Friday, July 28, 2006

He Blames It On The Baby

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters.)

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


My husband and I met a little over 5 years ago. We fell deeply and passionately for each other. We moved in together after only a couple of months and a year later we were married. In the beginning we spent every second of our free time together. We had very similar interests and did everything together. We didn't have a lot of money so we entertained ourselves at home most of the time and had a very active sex life.

As in most marriages, as the relationship got past that new and exciting phase, our sex life dwindled slightly. We decided that we were ready to start working on making babies so things picked up for a while, but after 2 plus years of trying and not getting pregnant sex became more of a chore for me than something that I wanted to do. Eventually, it became something that I didn't want to do at all. I'm sure that it psychologically had something to do with the fact that I couldn't get pregnant. Eventually, miraculously, I did pregnant. While I was pregnant, I used that as an excuse not to have sex. I was always too tired, or too uncomfortable. I didn't hold out completely, but I certainly wasn't generous in that department.

When I finally gave birth, my husband was excited because, to him at least, it meant that the drought was soon to be over. Instead of the usual 6 weeks recovery time I took 12 weeks before I was willing to let him try anything and when I finally did, it hurt so bad that I cried. He was upset. I was upset. Overall it just wasn't a good experience. Since then it has gotten better and I'm back to the point where I actually enjoy it from time to time but it is never enough for him.

He is a "scorekeeper" in the sex department. He always knows exactly how many days it has been since the last time and reminds me frequently. Sometimes it may be a week. Sometimes it may be 2 of 3 weeks in between. Most of the time I give in and let him do what he wants to do even when I don't want it. Most of the time I feel like I am being raped rather than making love to the man that I married. Those times have scarred me in ways that he will never understand.

The lack of sex in our relationship has ruined the bond that we used to have with each other. My husband spends most of his days depressed and angry and blames it all on the sex he isn't getting. I can barely stand to be around him most of the time because he is so down. He has a tendency for depression that runs in his family. His younger brother committed suicide earlier this year and I know that must still be affecting him as well. I want to help him, but don't know how. I have asked him to go to the doctor but he refuses.

He is jealous of the love that I give to our son and I fear that his jealousy will someday have a negative impact on their relationship. As of now, I do all of the caretaking functions for our son. He is only around when it is play time. I have asked him to become more involved, but he always has an excuse as to why he can't. I am very disappointed in him as a father. I always expected much more from him. We talked about having kids from the very beginning and he was always so excited about it.

When we are around friends he is always quick to point out the lack of sex in our relationship which makes me feel terrible. If I try to defend myself he gets angry and wants to end the conversation. I don't feel like our dirty laundry should be aired out in front of everybody and I certainly don't like him putting all the blame on me.

We have talked about the possibility of going to counseling, but right now we are so strapped financially that there is no way we can afford it. Neither one of us wants to get divorced because we do still care about each other. We just need to find a way to get over this bump in the road.

My idea of fixing things is to work on the relationship between us and that the sex will come after we have mended that. His idea is to have more sex and that will help the relationship. For two people who used to be so similar, we sure are different now.

I know it sounds like I am just bitching about him. I know that I have issues too that I need to work on. I know that I need to give him more attention, but he makes it so hard for me to want to. I'm sure there is a lot more to this that I'm forgetting to mention, but I don't want this to be any longer.

What hurts the most in all of this is that I want so badly to love him the way that I used to. I want him to be my best friend. I want him to be the one that I love to come home to every night. I want to feel that flutter in my heart when he walks into the room. I want to make love to him like we used to. I want to get so lost in him that it feels like the rest of the world doesn't exist. I remember a time when that happened. I just don't know how to get that back.


Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like there are several layers to this problem, and they keep building. I'm sure you've talked with him about all of this since you said that you've discussed marital counseling together, even if it is out of your budget right now. My suggestion is that if you're a member of a church, maybe you could see your pastor/priest together. Many times, those meetings can be insightful as pastors have some training in helping people through things such as this.

