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No affection in marriage. So sad and lonely.

(63 Posts)
MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 11:51:13

Hi everyone. I’d be very grateful for any advice you can give me.

I’m in my early thirties with three D.C. I’m so unhappy but I don’t know how to turn things around, or accept them as they are.

We’ve been married for nine years. Since we married he’s become less and less affectionate. He no longer kisses me or hugs me, and we haven’t had sex in months. Since we married and I had the children I have put on weight, which I think is a big problem for him, although he won’t admit it. I used to have time for the gym and the hairdresser, and I used to look lovely - now all my time is spent looking after the home and children. I have no time for myself, and he won’t come near me. Because I feel so repulsive and lonely I comfort eat, which I know doesn’t help, but I don’t know any other way of coping.

We’re very polite to each other on a surface level - both of us hate confrontation and there are no arguments. But every six months or so the loneliness gets too much and I break down - I tell him how unhappy I am, he takes pity on me and will make an effort to hug and kiss me for a few days, and then we’re back to living as housemates again. I don’t know if he’s unhappy- he won’t talk to me or tell me so.

I feel misled, like he married me under false pretences. Before we were married we was the most affectionate, loving, caring, generous man - but he’s since told me he doesn’t like talking about his emotions or feelings, finds my desire to show him affection suffocating and finds me boring. I don’t have any input into our finances at all. I don’t even know how much he earns. I can’t plan birthdays or holidays or buy birthday presents.

I’ve begun to think that he knows what he’s doing. He knows exactly how to hurt me - because I’ve broken down and told him - and now he’s doing it purposely. If I cry, he ignores me. If I try to talk to him, he leaves the room. I have so much love to give him,
but he doesn’t seem to want it.

I have to accept this though, don’t I? I made this bed - I must lie in it. I can’t leave him, I won’t do it to my children. I want them to have the stable home and parents I didn’t have. I just wish acceptance came more easily, that’s all.

Luckygirl Wed 10-Jul-19 12:03:40

I am so sorry that you are so unhappy.

From the great old age of 70 I have to tell you that relationships change as the years go by, and particularly at the time when the demands of 3 children are so pressing. Do not feel that you are alone in this - there are millions of Mums who could have written something similar.

Do you have any family or friends around who might take care of your children for you while you attend to your own needs, so you could go for a jog, go to the hairdresser's etc.? Do you belong to any Mum's groups? - are there any in your area that you could research and join?

Might your OH consider going to Relate with you? - my guess is that he is just as unhappy as you are.

If you think you might have a clinical depression going on here (poor sleep - not just when children wake you up! - early morning waking, feelings of poor self-worth, unable to block out gloomy thoughts etc.) then a trip to the GP might make sense.

You are still you - and still lovely, but in a different way now - your body has produced 3 children and will not be the same as it was when you were a teenager. You need to learn to love yourself again.

All marriages go through barren patches - please do not believe those who say they never have a cross word - it is not true!

We are all here on Gransnet and happy to encourage you through to the other side of this bad patch. xx

Forestflame Wed 10-Jul-19 12:04:25


I am so sorry to hear this. It sounds an awful situation to be in. I don't think you have to accept it though. It sounds as if you have tried to get to the bottom of it to no avail. Would it be worth going to Relate? you don't have to go as a couple, you can go on your own.

Gonegirl Wed 10-Jul-19 12:15:18

Do you think that, during the upcoming school holidays, you could get away from him for a while. Perhaps take the children and stay with your parents.

I think you need to stand up to him more. Tbh he sounds a very unpleasant individual, and he doesn't deserve you.

Don't try to get or give affection anymore. Tell him what you think of him and his nastiness.

As for fiances, I don't understand that. Do you have a joint account? Surely he doesn't give you a housekeeping allowance. Not in this day and age. How does it work?

Bellasnana Wed 10-Jul-19 12:23:50

Forgive me for saying this but do you think it is possible he is having an affair?

annep1 Wed 10-Jul-19 12:28:06

Most definitely NO! You do not have to accept it. And you will be a better parent if you are happy.
Take some action. Find someone to talk to. Make an appointment with relate for yourself. And you need to talk about finances. This is not how to live.
We only get one chance at life. You don't have to sacrifice yours for your children. My daughter left her controlling husband. She is poorer but happy as are her lovely children. Please don't feel it has to be like this.

