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Your Turn: “My Wife Ignores Me”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

How can I get my wife to get out of her own head and live in the moment with me? We have been married for 7 years and have a 3 and 1 year-old. Mostly, our lives are happy but lately I’ve been frustrated with her inability to step out of her mom-centered managerial mindset and focus on our relationship. Basically, I feel like the 5th or 6th item on her daily list and most days, she doesn’t get to me. It’s not just sex, though that is part of it, because I can’t seem to tell if she is really in the moment with me and actually enjoys our sex life or if her mind is still thinking about what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month. There’s always something to be done.

For example, one Friday we both left work for the day at noon to enjoy a relaxing afternoon without the kids. We had a quickie 15-minute romp which, to me, seemed like she felt that it was a necessary task that she had to get out of the way. Then she launched into directing me to clean the pool and cut the grass. I didn’t enjoy the sex because I felt like she just wanted to get it over with or that we were expected to do it because we were alone. She tells me that she likes sex and tells me what I do feels good and that she has orgasms, but I don’t know if she’s being entirely truthful. We’ve talked, and I have tried to get out of her what she wants, what she likes, but its always a general reply like: “It all feels good to me” or “I like whatever you do.”

I do a lot to take the pressure off her. I do almost all of the cooking, most of the cleaning (bathrooms, mopping floors, dishes and laundry) and we both work at good jobs that allow for flexible hours. I change diapers, give baths, feedings and read bedtime stories every night. I give her foot rubs, back massages, I take my time with foreplay, I am romantic, I bring her flowers, I write her little love notes sometimes in her lunch bag that I also pack for her every day before work. I am in better shape now than when we got married and I still find her incredibly sexy, and I tell her all the time.

I am at a loss, what more can I do to get her to really see me? — Mr. Invisible

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{ 329 comments… add one }

  • avatar Mom of Teens August 25, 2011, 7:38 am

    I’m sorry, Mr. Invisible, it sounds like you’re going above and beyond and doing everything right in your efforts to reconnect with your wife on that level. However, there’s nothing that you can do to make your wife’s priorities change while your children are this young. When my children were that age, it was very difficult for me to get out of the 24/7 Mommy mindset. My only advice is to give it time, unfortunately – lots of time. By the time your youngest is in kindergarten your wife will probably be ready to view herself as a sexual being, not just a stressed Mommy with peanut butter in her hair.
    Another thing to consider is that many parents of children this age feel “over-touched.” I had a clingy preschooler and a baby on my hip for the better part of 2 years, and at the end of the day I just wanted my body to belong to *me* again. I explained this and asked my husband to be patient about it, and while his feelings were probably hurt at the time he was sweet about it. There were times that I took care of him just because I love him and wanted him to be happy, so don’t be discouraged if you think your getting some out of pity – it’s because she loves you and values your happiness. Keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy your porn until your wife is able to be the partner she once was.

  • avatar matbo August 25, 2011, 8:23 am

    Have you tried refusing sex? Like honestly just say no and use the time to talk instead. If as you say she feels it’s a duty, then show her it doesn’t have to be, that you value her mind and you would be with her regardless. Then be with her regardless. Prepare a nice deep topic about life, love and the universe or politics, her favorite band, bond over and awesome past experience and get into the feeling of just being you as a couple again.

    But props for still being romantic!

    • avatar MissDre August 25, 2011, 9:28 am

      I am not a mom, so I cannot honestly say how a mother with little kids running around would feel about this… but I think if I was already stressed out about all the things going on in my life and then suddenly my husband turned down sex, it would be one more thing to worry about. I might start thinking maybe he’s no longer attracted to me now that he sees me as a ‘mommy’ or that something is really wrong!

      Moms here, please correct me if I’m wrong. But if I’m stressed, I’d just want my man to be there for me like he has been, not suddenly refuse to have sex with me.

      • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 9:33 am

        I don’t think refusing sex (on purpose, as a punishment or to make a point) is ever a wise idea, but that’s just me.

        • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 9:47 am

          I don’t think that was the point though by matbo even though it began with ‘have you tried refusing sex.’ I think he/she meant take it out of the equation so she doesn’t have to feel like she’s fulfilling an obligation, but only doing it when she really wants to and is in the mood. Not a long-term solution, but I think taking the stress of her marital obligations (sex) out of the equation and really focus on each other and conversation could really help in the long run. Make her recognize that she enjoys her husband’s company…leading to better sex.

          • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 10:41 am

            Excellent point. Taking it out of the equation for the time being might give them more time to focus on each other and enjoying each other’s company.

            • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 1:06 pm

              Good luck in refusing sex when she never seems to want it anyway….

              • avatar Maracuya August 25, 2011, 1:58 pm

                Why’d they thumbs down BGM? Harsh, but true. If she doesn’t initiate and they don’t have much…

                • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 3:12 pm

                  I think the thumbs down were because he missed the point– it’s not about refusing her initiations, but more that he should take the option off the table and allow them to reconnect without that pressure for her every time they have 15 minutes alone together. If she initiates, by all means, he should be receptive.

                  • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:34 pm

                    Right. Yeah. Because NOT having sex is always so successful and bringing couples together… Hey, she doesn’t care about sex. Taking it off the table is only giving her more of what she wants… But then…that’s increasingly what these conversations are all about… Meanwhile the odds of her initiating sex are about the same as me knocking up Lady Gaga….

                    • avatar Quakergirl August 26, 2011, 12:28 am

                      It’s about not making her feel pressured just because they have time alone. There’s nothing about feeling pressured to have sex with someone (even your husband) that brings a couple together, either.

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 8:31 am

    I agree with Mom of Teens, you’re doing all the right things! Like her, I also felt over-touched when I had preschoolers. The constant clinging and hanging on left me just wanting some personal space. I needed quite a bit of time to unwind, by myself, before I was ready to be touching/touched by my husband. The other thing with toddlers is their constant business, doing things nonstop, that can sometimes get them into trouble. They have no common sense, and especially my son, could get into trouble in a moment. The nonstop vigilance was exhausting. I listened nonstop too, even in my sleep, and I’ve never been able to stop that. Even now that my youngest is eleven I listen in my sleep. So now, if my husband slips quietly out of bed during the night, I’m instantly awake because I can’t stop listening. That may be part of the problem for your wife, because the kids can be into trouble at any moment she can’t shut off the vigilange, even when the kids aren’t there.

    By the time your youngest is 4 things should begin to get easier. When they are old enough for school then even easier. I know that’s a long time at this point but when you look back in ten years it’s not so bad. I hate to say this, but I found that the years we had a two-year-old in the house were the worst and you’ve just finished one of those years and still have one of those years to go. Things may get worse before they get better but know that you can ride it out and that they will grow up and things will get easier and you and your wife will love each other. You can do this but it may be a matter of patience and time. Your wife is lucky to have you and she probably knows that and loves you all the more for all your efforts. She may still be burned out even with all that you do and you are probably getting burned out too. Continue what you’re doing and know that you love each other and that things will get better easier with time. Your wife is a lucky woman!

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 8:39 am

      I should say that when my son could get into trouble I mean things that were dangerous to him and even the house. Like trying to turn on the burners on the stove because he loved running electronics. Trying to shove things into the VCR including his hands. Climbing onto the refrigerator. Stacking chairs and stools on top of the table to reach the light. Running to open the door for any stranger that knocked. Opening the door and running outside in the winter. Climbing into the kitchen sink and turning on the garbage disposal.

      • avatar artsygirl August 25, 2011, 9:00 am

        Wow what a courageous (and terrifying) son!

      • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 9:47 am

        My 20 month old has figured out how to get things that are out of his reach. Now he is dragging the chair everywhere with him :) Last evening I caught up with him at the stove. One more thing to worry about…

        • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 10:14 am

          That brings back memories! We had a gas stove with knobs on the front (so easy for a toddler to reach) so ended up pulling all the knobs off and keeping them in a basket that he couldn’t reach. Then when we wanted to use a burner we put a knob back on the stove and used it then removed the knob the moment we were done. I think we started this when we found the stove clicking with the burner trying to light and the smell of gas in the air and realized he had turned a knob.

          • avatar dobby August 25, 2011, 1:38 pm

            I do the same thing with the knobs because my dog turns the gas on all the time… I know this is a kid story but I don’t have kids, I have dogs… :)

  • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 8:41 am

    Sounds like it’s time for some joint marriage counseling. You are starting to feel resentful, which is never a good thing in a marriage. I can commiserate with your wife–I think every working woman with children can. Your brain never feels “off” and relaxing seems like an impossible task. An afternoon off is just a chance to try to catch up on chores and errands in an effort to try to get on top of things, which you know realistically will never happen. You are constantly worrying about everything, from cleaning to birthday parties to work to that nagging throat clearing habit your child has, and does it mean she’s sick or just have a nervous tic? You love sex just as much as your husband, but it takes longer to get in the mood than it does for him, and you just can’t seem to shake the thoughts of everything you need to take care of before going to bed.

    Especially with children as young as yours, it truly will be difficult for your wife to feel in control of her life and her family, and thereby, start to relax a little bit. So like I said, I do understand what it’s like for her. All that aside, I will reiterate: marriage counseling. What you’ve described sounds like my marriage. My husband was very involved with our child, and very helpful. But he couldn’t understand where I was coming from, nor I him, and we both started to grow apart, and eventually divorced. Looking back, I wish that:

    A. We had read “The 5 Love Languages”
    B. Had gone to counseling earlier
    C. He had been more understanding of how utterly stressed and exhausted I felt ALL THE TIME and had put less pressure on me for sex and to “relax”
    D. I had realized that chosing to clean the kitchen or folding the laundry or anything like that over sitting down to watch TV with him was not always the right choice
    E. We had made a joint effort to get chores and errands done during the week so the weekend was more relaxing and more enjoyable for everyone
    F. We had had sex with more often-as in, we jointly made a point to plan it–unromantic, perhaps, but with 2 working parents and 2 children, you don’t really have much choice

    I could keep going on and on about the “I wish I had” and “you should do”, but I have to get back to work (being a single, working mom is even harder than being a married, working mom, as it turns out) and tell you that you two need to discuss this honestly and openly. DO NOT HOLD IT INSIDE. My husband kept all of his thoughts on this matter (which were surprisingly similar to yours) to himself until he apparently couldn’t take it anymore, and asked me for a divorce out of the blue. By then he was so bitter that marriage counseling did no good. Your marraige is completely salvageable, if you BOTH make the effort.

    • avatar Mathys August 25, 2011, 8:55 am

      I’m going to have to disagree with you, BriarRose. The last thing that I would want to hear from my significant other is: “I’m not getting any, there must be something wrong with you, we’re going to a counselor until you start putting out.” No matter how lovingly phrased, that’s the message being delivered, and I can promise you that it wouldn’t be well-received by most women, mothers or not.

      • avatar amber August 25, 2011, 10:13 am

        While sex is an important part of what the LW and Briarrose were talking about I don’t think they’re saying I’m not getting any let’s go to counseling.They’re saying I don’t feel like you value me as a spouse anymore we need to work on us as much as we work on the house/kids. At least that’s how I view it.

      • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 10:20 am

        I don’t think the LW was talking just about sex, nor did I mean go to counseling just because you feel like you’re not getting enough. I meant that there seems to be a geniune disconnect between the two of them as life partners. That’s why #1 on my list was I wish we had read “The Five Love Languages”, a book which helps partners learn the way their partner wants to receive love (words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, physical touch). The LW seems to be craving quality time, along with physical touch, and it’s entirely possible his wife has no idea.

        He said he feels invisible to her. That’s a huge problem in a marriage, and not just to do with sex. That’s why I think marriage counseling is the way to go. I imagine his wife is not entirely clued in to his discontent, and left unchecked, it will only breed bitterness and resentment, certainly not healthy things to have in a marriage. He mentioned sex, yes (which is why I responded to that) but I feel the issue is much more than that.

        • avatar Neil G. August 25, 2011, 1:41 pm

          I think BriarRose is dead on here. Really I think that the problem here isn’t a relationship problem, it’s a communication problem – something which an outsider’s perspective might be able to reframe for the couple. There isn’t anything here that says to me that their relationship is broken and needs to be ended, nothing indicating infidelity or irreconcilable difference or anything like that. So yeah, start communicating. There are ton of books out there that can help facilitate a dialogue and I can tell you from experience that the “Five Love Languages” is a great place to start.

    • avatar Amy August 25, 2011, 9:33 am

      I’m sorry that you have had to deal with this in your life – but what AWESOME advice! Thank you very much for sharing!

    • parton_doll parton_doll August 25, 2011, 9:48 am

      I am so sorry for what happened to your marriage, but I agree that this is the best advice. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

    • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 9:50 am

      Sometimes a planned, scheduled time for sex really does work. I know when I’m not in the mood because I’m in mommy-mode, etc., once I’m in the moment, I always know it was worth it.

      • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 10:15 am

        Thanks to each of you for the sympathies, but I’m honestly much happier now. This was of course not the only issue in our marriage, and not the sole reason for our divorce. A military lifestyle, combined with my husband having an emotional affair, contributed heavily. But still, I stand by everything I say. I think our marriage could have perhaps been saved, but by the time this all came to light, my husband was beyond wanting to try. I feel like the LW’s marriage has promise because he seems to care enough to try. Hopefully his wife feels the same way and they can get through this rough patch together.

  • avatar 2_J August 25, 2011, 8:51 am

    I don’t know if it’s just me but, althoguh i really agree with the commenter’s here, especially, BriarRose, but Wendy, i think some of the “your Turn” blogs should be answered by you. This is one of them i think.

    • avatar Maracuya August 25, 2011, 8:57 am

      I am curious what Wendy has to say. Maybe after everyone gives their two cents? We were complaining about the YT being too easy after all.

    • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 9:19 am

      I think some readers don’t always respond because Wendy gives such great advice, so it might partially be to “pull in” those readers with real life experiences. Plus, she’s interested in the responses as she’s going to be in the similar situation, as well.

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 9:25 am

      I think that until you’ve had toddlers you can’t really fully understand this situation. In two years Wendy will be living this and then in a few more years she probably would have lots of advice for the writer.

    • avatar callmehobo August 25, 2011, 10:51 am

      Wendy DOES answer the Your Turn letters- only the responses are sent directly to the LW.

  • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 8:55 am

    This is so common after couples have children, especially when both parents work full-time. There is so much to try and balance, and even though you do an incredible amount of the work at home, there’s still so many responsibilities that she has. She probably feels overwhelmed (at least to some degree), and being the mother of two very young children is demanding. Plus, if she works in a stressful job and/or is the type of personality to not be able to “mentally leave work”, she’s likely thinking about that while at home.

    I agree with Mom of Teens above that you need to recognize that it’s going to be this way for a while. I also agree with her about the fact that she probably feels “over-touched”, and if she’s still nursing the 1 year old, her hormone levels are affecting her interest in sex. Even if she’s not, her hormone levels might still not be quite what they were before. Additionally, the phrase “a woman’s largest sex organ is her brain” is never more accurate when describing a working mother.

    However, this is the downward slide that happens to a lot of couples and their marriages. For some, they are able to regain the relationship that they previously had, but for others, they do not. But for the latter case, it’s often because neither partner is consciously aware of how bad it’s gotten, nor is either partner focused on taking steps to improve the situation. The fact that you do recognize it and are doing things (taking an afternoon off from work to spend on each other) is a good sign.

    I’d keep doing what you’re doing because they are making a positive impact. Continue to try and find ways to focus on you and your wife as a couple instead of parents. While the afternoon together was wonderful, being at home means she is aware of all that needs to be done there. If you can get away for a long weekend (maybe if the grandparents will take the kids), it’ll will allow her to relax more and focus on each other. But, make sure that it’s a “good time” for her – don’t just spring it on her – because of what’s going on at work and home.

    The amount of changes in your lives in the past three years has been significant. Life with the kids will get a bit easier when the youngest is about 3-4 years old. I just wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that your marriage still needs to be a priority, and if your wife isn’t able to come around to that thinking, you need to work with her to determine how to best make that happen.

  • avatar kerrycontrary August 25, 2011, 9:08 am

    I don’t have kids so I’ll give the advice my parents would…I would suggest getting away for a weekend vacation (without the kids obviously) or even getting a hotel room in your own town. When you take the afternoon off you are still at home and that’s a place that your wife can’t turn off her brain thinking about everything that needs to be done. If you are 2 hours away or in a hotel room you two can solely focus on each other. I know this may not be financially feasible for all couples but that’s my suggestion!

    • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 9:54 am

      Or if you can’t afford that, take Friday off and get ALL the chores done. Or hire a cleaning lady for a Friday, let her sleep in Saturday, drop the kids off somewhere and spend the day together. I know when my house is clean and most of my chores/errands are done, I can relax. After relaxing and catching up on sleep, maybe she will be more settled down to enjoy a night with you. OR, show her this letter!!

    • avatar EC was here August 25, 2011, 10:12 pm

      I don’t have children, so all I can offer is advise on what I feel is a successful marriage – my parents. I know when my sibling and I were kids my parents made a point to have a date night 2x a month. They traded off babysitting with another couple who had kids close to the same age. On the nights the other couple went out my parents watched the kids. My parents have been married for 37 years, and they still have date night. The LW sounds similar to my father, he made sure to pitch in around the house and is a romantic. I think possibly trying to arrange a date night, or even an afternoon alone AWAY from the house would be beneficial to them.

  • avatar artsygirl August 25, 2011, 9:11 am

    Two words – date night. I know it is cliched, but try to plan an adults only activity each week or every other week. Maybe a night out, dinner drinks, movie or an afternoon picnic and walk through a local park. You can switch off who chooses where you go and what you do.

    Also, do you have some friends who are new daddies too or even older dads? Maybe you can spend sometime with them to help put this all in perspective. From the response it is apparent that this is a really common (though unpleasant) thing. Men who have gone through this and survived might be able to offer some suggestions too.
    Best of luck!

    • avatar MissDre August 25, 2011, 9:35 am

      I think this is great. My best friend has three children age 4, 6 and 9 and I can’t even tell you how excited she gets when she’s able to go on a “date” with her husband. Just out to see a movie and then a coffee together somewhere… I know it’s really refreshing for her and gives her the boost she needs to keep going when she’s starting to feel worn down.

