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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DH & I have been married almost 4 years & overall have a great relationship. We really trust & respect each other, help each other out, etc. But ever since DS was born we've been feeling more & more distant. I knew it was bound to happen to some extent... DS is very high-needs so we almost never have time to ourselves. Maybe once or twice a month we can get him to sleep in the stroller for 1/2 an hour so we can have time together. All the rest of the time DS is with us, sleeping with us, eating with us, napping with us, etc. We aren't ready to leave him with anyone else for a 'date night' and even if we were, HE'S not ready to be left (he just doesn't feel comfortable enough with anyone, we were getting close with my sister but she may be moving across the country in a couple weeks!!) Intimacy is almost non-existant (because DS is so demanding and if we can get him to sleep we're too tired lol!) and we have never been physically affectionate (although I think we both would like to be) -- we can go several days without hugs/kisses which is kind of sad now that I think about it!!! But the emotional closeness especially is what's suffering. I don't know if we're just too tired, too drained, too overextended... we're both working hard (we both have full-time jobs and no childcare... plus a house that's only partly finished!!) DH is not the romantic type (and every time I bring this up, he comes home the next day with flowers, and then does nothing romantic until I bring it up again months & months later) but he does so much for me every day. We definitely have very different ways of showing love. I'm more of a talking type, tell him I love him, etc. and he's more of a doing type (helping out around the house etc. is how he shows his love). Sorry this is getting really long, I was just trying to give some background, but anyway... what are ways we can begin to feel closer again?????
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah if my sister doesn't end up moving, it might be possible in the near future, but if she does move there's no one else we trust at this point.
 

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Its not impossible, we managed to reconnect a couple of years ago with two small children and no help, and while moving house to a new country.

It takes some work on both sides, and baby steps as well as identifying areas where you're both kind of wasting energy doing things the other doesn't care for iyswim.
For me, I NEED touch from my dh and I told him this. Its simple once you start doing it to fit into your day, he comes and sits right next to me while I'm nursing and he strokes my leg or holds my hand and looks into my eyes and we have a little chat. We go to bed if she won't settle on an evening and he lies behind me while I nurse her to sleep and just strokes my back. We go for a walk with baby in the carrier and little one running along (somewhere safe away from traffic etc) and we just hold hands and talk.

Now the youngest is approaching two it is getting easier but we did the bulk of the work while she was a tiny baby which usually involved getting her to sleep on the bed and then runnning away together to the other room for a quickie, watching comedies together and laughing and looking at each other etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's what I've been trying to get DH on board with but I think he sees so many things that need to be done (dishes etc.) that he is reluctant to take time to just sit & hug me, watch TV or talk while I nurse... I don't really blame him but I guess I should talk to him again. The weather is starting to get nicer too so we can go back to taking walks together, good idea
 

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Here are some things DH and I do to stay connected (we sound a lot like you guys. We are not very romantic, we don't show much outward physical affection, haven't left DD with anyone yet, etc...):
-we started leaving notes to one another. It started with me leaving him a note in his closet saying something like "I love you! Thank you for helping me around the house! Hope you have a wonderful day at work!" Now, we both leave notes in random places all the time. It is a nice way to say the things that you have been meaning to say but haven't gotten around to.
-I hate to use the word "scheduling" because it sounds so cold, but we sort of pre-plan sex.
Since DD was born, my drive dropped to nearly zero; that combined with co-sleeping and exhaustion in general led to a sexless life! DH was a total trooper and stopped even trying after a few months. One night after sneaking away to the couch, I said something along the lines of "we should do this every Wednesday!" and that was it. If I waited until I was in the mood and totally rested we would NEVER have sex again, so this works for us, and I am always glad when we do follow through each week. DH doesn't have to feel guilty for begging and I don't have to feel guilty anymore for rejecting him!!
ETA: This time doesn't have to be sex! It can be a cup of tea and conversation, or just a snuggle on the couch, etc... I think the important thing is to just make this time a priority for you both.

GL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great ideas, I don't know about scheduling sex LOL but at least schedule that time to be together (and if it leads to sex.... well that's great lol)!! It's hard because DS is so erractic with his schedule. Most nights he's not asleep 'til midnight. But he always takes a nap at SOME point on the weekends so we could maybe have Saturday nap time as "our" time or something
I have been trying to leave DH notes & I'll have to do that more often~!
 