HildaW Wed 10-Jul-19 12:37:45

So sorry to read your story. To be blunt you are no age, you have a lot of life ahead of you and if you husband is going out of his way to make you unhappy something is very wrong. Also the inequality in the finances is very worrying in this day and age. 50 years ago it might have been accepted but not nowadays.
You need advise on two fronts...for the relationship and your emotional happiness - to be honest deliberate withholding of affection is borderline abuse. Also you really need to get some financial advice - what your options are.
It sounds as if you feel very defeated by all this and that's is not right. You are worth a lot more and you need advise and support to help you. Talk to a good friend and then get some support to take this further. All the best.

dragonfly46 Wed 10-Jul-19 12:39:40

You must not stay with this man for the sake of the children. They will sense that neither of you are happy and that will not help them.
As Lucky says maybe a trip to the GP could help if you are depressed. If not start doing things independent of your husband. Start putting yourself first. Make time to go to the gym or go for a walk. The less you depend on him the more attention he may give you. Try not to sit at home and eat. You need to start feeling good about yourself again. You have produced three lovely children so now it is your turn.
Do you have friends you can rely on?
As Lucky says all marriages have their hard times.

sodapop Wed 10-Jul-19 12:40:58

I agree with annepl You should not live like this. Talk to your GP about your low mood and ask about counselling. Try taking some small steps toward being more independent.. You need to know about your finances and a few days away with children may give you some breathing space. Bon courage MadameFeuveral

travelsafar Wed 10-Jul-19 12:46:12

I say get out now while you are young enough to restart your life.
There is so much help out there for women like yourself, you do not have to put up with this treatment and if you have any daughters you may sublimally be showing them that this kind of behaviour is acceptable from a man. Sorry if i come across as curt but i feel very strongly on this subject.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 12:51:53

Thank you all so much for replying. I really do appreciate it. As of last year I have no family any more, so no one else I can talk to.

Luckygirl I do keep trying to tell myself that things will get better, I certainly didn’t expect things to remain the same after the DC were born! But things never do get better. We did go for counselling once before and it seemed to help briefly - she suggested we set aside ten minutes in the evening just to chat - but after a week or two he stopped. I don’t think he wants to do it. I can’t make him to want to spend time with me or talk to me. After so much rejection over the years I don’t have the confidence to reach out to him now either. I’d like to be invisible in his presence sad

Forestflame Perhaps I should go by myself. I wish I could sort myself out though, get a grip, stop it affecting me so much.

Gonegirl I wish I could! They’re not around anymore. Yes, he gives me a housekeeping allowance. It’s humiliating, but after all, it’s his money. I’ve raised the subject but he absolutely refuses to let me have any input into our finances. I don’t know what any of our bills are. If there was an emergency or something happened to him, I don’t know what I’d do.

I can’t ‘stand up to him’ - I don’t know exactly why. I think it’s essentially because I lacked stability in childhood - everyone around me was transient, no one loved me, and I thought I’d found stability in him. I thought he loved me and would never leave me or give up on me. But he has, in some ways. So I’m petrified of rocking the boat. I’m frightened that if I tell him how I think or feel, he’ll leave. Everyone else has.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 12:57:06

Bellasnana Possibly. Maybe even probably. He’s in a line of work where that sort of thing happens an awful lot, and he’s all over the city during the day/evenings. So I do wonder. Years ago I wouldn’t have thought him capable. But it wouldn’t surprise me now.

Joyfulnanna Wed 10-Jul-19 12:57:33

Sometimes in your young life, you wonder what you're doing, it seems like things won't change, but they do. Having young children is the greatest pressure on a relationship. I think you should stick at it for your children's sake. They need both of you, to them you're a unit and you have to put them first. He sounds a bit lost, perhaps stressed at work. You need to make some small changes though, keep touching him and showing your love, sounds like he needs it. Being a mum is a lonely place at times but nothing stays the same. Make some time for just you and him, ask him what he'd like to do.. It will come good, you just have to treat this as a phase.