    • avatar Fairhaired Child August 30, 2011, 1:25 am

      Yes! I don’t have kids, but I have an extremely hectic work schedule (lately I’ve been doing 60+ hours a week at different shifts – day, evening, night whatever). And for me and my boyfriend our personal lives were kinda slumping more towards “roommates” that shared a space rather than romantic happy couple – even though he was super sweet and helpful like this LW. The BIGGEST thing that turned our relationship back into that – a relationship – was him talking to me about how he understood how hard I was working – but that he also wanted to spend some quality time with me. And we’ve started going out on cute dates (at least one every 1-2 weeks). Which really just let me focus on “this is us time, not time for bills, chores, errands etc”. And being out having fun doing whatever (bowling, going on walks, movies etc) made me want to have more us time when we got home ;).

      Now whenever I’m in a “slump” of feeling just so over stressed and over worked – I just say “lets go do something, I want to dress up etc..” and just the motion of actually putting together a cute “going out” outfit actually makes me happier because its a seperation from the normal daily grind.

  • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 9:19 am

    Dude – you make me feel bad because I don’t think I’ll be as awesome a husband / father as you….I can’t offer any advice as I am not and never will be the mother of young children, but hopefully you find some consolation in my compliment…?….maybe??

    • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 9:39 am

      That’s sweet Budj. I can’t really give my 2 cents either because I don’t have children of my own but my BF has 3 teenagers (16–18–18) and even just being a “part-time, “sorta step mom” I can’t stop thinking about the various chores that need to be done.

      LW, you seem like an awesome person, dad, husband, that’s all I can say. Maybe you can show our positive compliments to your wife? Hang in there LW !!

    • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 25, 2011, 10:25 am

      I now have an internet crush on you. FYI.

      • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 10:30 am

        Me or Budj ? LOllll !!

        ( I also sometimes reply under the wrong name )

        • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 25, 2011, 10:36 am

          Would it be weird if I said both? ;)

          • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 10:43 am

            no. “we” love you too xox

          • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 11:17 am

            yay internet love.

      • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 10:41 am

        Did you see the exchange last week where we actually got to see what Budjer looked like?!?!

        • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 10:44 am

          yes. (cutie) but still no music though..grrrrr !

          • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 11:29 am

            Like us on facebook (.com/underwatertigermusic) and you can listen to our stuff :P

            • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 11:31 am

              Disclaimer: They are demos…sick-nasty professional recordings are coming out in a couple months.

            • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 11:34 am

              I’m not on facebook :(

              • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 12:48 pm

                myspace and reverbnation too.

        • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 25, 2011, 10:48 am

          I did! ;)

        • avatar TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 10:50 am

          Your turn, PFG !! :D

  • avatar A August 25, 2011, 9:20 am

    I definitely agree that Marriage counseling is key here. If nothing else it will give you a fixed forum and quota of time each week to communicate. Your wife is stressed and busy and tired and worn and with that in mind hearing you tell her how her priorities arent as they should be may well not be enough and might even infuriate her- often it takes the comments of a person outside of the relationship to make to someone really see where they are going wrong. In addition a therapist can give you the tools to redress this imbalance. And while i appreciate that things improve in time, I dont think hearing that it will be better when your child youngest is 3 or 4 is much solace. You have endured this for 3 years and its already caused so much frustration, hearing that you have to endure it for double that before there is a chance of improving is not a solution, especially as you dont want this to stop you from having more kids if thats what you really, want for fear of repetition. See a counselor and try and make your wife see that her priorities( not necessarily through any fault of her own) are backward and your relationship needs to come higher if its going to survive!

  • avatar wendyblueeyes August 25, 2011, 9:28 am

    I remember those days well! And my husband was a workaholic, so my plate was full. Here’s what we did to solve the same problem: we hired a lawn service (I threw my back out pushing the mower up the incline in the yard), hired a cleaning lady every other Saturday (you will be surprised how much she can get done in 4 hours), had date night every Friday, sometimes alone, and sometimes with other couples, and went away for a weekend alone twice a year (my birthday in June, our anniversary in November). Date nights and weekends away had just one rule: no talking about the kids. My sister gifted me the weekend babysitting for my birthday, my mother-in-law gifted me the November time. Do this and I promise, your wife will feel less stressed and you will be back on track.

    • avatar MissDre August 25, 2011, 9:36 am

      I love this idea!

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 10:21 am

      Or, if you can’t afford a cleaning service maybe you can hire a teen to watch the kids while you get the chores done. That gives you some cling free time and without kids interrupting you the chores are done more quickly and easily. Even an adult babysitter is probably cheaper than a lawn service or cleaning lady. Another option can be to trade babysitting with a friend. So one weekend you watch their kids and they get a kid free afternoon/day/whatever and then the next week it’s your turn. Two of my cousins hire women who watch the kids, do some cleaning during nap time and cook dinner.

    • avatar Monica M August 25, 2011, 12:57 pm

      I totally agree with your suggestions. Get help with chores is possible and spend couple time with each other without kids.

    • avatar heidikins August 25, 2011, 2:20 pm

      I know that finances are tight for many people, but I’ve never really understood the “I can’t afford ___ even though it might save my marriage.” If it was a Ferrari, sure, but it’s a babysitter. A babysitter (or cleaning lady, or lawn service, or weekend away) is FAR cheaper than a divorce with attorney’s fees, child support, alimony, etc.

      xox

  • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 9:40 am

    First thought: Oh god, I hope my BF never feels that way.

    I agree with the posters above.

    I don’t think you need anyone to tell you that kids change things… FOREVER… Not just when they are young but for freaking ever.. You do sound like an amazing and loving husband, father and partner in general. Your wife is definitely lucky :)

    I would like to mention some things from personal experience.
    - I love my BF, find him incredible attractive and definitely enjoy sex. I still can’t bring myself to do it as often as I think I ”should”. And even when we are doing it, it takes a conscious effort on my part to enjoy it and to not let unrelated things ruin it. And yes, we do it whenever we are alone, because it doesn’t happen often, and I would just hate to waste any opportunity to get close to my BF.
    - As above posters have mentioned, I am constantly tired. The mental exhaustion is incredible. I have never dealt with anything like that. From the moment I come home after work until I literally fall into bed, I do not stop. I do not sit down. To be fair, neither does my BF.
    - Was your wife ever depressed? I had PPD. It was never medically diagnosed, because I never went to see a doctor about it, but now, having gone through it, I know what it was. And 20 months on, I am still not fully over it. Dealing with that, on TOP of everything else is very tiring.

    I would love to be the same person I was before the kids. But that is impossible. And that is how nature intended it. Once you become a mother, everything changes: physically, mentally, hormonally. And it makes you a better parent, but not necessarily a better wife. There’s nothing you can do about it. The only thing that helps me is remembering that one day I will look back on this time and miss it very much.

    I assure you that your wife is doing her best. She is being the best mother she can be and the best wife. And she needs your support and understanding now more than ever. She knows how lucky she is. Hopefully, as your children grow and become more independent, she will have more energy to dedicate to your relationship.

    P. S. I think couples therapy is an excellent idea.

    P. P. S. Happy parents mean happy kids :)

  • avatar MsMisery August 25, 2011, 9:57 am

    Jeebus, with all the stuff you say you do for the household, how can the wife still have a honeydo list?????

    • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 10:03 am

      I was wondering that too, but if what the other commenters say is the LW’s situation it could be that the LW’s wife is on constant baby detail which is what allows the husband to do the cooking / cleaning and would also explain why she isn’t into the sex so much (all the grabby toddler affection all day).

      • BriarRose BriarRose August 25, 2011, 10:11 am

        Not to be completely cynical, but I once heard my then-husband telling one of his friends about ALL the stuff he did, and yes, it was stuff that he definitely had done–once or twice. It wasn’t like it was his set “job” to cook dinner, he had done it a few times here and there. Same with some chores around the house or errands. He did however, handle all the lawncare and always emptied the dishwasher (my most hated chore) and was very helpful with our child. I guess I just take it all with a grain of salt, since we only have one side of the story regarding the division of chores and child-rearing in their home.

    • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 10:18 am

      That’s the thing. There’s ALWAYS something to be done. And you cannot do it together because the kids are too young to help. So one of you has to constantly entertain/supervise the kids (which is fun, but exhausting), so that the other person can do other things (such as go to the bathroom without for little fists knocking on the door, or take a proper shower and shave your legs finally).

      • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 10:21 am

        All the ladies here are making me scared about children….I think I can put that off a while.

        • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 10:26 am

          It’s not scary… I call it intense :)

    • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 10:48 am

      Household chores are like hydras– cross one off the list and two more grow in its place. More like six when you have kids. There’s always something to do unless money, space, and time are no object.

      And as BriarRose said, he may do all these things some of the time, but I doubt he’s doing all of them all the time.

  • avatar mcj2011 August 25, 2011, 10:00 am

    Mom of Teens and Sky Blossom – dead on!

    I am this wife & have this husband. He’s wonderful does everything to help but sometimes, between work & our home lives, I just want to decompress. NOOO TOUCHING. I know my husband gets insulted sometimes. But my kids are young and now that they are 5 and 3 things are better, not 100% back to normal, but definitely an improvement. I think that you have kids constantly in need for things that sometimes sex becomes just another thing someone needs from you and it’s sort of like okay get this over with quick before the kids wake up and i have to get that wash in or something along those lines, your constantly thinking what has to get done. From being single to married to having kids, it’s all stages in life and you need time to just readjust what you are used too. With kids first you adjust to one and when you are on schedule you have another so it takes a bit more getting used to. It takes time, but continue doing what you are doing because your wife does appreciate what you are doing and is more grateful than you know, she’s just at a point where she doesn’t know how to juggle it all. It will get better.

    • MaterialsGirl Elizabeth August 25, 2011, 10:43 am

      I don’t even have children yet, but sometimes I need the decompress time too! I do a lot of the household management as well as work, and sometimes, I need some breathing space .. no touching! i don’t even want to cuddle. After I get my ‘me’ time, then touch away! This is very good to think about and recognize about myself before we have children…. i should probably warn him :)

      • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 10:59 am

        Same– no kids yet, but I definitely relate…I feel horrible, but sometimes I do see sex as just something else he needs from me. I’ve been working somewhere between part time and full time, but Quakerboy works between 80 and 90 hours a week, so I do literally all of the household chores, bill paying, errand running, etc. on top of work. I know he has no time to do any of it– he barely has time to sleep– but it’s exhausting. He comes home and the apartment is perfect and bills are paid and there’s food in the fridge and it’s like now you want to have sex, too? How do you think all this stuff got this way? It’s 11pm– I’m tired and I just want to cuddle and fall asleep watching The Daily Show.

        Friday night date night is really, really helpful for us. He either picks up dinner or we go out then see a movie– it’s just nice to have him do something just for me sometimes. It’s much easier to get your mind off things when you’re being treated like a wife/girlfriend and not like a mommy/maid. I’d definitely suggest LW makes some time for adults-only outings. The romantic gestures are a great start, but actual time alone away from the house is a big part of it, too.

        • MaterialsGirl Elizabeth August 25, 2011, 1:19 pm

          He’s actually suggested taking walks out to the beach (Hooray Chicago!!). We live up near the *fantastic* Hollywood beach, which is beautiful at dusk. It’s a really good time to just hold hands (or not) and relax/breath. THEN I’m much happier with the touchy/feely stuff.
          Our problem also is that he has a very different cleaning approach than I do. His is more whirlwind all-at-one time and ignore it for weeks after, while I’m more, “let’s do a little at a time/clean dishes up immediately after dinner” type. His way stresses me out big time.
          I hear ya, QuakerGirl. I can’t imagine adding kids to the mix even if I subtracted work.

          • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 2:53 pm

            Mother of god the dishes!! I once came home from a several-day work trip to a sink full of dishes! He did them later that night, but I couldn’t even fathom how they weren’t driving him up a wall. I’m like you, I like to get things done a little at a time and clean up messes right when they happen. He is the complete opposite. It drives me bananas, but I try to be as patient and understanding as possible. If that’s the biggest problem we have, it’s not such a big problem :) But yeah, having little kids is going to be quite the interesting time period in our lives.

          • avatar VioletLover August 25, 2011, 6:54 pm

            AUGH my boyfriend is EXACTLY like that. I mean, he doesn’t leave things filthy, but they’re not -clean-. He would let the dishes pile up, or the trash, or the laundry, till it becomes this giant THING that takes an hour or two to take care of. I tried to point out how much easier it is to just take things a little at a time. If you bring your dishes to the sink, rinse them and stick them in the dishwasher -as they become dirty-, then when it’s time to “do” the dishes, all you have to do is run the dishwasher. SO much simpler.

  • avatar callmehobo August 25, 2011, 10:39 am

    LW,

    Have you talked to your wife about how you feel? Have you let her know that you feel that some of your needs are not being met? I know that you said you talked to her about what you can do to improve your sex life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you let her know that you feel like she is disconnected.

    I know it sounds really simple, but sometimes good, honest communication will help resolve the situation. If you feel like you can’t resolve the problems by direct communication, then by all means, employ the use of a mediator or marriage counselor, like others have suggested.

    Even though you are doing all these things to help, your wife may not know that you are feeling like your needs are not met. Just like you can’t get into her head to know if she’s really into the sex, she doesn’t know that you are stressing out about it! Especially since you seem to be doing all the right things.

    Good luck, LW!

  • avatar Jena August 25, 2011, 10:45 am

    Is there a chance that she would rather just talk about things? It sounds to me like a big issue might be that with you taking care of a lot of the physical tasks, she may think of sex as expected or as “payment” rather than something to be shared/enjoyed. Perhaps she wouldn’t mind doing some of the work but just needs someone to hear her out as far as her stress level; merely not having to do the dishes or put dinner on the table is one thing but when you’re feeling enclosed in your own world like she seemingly is, it can be hard to appreciate those tasks.

  • avatar cookiesandcream August 25, 2011, 10:54 am

    LW, I first want to say kudos to you for being such a kind, compassionate man! I’m sure that many women out there are hoping to meet a guy like you! :)

    When I first read your letter, it was obvious to me that your wife is incredibly unhappy. She seems very passive in her life (“It all feels good to me” or “I like whatever you do.”); it most likely is due to the fact that she needs to take care of everyone else in her life before she takes care of herself. In all honesty, women are expected to take care of everyone else before they take a moment to think about their own needs and desires. In fact, the more a woman sacrifices, the more praise she gets for being “such a good mom” or an ideal wife. Honestly, I’m not in any way shape or form trying to blame you or saying that you’re a part of the problem, but your wife may be just looking at you as another item on her to-do list since women are most often the caretakers of the family. In the process, your wife may have very likely lost a sense of self because she doesn’t know who she is anymore. At the end of the day, when you and the kids are asleep, it’s just her and she could very well be unhappy with how her life turned out or who she has become.

    Does it seem like she’s just operating under auto-pilot? I think it might be because there’s a whole lot of truth to the saying, “A woman’s work is never done” because, quite frankly, a lot of the mundane, everyday chores that need to be done falls upon the shoulders of women. I want to commend you for picking up some of the slack because I know many men who wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. I just have one quick question though: when you do all these things, do you expect recognition and praise or do you just do it without her asking? It would annoy me so much if I had to ask my husband to do something, and then find him expecting some form of recognition for doing something that had to be done and that I would have had to do anyway. I’m not saying that this is you, but I just wanted to see if that was a possibility because there’s a HUGE difference between doing something out of choice and doing something because it’s expected of you. Also, if you haven’t done so already, make sure you’re doing this a daily basis rather than a whenever you feel like basis. Since there’s always something to be done, I get the feeling that she has precious little that she can call her own. Does she have an active social life? Does she have any hobbies outside the family and home? When was the last time she got un-interrupted alone time? Is she allowing her to-do list to consume her life because she’s terrified if she forgets something or makes one tiny mistake she’ll be labeled as a bad mom?

    I think you’re doing so much for your wife in terms of concrete actions (i.e. cooking, cleaning, and child care), but to be honest I don’t see much that you’re doing in terms of your wife’s emotional health. You say that you try to take some of the pressure off, but what exactly do you mean by that? If you mean the pressure of having to do everything in the home, then I think you should continue contributing to the household, especially on a regular basis. But if you mean the pressure to be the perfect mom and wife that society expects her to be, then that is definitely something you two will need to discuss together. When was the last time you two had an honest, hold-nothing-back heart to heart? Does she know that she can come to you to talk about absolutely anything? When was the last time you had a date night? I think in this case some therapy for her might be handy to help her find some more balance in her life.

    Also, I just want to throw this out there: has she had a physical lately? It might benefit her to see if her physical health is all there because this might be a sign of post-partum depression.

    I know this is a mini-novel, so I’ll end this by saying that I see a lot of hope for the two of you because you’ve already proven yourself to be a caring husband! Best of luck to the two of you!

    • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 11:12 am

      Completely agree with you.. especially the PPD part, because the wife’s attitude sounds a lot like mine, and I know I had PPD.

    • caitie_didnt caitie_didn't August 25, 2011, 11:45 am

      I don’t have children, so anything I say with respect to this should be taken with a grain of salt, but along with the Post-Partum depression, I wonder if the wife is maybe dealing with some body image issues as well? Having two children so close together is bound to seriously change your body in a permanent way, and the wife might be having difficulty adjusting to her new body while coping with being a mom of two (not to mention hormonal changes). I feel like this could account for some of her passivity when they do have sex.

    • avatar parrt August 25, 2011, 2:09 pm

      you should be a slave to your wife is what you are basically saying.

      • avatar Sue Jones August 25, 2011, 11:46 pm

        Yep because she is being a slave to your children!

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:43 am

          Good luck finding a guy who “happily” puts up with that attitude. Women who are slaves to their children are often, frankly, lousy mothers whose children turn out to be entitled spoiled brats by the way…

          • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 2:50 pm

            It just comes with the territory. At the toddler stage it is 24/7 and you work like a slave to keep your children fed, happy, safe, clean, not crying, etc. Ask your mother what YOU were like at that age>

            • JK JK August 26, 2011, 2:55 pm

              If you truly think you have to be a slave 24/7 for your children to be fed, happy, etc, you’re doing it wrong.

