Worried and depressed about my marriage

Avatar for sarahp384
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2013
Worried and depressed about my marriage
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 12:05pm

Hi. I'm 29 years old and a first-time mother of an 18 month old son. I've been married to my husband for 3 years and things have mostly been wonderful -- he's a wonderful and loving man, a hard worker, and a good provider -- but since our son was born things have been different. I feel bad coming someplace like this and spilling my problems but I'm very worried and scared and lonely. :(

He seems emotionally distant. We've fought some. Part of the problem is I'm ready to have another baby and he's not. I come from a large Catholic family and wanted to have a large family too, and he seemed ok with that before we were married. But he says now we can't afford it and we shouldn't have any more, "maybe someday." Being Catholic we practice NFP, and one time he even suggested I go on birth control, something he knows I'm against and I thought he was against too. I got VERY upset and he never mentioned it again, but our sex life has definitely suffered. NFP is very workable and not risky if you chart right, but for the past year or so we've only been making love about once a month. He travels a lot more than he used to, sometimes being gone as much as 2 weeks at a time -- and no, I don't think he's having an affair, though I do worry about it sometimes -- and I know he loves me and our son, but he just doesn't seem to be here for us the way he was when we were first married. I've tried to talk to him, asked him not to travel so much, but he says he's just trying to be a good provider. I feel like I don't know him anymore, like this wasn't what I was hoping for and expecting in my marriage. I am pretty devastated right now and it's pulling me down into depression.

I know you'll probably say that feeling this way is normal and I'm just being sensitive, but even that kind of reassurance would be really nice right now.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 12:52pm

Sarah, I'm sorry for your problems, but right now, you're assuming a lot, and you know what assuming does, don't you?  You need to sit your husband down and talk to him about your anxieties and fears.  You need to ask him if he's changed his mind about a "big family", for the time being or forever.  It seems the two of you will have to compromise on that situation.  NFP is risky at best, and his lack of interest in sex is probably due to fear of pregnancy, since he feels that at this point you can't afford another child.  On the other hand, my OB once told me that if people waited until they could "afford" a child, there would be no children born! 

Feeling this way is NOT "normal" and allowing yourself to sink into a depressed state is not going to fix anything, it will just make matters worse.  The two of you need to talk to each other, and discuss what you're thinking and feeling.  And then find some compromise that you can both live with.  If you can't talk, then you need to get some counseling, either from a therapist, or from your priest.  Many years ago (50+) I spoke to a priest about birth control.  I had two children under two, and I didn't want another one, at least for a few years, and that priest actually said that it would be alright to use artificial birth control for a few years!  There is more to marriage than sex, but sex is the glue that keeps the two of you close......and if he's pulling away, then it needs to be fixed.  Worrying helps nothing.  If you can't work it out on your own then get some professional help......to save your marriage.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 2:27pm

You are being unrealistic, not to mention selfish.  Raising children is expensive, even if you just give them the bare minimum.  But don't your children deserve to have their OWN rooms, sleep alone in a bed, eat more than hanburger helper, wear more than resale clothes, & have the ability to pursue  sports, interests and educations???

And how about attention?  How much one on one attention, reading, writing, language help can you give your children, if there are a half dozen of them??  Children today are expected to identify colors, shapes, letters and numbers before entering kindergarten, and be able to write their names, addresses and phone numbers from memory.   Kindergarten is now like first grade used to be.

And beyond any of that, your husband is working hard to support you and the ONE child you now have, yet you are complaining that he doesn't spend enough time with you.  What do you think is going to happen if you have MORE children??  Where do you think the money will come from to support THEM??  You're not working.  You are making demands that you expect HIM to pay for, without even contributing to the household income.  How fair is that?  What kind of "partnership" is that? 

I don't know what propaganda you've been listening to, but NFP is VERY RISKY.  It is much less effective than other types of birth control, and even those types have failures, too, if not used EXACTLY as directed.  So I fully understand your husband's reluctance to have sex.

