottle of wine.
Telling your dh that you appreciate everything he does for the family etc etc.
I second the advice to get a baby sitter if you can and go out, even if just for 2 hours - and don't talk about the kids.
Strike a balance between being loving and supportive to aid intimacy, and being open about whatever may not be working for you. This is hard to do but if you focus too much on being loving you can allow resentment to poison your intimacy. Of course if you are not loving enough you also damage intimacy - always be respectful when you have to talk about what is not working for you and what you need that is not forthcoming (if there is anything) and always implicitly require respect in return.
Good luck. He is lucky to have you
Maybe have a chat about what you both mean by 'romance' first. Nothing is more miserable than one partner planning some elaborate gesture like covering the bed in rose petals or booking a harpist to play romantic music at dinner time only for the other partner to be appalled/embarrassed by it and have to pretend it's wonderful.
Other than that though, you need two separate things: time for yourself to do stuff that isn't just about chores and childcare, and time with your partner doing stuff that's enjoyable in its own right (going to a gig/film, taking up a sport or something that you both like).
Thanks for your responses. DH has at last given me a card for our wedding anniversary and wrote a very lovely 'essay' inside it
I am on mat leave at the moment so I feel very much like you do Mrstittlemouse. It is very hard when DH makes comments about how we could afford a better house if I still worked full time shifts and hadn't had the children or goes on about how he earns about four times as much as I do.
He has seen that I've been reading a book called 'Loving against the odds' and asked if he had done anything wrong. I tried to explain that I think that we could make our marriage better if we tried to concentrate on some of the more fun aspects of marriage to make sure that we don't end up in a rut/resenting each other/looking elsewhere for attention. He seemed to accept this so I think that I managed to be positive and not make him feel like I was criticising him.
I hear what you are all saying about getting in a baby sitter. The hard thing is that DD2 is EBF and won't take a bottle. She's also very difficult to feed because she is in a pavlik harness so there is no chance of me just taking her along to a restaurant and feeding her! I also find it hard that she is in our bedroom and that is where we normally would have sex.
I would love to stop watching so much TV in silence sitting so far apart on the sofa. Trying to convince DH is quite hard though because he feels that he earns that 'down time' and we do both love watching TV. I think that a ban on TV would revolutionise our marriage. It could result in DC3 though!
Sounds like you are doing a lot right and that your marriage is at a pretty normal place for a couple with a toddler and a newborn.
That said, my first advice would be to your DH - to stop looking at who earns what financially, and come to terms with the fact that the contributions made in a relationship cannot be accounted for in monetary terms only. I would certainly not be feeling romantic if I felt in any way that the time and effort I put into bringing up the children and keeping the house going (I'm a SAHM at the moment, but have worked FT and PT since starting the family), was not appreciated and valued.
That said, I think making sure you switch off the TV once a week would be a good start, as is eating together at a table (if you don't do so already). Trying to get to bed earlier rather than MNing or watch the box is always good, even if it is just to chat.
WRT sex, it's probably pretty normal for sex drives to be out of sync when you are lactating/recovering from childbirth/ seeing to the needs of little people all day (and night) long (from which there is rarely any respite - unlike those who go to work and at least get half an hour to listen to the radio on the commute, or a lunchbreak and so on).
Best of all though, keep talking. You can have romantic times just sitting out in the garden on a warm evening, if have a drink together and talk, it doesn't really matter if it isn't in a pub or restaurant at the moment - you'll get your life as a couple back again more easily in a few short years.
What about setting a regular day/time aside for adult time? Every Wednesday evening at 9pm, TV goes off and you sit and talk, hold hands, anything really. Have a bath before hand, so you are in something (cough cough) comfortable, and if you are feeling really lucky have a throw or blanket to hand on the sofa. That way if you do get cuddly you are comfortable, remember you don't have to have sex in the bedroom.
We tried it, and it meant that we had something special to look forward to, and I got that fluttery "date" feeling in my tummy and everything!
But you don't have to have sex, just spending special time together is important too. At those times you can discuss full on romance etc, and maybe extend things further.
i think you answered part of your own question when you said DH wants more sex. A positive start would probably be to have more sex. the other stuff is really important too but there's nothing for putting romance back in a relationship like getting intimate and having sex.
(need to follow my own advice - DH would definitely like more sex, and I'd like DC2.)
Swaliswan - you sound like we were at that stage just 3 moths after DC2 was born. Vey hard to be romatic or find the time. Yes, I missed sex the way it used to be. DW wanted to feel special and wear lovely clothes like she used to.
The importnat thingthough i that both you and DH do love each other and you both know this is important.
It took us a long time ot get things back on track. What I would say is switch the TV off early and by that I mean 8.30 p.m. and get to bed so you have lots of time to talk, rest and be intimate. All three of those things are relly important. It is not just about sex. Surely, your DH would agree to that. That woudl be nicer downtime than watching TV.
Sadly, making time to be together as adults and lovers in between feeds is really tough but it takes planning. It just is not going to happen spotaneously any more. Agree with Goodnightmoon actually having time to be intimate and positively planning to have sex (when you feel you are up to it of course) rather than letting things drift is what we did. Some of the nicest and most specifically memorable intimate moments we have ever had were just after DS2 was born. Of course we stil have nice ones now the DSs are older.
Your baby is still really young and it's early days yet. Evening babysitting is less likely to work if she cluster feeds, but could you arrange for someone to have her for a weekend lunchtime so that you can go for a nice meal together?
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