          • avatar Patti August 27, 2011, 1:17 am

            I agree with that. I am not mommy. I’m me. I read, I have thoughts and concerns that go beyond organizing my dishes and kid’s clothes. I’m current with world events, I read the news every day. If I didn’t I’d feel weird.

  • avatar melikeycheesecake August 25, 2011, 11:04 am

    I have been told over and over again that husbands will get “jealous” during this stage of a marriage. I’ve already discussed this with my fiance but I realize once the time comes… he may feel over shadowed. You sound like an amazing man and husband! So many props for being romantic and caring about what she needs/wants. Try to look at her current role as Mom and Wife in a different light. She is raising your children the best she can… that will hopefully make you happy. She is trying to keep your house neat and clean… hopefully that will make you happy too. I hope as the children get older this situation will get easier for you! Maybe… go on more dates outside of the house (when you can) so that you won’t expect her to have a list of house chores to do that day. I’m sure I was not much help but I wish you all the best!!!

  • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 11:16 am

    Just a joke I want to share:

    A husband comes home, and sees dirty kids running everywhere, dishes in the sink, toys everywhere, no dinner on the table… So he looks over to his wife and asks, ”What happened here, what is going on??”
    The wife looks at him and says, ” You know how you ask me what do I do at home every day? Well, today I did nothing!”.

    • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:45 am

      Right. Because going to a job you hate and dealing with lame-ass office politics is so much fucking better. You know what? If you don’t want to stay at home with the fucking kids, then DON’T HAVE the fucking kids!! Really. It’s. That. Fucking. Simple. It’s not like there is a fucking shortage of idiots on the planet anyway…

      • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 6:11 am

        What the heck has got up your butt?? Where’s all that aggression and frustration coming from? This was just a freaking joke…

        P.S. You definitely proved your point about there being no lack of idiots…

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:29 pm

          I had a bad night. That said, if having kids is such a nightmare, maybe some of you should have (I dunno!) stopped after one? Seriously, it appears that some of YOU can’t handle motherhood with flying colors and that you now view not only as such a terrible burden, but one that has also rendered your husbands into giant burdens as well. (Don’t touch me! The babies touch me! Don’t touch me! I sound psycho but I have floors to clean! DON”T TOUCH ME!!!!!)

          Um, okay… If you think your family doesn’t pick up on your resentment…well, sorry, but you are sorely mistaken.

          • JK JK August 26, 2011, 2:39 pm

            I love you more and ore with (nearly) every comment you post. So agree about the resentment evident in several comments! And the fact the the families surely notice it.

          • avatar AnitaBath August 26, 2011, 2:43 pm

            Holy hell, who is “you?” Are you just stereotyping everyone now and suddenly everyone who disagrees with you has more than one kid?

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 2:48 pm

            There you go with your judgements again.
            I don’t resent my family at all. And actually we spend a lot of time together, cuddling, dancing, hugging. Personally, I have no problem with being over-touched. And yes, I am weird like that, I don’t like when my feet stick to the floor (that’s just a personal thing). I love my husband and surprisingly we have a pretty good sex life, we have sex 3-4 times a week on average. There are, however weeks when there is no sex, and there are weeks when it’s happening every day. My love for my family does not change the fact that the lack of sleep for the last 3 years is getting to me every now and then (my husband on the other hand can sleep through anything :)). But I KNOW that this particular stage is temporary and things will be different, and in some ways easier couple of years down the road.
            Why can’t you admit that while you obviously have an opinion on the subject, it may not be the only correct one?
            Before telling a guy to walk out on a 7-year old message and two kids, or encouraging him to cheat on his wife, why don’t you tell him that maybe, just maybe, there is a deeper reason to his wife’s perceived lack of enthusiasm. He does sound that he is doing his part, but that may not be what his wife really needs.

            • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 2:55 pm

              ”7-year old marriage” oups…

  • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 11:19 am

    This is such a tough situation, because I totally understand where you’re coming from, but I also really feel for your wife. I don’t even have kids yet, but I think a lot of the time I feel like her. I can’t disengage from being “household manager” because I feel like if I don’t do something it won’t get done, or worse, it will get done incorrectly and I’ll have to redo it. I once started an incredibly irrational fight about laundry because I assumed that Quakerboy didn’t know how to do it and kept nagging him about specifics…even though he has obviously done laundry before, and quite successfully. He told me to just take a nap and he’d do laundry, but I couldn’t relax because all I could think about was everything ending up pink or him forgetting to put blouses on the delicate cycle. It’s the same with sex. I can’t vouch for all women, but for me, sex is not relaxing if I have 30,000 other things to do. I can’t just not think about them. And being put in the position of having to either have sex and then be interrogated about why I look tense or say no because there’s 30,000 things to do and feel like the world’s biggest jerk is not a fun choice. I’d strongly suggest you talk to her about it in a non-accusatory way. Let her know she can say no and you won’t be angry. And as other readers mentioned, maybe let her initiate more or ask her when a good time is for her.

    And yes, the occasional help with chores is lovely, but it’s still…chores. It’s kinda like buying her a new blender or a new vacuum cleaner. No matter how much it helps her, it’s still mommy related. One thing I really love is being told “thank you” for doing all that boring householdy stuff. Yes, it does have to get done, but hearing that makes me feel like it’s appreciated and not just expected. Nothing makes you feel less like a wife/girlfriend than being treated like the cleaning service or babysitter. The notes and the flowers are a *great* start, though. I love the suggestion other readers made about having a cleaning service on a Friday then taking her out that night while the grandparents or friends watch the kids. That way her mind is totally clear and she can focus on being the sexy, fun wife you know she still is.

  • avatar Sarah August 25, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Oh man! I just finished reading that book “What Alice Forgot” and this reminds me so much of that (decent beach read btw, the LW should give it to her as a gift, she might learn some things about herself.).

    I think a lot of women, especially young mothers, feel an intense amount of pressure to be perfect. I know my mother felt that, and just google “mommy blogs” to read from how many women who scrambled their lives are and how perfect they try to make it. Some women use this pressure as a reason to completely compartmentalize their life. If you do it successfully then you know you can handle the life you’ve created, but the problem is that you’ve lost the small happy times that come with being in the moment.

    I think these young moms do this because they could be a.) Afraid that they will be bad moms or will be seen as bad moms b.) Are unhappy about some portion of their lives, and instead of dealing with it, get hyper organizational in a attempt to gain satisfaction c.) Feel out of control most of the time and grasp to what they can control.

    Unfortunately somewhere along the line, your wife forgot the fact that being a good partner is as important as being a good mother. Your partner has to be the person you tell all your secrets too, complains about how awful your children can be too, the person who you can tell the wildest things in the bedroom and know they wont judge you for it after. You guys are each other’s soulmates, and being the perfect organizational mom is not worth losing that.

    Your wife is wrong not to tell you what she wants in bed, and she is wrong not to include you in on her thoughts almost as privately as she would herself. And who knows, you could be doing something unknowingly to make her feel distanced from you. I agree with a lot of people here that couples counseling would be a great way to communicate. That way you guys can skip the fights where she gets defensive and in turn you get defensive, and go right to the healthy alternative. Your wife is so stuck in the mindset that what she’s working for will lead to a perfect life, she’s not thinking to include you in it. In her mind, she does not think she’s doing anything wrong, but will resent the fact that you don’t appreciate how great she is making things. The only thing that will help her, and you, is getting a third party perspective.

    • avatar Caroline August 26, 2011, 2:19 am

      I loved What Alice Forgot!

    • avatar Matt May 15, 2012, 1:49 pm

      I’m having this problem with my wife as well. I see a lot of comments on here about how people don’t believe that he’s really doing as much to help as he thinks he is. I can’t say in his case what’s happening but for me, I do go to work. It’s not a relief from the chaos at home. It’s just different work to me that I do to bring money home to take care of my family. Given a choice I’d actually rather be home with the kids but my wife doesn’t currently have any job skills that would bring home the same kind of income that I can (we’ve talked about the possibility of her going back to school to fix that if she feels like that’s what she wants to do with her life, I always tell her she can do whatever she wants). The problem I’m having is that even when I’m changing every diaper, cleaning every bottle/pump part/etc, doing ALL the cleaning and dishes, taking care of any other business around the house, and then tell the wife to go ahead and go to bed early and I usually stay up ’till 1am with the baby (she’s sleeping anyway but my wife wakes at the slightest bit of fussyness so I keep the baby in the living room for as long as I can stay awake, which is also a great time to clean bottles or whatever else still needs to get done). Given the extra time my wife will find some new project (try to cook something new, or her current project to create a photo album for the baby…) and have spent all her energy on that and have none left for even 1 minute of time for me. Then when she has nothing left to do? While I’m holding the baby she walks over and gives a massive amount of affection to the baby and ignores me. Hello? I’m right here! I don’t think this is about wanting space when she can have it or she’d leave the two of us alone. Instead she just focuses on the baby and completely ignores me….like I’m some sort of furniture to hold the baby up for her to kiss obsessively. I’ve pointed this out several times but somehow I’m still not getting thru. I’m exhausted too but I know it’s important to keep the relationship going. I’ve seen way too many people just watch it slip away and by the time the kids are 4 or 5 they have nothing left for eachother and it just dies. I keep asking her if there’s something wrong or something I’m doing but she says she just doesn’t feel like doing that anymore. We did actually talk about this very subject before we got married (her words: we have to keep feeding it, like a plant, to keep it alive) and agreed that it was extremely important to both of us that the affection stay in the relationship (we had been very close and affectionate right up until the baby was born). The problem is that it’s just all been redirected to our new family member. I don’t know what to do but I’ve talked about going to counselling and she doesn’t want to. I’m feeling it slip away and I’m so miserable that I’m wondering if I even want to try to keep this relationship (if you can still call it that). I never thought I was signing up to be a money making baby holder and had I known I would have stayed single. I think that while there are a lot of men who don’t really help out much around the house or with the kids (I see some of my friends this way) there are also many of us who see this: I do as much as I can in the 18 hours a day that I’m awake. I show my wife love, I show the baby love, my wife shows the baby love, but who loves me? Why am I in this? Am I really part of this family? Given enough money and help would my wife even want/need me anymore? I’ve asked her all this but I feel like she’s just giving me a robot like answer of what she thinks I want to hear. The reality is a simple kiss or a hug seems like a burden and I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to ask anymore so it’s not happening. I think what happens for the most part is that women can be more emotionally satisfied showing love to a baby than men can. I see it all the time and I’ve also seen some of my friends go thru this (even the ones who do put in the work) and the guys are miserable too. I can’t fathom how women can have only that and be happy. Not that it’s not the best thing ever when I’m playing with my daughter and I get a big toothless smile, or even having a good laugh at “the most massive-leaking everywhere-still going while you’re changing it-oh god I need another changing pad and 50 more wipes or maybe a roll of paper towels at this point diaper” (umm when they don’t poop for a couple days and it all comes out at once…yeah that one! :) ). I love it and it makes my day, but I need an adult relationship as well. I feel more like I now have a roommate who I have a child with and it’s a lonely place to be.

      • avatar Matt May 15, 2012, 2:51 pm

        BTW – before I get nailed to the cross for this – “changing every diaper….”: when I’m not at work. My dad always warned me that somehow going to work doesn’t count as doing anything at all to your wife so I’d better think hard before getting married. Maybe he was right. Even before marriage, it always seemed to me that the women in my life thought that my time at work was playtime. It’s not. I don’t work for some video game company or startup with a foozball table. There’s no Friday night beer party and I go directly home after work unless my wife has asked me to stop and pick up something at the store. I get micromanaged, deal with office politics, my crazy boss, tons of stress, more work that I can get done in a day but can’t stay as late as I need to because I need to get home and take care of the baby so my wife can have a break in the evening. Because of that I have the added stress that I could be fired or laid off for not getting everything done and it all falls on my shoulders as the only income earner in the house. Nope! Work and the responsibility are no fun at all. I’m not saying it should be fun or that staying at home and taking care of the baby is fun for my wife either. I just feel like at times her attitude is that I’m not doing anything for the family when I’m at work. It’s seems more like “negative” time if that’s a better way to understand it. As if I’ve not contributed anything during those hours. If my wife put some time into our relationship it would all be well worth it. I try to say thank you every day for what she does at home while I’m gone, but I have never heard a word about what I contribute.

  • avatar cdobbs August 25, 2011, 12:18 pm

    is it just me or does “Mr. Invisible” seem a little too good to be true? Like when he states that he helps with the cleaning and the cooking and it was probably more like that one time. I don’t know I just don’t buy that everything in this letter is 100% exact (maybe in his mind).

  • avatar Greebo August 25, 2011, 12:32 pm

    It’s interesting that, of all the things LW mentions having done to help his wife and ease her burden, the one thing he doesn’t say is “I talked to her about this, and she said…” except in the context of “she says she enjoys sex”.

    Before therapy, counseling or even books, LW, how about a conversation? Maybe take a long weekend, go somewhere private and, you know, talk.

    • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 1:38 pm

      To me, it sounded like he was more concerned about her lack of sex and disconnect when they did have sex. Yes, he tried to couch everything as “relationship”, but he was more animated during the actual description of the problems during the sexual aspect of the problem.
      If one child is 3 and the other is 1, the oldest was between 15 and 18 months old when she got pregnant with #2. Having kids that close is fun, but busy. Add in a full time job, amorous husband who then asks whether or not you actually enjoyed it and needs reassurances just like the kids, well… I’d be drained too (hell, I know I was in this situation, and I didn’t even have the benefit of help around the house or a second income!).

      • avatar Greebo August 25, 2011, 6:28 pm

        That’s exactly why they need to talk. We only have one side here, and I genuinely wonder at her side. Maybe he’s not as helpful as he thinks he is. Maybe she gets flowers and would rather get daycare. Maybe she feels like he has to be nagged into helping, or maybe he’s more demanding or needy than he says. Maybe she’s depressed or overwhelmed or has body issues. Maybe her hormone levels are out of whack. Maybe she’s bored, maybe she’s in love with someone else, maybe she’s just not in love with her husband. Or maybe she thinks everything is great and doesn’t understand why he needs so much reassurance about their sex life. The point I’d that we don’t know, and apparently the one thing he hasn’t done is ask the one person who could tell him this. It’s such an obvious step that I have to wonder if there’s more to the story than this.

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:31 pm

          Um, it’s so obvious I think most of us simply assumed he already did just that.

          • avatar Greebo August 25, 2011, 6:45 pm

            I thought about that, but LW specifically says his wife says the sex is fine, then manages not to include any of her responses to any of the other questions or concerns he presumably would have voiced to her? I find that odd. If he has already laid it all out for her, explained everything he feels and what he needs and all that, and if she truly doesn’t care to make any effort despite knowing he’s hurting…well, there’s not much of a marriage left there anymore, is there? Kids or no kids.

            And, by the way, you’ve never met anyone who would bore relative strangers to death overanalyzing chance comments by BF/GFs, but somehow never just ask BF/GF what they meant? Really?

            • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:54 pm

              Actually, what you describe happens to me all the time… But it seems to always be women doing it. They always tend to try to overanalyze things on their own. Guys generally tend to be more direct and to the point. If they don’t understand something, they find it out…

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 12:36 pm

    One thing to keep in mind about sex is that men are more visually stimulated than women. So when you look at her and she looks sexy to you you’re getting turned on. When she looks at you and sees her handsome guy she isn’t necessarily getting turned on at all. So you may initiate sex but she’s not there at all and so it becomes another chore to get done.

    I personally find that cuddling up with my husband does as much for me as any other kind of foreplay. Relaxing and feeling the heat of his body soaking into me and feeling his skin against mine does a great deal for me while looking doesn’t do much. After about 20 minutes of full body cuddling I’m not just turned on I’m demanding sex.

    It could be that you would try this and your wife would immediately relax and fall asleep and that would tell you that she’s so tired that sleep is what she needs most but I think it’s worth trying the “slow approach” that lets her desire build and it doesn’t take much effort on your part.

  • avatar Monica M August 25, 2011, 12:55 pm

    I totally agree with wendyblueeyes suggestions. It sounds like you are doing your part. You need to remember what you liked to do as a couple before kids and find a way to do that again. You need to reconnect as a couple and the example you gave of taking the afternoon off and doing chores wasn’t a good plan. You need to have fun together without the kids once in awhile. Get a babysitter and go out. Maybe if you start doing this the sex situation will also improve. Wendyblueeyes suggestion of getting outside help with chores would also help if affordable, just remember divorce would cost more. If this still doesn’t work, if your wife won’t let go and enjoy your company and talking to her about your dissatisfaction doesn’t work, then get counseling. You need to do something about this situation before it becomes unrepairable. I don’t think waiting and seeing if it improves is a good plan, ignoring things never is.

  • avatar MiMi August 25, 2011, 12:58 pm

    You get full credit for all the things you are doing around the house and with the children as well as the ways you are trying to be good to your wife. However, what is working against your getting back the attentive, appreciative, sexy wife you’d like is manifold.
    There is a bone-deep, grinding, exhaustion. Her body has been on a hormonal rollercoaster twice in close succession, she works full time, there are two small toddlers in the house (when having only one would already be hard work), she clearly feels deeply responsible for absolutely everything and she is just trying to get through each day, one at a time. Her well is dry, so when you’re hoping for a little bit of juice to be directed your way…the well is still dry.
    This is a challenging time of life for you and for her, but it won’t last forever. The kids will grow and become easier to care for, your wife’s body will recover more fully, etc. How about an active plan for the two of you to get back on the same page now, to bring your relationship back to the center of your family life, where it belongs? Sit down with your wife and talk about what’s going on in a non-confrontational way. She appears to have put a burden on herself that she must direct absolutely everything that goes on in the household, even to being completely unable to enjoy a few hours of respite in your company without instructing you on the mowing of the lawn (or whatever it was).
    Clearly this perception is not healthy for her or the relationship, since it disenfrachises you as an equal partner. If needed, see a counselor. For your part, do take another look at the division of household tasks and child care duties. You both work full time outside the home, so check to see that you are personally doing 50% of the childcare and household tasks. Make sure both of you have free “alone” time away from home to recharge. Start dating your wife again, listen to her, talk to her, rebuild the connection you two had in the beginning and have some fun together. Don’t try to get around all the bases with her every time – it’s tough, I know! The formerly responsive woman you married is lurking inside the “mommy” currently living at your house, she just may take a bit of wooing to find her way back.
    Of course, all the work is not yours to do since your wife has to be willing to see that she must re-prioritize you and your relationship back to where it should be, for the sake of your family. You can help her get there by leading the way.