You need to stop your demands.  You need to sit down with your husband, and tell him you understand AND SHARE his fears and concerns.  Work out a budget, taking into consideration the cost of TWO cars large enough to accommodate multiple car seats, larger homes,  everyday support, and money to save for interests, vacations, and EDUCATIONS.  Decide what daycare help you can get from family members--after all, you should have a plethora of people to ask, with that big family of yours.  See REALISTICALLY whether or not you can afford 1 or 2 more children.  Talk about what skills you have and how you plan to contribute to the family income, and how you intend to support your family, should your husband die or leave.  Life insurance will not support you and ONE child for 22 years, let alone more than one.  You and your husband need to be EQUAL partners in both the decisions on having children, and the work of paying for them.

Avatar for sarahp384
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2013
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 2:40pm

Wow, that was harsh. I am not making demands. I am just sad because this was what I wanted and I thought he wanted it too. I'm just depressed. I didn't really come here to get reamed out, but thanks. My family is not your family and my values are not your values. So I really appreciate your judgmental comments.

Avatar for sarahp384
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2013
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 2:45pm

Thank you, Fissatore. I know you're right and this is good advice. I will try to sit down with him and be straight. And I totally agree that if everyone waited until they could "afford" a child, there would be no more children. Love makes a way. This mentality of children being a burden and a liability makes me sad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 4:26pm

I agree with Fissatore.  You need to talk to your husband.  It would be perfectly normal for him to be worried about expanding the family when the burden of providing is falling on his shoulders in this economy.  As a Catholic, I understand that NFP is important to you.  I agree with you that it's very reliable but ONLY if it's done correctly.  To be honest, I don't think most people bother putting in the time and effort to do it the right way so I think that's why many people think it's not the best.  Maybe if your husband was more involved with that process (I'm assuming he isn't already) then things might improve in that department.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 10:37pm

I agree with the others that you need to talk to your dh, but I don't entirely disagree with the things that Sabrtooth said. Its important to have a budget and plan for how your kids will be supported--first the bare minimum of food and clothes and health care; probably parochial school; and then what it will cost for extracurriculars like sports or music lessons etc. Discuss if having more kids would require you working outside the home, explore all of the possible options for how the two of you as a team can make things happen.

When a couple is planning and dreaming about theoretical children its easy to think you'll have a large family or raise them a certain way. Then when the first one arrives it can be like getting hit with a sledge hammer---suddenly you realize that you are 100% responsible for this small person! Besides the expense involved with a child there is all of the emotional investment--worrying, spending quality time with him, and the physical demands too. Becoming a father and the sole support of a family might have been much more overwhelming than your husband expected, it might even be feeling like a burden he didn't fully realize he was signing up for. He might have doubts about how he's going to provide it all for the one child, and cannot imagine how to provide for more. Does this explain how your dh might have once thought he wanted a big family, and could be questioning that now?

Your husbands reluctance to have sex is probably due to fear of pregnancy. No form of birth control, besides complete abstinence, is 100% effective. He may just not want to risk the possibility of a pregnancy right now. He probably misses the intimacy with you and knows that you are hurt by his distance but his fear is greater than all of that.

Marriage is about compromises made by both parties. Maybe you would agree to use birth control if he agreed to travel less? Or maybe you two can come up with some other compromises that help you feel like your marriage is back on track.

My personal experience is that dh and I thought we wanted several kids. Then, I had some difficulties in my pregnancies, and parenting was much harder than I had expected in a number of ways. I decided that I wanted to stop after the second child. Dh was disappointed at first but said he realized that if I was overwhelmed or unhappy then the entire family would be unhappy so he agreed. (Plus, there's a saying that 2 kids don't cost much more than one but that's false.) Knowing that I didn't want to get pregnant again made me really nervous about having sex, because I knew I wouldn't want to have an abortion---I just didn't want to have to get into either of the options. So it was easier to not risk getting pregnant. Eventually I got my tubes tied and then I could relax about sex again.

If you and your dh cannot work this out by yourselves then get counseling because leaving such important issues unresolved will damage the marriage.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 8:17am

Absolutely agree.

Mind-boggling to me, a woman who's never had a luxury of either having someone provide for her or having children.

The man's  agreed to one child, and is working his guts off to provide for the family. The SAHM sits there making demands for less travel and more children.


I completely support this kind of 'harshness' in responses.This is real life, not a 1940s fairy tale ' happy family' nonsense.