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I was super overly protective of our kids when they were little which resulted in not trusting anyone to watch them and thus dh and I never having a date or anything....I REALLY regret that! The reality is that there are numerous people who would've been fine watching our kids....it was really a matter of me letting go of the control aspect. Now that I trust others to watch our kids, I can tell what a huge difference it makes in our relationship....just getting out of the house without a baby/kids for a few short hours together and just having fun recharges us both and draws us closer together so we are better able to handle the piles of dirty dishes and the near constant needs of kids...and helps us to more easily stay connected to one another. I would HIGHLY suggest you find a few people you could feel comfortable leaving your ds with...maybe another momma you could trade baby-sitting with or a homeschooled teen or something. Your ds will get used to it and it's not really as big of a deal, once you start, as it feels right now!


I am not a really physical person...my dh is and needs that. I've told him that I really just don't even think about it and that he needs to just come and hug me/kiss me when he needs it because otherwise, it probably won't happen much! So he has done a good job of taking the initiative and I have done a good job of trying to be present in that moment rather than mentally moving on to whatever I am about to do, etc.

I feel his love and caring for me when he helps me around the house and stuff, so I have let him know this and he now does all the dishes, etc.

Have you read the book The 5 Love Languages? Good book for knowing what would help each individual feel love and how they show their love.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't read the 5 languages of love but I have listened to a talk on it, I think I get the concept but I should get the book!!

It's not just a matter of trust, DS is really not comfortable at all with anyone but me, DH, & my sis (and even she is a stretch for him) -- and I don't have friends in the area anyway. Plus DS is still nursing very frequently with limited solids. I'm sure I'll be OK with it once HE'S ok with it, but we're not at that point yet. But eventually we'll be ready!


I also need to try to be "present in the moment" more, often if DH tries to hug me or something I'm thinking about how I need to get in the shower before DS needs to eat, or that I didn't finish reading my email, or whatever... I definitely need to make a more concious effort not to do that!
 

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Your son is a year old now? I don't think it's unreasonable to start doing some work with is sleeping. I wish we would have done it sooner with our first! What worked for us, was that I would nurse in the living room, not laying down in bed and when she was either done or a sleep, we'd move into the bed room. This opened the door for DH to start helping with bed time more and that actually made it easier for both me and DD. For some reason, both of my kids go to sleep easier with DH than me! In terms of connecting, this was huge for us. I was able to finish up what ever needed done or just take time to unwind and then when DD was asleep it would just be US. We'd play a game (for us that's a great way to connect), watch a movie while cuddling on the couch, have sex in a room away from the sleeping baby, etc. I'm not sure if this applies to your situation well, but it made a big difference for us.

I also think notes are a good way to feel that emotional connection. I also love when DH gives me a quick call at work and lets me know he's thinking of me. Understanding each other's love languages is great, in that, you can be sure you are providing what your partner needs and not giving them what you need instead. In that situation, you both feel like you are giving love, but not receiving the love you want.

High needs babies are rough on a relationship, but keep working on it and he'll be through this part of babyhood soon and it will get easier!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
we have never been physically affectionate (although I think we both would like to be) -- we can go several days without hugs/kisses which is kind of sad now that I think about it!!!
Could you just start hugging him once in a while? Like every day when he comes home from work maybe? That doesn't take any time at all and it is such a lovely little boost.

Quote:
DH is not the romantic type... he's more of a doing type (helping out around the house etc. is how he shows his love).
GOLD! That's GOLD!!! Consider yourself a lucky woman. Seriously I would not push the romance/flower issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the encouragement!! I'm proud of me & DH that our relationship has stayed strong through the challenges we've faced so far, & I definitely want to keep our marriage a priority. I had no idea the impact a screaming baby would have on our relationship (can't even talk on long car rides anymore, that used to be one of our favorite things!) I do want to work on DS's sleep a bit but he is just starting to walk more so I want to wait 'til he's a little more secure before changing something like that on him!
I definitely thought we'd have that time at night together & I would love to have it in the future, it would be so nice to play a game together or cuddle while watching a show in peace again!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post
Could you just start hugging him once in a while? Like every day when he comes home from work maybe? That doesn't take any time at all and it is such a lovely little boost.
Yes I totally should try doing that. I feel a little self-conscious & always pictures the tv shows from the 50's where the guy shouts "Honey, I'm home!" and the woman rushes up, all dolled up, to give him a kiss and take his coat. hahaahaaa in our house it's more like "Here take the baby I gotta get back to work" (I WAH) lol

Definitely I will make an effort to do this!!

Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post
GOLD! That's GOLD!!! Consider yourself a lucky woman. Seriously I would not push the romance/flower issue.