    • avatar Sarah August 25, 2011, 1:18 pm

      I think this comment really nails it. This part could not be more wise: “The formerly responsive woman you married is lurking inside the “mommy” currently living at your house, she just may take a bit of wooing to find her way back.”

      I feel like they’re at a crossroads: either they start to communicate about their needs better (I think with a counselor would be best) and recover from all the kid related stress they’ve had and start being a team again, or they just keep getting more and more distant, they have sex less, they only talk about need to know things, they do this until they’re just two roommates who are totally invested in their kids but not at all invested in each other.

      • katie katie August 26, 2011, 9:43 pm

        so true- i heard on the radio about a study done that said that couples attain a certain level of happiness and after having kids that level completely drops- like straight down- until the kids are out of the house and then it rises back up. they need to figure out how to get that line to creep back up or they will end up completely isolated, and probably divorced.

  • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Threaten to leave. And then if that fails to work — follow through. Seriously. You deserve better whereas your wife — who appears to be putting ZERO effort into your relationship — deserves less…

    • avatar beans629 August 25, 2011, 1:27 pm

      LOL, BGM. You are so throwing gasoline on an bonfire.

      You do realize that you are now going to be purple thumbed into oblivion right?

      Just sayin’ …not everyone’s into the cold hard truth.

      • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 1:41 pm

        I think a lot of people need to hear the “cold hard truth,” but threatening to leave is really not a way to fix anything in my opinion. If my (imaginary) husband threatened to leave me, I would show him the door. Marriage isn’t about threatening to leave. Also, this woman sounds to be trying her best at raising their children, which should be appreciated (as he seems to be). A reminder from him about his feelings seems more in order than ‘hey biotch, imma split if you don’t start banging me more often’.

        • avatar beans629 August 25, 2011, 3:33 pm

          I think what BGM is getting at is that men and women approach life differently and being the man that he is…’he’s like I’m outta here if X,Y, and Z aren’t/can’t fixed.’

          The cold hard truth is men and women are different in how they are socialized and their reactions to problems.

          For most men, they see relationships in terms of black and white. ‘If X is the problem then Z has to be the solution and if you aren’t working on Z then you don’t care about X.’
          For women we tend to see relationships in shades of gray, the whole thought process is more like, ‘Ok, X is the problem but if he does A,B, or hell even C, I would be happy and work through this.’ Unfortunately, that’s a whole lot of energy that kinda just makes us crazy and doesn’t really get our needs met or fix the problem.

          In my experience, when you get to the point of leaving a relationship then some shit is really broke and you don’t see any possible way to fix it. Then you need to walk away because if the other person isn’t willing to work on the problem then ‘fixable’ becomes ‘insurmountable’.

          Is he really telling LW to leave his wife? No. He’s saying if she isn’t responsible for her own actions in the marriage he should walk away guilt free that he did everything he could have done to fix/improve it. Although, I would suggest that before playing that card he approach the problem and see if she even wants to work on fixing it.

          At least that was my take on BGM’s response. *shrug*

          • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:09 pm

            Actually, that was my take. Frankly, I am amazed how few seemed to get it.

      • avatar melikeycheesecake August 25, 2011, 1:42 pm

        But it’s not the cold hard truth… we don’t know the whole story in ANY of these letters. I don’t think it’s OK to tell someone to leave his wife if we don’t know the whole story! What’s so wrong with continuing to work on his marriage?!

        • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 2:30 pm

          …Especially a marriage that seems to be free of major non-fixable issues. This is a very, very common, very solvable problem with a TON of possible solutions that should be explored before they divorce. They have two young children together. That alone should be a reason to try some of those solutions before they bail.

          • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 5:41 pm

            The fact that the issue is the chick simply doesn’t give a rip is more than worthy or threatening to walk away. Frankly, at this point, it’s the last card he has left… Some marriages simply aren’t worth saving. Especially those where one party simply acts the other will stay out of duty and obligation.

      • avatar Jena August 25, 2011, 1:55 pm

        Yeah, the cold hard truth being “ditch those life-long vows you took”? Whatever happened to WORKING THROUGH PROBLEMS?

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 5:42 pm

          Like she is holding up her end of the vows. If the sexes were flipped at least HALF of you would be thesaurusing my point of view here… How can he treat you like that? You are worth so much more! How can he not value you…

          • avatar LTC039 August 25, 2011, 5:51 pm

            I completely agree with you. I don’t think people are getting the point…If the marriage isn’t happy, the home isn’t happy thus affecting the kids. Sometimes it works out better if the parents separate. I’m not saying he should up & leave her, I think they should AT LEAST try marriage counseling since he is obviously still in love with her. I suggested different points of view; maybe something happened before that she still has resentments, but people in this thread nit pick WAY too much at insignificant things & obviously miss the BIGGER picture. Mark sometimes I think you come across as unnecessarily aggressive, but about 95% of the time I agree with you. So basically this guy should suffer a miserable life with his clearly bitchy wife bc of the children?? If he’s not happy, his children will suffer!!! DUH!

    • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

      You’ve got to be kidding…Yeah, encourage a man to leave his wife and kids when they need him most.. Yeah, that’s manly…

      • avatar Britannia August 27, 2011, 1:43 am

        And yet it’s okay for a woman to walk out on the man and take the kids with her if he doesn’t fulfill her emotional needs for long enough? Talk about a double standard.

    • avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 25, 2011, 2:35 pm

      I’m not totally against your suggestion BGM, but I think Mr. I needs to clarify “Unless ____ changes, I am leaving.” I don’t think you can give someone an ultimatum unless you at the same time provide them with a discrete, well-defined action plan of what needs to be changed and how to accomplish it.

      At the same time, I think Mrs. I needs a bit of a wake up call. You naturally want to be the best parent you can possibly be, but most of the time good enough IS good enough. If “best” means that you sacrifice the work it takes to have intimacy with your partner, it’s time for “good enough”.

      I defy all of the commenters who want to say that Mr. I is more concerned with sex; it sounds to me that what he really is missing, and what is so often only built during sex, is intimacy.

      • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 5:51 pm

        That’s all I’m saying. And you know what? If you threaten to leave and then don’t after none of your needs are met you are really FUCKED. So, that’s why I was so adamant about being willing to follow through. As for all you tales of woe… Who knew being a mother sucked so bad. Who knew it gave you all the right to ignore your spouses? I bet if they pulled the same crap on all of you you’d be writing in here and whining so fast it couldn’t even be clocked be available technology. Meanwhile, I love that a great deal your advice it to try to fix things through counseling… Or that the husband just shut up and with. That having kids is so hard and blah blah blah. NEWSFLASH! Maybe people shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford them without being so stressed out. Maybe not everyone is cut out for being a mother. Considering the deat/beaten child story a day in our media, I am probably REALLY onto something here…

        • avatar Theenemenyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 25, 2011, 5:55 pm

          Ha, I’m guessing this wasn’t a personal response to me.

          • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:47 am

            No. Lately when I post here it goes to odd places… It could be my browser.

      • avatar Matt May 15, 2012, 2:27 pm

        Exactly! I don’t know how many men (and I’m sure some women too for the same or different reasons) go thru this exact problem but you’ve nailed it completely. For one, you can never really be a PERFECT parent. That’s just setting yourself up for failure. Just try to get thru it and do a good job. Second, if you’re not going to be a good partner to your spouse then you’re setting your child up to have divorced parents. How perfect a parent is that? I think what most people miss is that you can’t really be the best parent you can be on your own. Parents working as a team and having a realationship with eachother is the best thing for the child and what makes for a stronger family.

  • avatar LTC039 August 25, 2011, 1:17 pm

    Marriage Counseling. It seems you’re getting the short end of the stick &/or there’s some deep rooted issued with your wife. Did something happen in the past that she may still be holding resentments towards you? Did this just come out of nowhere or since the kids were born? It seems like you’ve been trying to make an effort but I’m curious. Maybe there’s more to the story…or maybe you genuinely want to make your marriage work because you love your wife & are noticing out-of-nowhere changes.
    Bottom line, you’ve done everything you can & then some. Now it’s time to bring in a third-party individual to assess the situation. I think that would be the best thing/only thing at this point to break this awkward/non-happy cycle. There’s something else that’s not in your letter, either you know what it is or you need to figure it out.

    • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 1:24 pm

      I agree. I still say threatening to leave might be the jolt that wakes her up. Just having kids doesn’t give you a get out of being a selfish bitch free card.

      • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 1:42 pm

        I know you like to instigate (which I commend), but are you serious in that you think she’s a selfish bitch for focusing on their children? Come on.

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:18 pm

          Yes. She isn’t just focusing on her kids, clearly she is also just focusing on herself. If she doesn’t want to be a single parent, then it’s time she stops acting like one. I’m sorry (and frankly more than a bit alarmed!) that so many of you are threatened by my point of view here… but NEWSFLSASH! being a good mother is absolutely not an acceptable excuse for being an incredibly shitty wife…

          • avatar lets_be_honest August 26, 2011, 12:03 pm

            Where did it say she wasn’t focusing on her kids and only on herself? Iagree with your last sentence but I’d say this woman is at least owed a chance to understand what’s bothering her husband and be afforded a chance to fix it.

          • JK JK August 26, 2011, 1:32 pm

            Totally agree with the last sentence. I also happen to think that both being a good mother and being a good wife go hand in hand. I know for sure that kids are happier when their parents get along well, even though adults may think thay don’t show their problems kids are a lot more sensitive than you can realize sometimes, I know when I’m nervous both of my daughters are more nervous as well.
            And I’m sure also that if I neglected my husband for my daughters or my daughters for my husband then our family (and personal, and sex) life would suffer.

        • Caris Caris August 25, 2011, 9:34 pm

          Its great that she is focusing on her children, but that should not be a reason to ignore the person she chose to spend the rest of her life with. So by ignoring him, she is in a way being selfish. I’m going to assume he is also focusing on his kids a lot and doing the best he can for them, yet he does not ignore his wife, so why is she ignoring him?

          That being said, I think the LW needs to talk to his wife about this and go to marriage counseling before making a decision (stay or leave).

          • avatar Sue Jones August 25, 2011, 11:54 pm

            The “Selfish wife” is probably walking around like a zombie because she hasn’t slept for 3 years, has been either growing a baby inside her body for much of that time, and is probably seeing all of the food she eats go to food for the baby if she is breastfeeding. Not only that but she is working full time. She is most likely sleep deprived, nutritionally depleted and barely keeping her head above water meanwhile she is trying to keep to little people from killing themselves, since toddlers are constantly into everything and have no concept of safety. Those of you who are childless who are commenting about how , um, selfish the wife is really do not have a clue. Try pulling 100 hour workweeks for 3 years, bleed a pint of blood per day for 3 years, carry a 30 pound pack around constantly for 3 years do not sleep for 3 years and THEN see if you can still think straight, think about anything else but SLEEP and still want to have sex. Just sayin’…

            • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:50 am

              Oh, get off the cross. Nobody put a gun to ANY of your heads and forced you to get knocked up three freaking times!!! Seriously… I pity so many of your children for I have never, ever seen so many people describe motherhood in such foul and ungrateful terms… Seriously. Suck it up or give it a rest.

              • avatar lets_be_honest August 26, 2011, 12:04 pm

                How do we know he didn’t want 3 kids that quickly?

              • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 2:57 pm

                Please do not have children, BGM. Do not adopt any, donate any sperm, etc. You are clearly not cut out for it. That is OK! Really it is! Not everyone should become a parent. Or wait until you are… like 60, like Sir Elton, and rich and mature enough to handle it and see the rewards in it rather than instant gratification!

                • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 27, 2011, 12:36 am

                  Actually, I am around kids all the time. Almost all my friends have them and have for the past decade. I babysit more than anybody I know. Seriously. And now, at long last, my sister finally has her first. Meaning, I am a REAL uncle at long last. And you know what? Not a one of that vast pool of people is NEARLY as negative about the perils of parenthood as so many of you seem determined to be. They also don’t blatantly ignore their spouses or expect them to be happy they are married to soulless robots who flinch at the mere thought of a man’s touch…

                  One thing is for sure, when I have do kids, I certainly won’t view them as some endless burden and whine at length on comment pages about all the sacrifices that I am making… I just won’t. But have at it, ladies. As you all seem to need to vent.

                • avatar Britannia August 27, 2011, 1:46 am

                  I must say that I think BGM would be a better parent than most – because he is objective, realistic, and knows where the importance lies. And also because he would never be a parent unless he knew for sure that he was emotionally AND financially READY to have a kid, which so many people seem to not understand are important factors in being a good parent.

            • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 8:02 am

              Seriously… I think the LW made it clear they have incredibly flexible work schedules. Geez with all you people are saying about having kids it makes me NEVER want to have them! Obviously, from what I’m gathering, having children ruins your love life, social life, & your own personal space. You’re going on the assumption the LW’s wife does ALL the work herself, which way wrong as he indicates he does A LOT of the chores. I don’t have children (thank God for now) but I know that a lot of people have kids before they’re ready & then complain about “how hard it is” & what not. If you can’t handle it maybe you should’ve thought about it a LITTLE harder before having them all around the same time. Isn’t that what family planning is for? Good Gracious!

            • bagge72 bagge72 August 26, 2011, 9:52 am

              Wow, just because your own personal experience was that bad with your kids, doesn’t mean this LW’s wife is having that same experience, I think you should write in to DW or this LW to see how you can get your baby’s dady more involved. From what he told us, it seems that he is actually taking on a lot more of the toll than most husbands would, and it almost seems he is doing more than the wife is just to please her. He is giving them their baths, and making their lunches, reading them bed time stories, all while doing all of the house hold chores, and a full time job. Their situation actually sounds like a really good situation to be in, where both parents are very involved with their kids.
              I also don’t agree that he should giver her the ultimatum to leave or get her act together though, it doesn’t really seem like it is that far gone, and it doesn’t seem like it would ever be an option for him either, or he would have put that in his letter so it is kind of pointless advice. It actually seems like his wife is going through the motions to keep things together, because she cares. If she didn’t she wouldn’t be having sex at all. So it does seem she is trying aswell.
              There is a lot of good advice on here from mothers about the stress of having the kids, and how it makes a women feel, and since I don’t have kids nor am I am girl those seem to be the best answers, since they have gone through what your wife is going through right now.

            • avatar beans629 August 26, 2011, 10:08 am

              Yeah, I agree with BGM and we’re going to need for you to get off of that cross. The reason you don’t have any time for yourself is because I guess being a martyr takes up a lot of time.

              Seriously, I have children of my own, work full time, go to school part time, volunteer, car pool to soccer, football, etc, etc and the list goes on and on…

              But really it’s about priorities, if you are working at any job outside of the home for 100 hours a week then you probably really didn’t have time for children. So don’t expect us to care/listen when you kinda cry about how hard having kids are. Yeah, it’s hard but why make it harder than it has to be.

              When my hubby and I decided to have kids, I made a conscious decision that I would NOT take any job/position/career that meant I had to work over 40 hours a week until my kids graduate from HS. Guess what, I still make a really good living.

              My husband and I decided together that there were things in life we didn’t really need so that makes it easier for both of to work jobs that pay us enough to have a comfortable life.

              Our kids don’t wear expensive name brand clothes, we don’t have a big pimpin’ house or cars nor do we take exotic vacations. We live a nice comfortable solidly middle class life but it’s worth being able to be a real part of our kids life.

              Basically, this whole entire letter boils down to the wife needs to go get some help, for real. If she is unwillingly to do that then guess what their marriage does NOT have a chance no matter how long he waits for it to get better.

              • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 3:00 pm

                Not on a cross. The kid is 8 now, in school full time, I have time to go to yoga 3-4x most weeks, I also work and own a business, sing in a group, etc which I also did during the toddler years. Still happily married. Lots of sex has resumed. BUT the 1st 3-5 years were challenging. The first 3-5 years with kids have been challenging since the beginning of time.

                • avatar Britannia August 27, 2011, 1:48 am

                  Good for you. That doesn’t mean you weren’t trying to make us all simultaneously pity you and put you on a pedestal.

                  If you willing go into a shitty situation, you have no right to bitch about it.

                  • avatar Sue Jones August 28, 2011, 12:55 am

                    Never considered it a shitty situation. NEver bitched about it. Was super grateful to have the child. Just dealt with it. I only was trying to get LW and other clueless childless types to sort of empathize a bit with what the wife may be going through.

              • avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 27, 2011, 11:39 pm

                Instant win.

      • avatar LTC039 August 25, 2011, 1:51 pm

        I agree, Mark. Just because you have kids, doesn’t mean you give up the rest of your world, especially since it seems HE is the one doing the most “for the kids” i.e. cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc… That’s why there has to be more to the story. I see your point with the threatening to leave, & it may very well be effective, I just thought marriage counseling would be a nicer approach. But I def. agree she is acting like a huge bitch.

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 5:55 pm

          Looks at all those thumbsdown.., Why do we even bother being the voice of reason around here? All anybody in these comment sections seemingly wants is to validate their own failings as a person. Nobody tries to excel, instead its endless laundry lists of excuses for bad behavior… And relentlessly patting one another on the back for doing the best they can — which frankly sounds pretty shitty.

