My wife and I typically only have sex about once every 12 to 18 months, for the last nine years or so, but we are both okay with this.
We have always enjoyed sex when we do have it, but we just find it hard to get in the mood due to having young children and exhausting schedules.
Our special-needs child, who is wonderful, but requires a huge amount of attention, and sleeps in our bed with us, further complicates things. (We’ve tried everything to help our child sleep alone and the pediatrician says not to worry about it for now).
Our trysts are limited to rare occasions, when distant relatives can come and watch our kids for an extended period, allowing my wife and me to take a trip for two or three days. We need a couple of days to decompress before we feel up to anything romantic, so just an evening out with a babysitter isn’t sufficient.
Unfortunately, our budget is just too tight to be able to hire sitters to watch our kids for longer periods, and finding babysitters willing to handle a special needs kid is neither easy nor cheap.
Sure, I would like to have more intimacy in our marriage, but I understand that sex is the last thing on my wife’s mind as we make our way through every day.
I am able to take care of my needs just fine by myself, and can’t even imagine why I would want to have an affair. I know that eventually our kids will grow up and leave the home and then my wife and I can rekindle the romantic flame.
Or at least this is my theory. With so much focus given to sex in our modern culture I wonder if somehow I am deluding myself by thinking that this (relatively) sexless lifestyle is fine.
I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance that I’m not somehow being a neglectful husband, or setting my marriage up for long-term failure, by accepting the status quo.
Resigned but Hopeful
I can reassure you, and also express admiration that you’ve both brought a practical and dedicated attitude as a parent team, to the realities of raising young children, one of whom has special needs.
No matter the focus on sex in modern culture and media, the everyday world of most couples with youngsters has time and financial constraints plus stresses, all of which call for figuring out what works in your particular circumstances.
It’s a phase that will get less difficult in time, but waiting for the children to all grow up and leave is to long to leave your couple relationship to just drift along.
You’re wise to question whether there are other possibilities for closer connection. I believe there are.
Those possible “date nights,” with a few hours’ of babysitting help, for which you both don’t have the energy for sex, can still keep you bonded outside of responsibilities and chores.
An evening walk together, or a quiet dinner, even a movie, can restore the feeling of being a twosome, and give you time to talk about things beyond the children, even make some upbeat plans.
That boost, along with affectionate touching and complimenting each other as a man and a woman – not just in your parent roles - may raise your intimacy quota.
Quickie or shower sex isn’t a “tryst,” but it keeps desire bubbling until your next chance.
My close friend’s boyfriend of five years treats her like garbage. She's a great girl who can do so much better.
He brought condoms along on a trip with his buddies. He’s repeatedly told her he doesn't want to be with her.
He doesn't do anything with her. Once, she made me sit outside his house with her to spy on him.
I can't keep listening to the same story. She's expecting a proposal but I just don't see it happening.
What should I do?
Tired Listening Post
Encourage her that she is a great person. Instead of just listening to her story, say you’ve heard it and it raises questions she should answer to herself, not you.
Example: On the condoms - “How did that make you feel?” On a proposal – “What are the signs that he’ll treat you better as a husband?”
Just criticizing the guy will not help her or your friendship.
Tip of the day:
A couple’s connection is as important to maintain as sex.