(as for the 'birth control method she's referrring to... I won't even comment. 29 going on 14 perhaps??)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2009
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 8:38am
I agree with Sabrtooth. Reality is always harder and harsher than fantasy. Parenthood IS a big commitment and whosoever takes it lightly is kidding themselves and others.Its very important to know what one wants in life and more so in regards to having kids. Kids take a toll on one financially , emotionally etc etc. If he doesnt want another one, I would think practically and realistically rather then my dreams of having a big family. I wonder how this is pulling you in depression ? Duh ! If its true, then you are doing a huge disservice to your son . You are being sad for someone who isnt in the world yet while mopping around the one who is with you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 9:31am

Funny that someone from a church that preaches fire of brimstone find the comments here harsh ...

Agreed with Sabrtooth 100%. So you want more children yet you ask him to travel less.  With the economy these days, most people do NOT have a choice - they travel when their employer needs them to.  It is unfair to blame your lack of sex on your husband's travel if you want to practice some birth control method that precludes having sex for almost half of the month, and then some of the "safe" days conincide with your period (when some men prefer not to be intimiate during those days).

Also, it is one thing if a couple is reluctant to have children based on assumptions of what kind of financial and time investment they would make to make.  Since you already have a son, and your husband is working hard to provide for all three of you, he probably has a very good idea what he can or cannot afford.  True, he seemed to agree with your idea of having a large family before marriage, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the right to make adjustment as reality hits. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 11:25am

Ok, I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school and I don't think it's right to disparage someone for having sincerely held religious beliefs.  However, like most Catholics today, I used artificial birth control.  I remember going to the pre-marriage classes and one of them discussed NFP and I asked the question why is it ok to use NFP if we are always supposed to be open to conception as a gift from God?  There really was no answer to that one.  I mean even other forms of b.c. aren't 100% percent reliable so I figured that if God wanted you to have a baby he could arrange it that the other form of b.c. could fail too.  I also thought of the fact (and discussed this with our married couple who were leading this discussion) that I feel that parents need to be responsible.  I don't think it's responsible to have a la-di-da attitude like we will just have a bunch of kids and maybe not have the money or time to provide for them all.  Some people will say "God will provide" but I also feel "God helps those who helps themselves."

I assume that you liked the experience of having a big family growing up so that's why you'd like to have a lot of kids.  My exH was one of 6 kids, all close in age (since there were triplets in there).  His parents were religious Catholics and it's good they got married when they were older cause maybe they'd have 12 kids.  His mom loved kids and didn't work outside the home--I mean how could she have time when they were little?  They also had no money.  He'd joke about how she could make 6 tuna sandwiches out of one can.  That might have been an exaggeration, but what was true is how he said that his mom never had time to read them any books, not to mention that none of them went to college--their parents couldn't wait to get them out of the house, so the boys all went in the Army right out of high school.  I only had one brother and we weren't rich by any means but I feel that not only did I get more parental attention, but I got to do things that he didn't get to do, like take piano lessons and go on family vacations.  If you do have a lot of kids, what is your plan about how you are going to support them?  Piano lessons might be something you can do without, but food and clothing still have to be purchased.  It sounds like you don't work right now, but I also think that's pretty unrealistic.  The more kids you have, the more money you will need---so you should be prepared to take some of the burden off your DH by getting a full time job where you make more money than it will cost to pay for daycare, or be prepared to do things like work different shifts so you won't have to hire child care.

I think you need to sit down w/ your DH and discuss this--ask him what his fears are.  I am sure that he is avoiding sex because he doesn't want to have another baby right now.  Is there a point at which he would want to have another child?  Would he feel better about it if you were working?  You can't really expect him not to travel if that is a condition of his job & he's the sole support of the family--so if he's gone a lot for work, then you'll basically be a single mom too.

And no, being depressed about your marriage is not normal--it's a sign that something is wrong.  If you try talkikng to your DH & you feel that things aren't changing, then go to marriage counseling.  I would not suggest a priest unless you get someone who won't just parrot the "official" church teachings.  You need someone who is objective but sensitive to your religious beliefs.  And single priests who don't have to raise kids really have no idea.