          • katie katie August 25, 2011, 8:56 pm

            i think that i generally agree with what your saying- even though being a mother is serious hard work, i dont think that just automatically means that you get to neglect your husband and just tell him that he needs to wait it out. i think that working on a marriage should be an everyday occurence, and if this lady isn’t putting aside time for her and her husband (and just for herself, to!!) her life is out of balance.

            there are mothers out there who take care of their children and have happy marriages. i dont think she is necessarily a bitch for what she is doing -i dont think she realizes what she is doing- but, i do think that her life needs to re-evaluated and re-balanced.

            besides, if you have a resentful, unhappy husband, which leads to a resentful, unhappy household, what kind of enviornment is that for your children?

      • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 1:52 pm

        @BGM: I’ve not gotten annoyed at most things you’ve commented here (even when I probably should have), but I do find that “selfish bitch free card” statement to be so off the (bitter) mark. I’ve been a working mother, and all you do all day long is “work” – there’s never a free minute to even think, much less do anything for yourself. It’s the most selfless time in most women’s lives.

        You make a lot of judgments about people – I think part of that is you like to push people’s buttons, but if you’re going to do that, at least know a little bit about what you’re talking about.

        • avatar melikeycheesecake August 25, 2011, 1:55 pm

          AMEN PFG-SCR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 2:24 pm

          Exactly.. From 5:30 am to 10:00 pm. Without a break (except lunch at work, which you use to set up appointments and pay bills). Raising kids is hard work, and I know it’s a cliché, but a lot of people do not seem to get that part.

        • Caris Caris August 25, 2011, 9:50 pm

          Agreed, but he works too, and according to what he wrote he does many of the chores around the house. Despite this, and the fact that he probably also feels stressed about all the things he has to do, he makes time for his wife, while his wife doesn’t seem to be making time for him.

      • avatar Jena August 25, 2011, 1:54 pm

        Yeah, and threatening to leave isn’t selfish and ridiculously immature? They’re not 15 and they’ve got kids. They should act like the adults they are.

      • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 2:38 pm

        You know what having kids gives you? Nights that you have to get up 2 to 5 times and then go to work in the morning. And before you leave try feeding two cranky toddlers, and then change diapers twice because they like to poop in a clean diaper, and then convince them to brush their teeth and that you can’t go to daycare without any pants or shoes (all that before 7:30 am). It gives you meal times that drive you nuts when the kids start throwing food around and you have to wash the floors for like tenth time just that day. Then you have to play with them to make sure that they are tired enough before going to bed. Then you have to convince them to take the bath, and then convince them to get out of the bath. Then you have to settle them down to sleep, while they do everything in their power to delay bedtime. And just when you think you got them down, and you can go and maybe relax for 30 minutes, one of them decides that one bedtime story was not enough, and since you don’t want the other to wake up, you have to give in. Then you have to tell your husband how much you appreciate him doing the dishes. Then you decide what you want more: clean hair or an extra 30 minutes of sleep. And then you have a husband that questions if you are enjoying sex or not. And that is not even a worse day, because at least everyone is healthy.

        What do you call that card?

        Again, having small kids is hard, and it takes parents working together, not against each other. The worst thing you can do is start keeping score and threatening to leave, because I would just tell to not let the door hit you on the way out.

        • becboo84 BecBoo84 August 25, 2011, 2:46 pm

          Oh man. I hope you enjoy being a mommy more than this comment suggests :(

          • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 2:57 pm

            Actually I do, and I agree writing it out makes it look a bit crazy. But that is life, and if you have kids, that is what you will be dealing with. But you will also be dealing with kids that come to you and tell you how much they love you, or how proud they are of a LEGO fortress they built, or a little drawing they made. You will see a person that you created grow and you will literally see their brains connect the dots and learn stuff. You will see how much fun it is running through puddles in the rain, and that a stick can be the best toy. I know none of this is new, but it is incredibly real and satisfying. I find the best part about having kids is that you yourself get to feel like a kid again.

          • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 3:01 pm

            I am just saying what every working mom (and every mom) goes through on a daily basis. I believe that is more than enough of a reason not to feel particularly horny or affectionate. The last thing she needs is to be judged by her husband.

            • avatar kf August 25, 2011, 9:41 pm

              But what every husband needs is a wife who resents the hell out of him?

        • avatar kf August 25, 2011, 9:40 pm

          If you’re really washing the floors ten times a day, your priorities are really out of whack. If it’s your husband that insists you wash the floors ten times a day, you have a bad husband.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 6:19 am

            So I should just let the spilled milk/juice/water/soup sit there until my feet stick to the floor? Toddlers are messy, before they acquire the fine art of eating/drinking without half of their food ending up on the floor. And if I don’t wash the floors (and trust me that thought has occurred to me), a 1-year old will try to lick it. So unless you have any clue about having SMALL CHILDREN in the house, do not tell me how to deal with my priorities.

            • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 7:55 am

              What on earth would make you think I and other people posting here don’t have any clue about having any small children in the house? Where do you think all those other children you see at the playground, school, supermarket etc. come from?

              • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 7:57 am

                Also, in my part of the country they have these newfangled contraptions called “sippy cups”, you might want to check Amazon.

                And *soup*? Really? Really?

                • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 8:42 am

                  Jesus, some people’s intolerance is incredible. First of all, you would be surprised how easily anything you put in front of the toddler ends up on the floor. The sippy cups would be a solution if your kid has an all-liquid diet, but they are not good for their teeth and they have to eventually learn to eat and drink from regular cups and plates. And you should ask those people at the playground with a couple of kids under 4 how often they clean the floors

                  • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 9:58 am

                    Oh, I would be absolutely SHOCKED at how easily anything you put in front of a toddler ends up on the floor, because it’s not like I have kids or anything.

                    The sippy cup is meant to be a solution to spilled milk, juice, water or soup (!!!) on the floor. I found it helpful to use them until my kids were ready to move on, and not foist regular cups on children who weren’t ready for them. I saw no need to accelerate the process, as I’ve never seen a ten year old with a sippy cup.

                    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 10:55 am

                      Well, what can I say.. I can only be jealous of you if your kids never spilled/dumped anything on the floor when they were small.

                      By the way, there are babies that prefer a regular cup and won’t drink out of a sippy cup, especially milk (like my kid and a few others that I know).

                    • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 12:32 pm

                      Flake – Then why don’t you tell your kid that until he can learn to drink out of a cup without spilling he gets a sippy cup? And if they are eating food don’t let them leave the dinner table? Who runs the house – you or the kid?

                    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:54 pm

                      They are eating at the table. But they tend to play with their food sometimes (build a little stacks of Cheerios for example), and generally are a little bit clumsy. I find they are just being kids and that’s ok, and why would I get my kid used to a sippy cup only to take it away? They can drink from a cup, but at this point the chances are 50/50 that they’ll spill something. I do know that they will get better at it.

                    • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 1:08 pm

                      My point is then don’t complain about how hard being a parent is! You seem to be one of those parents that has created the life you seem to want, yet you complain about how hard it is. If you are making it so that your kids are going to make a mess all over the place, then don’t complain about washing the floor 10 times a day. Because that could be prevented!

                    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:17 pm

                      First of all, I am not complaining, I actually have a pretty good sense of humor about this all. And I haven’t washed the floors (other than the kitchen and the bathroom) in I don’t even remember how long (I do vacuum every 10 days or so, before people start saying that I am dirty :D). I am just trying to make a point in response to that ”Just having kids doesn’t give you a get out of being a selfish bitch free card”, because in my opinion, that comment was absolutely uncalled for.

                    • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 10:36 pm

                      Flake, maybe she has mellow girls. My boys were full of energy and WILD. Always was jealous of the parents of docile mellow kids (who BTW often mistakenly think they are superior parents, when they just lucked out in the disposition roulette…)

        • JK JK August 26, 2011, 1:08 pm

          Sorry Flake, but I think lots of people might be scared off rom parenthood by your percieved negativity. i have a nearly 4 year old and a 4 month old. The littlest of course doesn’t make much mess yet o ourse, but the eldest is very messy. She never wanted a sippy cup, and I only gave her a bottle before bed after she weaned off the breast. At 9 months she started drinking by herself rom a big plastic mug (I’d put like 1/2 cm of liquid at the time). Since she walked (just before 1), if she spills she goes to get the rag and “helps” clean.
          Like I said in another post, luckily I haven’t worked outside the home since before my baby was born, and hopefully I won’t have to in the foreseeable future but I do help my husband a lot with paperwork, and do all the chores, errands, etc. Does my husband wish the house were a bit more spotless? I’m sure he does, but I know he’s grateful that our girls are well looked after, happy, and well stimulated.
          There’s a saying which I abide by completely: “A successful mother has a messy house, sticky floors and happy kids”. Kids will learn to live with a less than perfect house, ( I know I did), but they always cherish the special ties thay had with their parents.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:18 pm

            Like I just mentioned above, I was just trying to make a point in response to the ”Just having kids doesn’t give you a get out of being a selfish bitch free card” comment.

      • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 2:38 pm

        No, but having kids does fill your head with a bajillion and four things that can’t be just turned off at a moment’s notice. And it does screw with your hormones, your body image, your mental health, your physical stamina, and your tolerance for deviation from routine. Then add on to that the fact that she’s working.

        I just don’t see how working and helping to raise your children is in any way her being selfish bitch. And frankly, him saying “I think your being selfish and I’m going to leave unless you act more like you used to” is going to make her flip a shit. Do you AT ALL understand what it’s like to be a mom with two kids? You can’t just turn it off! There’s no “jolt” that will make her wake up. She is now a mom and that is always, always, always going to be priority number one. Learning how to disengage mommy manager mode and go back into wife mode is going to take her time and a lot of practice. Having to do that under threat of being a single mom and losing her partner is not going to make it any easier. It’s just going to stress her out even more.

  • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Honey, as a working mom of 4, I think I know what’s going on in her head. She is feeling like she needs to be “Supermom” and she isn’t “shutting off”. It’s hard to. Why? Because there is that competition to continually be “on top” of it all, and you are scared that if you shut off for even a second, you will get behind on something and then you will never catch back up and the perfect life you’ve created (which is usually an illusion for the outside world anyways) will come crashing down around you. It’s stressful. Very, very stressful. This is why you feel like she is rushing you through sex, or that she isn’t “all there” during it. She isn’t because she can’t shut off from “Supermom” mode.

    She needs time to depressurize, destress, and just be alone. She is hands-on, in all forms of the word. Constantly touched by two children under 4 is annoying sometimes. When you have multiple kids under 4, your body isn’t your own. It’s a jungle gym. You are a pony, piggy-back carrier, cradle, lap, snuggler, nap spot, nurse, cafeteria, snotrag, puke bucket, napkin, etc. Then a husband who wants to be affectionate with you, who thinks that the thing that will snap you out of “Mommy mode” is sex, with all of the accompanying snuggles, kisses, hugs, and foreplay. Some days, you just want to scream “DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME!” and stand in the middle of a field by yourself for a day staring at clouds.

    This isn’t going to change for a year or so. You are just going to have to be patient. Send her on girl-only time out to the store, shopping trips, out with friends, let her lock herself in the bathroom for a bath without being interrupted, etc. She needs ALONE TIME. Once she gets to desensitize herself, she will depressurize a bit, and thaw and relax and enjoy sex a bit more. In the mean time – you will probably have to start using that hand of yours a bit more. Sometimes, having kids means you don’t get the convenience of sex when you want it, so… improvise by yourself. Sorry – thems the breaks.

  • avatar pfan August 25, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Mr. Invisible and the comments have made my month/year. As the father of a 1 and 3 yr old my wife and I are running from the moment we wake to the moment when the kids are asleep, the dishes washed, house roughly cleaned and the laundy started. We will then typically get to spend some time together after this point but it is late and we are off to work in the morning. There is nothing I would rather do than spend my time ensuring the kids have a great day but I also try my hardest to make sure my wife can have the best day possible.
    I will never deny my wife the request to have alone time or do any activity while I take care of the rest. I know my wife is grateful of everything that is done and she has explained to me many times how she feels and how she just can’t relax and she really feels “over-touched”. I do undertand this and it makes sense to me however I know within days I will find myself being told this again. I am happy I love my wife so much and I am still so attracted to her but I find it very difficult to know that no matter I say or do the response will be the same. I am happy but it does crush a little inside everytime inside to hear her saw I know what you want.
    I know it doens’t help you at all but It does feel good to hear it from you and to hear the comments that others have said. It makes things appear a little more common and that I hope it is just the stage our family is at. Best wishes

    • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 6:01 pm

      Well, if your story is so common. And with so many women apparently feeling the same way, I guess it must be… I now finally understand the reason so many guys end up stepping out and have affairs… When your wife acts like she can take or leave being with you, or that it’s more trouble to sleep with you than it’s worth… It’s little wonder so many guys are able to rationalize simply going elsewhere to fulfill their needs….

      • avatar Seattle _lili August 25, 2011, 6:21 pm

        I know I’ll get purple thumbed for agreeing, but I had the same thought after reading the letter and all the comments. I’m single and straight, and now TERRIFIED about marriage and parenthood after reading this and the stories I hear from people I know. Also, its probably indicative of the men I’ve dated, but I can’t imagine a guy doing all the stuff the LW has done without resenting the wife for not ‘helping him out with his needs’ when he’s so carefully thought about hers.

        • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 8:54 am

          agreed! agreed! agreed!

        • bagge72 bagge72 August 26, 2011, 10:41 am

          I think this wife is taking a lot of heat, because people assume that she isn’t helping the husband out with his needs. She definitely is helping him out with his needs or she wouldn’t be having sex with him at all, or taking half days off to spend time with him. The problem is that she is so emotionally drained by the that time that she is just really going through the motions, and that makes the husband feel like she isn’t attracted to him anymore.

        • avatar SemanticAntics August 27, 2011, 11:03 pm

          I am terrified too now! I will have to think long and hard before making the decision to have kids, and who to have them with. Although it’s helpful that Flake gave a realistic portrait of what parenting is really like, so that there are no more illusions.

      • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 8:37 am

        Yeah, because putting someone’s needs above your own for a few years out of a supposed LIFETIME together is way too much to ask..

        • avatar Seattle _lili August 26, 2011, 12:44 pm

          Maybe I’m too cynical, but I don’t think a marriage can survive such an imbalance for so long. ‘Years’ is a long time to be feeling unfulfilled and both men and women assume that nothing will get better, so then they just sit in their resentment and unhappiness which makes the issues worse.

          I actually know a guy who was in the same spot as the LW when his kids were around that age, and he talked to his wife about how he was feeling and she DID make some adjustments so they survived this phase. Now the kids are elem. school aged and things are less hectic for the wife, but to be honest he doesn’t seem happy to me. He is staying married because he is committed to his marriage and family, but honestly all the advice I hear from him is not to get married unless I want kids. That scares me and shakes me idealistic views on marriage and its sustainability. Also, I dated a divorce attorney so I’m pretty jaded by all the stories of what people who were once in love can do to each other…sigh.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:00 pm

            Personally, I think a marriage can survive a few rough years. All relationships have good years and bad. If your significant other became ill (I am spitting and knocking on wood here :)) and would require your care, would you dump him/her? Hopefully you would understand that there are circumstances that you cannot control, and stick it out, for better or for worse.

            • katie katie August 26, 2011, 9:57 pm

              but having kids is not a circumstance you cant control. if you live in a developed country, it is absolutely your choice to have kids or not.

              all of your comments here have solidified my shakey thoughts about kids- its probably not worth the trouble. ill let you guys do it, since of course it is so great for you all…. ugh.

        • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:19 pm

          Apparently, it’s too much for the wife…that’s loud and clear.

  • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 1:45 pm

    The more and more posts I see…the more I think I have this guy’s answer…………….get a fleshlight.

    • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 2:14 pm

      (tongue in cheek comment)

      • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:21 pm

        or the best advice posted yet…

      • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

        I’m thumbing you down, Budjer!!! Humor will NOT be tolerated at Dear Wendy!!!!!

        • Budj Budjer August 25, 2011, 2:26 pm

          *que sad charlie brown music*

          • avatar PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 2:32 pm

            I’m just teasing – I thumbed you up!!

            That thumbs down was already there, probably strategically placed there by the marketing department of Kleenex®.

      • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 4:33 pm

        There’s a joke in there somewhere about an uncircumsized something in the wife’s cheek…

    • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 5:15 pm

      *slow hand clapping moment*

      I will refrain from making any “tongue in cheek” puns at the moment, considering the LW’s complaint.

  • avatar parrt August 25, 2011, 2:12 pm

    why the hell do idiots get married even after it has been made perfectly clear over hundreds of years that marriage is not fun by standup comics
    it’s work, chores, and unhappiness.

    and women who think they are the center of the universe.

    why else would this woman feel “stressed out” about managing all the chores, and other shit? she thinks the world can’t function if she is not worrying about it. maybe that is something to talk to a thearapist about

    • avatar parrt August 25, 2011, 2:16 pm

      DELeTED BY ADMIN

      • avatar Kate August 25, 2011, 2:18 pm

        Go away.

      • avatar soandso August 25, 2011, 2:26 pm

        troll….

    • avatar lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

      ‘she thinks the world can’t function if she is not worrying about it.’
      I often joke that if I’m not worrying about it, who will. (disagree with your comment, but that part is totally true for me, haha).

    • avatar Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 2:44 pm

      Yes, because I get aaall of my best life advice from stand-up comics.

    • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 3:18 pm

      As opposed to men who are sure that the world revolves around them? How about taking care of those chores, and not ‘tomorrow’, but NOW, when it actually has to be done?

    • avatar sia August 25, 2011, 7:36 pm

      You should head back home to the “relationship help”-forum at bodybuilding.com, you insecure, misogynist little troll.

  • avatar melikeycheesecake August 25, 2011, 2:19 pm

    “she thinks the world can’t function if she is not worrying about it.”

    Wow… parrt. I’m so glad you don’t believe in marriage… because anyone with you would be miserable. You’re that person who comes off angry and miserable and drags everyone down with you. That’s just sad.