Have you been as honest with him about your feelings as you were on this post? Does he know that the infertility problems changed your view of sex? It seems to me that your capacity to sometimes enjoy sex now doesn't mean that you will always look at it as a chore. Maybe a heart to heart with him about the sex life and how much his comments in front of others about his dissatisfaction hurt you might help him see why you're a bit turned off on it all. Chances are that after having a vigorous sex life in the beginning only to have it suffer later may have felt to him like rejection, and his outspoken aggravation is a way for him to vent that he doesn't feel like he's wanted anymore, which can lead to other things including his lack of participation with your son. Maybe he feels like an outsider and just wants to feel included.

Honestly, maybe if he reads this post, or a letter to him in the same vein as this post, he will see how much you care and want to make things better. In lieu of counseling, complete honesty is the best way to go, even if it's painful.

Anonymous said...

You are NOT alone. I married a sex scorekeeper, too. And so I've become a dishwasher/laundry scorekeeper on him. When he points out that we haven't had sex in over a week, I remind him it's been at least 2 months since he's loaded the dishwasher. :(

Which solves nothing. I have sex because I feel obligated to do it's my DUTY. Along with working a full time job and taking care of our child and the house pretty much by myself with little help from him.

I wish I felt that spark the way we used to. There are these rare moments when it's there-when the kid is spending the night somewhere else (or we are). But those times are very few and far between.

Life gets in the way. I get very frustrated with my guy because he wants it to be all hot and heavy every time-it CAN'T be.

As I said, you're not alone in your feelings. Maybe I would enjoy sex more if I wasn't so tired. He always suggests those "female viagra" type meds you see advertised on tv, since I am always saying I'm too tired. I keep telling him that perhaps if he helped me out a little more, I'd have the energy and the desire. Instead he pouts like a child (which is oh so sexy) and acts moody. Yeah, what a turn on.

The ONE time he made a joke in front of his friends with me standing there about the infrequency of our sex life, I joked right back that it would be a long time before he got any more from me...and I stuck to it. I told him bringing that up was disrespectful and inappropriate and I would not share my body with someone who did not have respect for it. He has never done it again.

I wish I had answers, but I don't. I just had to write and let you know you're not the only one.

Anonymous said...

I had a hard time getting back on track with my sex life after having a baby. Everyone does, of course, but I think for me it had a lot to do with how much it hurt the first few times I had sex post-partum. My husband and I had had a very active sex life even through most of my pregnancy, but towards the end we had to slow things down because of some pre-term labor scares, and after the baby was born he put a lot of pressure on me, a lot, to get back in the game, so to speak, at a time when I was already constantly feeling frazzled and insecure. I wound up having sex with him the day of my post-partum checkup, even though I didn't feel at all ready and was still in a lot of pain (I had a bad tear and it hadn't even fully healed yet at six weeks, but of course, like a robot, the doctor gave me the sex go-ahead nonetheless).

It hurt so much, and it hurt for weeks and weeks afterward; he always seemed to feel awful when I told him sex hurt me, but I kept doing it, because he kept asking me. And I kept thinking it would just get better, but it took a very long time.

I think there is something about forcing yourself to have sex you don't want, that HURTS, while your partner who wants sex still clearly enjoys himself and keeps asking you for more, that flips a switch in your mind and makes you just not want to do it anymore, even after it doesn't hurt anymore.

I think that you should explain the problem to your husband in those terms-- that the painful, unwanted sex you forced yourself to have for his sake because of his pressure traumatized you, and that that is what you think about every time he tries to initiate sex now, and that is why you cannot get turned on-- you feel used, and violated.

I also think you should see a regular medical doctor if you can, if you haven't already, and get your hormone levels checked, to make sure that you aren't suffering from some sort of post-baby imbalance that could be making the situation worse.

I also think you should stop asking your husband to help you take care of your son, and start TELLING him. The child is his son too, and helping to care for the child is his responsibility. Tell him in no uncertain terms that you are too tired to function like a normal person without his help, and your lack of sexual desire will not improve unless he helps you. Be specific. Tell him it's going to be his job now to bathe the kid every night, or his job to make dinner two times a week; give him detailed instructions if necessary. And then demand that he follow through. So what if he pouts? He can pout all he wants while washing dishes; they'll still get clean. If he really does love you and he really does want to save your marriage, he has to step up to the plate.

Anonymous said...

