Stress and Intimacy

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
My wife and I have been married for three years and we have one, two year old child. Over the past year we've both been working alot and there has not been much time for just the two of us.

To get to my question, when we do have time just for us it seems like making love is a hassle for her. Being a semi-sensitive guy I tried asking her about it. She thinks I just want sex, when honestly it is the feeling of being wanted.

Is it strange for a guy to have these feelings? How can I explain to her what it really means and how it makes me feel every time she says no? Advice
There are several things going on here. First, you've only been married for 3 years and you already have 2 kids to deal with. Marriage is enough of a burden for most people, never mind having 2 kids in the mix. So you already have enough stress to swamp any relationship without having to deal with intimacy in the mix, too.

It is NORMAL for intimacy levels to slow down as you get into a relationship, and if you add in *two* kids it kills it even more strongly - because now you have to handle all the stress of raising toddlers.

I have the how-to on relationships stages here -

and it sounds like you're just settling down into the long term relationship that comes with trying to raise multiple kids. It can be incredibly hard to maintain any "romance" in that situation. Many couples settle into being best friends at this point and then recover the romance after the kids finally get out of the house. Of course many relationships dissolve during the teenage years because kids are so stressful. So you have to remember that this relationship is going to need ACTIVE constant work to stay together, you can't just "expect it to work" like you did in your pre-kid days.

So read all the tips on the site about keeping the love alive, and maintaining the romance. It does require a day to day effort.

As far as the too-tired-for-sex thing goes, you have to stop equating sex with love. That is going to get you into huge trouble. You can *easily* be too tired for sex and not have it mean anything else. You have to learn to feel loved without her having to "prove it" with sex. If you keep equating putting-out with feeling loved, that is going to set you up for real unhappiness. Sex should be a voluntary show of passion when you have time and energy for it. If you are too tired for it now, or if she is, then you address the time problems. Work out schedules so that you have more time set aside for yourselves.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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