  • avatar Sue Jones August 25, 2011, 3:22 pm

    The workload after 1 baby increases by about a 1000fold. Add 2 babies to the mix and it increases by 10,000 fold. Sorry, Dad, but you will just need to mensch up and be patient. Your wife is exhausted, touched out, and probably with all the hormonal changes, sex is the last thing on her mind. Biology does that naturally so that you don’t go on reproducing like the Duggars! The good news? In 4 years, as long as you all don’t decide to have more kids or (God forbid) Homeschool, you will have 2 kids who are close enough in age to play together (as long as they get along) and they will be in school 5 days per week which will leave you more free time to get reacquainted. You will not always be invisible. Your wife NEEDS you now! Parenthood is not for sissies and the early years are just…HARD!!! (Most of the time unless you can afford to hire full time nannies, cooks, and housekeepers, etc. like the Jolie-Pitts).

    But in the meantime, you will just have to buck up and put up with it. Be a mensch. Don’t get a divorce, SOOOO not worth it in the long run when you consider the economic damage, and the damage to the kids, unless things are just miserable. Try to enjoy the kids together, help as much as you can, and if you can afford it, HIRE HELP! This too shall pass!

    • avatar Sue Jones August 25, 2011, 3:26 pm

      I will also add… Don’t have an Affair, either! Not worth it!

    • avatar Sue Jones August 25, 2011, 3:30 pm

      My husband and I used to joke when our son was young, that while he fantasized about SEX, I was fantasizing about….. SLEEP!!! A full night’s sleep! I had to go without for about 3 years….. sigh.

      • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 5:20 pm

        *giggle* Even with an 11, 9, 7, and 2 year old – all we both dream about is a full night’s sleep. Preferably without guests in the bed by morning! (feline or toddler) We actually joke that we’re lucky to get sex once a quarter.

    • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 3:30 pm

      Even the rich get tired.. There are a couple of pictures out there of Victoria Beckham, and she actually looks like a real normal mom :)

  • avatar Flake August 25, 2011, 3:40 pm

    And just another point, for those that say that she should pay more attention to her husband. The husband is a grown man. He can understand why the things are this way. Toddlers don’t understand. They have no concept of ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow’. When they need attention, they need it NOW, they will give you at most 5 minutes. And god forbid if they become over-excited, over-tired, over-hungry or over-anything. Then nobody is having a good day. However, they will grow up. So just keep doing what you are doing and show your wife this thread. That should make both of you feel like you are not the only couple going through this.

    • avatar VioletLover August 25, 2011, 7:15 pm

      How will they grow up if they’re catered to whenever they whine about not getting the attention they want RIGHT NOW? How will they learn to understand those concepts, like later, tomorrow, or “no” if they’re being taught that what they want is the most important thing?

      Saying “Oh, well he’s an adult, he should understand why things suck,” seems like a way to fob off his concerns. He isn’t feeling connected or intimate in his relationship, and saying “well mommy has toddlers to deal with” isn’t a good solution. This man, who has been helpful and kind and even tries to be ROMANTIC (how many DW commenters complain about their guys not being romantic) should have to wait for years, until the precious kiddies can understand “not now,” to get the affection he deserves?

      That’s ridiculous! He needs actual advice to help his situation. “Just be a good boy and wait” isn’t helpful, it’s insulting. Maybe they should look into hiring a nanny, just a few days a week, so that mommy isn’t being touched too much?

      THAT’S helpful.

      • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 7:17 pm

        Brilliant. Very well said…

        • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 12:14 am

          Even Dan Savage calls parenthood a “sh*tstorm stressfest”. But that part is really only a few years. They grow up so fast…. and what the childless ones are not understanding is the HEART EXPLODING LOVE that having children brings into your life…. One of the benefits of evolution otherwise really, nobody would have children if they really knew… or if they were not capable of that magnitude of love.

          • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:55 am

            Um, I listen to Dan Savage religiously and he would totally tell the letter to either move on already (Dump The Mother Fucker Already) or else to ask his wife if she wants to at least maybe open up the marriage since she has so little interest in sex.

            • avatar savannah August 26, 2011, 2:01 pm

              Actually BGM, that’s not true at all. Dan Savage is probably the most pro-family-stay-together-for-the-kids-sake sex columnist out there ever. There is no way in hell he would advise a DTMFA in this case. Agreed about the open marriage advice but as someone with a young kid himself, he has in the past advised exactly what you are so vehemently against and that is to wait out the rough patches, have plenty of open communication and be supportive.

              • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:12 pm

                Oh, he’s pro family. But he is also very all about open marriages when monogamy is not meeting both partners needs.

                • avatar Britannia August 27, 2011, 1:53 am

                  He’s also anti-”Let your spouse walk all over you and never fulfill your emotional needs”.

          • avatar Sue Jones August 28, 2011, 1:02 am

            And that difficult stage for us now is a distant memory. We worked it through and it is so much easier now. Son went on a playdate tonight all evening so we had time to ourselves… How quickly they grow up!

      • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 12:09 am

        Toddlers whine, cry etc. constantly. They NEED to be catered to since they are babies and have no concept of delayed gratification. Just try and “teach a kid a lesson” by ignoring him, and he will dissociated and learn developmentally that mom and dad don’t care. Dad I assume is an adult. He can I think handle a few years of hard work, etc. Really, some of the men responding here are acting like babies themselves. I agree that Date Night works wonders…. but some of the comments here really point to immaturity….

        Young children are hard. It comes with the territory. So do not have any if you are not willing to put up with this stuff for a few years. Until you meet someone who you love enough that you can work stuff out with, and have patience for these years, just don’t be reproducing like rabbits, OK?

        Threatening to leave? Really????? OK, imagine this. You get a divorce, you only see the kids every other weekend, and you are paying BIG BUCKS every month in child support… IS that really preferable to going with out as much sex as you want for a few short years? Really? If that is the case then go get a vasectomy TODAY!!!

        If he waits it out, is patient, and they have date nights, nannies, housecleaners, etc. then in a few years they will be out of this phase, she will feel more like her old self and she will be so GRATEFUL that you were so supportive during those hard years that you will have more attention and sex than you ever imagined from her, the kids will grow up with an intact family, and you will have MORE MONEY!!!!!!

        Hmmmmmmm! Which choice should he make????? Ummmm…….

        • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 6:30 am

          Agree x 100

        • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 9:54 am

          Toddlers are not babies. Babies have no clue about delayed gratification, and won’t learn anything from being made to wait wother than “mommies and daddies don’t care”, as you say.

          Toddlers on the other hand, are capable of understanding “I’ll be there in a minute”. A toddler who is treated like a baby, and whose every whim is immediatley catered to, will soon become a spoiled preschooler.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 10:44 am

            That’s exactly the point. They can wait a minute, or if you’re very lucky, five minutes. After that, they either start screaming (which is the most annoying sound in the world, apparently) or try and do/get whatever it is they want themselves. Which is very good, but they still don’t know that after they have climbed on the counter, got what they wanted, they still have to climb down, and they haven’t mastered that yet, or they are so brave that they just try to step right off because usually that’s how mom/dad does it.

            • JK JK August 26, 2011, 1:13 pm

              Just because a toddler is screaming for attention doesn’t mean you have to give it to them immediately if you are otherwise occupied! Unless there is a possibly harmful situation there is no problem with the screaming! And I am actually accused of coddling my oldest too much.

              • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:24 pm

                Yeah, but on the other hand, a screaming toddler is not exactly conducive to spending quality time with your hubby :)

                • JK JK August 26, 2011, 1:41 pm

                  LIke I said elsewhere, our quality time is usually when the girls are sleeping. Car trips are good, too.
                  Priorities are a must. Eldest calling for attention/dinner on the stove? Dinner.
                  TV or computer/daughter crying? Daughter, of course.
                  Eldest crying/youngest crying? Youngest or both!

          • avatar Patti August 28, 2011, 3:04 am

            Does no one believe in baby sitters anymore? I had one family when I was of babysitting age that they asked me to come every Friday. Most times they went out together, sometimes one of them had a business meeting and the other went out with friends.
            Man I was so happy to have that money on a regular basis. Plus they had nice kids and I brought craft supplies. Although there was that one brownie mix incident….

        • avatar Monica M August 26, 2011, 2:48 pm

          You make a huge assumption in your scenario, that the wife WILL return to her old self. So he waits and puts his needs on hold for what another 2 to 4 years and HOPES that the wife then decides to make their marriage more of a priority? What if she doesn’t? By that time he could lose the capacity to care because he has endured 5 years without an emotional connection to his wife. And really he should accept the status quo because it will save him money…

    • katie katie August 26, 2011, 10:41 pm

      i seriously question the fact that you say you have a happy marriage

      • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 27, 2011, 12:40 am

        Yeah, the husband is about as happy as I am SweetGayMark. ;)

      • avatar Sue Jones August 28, 2011, 1:14 am

        Umm and who are you? Together with husband for 17 years. Waited until 9 years in to have kid. So we had plenty of fun before. And we have more time to enjoy each other now. A few tired years that were full on and now we are through all that and I have no regrets. In a long relationship one thinks more along the lines of geologic time. 5 years is not long. 2 years is downright short. A blink of an eye. I keep thinking that in 10 years I will be an empty nester and that seems like a really short amount of time. I am savoring every moment of childrearing and my husband and I are enjoying watching him grow into an amazing person. Younger people think they are in a “good long relationship” if they have been dating for 6 months….. I really do not think you have a clue about what makes a good marriage. Learning how to work things out and weather challenges is part of it. Your idea of having a good marriage is that it has to feel like a long date. If your husband got cancer or MS and you had to take care of him would you divorce him because you weren’t getting enough sex? Clueless…

  • avatar AmitR August 25, 2011, 4:10 pm

    It is important that LW tell her this is a problem. I think getting a babysitter and physically removing themselves from the kids being around may let her relax. (After she gets used to it, that is.)

  • avatar A August 25, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I am a little surprised by the number of people here who are willing to say that the LW just needs to accept his situation and finished and that his wife having to worry about him after worrying about the kids is more then she should need to bear, or even worse that his wanting it makes him needy or childish. I understand that those with kids feel the heavy burden LW’s wife is carrying but that doesnt make it ok to say that because she has to raise kids she no longer has a responsibility to her husband and vice versa. Assuming his letter to be accurate he does his share of the domestic work and works a full time job and still manages to find the strength to shower some love and romantic attention on his wife. He is there and involved and responsible and a 50% partner, and telling him that he doesnt have a right to expect anything more from his wife or his marriage is a sad statement of what it means to be in a relationship, where each others wellbeing is paramount. Reality is that the divorce rate is 50%- marriages dont just survive,and odds on a couple divorcing are as high as staying together. LW’s wife can choose to ignore that for the next 3 years and hope the husband wont resent being ignored for all those years. how does anyone recover from spending 6 years in a relationship with someone who doesnt know they exist- and doesnt care to make a change? Someone above said that when the couple are happy it helps them raise happy kids and ignoring your relationship for any reason for years is not ok, and all those people telling the LW to just accept the status quo, instead of telling him to talk to his wife or seek counseling or find a way to improve their marriage is encouraging an environment that puts his marriage in serious jeapordy.

    • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 5:35 pm

      Ah… but honestly, can you expect a female’s body to magically bounce back to pre-baby sexual condition after two kids in 36 months on top of a demanding full-time job? Her mental state after hormonal fluctuations? We do not know what exactly the LW expects as far as sex. It could be daily. It could be weekly. She could be dealing with post-partum depression, actually be working on a treatment for it and he just not mention it because LW wasn’t sure it was actually relevant to the topic.
      He could also be over-selling his household help. My second husband would “do the dishes” and only wash the plates, bowls and cups, leaving the silverware, pots, pans, and bakingware out on the counter left. He would not dry anything and leave it on the rack, or leave everything still in the dishwasher, and would leave the wet towel on the counter and the sponge still full of soapy water in the half-full greasy water in the sink. His idea of doing laundry was grabbing whatever was on the top of the pile (unsorted) and throw it in the washer and turn it on and wash them like they were towels (including my dry clean only work clothes mixed with his greasy mechanic uniforms) and then forget he ever put them in the washer and I would find them 3 days later on laundry day, molded (and ruined in some cases). But, he always told people that he was a 50/50 household partner when it came to cleaning the house. The only thing he did willingly or well was take out the trash, even if he never put a new bag in the can afterwards.

      • avatar A August 25, 2011, 5:46 pm

        i agree totally that we are working basis the letter being accurate ( and since he cares enough to write in lets give him the benefit of the doubt) and of course sexual recovery takes time but while his letter talks about sex it is within a broader complaint about his wifes lack of awareness that he exists and has emotional needs as well.
        I feel like the problem is that there is a reality about men which we are ignoring. It would be great if men didnt require the attention and could recognize the hardships of young children for what they are and werent ever needy or demanding of attention- and if it was only one man in 20 who found it difficult to deal with a partners ignoring them i would say the LW should just take it on the chin. But lets be honest, this guy if his letter is correct is among the best of men. He is one of the guys who takes the time and is concerned for his wife and is involved in the domesticity, thats not so easy to find- in many ways he is a gem, and despiste all that EVEN such a top guy is suffering in the circumstances. So we can sit back here wishing men were different then they are and tell them to accept the status quo and expect marriage to work anyway- or we can accept the reality of husbands the world over and recognize that for a marriage to work its not going to be enough to ignore your partner for years when kids are young, cause men the world over are miserable in the status quo and thats not healthy for a marriage.

        • avatar AKchic August 25, 2011, 7:08 pm

          Sometimes, you can’t have sex weekly when you have little kids and you both work. It just isn’t an option, much as we all would like it to be.

          If she can’t “disconnect”, then how the hell can she be expected to snap out of it after a heart-to-heart discussion and magically all will be well in the LW’s bedroom? It won’t. That’s why he needs to realize that there is no magical cure-all. This is going to take time, regardless of what the underlying cause is. He is going to have to realize that things HAVE changed, even temporarily.

          He needs an honest discussion with her, yes. They need more time as a couple without children. She needs more time as an individual. One week of this will not change her back into that woman she was prior to having children. It can take months. It took months to get to this point. It was almost “practice”. It will take practice to get them back into the swing of things. Practice to get her to drop out of “Supermom” mode. Practice to get her to learn to switch from being Supermom to loving, sensual wife again.

          • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 25, 2011, 7:11 pm

            If you can’t find time to have sex once a week, then maybe you simply need to better prioritize… Seriously…

            • avatar VioletLover August 25, 2011, 7:18 pm

              I find it hard to believe that it’s impossible to find time for sex even just ONCE a week. That sounds like making excuses and exaggerating to avoid doing something you don’t want to do.

              • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 3:13 pm

                Ummm no. Imagine this. Kids A and B are finally asleep ( so you think), very nice and important things start to happen, when…. someone’s car alarm goes off… and “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Said very important thing does not happen right then. Parent A gets up, spends 30 min getting kid A back to sleep when…. Kid B “MOMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!”… repeat…. by the time you get Kid B handled…. And go back into bedroom, Parent B is snoring away…. FAIL.

                • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 6:34 pm

                  Well if you live in a neighborhood where car alarms go off every night the kids will get used to the sound and learn to sleep through it if you don’t go rushing to their aid. If you don’t and it’s a rare occasion – try boning one of the other 6 nights of the week.

                  I don’t blame the wife for being tired and in zombie mode, but once he brings how he is feeling to her attention, and she is made aware of her skewed priorities, i’m hoping she will make her husband at least second on her list…above laundry, that extra 30 minutes of sleep, having a perfectly clean house, etc.

          • Caris Caris August 25, 2011, 10:21 pm

            Maybe moms should not try to be super moms all the time? My mom tries to be super mom all the time despite the fact that her 3 kids are between 18 and 25, and you know what? I hate it. It’s annoying. And all it does is make her stressed. Most of the time I just keep wishing she could just RELAX, there are certain things that are not worth the trouble of getting SO stressed. So instead of worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink, maybe she could just remember she has a husband and spend a little time with him, talking, having sex and cuddling. The world will not end because you didn’t wash the plates “on schedule”.

            • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 6:31 am

              Try and tell that to your mom…

              • Caris Caris August 26, 2011, 9:43 am

                shed kill me :D

  • avatar Theenemenyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 25, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Do any of the people who are collapsing the husband’s needs into a single category of “sex” realize that they are playing into the stereotype that men have no feelings? That men only care about sexual gratification? That a man who is craving intimacy and emotional connectedness isn’t a magical, mythical unicorn?

    Once again, if the genders were reversed, no one would be questioning the LW’s need for connection with his partner.

    • avatar Theenemenyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 25, 2011, 5:56 pm

      hmmm, I apparently can’t spell my own username. D’oh.

  • avatar Monica M August 25, 2011, 6:00 pm

    You can’t choose to be a wife and mother and then decide later you only had the capacity to be a mother and not think there will be consequences. You need to take into account everything the LW detailed, he is not just seeking more sex. And if he is underestimating the amount of help he is giving then she needs to communicate that to him. His list of what he does is pretty detailed so I don’t think that is the case. If he even does an incomplete job of everything he listed it is not an insignificant contribution. Telling him to grin and bear it is not a solution.

  • katie katie August 25, 2011, 8:26 pm

    ok, so i am not a mom, but i do get stressed about getting everything done that needs to be done, so here is my perspective:

    if i do have things on my mind, things i know i need to do, ect, sex and relaxing is just hard to for me to do. my mind isnt thinking about what is happening at that moment, its thinking about how long this will take so that i will have X amount of time left to do things a, b, c, d, ect…. when this happens, and my boyfriend notices, he will help me with all the things that i need to do. now, sometimes we dont get everything done, but he will get my mind to a point where i can actually flip that stress/time management switch in my head, and and i can just sit and relax/have sex/whatever..

    i really feel like if i had kids, i wouldn’t be able to ever shut off that switch ever, which is probably what is happening with your wife. so, the question is, how do you get your wife’s brain to flip that switch? i’m not exactly sure, but i think if you tried a few different tactics, you might figure out something that works… make a schedule of all the cleaning that needs to be done each day, so that your wife will know that if a, b, and c cleaning has been done that day, she doesn’t have to think about cleaning until tomorrow. maybe get a cleaning lady to help out a couple days a week. plan date nights, and then ensure that all the stressful things that will take her mind away are gone. make your wife schedule in “relax” time on a certain day, or certain time of each day, where the two of you, or her alone, will be able to just relax. if that means sex, watching tv, whatever, she/you two gets to relax.

    i also think that you need to have a very deep conversation with your wife. i feel like living like this cant be even that fun or healthy for her either! she needs to be able to take a break, to shut her mind off, and to relax, and my god every human needs sex! maybe if you talk with her, she would actually have ideas- if we could run the house like X, i would be much more able to relax on sundays, or whatever the case may be.

    i really think you are doing everything right, but you never know- maybe she would like you to do different things, or maybe you are doing everything right and she just needs to learn how to relax, learn that each person deserves that time, mother, father, wife, teenager, whoever you are.