I think all men are sex score keepers. Sex means different things to them than it does to us. That old adage about men giving love to get sex and women giving sex to get love really bothers me... but I secretly suspect it's true.

I hope you and your husband are able to talk about this (and his pain over his brother's suicide) with a counselor. He seems willing to talk about it (in front of his friends at least). I hope things get better. (HUG)

kittenpie said...

I know there is a lot more involved here than this, but I do thiink that explaining some things to him and telling him what you need is an important step.

Tell him that you need to be involved in any sex that takes place too, that you need for him to take a step back and start slow because if you are not enjoying it and having a bad experience, it makes you now want to do it again, but if he took care of you too, it would make you feel more inclined.

Tell him that his being involved with the family, with you and with your son would make you feel closer to him and give you a bit more time and energy leftover for working on *your* relationship and, potentially, even sex.

Tell him what you've told us.

Anonymous said...

I've been through some of this and you are NOT just bitching.

Feeling like you are being raped means you are being raped.

I was raped by my ex-husband like that, often, and it affects my sexual life with my current husband of ten years STILL.

What matters here is that he's not just a "scorekeeper," he's acting like you OWE him something and you DO NOT owe him sex.

If he wants more intimacy, it has to happen with more care, more loving, more nurturing, and more attention to you physically and emotionally but not necessarily sexually.

I hope that soon, you both heal but it's going to take him to work at this too. The problem isn't you.

Anonymous said...

Feel for you. It sucks when you want your marriage to be better then what it is and it feels so far away. Good luck - make something happen - might be something if you want it bad enough you can make it happen. btw, not implying it is your fault, just saying that since you can only control you - maybe by changing your behavior in some way will impact him and he will change his. And his behavior does needs changing.

Anonymous said...

A great counselor was asked in an interview 'How important is sex in a marriage?' His answer was, 'If it is good it makes up about 10% of a marriage. If it is bad, it makes up about 90%. It sounds like most other aspects have been marginalized by the problems with sex. Your partner needs to get with his doctor about the depression. He can't expect himself to tackle problems effectively when his depression is distorting his perceptions, draining his energy and making everything too hard. The depression alone makes him unlike the man you married and your fear that he might follow the path of his brother makes trying to work out your problems just too scary. If he can take that step other steps can follow. Your loneliness for the man you love makes the problems between you harder too. It seems like things have gone so wrong you will never get them back on track but that isn't true. If you could pretend to be an enthusiastic and eager sex kitten it would not ease the pain for either of you. None of the steps you can take will work until your husband makes sure he has his depression handled.

Anonymous said...

I could've written this post almost word for word. You are not alone and you are NOT bitching.

Anonymous said...

With you. No words of wisdom... but with you. My daughter is 9 months old now. We've had sex twice. I'm just so not interested... I'm not even interested in our marriage anymore. Some days it is just too much to have to care about one more little thing. Time to care for yourself. YOU! Talk to him, I can see in your words you want to make it back to that love.
If I wasn't so tired and cranky, I'd be envious.
For now I am hoping you feel better soon.
Oh and the doula in me is also saying that you should go see the doc. There are a few complications from childbirth (and I've had a c/s and two homebirths with wicked tears) that can affect that tender area for a long time. You do not DO NOT have to suffer. So, there is my one piece of wisdom. There may be a few physical things you can work on, for your own health... then you can work on the mental health too =)
Oodles of love and sympathy

Anonymous said...

Soooo hear you. Or sex life isn't bad, but it's not as good (read - frequent) as he'd like it to be. So it's an ongoing struggle, one that I don't know how to resolve. Too tired for more sex.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have definitely had the "I don't feel very close to you and therefore I haven't felt like having sex" and "Because we haven't been having sex I haven't felt very close to you" dilemma before.

Not to get all Venus/Mars on you, but I think that's a fundamental difference that is important to understand in a relationship.

That said, what is happening here sounds like his needs are not being met and neither are your's. And he's allowing himself to become bitter and punish you for that, rather than trying to fix it.

(And complaining about lack of sex to others if that hurts you counts as verbal abuse in my opinion.)

I don't know how old your baby is, but I can tell you that my husband and I DO have great sex again (though not as frequent as before kids due to exhaustion), but it was a LONG HAUL.

