Marriage problems since baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2001
Marriage problems since baby
5
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 11:28am

First off, hi and thanks for reading.  Been married about 10 years with a 21 month old.  We love her dearly, but it's been a hard adjustment, especially for me.  Lately, it seems like DH and I can't get on the same page about anything.  We're irritable with each other and there's a distance that has grown.  At times I can't stand to be around him.  He's cranky and snippy.  We have different parenting styles, which further adds to the stress.  There's not a lot of "warmth" and pretty much no intimacy (that's my fault - complete lack of libido that I'm trying to work on.  Spent the first year in a haze due to no sleep and I'm trying to take care of myself so we can get back to normal in that dept.).  Being a family should be fun and we should look forward to each other's company but instead, it's just becoming dismal.  When we all try to do things as a family, it usually starts off as fun but then gets stressful and we end up angry with one another.  I wish he could learn to laugh a little more about the foibles of parenting instead of getting upset.  I am so tired of feeling this way but don't know how to fix it.  It seems hopeless because honestly, I'm tired of trying to meet his needs after spending all my time taking care of a very demanding little person.  Plus, I work hard to be kind and loving to him and I don't feel like he reciprocates.  Suggestions about having "date night" are frustrating because I'm at a place where I'm just so annoyed with him and feel there is no common ground.  The idea doesn't sound fun because I feel like I would just be disapointed.  I feel like I would go and try to have fun and be loving and he would somehow disapoint me by not reciprocating.  We both work, him about 50-60 hours a week, and there is little time for balance (him having free time, me having free time, us having couple time, us having family time...).  I have just started talking with a therapist, but I don't know what to do in the meantime.  We used to be very close and while opposites, it worked for us.  Now with the baby, all of our differences are magnified and feel insurmountable.  How do others deal with adding a baby and not letting it "ruin" the relationship?      

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 11:44pm

Babies don't ruin relationships......parents do.  21 months is almost two years....and in two years you should have been able to catch up on your sleep.  Have you ever sat him down and talked to HIM about how you feel, about what you're missing in your marriage?  It sounds like you're determined that he's never going to please you or make you happy.  You said that "date night" was mentioned, you didn't say which of you mentioned it, but you also said you felt it wouldn't be fun and you would just be disappointed........so that says HE mentioned it, and you shot him down.  It a little late to be checking into it, but do you think you might have post partum depression?  You just didn't get your libido back?  That's not uncommon......women tend to think of the baby first, no time for that "nonsense"........but again, your child is almost two years old, and it's time to fix your marriage before you don't have one left.  It's not unusual that your husband is testy if he's not getting attention from you that he had for 10 years before the baby came.  You two have to start talking, and you have to make your marriage JUST as important as your child.  If you can't talk to him, then have your therapist call him in with you......so both your feelings can be brought and things can be worked out instead of just complaining and expecting to be miserable.  Talk to each other........neither of you is a mind reader.  Good Luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Sun, 04-20-2014 - 9:48am

Yes, toddlers are exhausting and keeping a marriage strong is a challenge. Even without children, a marriage takes daily effort to keep it happy. The best way to change someone else's behavior is to change your own. Even if you're not feeling it, you're going to have to fake it for a while until it becomes real. You two have lost an emotional connection. My suggestion is that you make the effort, and then you should eventually see results from him, and he should reciprocate. If he calls you from work, answer the phone with "Hey, good lookin'." Call him at work and tell him you miss him. When you see each other after work, give him an extra long hug or an extra long kiss. Mix it up. Write a lipstick note on the mirror for him. Get a babysitter and have a date night. Don't have negative thoughts that he will ruin things. That's a self-fulfilling prophesy. The only person you have control over is yourself. You have fun on the date and don't talk about the baby on the date. Tell him he looks good in the shirt he's wearing and touch his arm. Have sex even if you don't feel like it. Give him a foot/back rub and ask him to do the same for you. Go to a couples store and pick out some new stuff together. Make him his favorite cookies/meal. Put a quick note, romantic or sexy in his briefcase/lunchbag, etc. Yes, you'll be making all of the effort at first, but he should be warming up after a while and start to reciprocate. In the meantime, don't say a word about what you're doing and don't complain if he's not doing the same. If he asks about the change, be truthful. You have missed the emotional connection between you two and want to get it back.