  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 6:55 am

    Ouff.. I am sorry, but I need to vent after reading some comments here. I don’t care if no one reads this, or if I get blue thumbs, purple thumbs or polka-dot thumbs.

    1. People who have never been in this situation (@BGM, Parrt and a few others) have no right to judge EITHER of them.

    2. We’re talking about two toddlers. At that age they are notoriously clingy/messy/little attention black holes. That’s ok. They do turn five and six and become capable of entertaining themselves for longer than a few minutes.

    3. For the benefit of some clearly ignorant people here: it takes on AVERAGE 18 months after a birth of a child before a woman feels like her old self. That means that there are women who have a kid, and continue tomorrow like nothing ever happened. BUT that also means that there are women who need 3 YEARS to get back to normal. She just had a second baby. For a good part of the last four years (including the first pregnancy) her body has not been her own (I won’t even mention the boobs in particular).

    4. Where do people see in the letter that the wife is a self-centered bitch?? The LW says that apparently she enjoys their sex life, so obviously they do have sex. What he seems to have a problem with is his PERCEIVED lack of intimacy. How about taking her at her word and actions?

    5. Real advice: talk to her. Try doing what reasonable people on here have suggested. Take her away from the house, but make sure that once she gets back, there are NO CHORES to be done. Do it a few times, so that she understands that being away from home does not mean coming back to a list of things to do that is a mile-long. Trust her when she says that she enjoys sex. The more you ask ‘was it good for you’ the more annoying that becomes.
    Also, know that talking to her MAY NOT HELP (for a variety of reasons)! That yes, if you want to stay with her and see your children grow you may have to suck it up for a few years.

    (continued later, have to go and wake up the rest of the family :))

    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:17 am

      6. I would seriously think about depression (that could be one of the reasons that would not work). 25% of women go through some level of PPD after a first child, 50% after all subsequent children. I was depressed after having a baby. My husband knew about it (because crying for no reason gave it away). But he had no idea how really bad it was for me. I didn’t go to the doctor because I would never be able to say the things that went through my head out loud. I’ve never dealt with a mental illness before, so that part scared the sh*t out of me. I did not go for medication because I was breastfeeding and also because I have some friends who have been on Prozac because of PPD and never went off it, and that is just not a personal choice for me.

      7. Children do not ask to be born. Until a certain age they do not have the capacity to control their emotions. You can’t expect a 2-year old to have a maturity level of a 30-year old man. They do grow up and acquire the skills necessary to judge the situation and respond appropriately. I am trying to say that this situation is almost certainly temporary. If you want to have kids, you have to be ready to put your needs on the back-burner for a few years out of your life. (But according to some people, it is acceptable for a father of two to act like a toddler himself.)

      8. Yes, I will say it again, having small kids is hard. Admitting that does not make me a bad parent or a bad wife. If that all it took for all, or even half of the people, to stop reproducing NONE of us would be here. Nobody would ever climb up a mountain, or run a marathon, or even learn to walk for that matter, because sure as hell it is easier to sit on your ass and wait for easy things to happen to you. But doing something that presents a challenge gives me, personally, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. So you know what, I admit that now things could definitely be easier, but I also know that these are only a few intense years out of my life. For 30 years I have lived for no one but myself. Putting my kids first for the next five is not going to kill me. Thankfully, my husband agrees with me, because he wants and loves those kids as much as I do.

      8. The thing about having kids is that there’s no way to know how you will deal with them unless you have them. You can read all the books you want, and hear all the stories in the world, that will not change the fact that life with small kids hits you like a train in the face. I was one of those people who think that it is impossible not to find time to have sex at least once a week. When my friends (male and female) would tell me that sex will be the last thing on my mind, in my head I was thinking that no way I would ever let that part of my life go. Then the reality hits you. By no means every couple goes through exactly the same thing, but the general idea is the same. Now, those same friends have kids that are in preschool or school, and guess what, their lives are almost back to their pre-baby way.

      I know this post is only for selfish reasons, but some times we ‘self-centered bitchy moms’ just need to vent.

      • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:34 am

        REALLY? You’re going to throw the depression card??? That is so ridiculous, I’m so sure had SHE been writing in saying her husband was doing all these things everyone would be telling her to MOA. I love how easily depression gets thrown around here.

        • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:38 am

          The only thing I can tell you is that I went through it and that the apathy the LW feels is one of the most common sings of depression.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:52 am

            “the apathy LW’s wife feels”

        • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:40 am

          & EVEN if that were the case, she should be doing something about it, like going to a physiatrist & getting treated. Did you not read this letter? This guy is busting his ass, fawning over her, cooking, cleaning, doing a lot of the chores with the children & basically begging her to tell him what her problem is. Not a lot of guys would do that, most of them would cheat… That’s why I originally suggested there was more to the story, but of course got massively thumbed down bc how could there be? He’s so inconsiderate, she has all these different emotional disorders, how could he not understand??
          Good grief, maybe she is just a selfish bitch, or maybe she resents him for something. Point is she’s not doing anything to work with her husband which is what a marriage is about. Communication & TEAMWORK. I see more & more why divorce rates in this country are so high. This thread makes me want to be unmarried & child-less!

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:41 am

            Please save some one the trouble and stay that way

            • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:42 am

              Wow. You’re classy… you’re a mom?

              • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:51 am

                It doesn’t look like there’s anything to say to change your mind, and if you think that this level of commitment is too much for you, then yes, probably you should avoid it. But then again, there is a very good chance that you will meet someone who will make feel less scared about having a family and you will think that this person is worth going through a few rough years together.

                • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:57 am

                  I have already met that person, but with the way the comments are going it makes it seem like children & marriage ruin everything. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree that marital problems can be solved by just “giving the other space” for months-years. That’s a huge reason why people stray. From this LW’s pov, it sounds like he’s made numerous attempts to rectify the situation & his wife sounds like she’s not interested. If she truly cared, imo, she would figure out whats wrong with her & make active movements to resolve it. I feel that the baby excuse is used lightly here, yeah I get children are hard work but so is marriage & if you don’t have the understanding your marriage will fail.

                  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 10:25 am

                    When did anybody said that they ruin everything? They CHANGE everything, and it is easier for an adult to adept then for a 2-4 year baby. That is all I am saying.
                    I never said “giving the other space”. I said they should give each other time. You (and I do not mean you personally :) ) spent your whole life (20-30) just taking care of your needs. It takes a lot of time to adept to a completely different life dynamic. I am not saying that it should take just as long, but really, is 5-6 years (and believe me it does get a lot easier once the kids are potty-trained/can feed themselves, and/or start sleeping through the night) really to much to ask to consider the needs of child that you chose to have first? A marriage will fail if people are not on the same page about important issues in their lives (such as having and raising kids), which, by the way could also be a case here. But if there is a strong foundation for a marriage, it can survive a few rough years.
                    I also think that people get scared when I say “years”, but that is the truth. In my opinion, there is no instant solution to this LW’s particular problem, but I have definitely been wrong before.

                    • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 10:42 am

                      “With the way the comments are going.”
                      The way most of you are describing life with children.

                    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 10:50 am

                      @LTC039 below (for some reason there is no reply button): Would it make you feel any better if I said that kids change nothing, and your life will stay the same? I am just telling you the truth (unless you have unlimited resources for help).

                    • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 10:57 am

                      No. I know kids change your life, that’s very obvious, it’s just a lot of negative highlights being pointed out here. I’m not planning on marriage or children in the forseeable future, so it’s fine, however, I’ve always been in b/w having no children or having them. But I know if I ever do decide to have kids, it’ll be when I’m 100% ready, & I’ll make sure of that.

                    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 11:16 am

                      The negative highlights are there because people are trying to show what the problem with the wife might be, and also because all the negative part is highlighted by the lack of sleep and time. But as you can see, there are a lot of people that choose to have kids, and I know it’s a cliché, but the way nature made things, is a soon as you see your kids literally light up when they see you in the morning or after work, you forget everything that was ever wrong or difficult.

                  • katie katie August 26, 2011, 9:33 pm

                    i agree with everything you said here.

                    i have been very on the fence about having kids, and after reading this last night, me and my boyfriend literally decided that kids arent even a discussable topic for 5-7 years.

                    if it seriously is so terrible to have children, and if my relationships with other people (family, friends, HUSBAND) will suffer so much, i honestly dont want any part of that. so thanks mothers for enlightening me.

            • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 26, 2011, 11:52 am

              Come on, that’s just rude.

              • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:09 pm

                yes, that was rude, and I am sorry, but I just couldn’t help myself.

                • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 26, 2011, 12:22 pm

                  Maybe you should try harder.

                  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:34 pm

                    Well at least I don’t fly off the handle and throw the F-bombs left and right and call people, that I know absolutely nothing about, names.

                    • avatar silver_dragon_girl August 26, 2011, 4:38 pm

                      I actually typed that and then thought “no, that’s too mean” and closed the window, but apparently it posted anyway…so whoops! Sorry :(

            • avatar lets_be_honest August 26, 2011, 12:07 pm

              haha.

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:47 am

            Sometimes working on a problem means giving each other time. That may mean a week, a month, or in this case around 2-3 years out of a lifetime together.

        • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:40 am

          And I do know that men get PPD too, so if she wrote the same thing, my opinion would be the same.

          P. S. Tom Cruise called. He wants his rant about depression back..

          • avatar LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:47 am

            I believe that was about pills. Not depression in itself.

    • Budj Budjer August 26, 2011, 9:30 am

      I think considering that we only have one side of the story and not the whole story that this post is sound, but I do have an issue with 4. When your partner says the words “everything feels good” when you ask for feedback that means:

      a) they weren’t into the moment enough to pay attention to anything
      b) she is lying or dismissing you because you suck in the sack (by default a) also occurs)
      or
      c) everything really did feel good…..(99.99999% probably not true)

      That leaves a or b….both of which are a shitty situation for the husband…nothing better to ruin sex drive than making it obvious you aren’t into it and maybe it’s my age and the fact that I don’t have kids…and don’t want them after this thread gave me anxiety about children before I even have the option…but a healthy sexual relationship is pretty important to the health of the relationship overall.

      • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 9:37 am

        I generally agree with you, but it also could be that SHE is happy that she is getting any kind of sex at all :)

      • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 11:18 am

        Or she finds that talking during sex is distracting her from the sensations of sex and ruining the sex.

        • Budj Budjer August 26, 2011, 11:41 am

          The talking doesn’t happen in the heat of the moment. His tenses implied that he has discussed that portion out of the bedroom.

    • avatar Natasia Rose August 26, 2011, 11:50 am

      I don’t think it’s fair to say that people who have never been in the situation can judge it. There is no way every advice columnist has been in every situation that s/he has been written about.

      I don’t think it’s unfair for the people who don’t have kids to think it’s weird that so many mothers think it’s okay for their emotional/physical involvement with their husband to suffer that badly. “We have kids now, I’m too stressed to think about you for the next 4-7 years” doesn’t seem valid and shouldn’t be. But this is the opinion of someone with no kids, so it’s probably not valid.

      • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:05 pm

        Your opinion is valid. But then again, it is an opinion, and not a judgement such as ‘the wife is a selfish bitch’ or ‘the LW is a wuss for putting up with her’. And they are having sex. She is making an effort. It is just not enough for the LW. She is not enthusiastic enough for the him. Most people are saying that this will pass/improve once the kids become less demanding. And it will happen, unless they have some special needs (but the LW doesn’t mention anything like that).

        • avatar MissDre August 26, 2011, 1:37 pm

          Flake, I know you’re getting lots of thumbs up and down, left and right. Just want to say that I’ve got your back! I see where you’re coming from and I understand. Sending some internet love your way :)

          • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:46 pm

            Thanks :) It’s just that as a relatively new mom, this topic touched a nerve.

            • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 4:05 pm

              Oh yeah! Sending the love your way! Been there and done that! Even though my kiddo is 8, some of the comments from the childless touch nerves in me also. I used to feel that way….. funny how the reality will change your views!

              • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 4:34 pm

                My aunt once told me that the only people who gave her lots of unsolicited advice about children were people who had no children. They knew everything about raising kids.

                This is one of those things you just don’t get until you’ve been there and we don’t say that to discourage people from having children but just trying to be honest.

                • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 4:41 pm

                  On the flip side, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you think marginalizing your husband to fifth of sixth on the list is going to make for a happy marriage, you are in for a big surprise. aka D I V O R C E !!! I mean, it’s not exactly like divorce is unheard of these days… In fact, what you are suggesting — that men should just deal with it — is probably one of more common reasons for it.

                  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 5:16 pm

                    I didn’t say that men should just deal with it. I think the reality is that when you have small kids you have so much on your plate at one time that both husband and wife have trouble dealing with all of it. Children test a marriage and many fail when there are young children because the going does get rough and you need a solid marriage going into child rearing.

                    I think many people become disillusioned when they have it “all”, job, spouse, kids, house and they find themself exhausted and asking, “Is this what I worked so hard for? This is awful.” What they don’t know is that the overburdened phase will pass and things get much easier and their satisfaction with life goes back up and they are again much happier. Part of the problem is that no one warns you how difficult the toddler years are and so they take you by surprise. Everyone tells you you’re going to be tired when you get up to feed a newsborn over and over through the night but that phase actually ends much more rapidly (a few months) than the toddler phase (a few years.) The second thing that happens is that couples don’t realize the toddler years will be much more difficult than the infant stage so when they get past the nightly feedings and things get easier they go ahead and get pregnant with a second baby. Then the first hits the toddler stage where you have to have the unrelenting vigilance and they have a new infant that needs round the clock feeding and suddenly they’re trying to tread water but finding that they keep going under. At that point it’s too late to say oops we should have waited a little longer to have a second baby or maybe we would have been happier with just one.

                    It takes good communication on the part of both husband and wife and that’s probably lacking here. He tells us the things he’s tried and about feeling that his wife isn’t focused on him but he never says that he’s asked her what’s on her mind. Maybe he has asked and she just says nothing but maybe he hasn’t. Maybe they both can’t believe how low their marriage has sunk, maybe she’s having an affair and is checked out emotionally. We just don’t know. I’m glad he’s trying. He sounds like a great guy and I want him to know that things will get easier in time but I would also hate to sugarcoat it because that wouldn’t be honest.

                    • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 6:40 pm

                      I would agree with everything except that people don’t know how hard having a toddler is. I disagree. It is 2011, with the internet, mommyblogs, facebook, oversharing in general, I think everyone is now aware of how hard having kids is. So when you choose to do that, you need to be ready and willing to accept that it’s going to be hard and stressful. That’s why the whining gets really annoying to those of us who are well aware of how much work kids are and are choosing to wait until we can afford house cleaner, nannies/babysitters for weekly dates, etc. You knew what you were signing up for!

              • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 6:43 pm

                Ugh you both seriously both seriously need to go check out stfuparentsblog.com. Yes, us childless people could never understand why it’s completely acceptable to neglect your husband in favor of your children. Sorry I will just never agree that it’s okay to not have sex for 3 years while your kids are young. You make it happen, you don’t make excuses. Where I will defend the mom is that it sounds like they do, and he is just hurt that she doesn’t seem to enjoy it, which I think is getting a little picky. But full blown saying she can just put off being a wife for a few years is a little ridiculous — at least to us childless people

                • JK JK August 26, 2011, 6:52 pm

                  For what it’s worth, I’m a mum of 2 (nearly 4 and 4 months) and I also think it’s unacceptable to neglect your husband in favor of the kids (as I’ve mentioned in several posts already). And I deinitely don’t think it’s ok to not have sex for 3 years!!! Just wanted to say that not all mums talk about their suffering/martyrdom/whatever.
                  i enjoy my kids, they enjoy me, my husband and I enjoy each other (for the most part). We even have a pretty healthy sex life!

                  • avatar ForeverYoung August 26, 2011, 7:04 pm

                    See that’s what I like to hear. The woe-is me attitude drives me crazy. Why have kids if you spend your whole life complaining about how you have no life, are too tired to be a wife, work 20 hour days, can’t enjoy the moment. I get it, there obviously will be days when you simply can’t. Hell I don’t even have kids and there are days I am too tired and too busy to be the loving, nurturing wife I wish I could. But to disregard his feelings and to tell him to suck it up and wait it out is a little unfair. He seems like a great husband and father!

                    • JK JK August 26, 2011, 7:14 pm

                      I know, I wish my husband would do half the stuff LW does, but then in my case I stay at home (luckily), so I take on chores and errands gladly! Sure there are moments that I’m tired, but I wouldn’t give up what I have for anything.
                      And it is totally unfair to expect LW to wait for his wife. She really has to make an effort as well!

                  • katie katie August 26, 2011, 9:30 pm

                    im really glad that there are women/wifes/mothers out there who are like you.

                    seriously, if every woman hates her life so much when she has children, why does anyone willingly walk into that?

                    life is only successful with BALANCE. balance work, the kids, your marriage, ect.

                • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 7:28 pm

                  I didn’t feel sorry for myself when I had young kids and I didn’t go around complaing and saying woe is me. I was actually pretty happy but I can also say it was hard work. My husband and I had a pretty good sex life even with small children and certainly didn’t skip it for 3 years. We did learn to take opportunities as they occurred, like nap time. It takes talking with each other and rebalancing the things in your life as the demands on your time change. It takes flexibility from both husband and wife.

                • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 10:07 pm

                  That is what I am trying to say. That no matter what you heard, it is still hard. It’s like reading about mountain-climbing and actually doing it.
                  Admitting that it’s the hardest thing I have ever dealt with does not make me a martyr.
                  I love my family and my life and enjoy it every day. Having an understanding with my husband helps.
                  You may want to check out the ‘Crash test mommy’. I think it’s on TLC.
                  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to take a shower and have sex with my husband, because-surprise-I actually enjoy that.

                  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 27, 2011, 7:29 am

                    To say that parenting toddlers is hard work is just being factual. It’s like having a friend finish law school and having them say law school was hard work, stressful and that they’re burned out on studying. I see their words as being factual but not complaining.

                    The vigilance and time a toddler takes is exhausting but also rewarding in the same way that getting a law degree is exhausting but rewarding. I personally found that a toddler was harder on marriage than grad school was, than a long distance relationship was and more than cancer was. That doesn’t in any way mean that I hated being a parent or regretted having my kids. We love our kids and we are glad we had them and we now joke about how hard it was. We had a second child knowing how much work they would be and still wanted that second child and were glad when we were finally able to have her. We went into it knowing that we would have added stress and that was okay with us. We’ve also been careful to make sure that we didn’t have a third because that was more than we wanted. We both fully agreed that we wanted a second child and we both fully agreed that we didn’t want a third child. We both comment on how much fuller our lives are with children and it would be so different and emptier without them. But for all that it wouldn’t be honest to say that they weren’t hard work, they weren’t an added stress and that they didn’t take a toll on our marriage.

                    The intensity of love you feel for a child is so profoundly strong and different than even the love you feel for your partner (and the love you feel for your partner is profoundly strong and different from the love you feel for your child.) The love you feel for a child is fiercely protective which is part of the reason it is so exhausting taking care of them. You know all the things that could happen to them and so you are nonstop vigilant to keep them safe because they don’t know how quickly they can get run over in the street but you do. They don’t know that they could get hurt falling off the refrigerator but you do, etc. But as they get older they aren’t doing so many stupid, dangerous things and they can dress themself and go to the bathroom by themself and make a snack for themself and life gets much easier. Then when you look back it feels like everything happened really fast but when you’re living it things don’t seem so fast. Three really intense years out of an entire lifetime is not really that many or that bad but they are intense years that test a marriage.

                • avatar Sue Jones August 29, 2011, 6:28 pm

                  Even reading the mommyblogs will not prepare you for the reality of not sleeping for 3 years. For what it actually feels like…. and how darn tired one can get. And FWIW nowhere did we say we NEVER had sex for 3 years, just that it was not as often as before and needed to (gasp!!!!) be scheduled or it may not happen… Spontaneity goes out the window most of the time. We did wait until we could afford all the help, and it was still a shock. For someone who went 41 years doing pretty much whatever she wanted…and watching it come to a screeching halt… But we kept the perspective that this too shall pass. It was not always easy, but the difficulty was intermingled with the joy and amazement of this wonderful being who decided to be born through us! (Sorry if sounding too sappy, but there it is…) We made it through, perhaps because we were older, more mature, and had more resources, but honestly, 1/2 (50%!!!) of the couples we did birth class with were separated or divorced by the time the kids hit kindergarten. So it is a problem and much of what has been suggested has merit. I urge the childless ones who are having trouble with the reality to wait until you have resources, have your career on track, etc. In the meantime, select your mate carefully and USE RELIABLE CONTRACEPTION! Easy to see why so many young couples with children don’t make it these days…

                  The types of men I was attracted to in my 20′s were not the type who would have made good fathers. In fact, none of the men I was in serious relationships with before my husband EVER went on to have children. That is telling!

  • avatar amber August 26, 2011, 10:57 am

    I’m sure I’m saying the same things as many commenters above, but there are just so many to read through! You say you’ve talked about sex but have you talked about the rest of your feelings? I think that is the first step. Also you basically mention every household chore not involing the kids as your duty. Do you guys split them or do you literally do all of that and she just has kid duty while you’re doing those things. Have you tried date nights or trips on the weekend like others have mentioned? Or what I’ve heard other people do is weekends at home and send the kids to relatives. Is she dealing with depression issues since giving birth? Having kids does a lot to your body and not to women go through the same things during pregnancy or after. We all react differently.

    I hope that having an honest open conversation about missing the connection you had pre-kids helps. I don’t think it sounds at all like it’s time to give up on your marriage, this is just one of many obstacles you’ll face while married. It’s when you stop talking to each other than they become obstacles you can’t get through. Good luck, lw. I’m looking forward to hearing your update and I hope it’s a good one!

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 11:25 am

    One way for you to each more fully appreciate what the other does in your marriage is for you to swap chores for a while. So if you cook and she buys the groceries you buy the groceries and she cooks. If she takes the children outside to play while you do the dishes you take the children and she does the dishes. Everyone tends to discount the amount of time and effort that jobs they don’t do take and fully knows what they contribute themself. This could help her realize what you’re contributing and vice versa. It’s also a change of pace in your day and keeps it from feeling so much like you’re in a rut.

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 11:31 am

    One of the things no one has mentioned about sex with small children is that the time when you can have it is limited, usually late at night when you’re exhausted. Before kids you can have sex whenever you’re both home like just after work or any time of day or night on the weekend. After kids you can have sex when all the kids are asleep or away from home. Since preschoolers are usually home when you are then you end up only able to have sex when they’re asleep which ends up usually late at night when you’re exhausted and exhausted sex is just not as much fun as regular sex so it doesn’t have the same appeal. When the kids are a little older and someone invites them over to play on the weekend you get to drop them off then go home for some hot, passionate, wide-awake sex and things are great.

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 11:34 am

      Also, when they are a little older you can enroll them in an activity on Saturday and drop them off and go home for at least an hour of adult time! They have fun and so do you.

  • JK JK August 26, 2011, 11:34 am

    Wow, if my husband did all the things that LW does I think I would have to build him a monument or something!!!
    We have a nearly 4 year old and a 4 month old. Strange as it may seem it’s the older one that is more demanding (the baby is a saint, she’s been sleeping through the night for about 2 months already).
    Granted I’m not working outside the home, but I have to say our relationship is pretty good. My husband is pretty stressed (getting a business off the ground, his usual workload, his mum passed away nearle a year ago, his father is depressed +alcoholic), but we manage to talk quite a bit, during naptime and esp. at night after the girls are asleep (since the baby sleeps through the night we put her in her sister’s room about a month ago). Not only that but our sex life has gone back to pre baby mode (2-3 times a week).
    It does sound as if LW’s wife has some issues, I really don’t think there’s much more he can do for her unless she decides to get some professional help.
    For all those that recomend getting away without the kids, that depends a lot on the parents, i think I would probably be way more stressed if I’m away from my girls!!! Although an hour or 2 away does me wonders.

  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 11:45 am

    And one more thing… To all the people saying that he should leave: if he is such a saint, why don’t you suggest that she goes and leaves him with the chores that he seems to be handling so well and two kids under 3?

    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 11:45 am

      since she is such a self-centered bitch…

      • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 11:59 am

        You seem to have an awful lot of time to post here for someone whose every waking moment, from 5:30am to 10:00pm (apart from bill-paying lunch) is completely consumed by children.

        • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:07 pm

          This is the maybe the third or forth post that I have something to say about. And yes, it is a topic I am sensitive about. Yes, I am good at multitasking. And no, I do not have to justify how I spend my time.

          • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 12:46 pm

            No you don’t, my point was not that you should stop posting, but rather to show the childless people upthread who are freaking out about becoming parents that it’s not *that* hard or all-consuming. Even the parents who pull the OMG IT’S SOOOO HARD routine have plenty of free time for themselves.

            • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:48 pm

              I know I shouldn’t admit that, but I am at work and since a lot of people are on vacation, there really isn’t that much to do :)

              • avatar kf August 26, 2011, 1:14 pm

                Hey, I’m here too ;)

                • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 26, 2011, 2:34 pm

                  Newflash! Obvious one! She won’t leave precisely because she IS a selfish bitch. All her needs are being met. Really? What does she have to complain about? Oh, right! Her husband still finds her attractive… What a jerk, he is…

                  PS — Flake, um, yeah. The epic number of posts here really does help prove your point that mothers have absolutely ZERO free time. So good job with that.

                  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 3:06 pm

                    You know what, I am actually at work, although I am lucky, I don’t hate my job, and the office politics are pretty bare-able. And since it is a slow day, and this is a topic I feel strongly about (just like you) I can allow myself to shoot a message off every now and then.

                  • avatar Britannia August 27, 2011, 2:02 am

                    She gets foot rubs and home-cooked meals all the time. Really, a “selfish bitch” would never give up such a sweet gig.

  • avatar A August 26, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Flake I think its so spectacularly unfair to say the LW is acting like a toddler because he is trying to repair a relationship with his wife that clearly has a big hole in it at the moment. While we can all agree that a persons needs are secondary to their kids, its incredibly harsh to say that because this guy has emotional needs, and that the health of his marriage is predicated on his wife making at least some effort to meet those needs in much the same way he is trying to help meet hers, he is acting like a child. This guy is reaching out and trying to find a solution to a real problem. He isnt a child crying cause his wife isnt waiting on him hand and foot- he is someone with feelings who is currently being ignored.
    I dont know what your relationship was like with your husband during years when your kids were young and so i wouldnt presume to comment on it, but your views on this replicate the views of this guys wife- IE that i dont have to worry about my husbands feelings for now, my only focus in life is the kids- and if he isnt content with that he is behaving like a 2 year old. I am sorry but thats not reasonable.

    • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 12:30 pm

      But I think what people are ignoring is the fact that she is making an effort. It seems that it is not enough for the LW, and that’s ok, he has a right to have his needs met. And focusing on kids does not mean ignoring your husband, but it does mean that you have less energy and time to devote to him. He has a right to feel the way he does, but so does she.

      • katie katie August 26, 2011, 10:08 pm

        ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

        “lately I’ve been frustrated with her inability to step out of her mom-centered managerial mindset and focus on our relationship”

        its in the third sentence.

        im sorry, but taking care of kids does not equal meeting the needs of your husband and working on a marriage.

        everything you have said here makes me want to get my tubes tied, i am so serious.

      • avatar Patti August 28, 2011, 2:35 am

        What effort? Doing her job as a parent isn’t making any effort for the marriage.

        No marriage means parental issues. It’s far easier to stay married than to co-parent in divorce. Probably less hatefull as well.

    • katie katie August 26, 2011, 10:04 pm

      omg thank you for this

  • avatar Clementine August 26, 2011, 12:18 pm

    I was this wife and mother. I was over-touched, over-worked, under-appreciated, and exhausted.

    Props to you, LW for being so supportive. It sounds like your wife is a high priority for you, despite her struggles right now. Continue doing what you’re doing and be patient. I’d like to add a couple of subtle adjustments that might make some difference.

    I’m sure you offer your wife some alone time–to sleep in, have a bath, etc. When you do that, commit to it fully. A quiet bath is not a quiet bath when your husband and kids are thundering down the hall outside the door, or a small voice keeps asking when you’re going to get out. If it’s sleeping in, get those kids out of the house to the farmer’s market or McDonald’s–so the house is quiet. Not TV-on-low quiet. Quiet. If you get a sitter for date night, arrange not to be home until the kids are in bed, ASLEEP. Nothing kills date night mood better than coming home and having to put cranky kiddos to bed.

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned the mental burdens a wife and mother carries. I’ve seen it written several times (wish I could cite it) that even if chores are divided 50-50, the mental/organizational tasks still fall very heavily on the wife. Think about what you can do to alleviate the mental stress of being a mother of two toddlers. Be in charge of paying bills–exclusively. Keep up with who needs to see the doctor when, who needs a haircut, whose turn it is for new shoes. Help plan meals, take over planning/packing lunches, etc. It’s overwhelming to be so physically and emotionally drained from being the working mother of two toddlers, and still having to do lion’s share of the thinking for the household. Consider finding a few things that you can take over COMPLETELY and see what happens. It might help. (You can Google FlyLady for a very helpful way to make a central household “Control Journal” to note when things come due, what needs to be done every day/week/month, and all sorts of things. I highly recommend it. Once in writing, it may be easier for your wife to surrender some of this behind-the-scenes work to you.)

    You sound like a good, helpful husband. Good for you for being patient, understanding, and loving enough to seek advice to keep your marriage strong. Continue to tell your wife how strong, beautiful, and amazing you think she is; and especially how much you notice and appreciate the efforts she makes to raise happy healthy children in a loving home.

    • avatar Amy P August 28, 2011, 3:04 pm

      I agree about the mental burden of organizing the family’s life, but on the other hand, it may still be stressful for the wife to wonder if LW has done the stuff he was supposed to do. If he can do the bills and not forget stuff, that’s great. I would particularly urge the LW to take care of his own stuff and not be an additional burden–make sure he has the right clothes for work in a timely manner, not be asking for her to find his stuff at the last minute, fix himself meals or lunches as appropriate, make his own doctor/dentist appointments, remember to get haircuts, etc. This may be stuff that he is already doing, but if he’s not doing it now, it’s quite crucial to do stuff that reminds your wife that you are an autonomous adult, rather than one of the kids. I have to confess here that I do a lot of this stuff for my husband, but I’m an SAHM with big kids and my husband does all the bills and does them very well. If I were employed full-time and had two toddlers, the same stuff would put me into orbit.

  • avatar Flake August 26, 2011, 1:28 pm

    I wonder what is the most commented topic on here is/was…

  • avatar AnitaBath August 26, 2011, 10:19 pm

    I think a lot of people are projecting their own struggles onto this LW and his wife. Take a step back, people.

    • katie katie August 26, 2011, 11:05 pm

      dang, is that why every mother on here has taken to this as a way to complain about how ever facet of their life is terrible???? wow people.

      • bittergaymark bittergaymark August 27, 2011, 12:48 am

        Seriously. It’s comedic. In a tragic way though as it seems many people on here may NOT have been cut out to be mothers in that they seemingly resent it so… They almost resent it as much as they apparently resent their husbands… Yikes.

        • avatar Marie August 27, 2011, 5:42 am

          Ha.Don’t tell the mothers who aren’t cut out for motherhood that…they’ll just start bleating about their reproductive rights.Because apparently,that trumps everything.

          • avatar Patti August 28, 2011, 2:11 am

            Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  • avatar Sue Jones August 26, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Having my son is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Nothing that is worth it is easy all the time. Marriage, kids, building a business, getting a graduate degree climbing a mountain, running a marathon, they are all arduous at times but the bottom line is at the end you get something of value that you feel good about. It takes a bit of character and not everyone has character.

  • avatar Amy P August 26, 2011, 11:11 pm

    One of the nuances of the domestic chore sharing is that even if LW is doing all that wonderful stuff he says he is doing, if it’s during the kids’ waking hours, somebody has to be taking care of them. If he’s cooking, she’s with the kids. If he’s cleaning, she’s with the kids. Likewise, if he’s bathing just one kid or putting just one kid to bed, she may need to be doing something with the other one. So, while it is excellent that LW is so helpful, he may not actually be providing his wife with any leisure time, but providing her the opportunity to mono-task. That is excellent (it’s so much less stressful), but all that “help” isn’t happening in a vacuum–while he does A, she has to be doing B. This phase of parenthood requires 100% from both parents, rather than 50% from each.

    That’s the nature of having two close-together kids. Fast forward two or three years, and the kids will play together nicely (at least half the time), the work load will lessen, and this will be a distant memory. In fact, eventually, they’ll go potty without being taken, they’ll get sick less, they’ll brush their own teeth, they’ll dress, they’ll put on their pajamas, they’ll even put themselves to bed, they’ll build blocks or LEGOs for hours, they’ll read to themselves, they’ll acquire a sense of self-preservation, they’ll even clean their rooms (with appropriate encouragement). I have a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old, and if I told you how little they need from me on the average day (the occasional toaster waffle, a packed lunch, peace-keeping duties, clean laundry and some driving), you’d find it quite shocking.

    If you can afford it, a bi-monthly or monthly housecleaner will be a very good investment, although if you have to chose between a housecleaner and a regular sitter, that’s a very tough call.

    • avatar Patti August 28, 2011, 1:18 am

      Can I add…one day you will miss them needing you. They will tell you; I can do it myself; No dad it goes like this; That’s not how you do it, it’s like this.
      My son is turning 5 soon and he prefers to do most things himself. While I’m very proud and happy that I’ve given him the tools to do things himself, I do (very) occasionally miss the closeness that comes with helping him with simple tasks.
      On the other hand…it is so nice not to hear MOOOOOOMMMMMMY I can’t do this…or DAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDY I need help.

  • avatar Patti August 27, 2011, 12:21 am

    I haven’t read the rest of the comments. So this might have been covered.

    As a mom and wife I would love what you’re doing but (there’s always a but) there gets to be some point and time when it would be nice to lay in my bed with my book, laptop, or whatever and just enjoy it. Twice a month my husband closes our bedroom door when my son gets up and no one is allowed to open it but me. I can lay there day dreaming, or fiddling on my phone or just napping. That kind of alone time is really important to me.
    You seem like a good husband and father but sometimes it’s important to remember you are an individual. And maybe your wife needs some time to herself, let her sort her head out, let all the voices from the outside stop for a bit and just enjoy some silence by herself.

  • avatar DadinPA July 23, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Wow. I doubt LW is flawless. I’m sure, like me he has his fair share of flaws. However, the vast majority of the posts suggest that he needs to be more understanding of where his wife is coming from. I am in precisely his situation. I already know that my stay-at-home wife is stressed. That’s why I do what I do to help when I’m not working. But is it really to much to ask her to be engaged in our relationship??? Sheesh, all the stuff many of you say he should be doing ON TOP of what he’s doing already shouldn’t be necessary to get some attention. LW made it clear that the sex (while an issue) was secondary to the issue of being ignored. I feel for you LW. Talk it out, do the date night thing (one of the better ideas), talk it out, man-up as much as you can, and don’t forget to talk it out. It does get better. You’re a good man, you deserve to have a wife who will engage you in conversation so you can be a team and not just two players on the same field. Hang in there brother. She’s worth fighting for–and I know you know that.

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