The key I think is for both people to understand that it is a temporary sacrifice that that you both made for the good of creating a family. And your family dynamic WILL change as your baby gets older.

The challenge of course is to love and respect each other during the long dry period (which he clearly is NOT doing for you, and from your post it seems maybe you're not doing that for him either) so that when it's over you move on to the next phase of your relationship instead of divorce court.

So none of this was probably helpful I realize now that I've typed it out. But just know that what you're going through is very common and normal, and it is normal for it to cause tension and fights and such. But it should not be insurmountable if there is a fundamental basis of respect in your marriage.

Also, is there a chance you have PPD at all? Because I had that once too and it made me feel very negatively toward my husband and (especially) sex.

I hope things will get better for you, that you are both committed to the relationship is a good sign and could mean that just some better communication could really help tremendously.

Anonymous said...

I was raped in my first marriage. Thank god we had no kids. I never felt demeaned by the forced sex, though, because I was the victim. HE was the active party - HE was demeaning HIMSELF.

I'm now in a second marriage to a wonderful man. We have four kids, and yeah, I know from exhaustion and sexual disinterest! Yes, I sometimes have sex with him because HE needs it, not because I do.

I do this because I love him. I do this because it's a need of his - and it's a legitimate need.

I don't feel abused or put-upon by this, because HE does stuff for ME, too. Every other night, he gets up in the night to bring the baby to me, and soothes her back to sleep after she's been nursed. He does the grocery shopping. He cooks about half our dinners. He takes the kids out (all four!) on Saturday mornings so I can have a quiet couple of hours to myself. He does all this because he loves me.

I know that when the baby's a little older and I'm getting more sleep, I'll be back to craving sex again. But for now? For now it's mostly something I do because I love him and, given my experience with my first marriage, I know men like this are RARE.

If the drive doesn't come back when she's older, I'd see my doctor, see what might be done. Because I like to enjoy sex! :-)

What I'm trying to say is that if you both love and respect each other, 'giving' your husband sex is not wrong. It's love.

ephelba said...

Did you know that if you take female rats and put them in a cage with male rats, then give them an enclosure that only they can get into (in effect, giving them a choice about when to have sex) they will act horny way way more than otherwise? True.
I went through a long illness, and then a rough pregnancy, and sex was hard. You obviously know how it is. I went to see many Doctors about the lack of sex drive and even took some hormones. In the end two things helped me:
1) Getting my health back. When you are tired you won't be horny. That's just a fact.
2) The pregnancy allowed me to say "No sex!" without feeling guilty, since I was saying no because of the baby. And my husband respected the boundries religously for the baby's sake. And low and behold, after a while I actually missed sex. Go figure.
I don't know how on earth you would be able to get a sex break on your own terms and without guilt and with a husband as a willing participant when there's no pregnancy involved, but maybe it's an avenue to explore. I haven't read much about this in humans: ) I have discovered it is very very important to my relationship with my husband. Sometimes I choose to have sex when I'm not in the mood, and then I get in the mood later. Sometimes I don't. I think the important thing is the choosing.
Ooo! I just remembered something: I remember being in a viscious cycle where I'd have sex when I didn't want to, so I wouldn't get wet, so it would hurt, which would condition me to anticipate sex being bad and painful, which would mean I wouldn't want sex, rinse and repeat. It took a very long time to uncondition that. And a lot of slube. We're all psychological creatures, and when we learn that something is unpleasant we avoid it. That's natural.
Wish I could fix things for you or give you advice. Maybe I gave you some hope instead...

crazymumma said...

My sex drive Crashed after my firt 32 is 4, and I only STARTED to get it back maybe 1 year ago.
What can I say, my husband Loves to count the times as well...loves to count the times NOT rather tham the times YES.
We have helped
We fought...oh so much it pains me to remember...
I wish to Mary I could solve this for you...
To be blunt and in the words of a very wise and crazy friend...
Get down on your knees three times a week and you got yourself a happy man.....after that it is all easy....
What a world....Anne

crazymumma said...

Oh my...
this midnight rambling...I meant to say my first, not my 32. My firt (?) is first, and 'it' is libido....
Sorry, I am super tired.....And I only meant get down on your knees in jest...but it does work.