EllanVannin Wed 10-Jul-19 13:04:56

This is going to drag you down, girl and I'd be nipping the behaviour in the bud before you get immune to it and carry on for the sake of marriage and children.

If only your husband would speak up and tell you what's troubling him. It's unusual for a younger man to be holding on to his feelings as it's the older men who are less inclined usually especially when it comes to seeking outside help----normally a GP.

I very much doubt that your increased weight is the problem though sadly it might serve as an excuse for whatever he might be up to ?

My feeling is that he is hiding something.

Men are the worst at narcissism ! A horrible trait.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 13:05:00

We only get one chance at life. You don't have to sacrifice yours for your children. My daughter left her controlling husband. She is poorer but happy as are her lovely children. Please don't feel it has to be like this.

I do though. I do. My unhappiness shouldn’t be their unhappiness. Maybe it’s because I had an unstable childhood that I feel this way, but I won’t do it to my children.

I don’t know if he’s controlling or just uncaring. I don’t know what motivates him. But he’s a wonderful dad, he adores the children. Maybe that’s why he stays with me, even though he doesn’t love me. I could deal with that if he were honest and told me plainly. I could accept that. It’s the not knowing that hurts.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 13:08:29

It sounds as if you feel very defeated by all this

I am, and I know how pathetic I sound. Believe me, I do!

pinkquartz Wed 10-Jul-19 13:25:29

I have a brother who stayed in his loveless marriage for the sake of the children.
When the second child grew up and left home he had a breakdown and has never recovered.
His AC are critical of the misery their parents lived in and the arguments and bad feelings.

So is it really worth it? The children won't be so happy as they go to teenage and you will be older then.

I think you should seek outside help for yourself, from your GP perhaps to start with.
I hope you can learn to believe in yourself I am sure you are a good worthwhile person.

If things look to stay the same then you should separate while young.
You have your life ahead of you to find someone who will love you as you deserve. And if you are happy so will your children be.

Joyfulnanna Wed 10-Jul-19 13:34:06

Men don't communicate like we do, they don't know how. We expect too much of them. The fact that he shows his love for his children is wonderful. Do you do activities as a family? I have read the other posts and agree that you may need some counselling because you really need to talk to a professional about how you're feeling. Tell him he has to pay for it as you don't want to keep it secret, he needs to know you're suffering. What motivates men? Usually money xx

Olderthanmost Wed 10-Jul-19 13:38:36

I'm a man. You deserve to be loved. I don't need to see you to know that you are beautiful. The shape or size of your body is not important. You deserve love because you are you and a wonderful person. Feel the love that's coming to you from this group of people who care enough to take the time to answer your call for help. Love yourself. If you don't love yourself you can't love anyone else. Your marriage sounds very unfair. But I would imagine that it's not beyond repair. Love yourself enough to give your husband an ultimatum. Things need to change. Marriage is a shared experience it can be a long term relationship if you make it so. Marriage is not about giving up or giving in but it is about giving full stop your husband needs to recognise this also.

Send me a private message if you wish there are many things I can discuss with you as I have some experience in this area.

newnanny Wed 10-Jul-19 13:39:58

MadameFeuveral I was married for almost 21 years and I like you was not happy but decided I had made my vows and would keep to them and hope things would improve. Then I found out my husband was having an affair. I decided I was not putting up with that so I literally threw him out by having locks changed when he was at work. I took the children to a friends for weekend. I piled all of his clothing into black sacks and dumped them in the garden. Itext him to tell him I knew he had been cheating and his clothing was in garden and if not collected by 4pm I would burn. He came rushing around full of lies and then promises. I put headphones on and played music. After a couple of hours he took his stuff and went off. I don't know where he went but Monday morning I went in to see solicitor and started divorce proceedings. I was so angry I had tolerated years of misery and then he cheated on me. A couple of years later I met another man and after a couple of years we married. I have been happily married for almost 15 years now. Don't make mistake I did in trying to carry on when clearly your marriage is over. I wish I could get back my wasted years. All children are very happy also. Be proactive and take action.

newnanny Wed 10-Jul-19 13:40:39

A whole new happy life is out there for you just waiting for you to claim it. Be brave and grasp it.

allsortsofbags Wed 10-Jul-19 13:40:59

So sad to read your post. If you really do want to help yourself there are some hard things to come to terms with and some hard things for you to do. I do believe you will waste your time and energy trying to get him involved with any changes.