When you two have re-established an emotional connection, I believe your daily life should have improved. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2014
Tue, 04-22-2014 - 9:25pm

You've received some good advice. Having kids takes a lot out of you. Keep the lines of communication open. If you need a break, ask him if he would be willing to have some daddy/toddler time on Saturday mornings. They could go to breakfast together and you could have some time to relax, shop or do whatever you want. he needs to know that having a child is a shared responsibility And you need help and a break from the parenting. Maybe you would feel less overwhelmed if you could work part time. Is that a possibility? 

i have been married for 30 years next month. I have always tried to do what I could to make his life easier(mow the grass, run the house, take care of the kids). Even though I would like to have less sex, I do it anyway because I want to make sure he doesn't become unhappy and look elsewhere. In return, he works hard, provides me with a wonderful life and loves me more than anything. It has not always been easy. When my kids were young, it was tough, really tough. I had 3 kids in 4 years and I NEVER got a break. My husband was immature at the time and thought because I stayed home with the kids that I wasn't really stressed or working. Boy, was he wrong. We made it through. Every marriage has its rough spots. If want it to work, it requires the  commitment of both spouses.

Talk, go to counseling, spend time together as a couple and as a family. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2007
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 3:54pm

I don't have children, but am old enough and have seen enough (married close to 10 years and going through a divorce) to hopefully provide some helpful advice. I've seen my share of friends and family go through some rocky times when the children are young. It definitely is a time when the focus is OFF the marriage, but as time goes on, and you work through it and are understanding with one another you'll pull through it. I have other people I know that get closer from the experience. I don't know the details of your household, but some households can find the balance with both spouses working, but usually something ends up suffering whether it be time spent with the children or not enough time for the marriage. Sounds like you guys are burning the candle at both ends and that leaves little time for anything else and causes a lot of stress. I think you should look at your foundation and where the cracks are and repair those first. One of those cracks is your both working. I hate to quote Dr. Laura and her views, but she raises some valid points. You should either choose to be a stay at home Mother or have a career. Both are full-time jobs and you're trying to do both, be a good wife and good mother. Right now you're failing at all 3. You're not equipped or able to do any one of these very well....time to give up one of these things and you're not going to get rid of your marriage or baby, so if you can swing it, I'd recommend first trying to stay at home. You'll take one thing off your plate - even if it's for 1-2 years to get your marriage back on track. Pull from savings....do anything you can because being a single mom and breaking up a marriage is devastating financially, emotionally, etc. Trust me that I am going through a divorce and have no children - it is as bad as they say it is x 100! And I'm very friendly with my husband. Take some baby steps by first getting your household in order then here's some other advice that piggy backs off what Fissatore said. Take the initiative to give back to your husband even though you feel it's not being reciprocated. You'll sit around and have your marriage deteriorate if someone doesn't step up to the plate and take the lead here. What you give is what you will get...trust me. If you are not being loved, then LOVE....compliment him. AND do this - pick up a book called "The proper care and feeding of husbands" - I just read this even though I'm going through a divorce and I am kicking myself that I didn't do some of the things in this book. Men are VERY simple creatures and easy to please.....go beyond yourself and stop keeping score. Do things to solidify your house then start going gangbusters on being a good wife. Having a child is no excuse for abandoning your husband. Everyone is tired with a toddler. Try leading by example...be the bigger person in other words. It's all worth it to keep your marriage intact.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 05-01-2014 - 8:44am

Dr Laura! Do you really believe in her archaic words? Which century do you live in? Nobody ever asks a man to choose between a career, being a husband, and a father, and proceed to tell him he is "failing" all three. Go ahead, quit the job, and if the marriage still cannot be saved, then woman will become a jobless single mother with an uphill battle to re-enter the labor market. Statistically there are more divorces due to financial issues than sexual issues. Quitting a job doesn't seem to make any sense.

Divorces are a lot less daunting to women when they are means to support themselves and their children.