I don't necessarily want flowers etc. I just sometimes wish he did SOMETHING romantic (like tell me how he really feels about me, or surprise me in some way)... This is a guy whose proposal to me was him handing me a bag with a ring in it while I was sitting on his dorm room floor & saying, "Here, want to try it on?" and it wasn't even a normal engagement ring (just a band) LOL so I knew what I was getting myself into but sometimes when I see other guys do sweet little things like a small gift or a sentimental surprise... I feel a little twinge. But I totally appreciate the housework etc. way more in the end!!!!!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I don't necessarily want flowers etc. I just sometimes wish he did SOMETHING romantic (like tell me how he really feels about me, or surprise me in some way)... This is a guy whose proposal to me was him handing me a bag with a ring in it while I was sitting on his dorm room floor & saying, "Here, want to try it on?" and it wasn't even a normal engagement ring (just a band) LOL so I knew what I was getting myself into but sometimes when I see other guys do sweet little things like a small gift or a sentimental surprise... I feel a little twinge. But I totally appreciate the housework etc. way more in the end!!!!!

If this is the case, I definitely recommend the Five Love Languages. You can take this quiz if you like: Love Languages Test


I got this book from the library and loved it. But if you don't have time to read a whole book right now, start with that quiz. Is DH on board to work on the relationship as well? If he is, have him take the quiz as well and you can sit down and tell each other what things will do the MOST to make you feel loved.

I totally get it about the housework. It really helps me out when DH pitches in and I have less of a work burden. But I don't think that I consider it an act of love the same way that my DH does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That test is really interesting, I'd like DH to take it!! I scored lowest on Acts of Service and of course that's the way DH seems to most demonstrate his love!! Quality Time was my highest but I think Physical Touch would've been a little higher too if it weren't for my past (I enjoy touch from him but it also tends to freak me out & scare me). I would love to know what DH's scores would be!!!

Also I think I kind of consider housework something that needs to be done for the sake of the family, not something he does because he loves me (although I know that's why HE does it... if that makes sense).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
That test is really interesting, I'd like DH to take it!! I scored lowest on Acts of Service and of course that's the way DH seems to most demonstrate his love!! Quality Time was my highest but I think Physical Touch would've been a little higher too if it weren't for my past (I enjoy touch from him but it also tends to freak me out & scare me). I would love to know what DH's scores would be!!!

Also I think I kind of consider housework something that needs to be done for the sake of the family, not something he does because he loves me (although I know that's why HE does it... if that makes sense).
I am in a similar boat! My Dh does acts of service and I think, that is just getting through the stuff that needs to be done and leaving me to do it by myself is rude but helping is not necessarily going to make me feel really loved. I also scored highest on Quality Time and Physical Touch. In the chapter on Quality Time, he talks about how some people (women especially) need a more emotional connection. We want to connect by talking about our feelings. My dh wants to spend time together talking about business or the news and that doesn't make me feel close to him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yup that's my DH exactly! I want him to talk to me more and all he talks about is some story he heard on the news or what task he did at work. I crave more touch & more time together, not just being in the same room... I will definitely have to get that book.
 

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I would recomend the 5 Love Languages book, actually shout it from the roof! It is an amazing book, I loved it. I am reading the 5 Love Languages of Children now, but the concept is universal not just to our spouse or children but people we care about and interact with all the time. I think that will help the emotional connection grow stronger for you.

I am also an advocate for 'date night' or at least quality ALONE couple time. It is VITAL to a relationship. I feel if the parents are not healthy individuals and thriving and they are not healthy and thriving in their relationship, they cant be healthy and thriving in parenting. The couple has to be strong and communicating in order to be stong and communicating as co-parents.
 

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Try to appreciate whatever he wants to talk to you about, really listen and be interested if you can. I've found this REALLY helps him to be more open to talking about things that I want to talk about. Honestly the conversations that I really want to have usually don't take place until I've listened (and really participated) in a conversation about flying planes for an hour or two because it takes him that long to relax and feel like I'm paying attention to him and what HE needs to talk about. No, I don't feel closer particularly when we talk about planes, but seeing how it helps him to relax, and then how he often can end up opening up about something unexpected towards the end of the conversation makes it very worthwhile.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
Yes I totally should try doing that. I feel a little self-conscious & always pictures the tv shows from the 50's where the guy shouts "Honey, I'm home!" and the woman rushes up, all dolled up, to give him a kiss and take his coat. hahaahaaa in our house it's more like "Here take the baby I gotta get back to work" (I WAH) lol

You could make it a joke actually. Ham it up if that is the kind of thing you guys would find funny. You know, hand him a martini and land a lip-print on his collar. Whatever it takes.


Quote:
This is a guy whose proposal to me was him handing me a bag with a ring in it while I was sitting on his dorm room floor & saying, "Here, want to try it on?" and it wasn't even a normal engagement ring (just a band)
Oh well. Our proposal was me saying, "Welp, I'm pregnant. So, you wanna get married or what?"
Also I told him to skip the rock and save the cash for a house or something. So maybe I'm just not the right person to be talking to about the romance thing, heh.
 
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