He will be how ever he is and you can not change him, only he can do that. It's a sad fact and a hard fact but the sooner you face that reality the sooner you start taking care of you.

It is understandable that you want your husband to take care of you and your feelings in the way he did when you were first together.

Wanting that is OK, begging him for that affection gives him power and control and leaves you feeling less worthy than you did before. Please stop begging him. Please, for your own self worth.

You clearly do Not feel valued or worthwhile and even after you have laid your soul bare you don't feel any better you sound as if you feel worse.

Seems as if you are picked up by the improvement then dropped lower than before once his behaviour drops off again.

Break the cycle, stop begging. Give that emotional energy to yourself, get back your own personal power and take control of your life one day at a time.

Get friends to help and support you finding you. Your OH will either get on board with your long term goal or he won't.

DO NOT, please Do Not make any changes for him. He will react to any changes you make in whatever way he wishes and it may not be in the way you want.

The only thing we know for sure is that we will be with us for the rest of our lives. There are no guarantees that anyone else will be. Do what you do for you.

I'm guessing there are things you can do to feel better about yourself.

You have identified your comfort eating and that you feel worse after, change. You have 3 children yet you find the time to comfort eat and the funds to do it.

You can use that time and those funds to work towards a stronger you. A clearer thinking you. A problem solving you.

Do something different. Get your body moving. Get a DVD or down load an easy exercise program, when you want to destroy yourself with food use the time to exercise. Put your favourite music on and dance while you do the house work.

Move, get moving. Movement is what helps change. (If you really want change)

You want your children to have a stable home and future. No one will argue with that, it's a very good desire for your children. However, it's no all in your hands is it?

It's never all just down to us, there are others involved.

What's your OH's long term family goal? Think before you ask, you may not get an answer and you may not like the one you get.

If you want a more secure and stable future for your children start to change.

Change how you feel about you. Get to the hairdressers, make a list and make sure it's all about what you want to do - things you want to do for you. Right now you have a list (even if it's only in your head) and you are not on that list. Put yourself at the top of a new list.

If one partner isn't engaged in the partnership and parenting the situation is difficult. You've identified that already, your OH is pulling away from you and it worries you. Your clarity is a good thing and your worry is very understandable but begging your OH isn't working.

If you get on your own list you'll be better placed to look after your children both now and in the future.

What you are teaching your children is that being a doormat is OK and relying on others to provide self worth is how it's done - Oh and others let you down.

I don't think you are really that kid of person but I do think you have let yourself get lost. Time to find the YOU inside You. Don't even try to get your OH to engage, it's not working for you, it's only hurting you.

Get on line, read books, there's lots out there about putting yourself back together.

There is no Magic Wand to bop your OH on the head with to make him see what an amazing person you are.

There's no Magic Wand to bop you on the head and make you all that you were when you first got together. But ...

There is a lot you can do to find what an amazing person you are, you are able to take care of 3 children, that alone lets anyone know you are able to take care of yourself.

You can't change him but you can change you. He may see you as USEFUL not VALUABLE and you may see yourself that way.

Change your thoughts about yourself. Make yourself VALUABLE not just USEFUL. You have the strength to feel better and be more at peace with yourself but it won't be because you beg your OH to change.

Good Luck. It's lots of long, hard work with lots of set backs. But you're a MUM you know how to do this.

Joyfulnanna Wed 10-Jul-19 13:41:09

Children that notice a parents loveless marriage? Never heard of this before, heard of children noticing an abusive marriage, that's different. Why are AC so critical of their parents? Stupid way of behaving. As if the parent hadn't suffered enough trying to do their best to keep a family together. Family life brings alot of sacrifice. Its not all about everyone being happy all of the time.

Olderthanmost Wed 10-Jul-19 13:41:57

A bad generalisation. I'm never motivated by money

Joyfulnanna Wed 10-Jul-19 13:46:38

Olderthanmost, love your post!!