For better or for worse, the arrival of children in any relationship changes things. Writer Michael J. Russer learned this the heard way when having children ended his 26 years of marriage.
In his story which originally appeared on The Good Men Project, he detailed how having children ruined his marriage—this despite efforts to make the relationship work.
Nothing really prepares you for parenting, he says, despite reading all the books you can get your hands on about it.
“She just would not stop crying unless one of us held and gently rocked her—like all the freak’n time,” he says. “Just perfect for those come-hither glances I gave my wife when I was feeling frisky (which was all the time, too) only to have her return with the “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!” stare.”
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With all the new things going on, responsibilities change, the many focuses shift to different things, and that sucks the intimacy in relationships.
“When this happens, it is not unusual for the Dad to start feeling resentment toward the kids, for hogging all of the wife’s attention leaving almost none for him,” he said.
“And, if he’s foolish enough to even hint that his needs are not being met (emotional or physical), then his chances of being labelled the world’s biggest jerk just increased significantly.”
But this is a slippery slope; it doesn’t get better when the child grows up, he said. Instead of rocking the baby to sleep during the wee hours of the morning, it will be replaced by PTA meetings, school activities, parties, etc.
And it will “turn your relationship into a mere shadow of its former, glorious self.”
“Here’s the thing, when your kids become the primary (or in many cases, 100 per cent) focus of your relationship, it is in deep, deep trouble before you even realize it.”
Despite deciding to have a second child, Michael’s resentment only grew to the point that he simply threw himself into his business to support the family—“a behaviour that was socially sanctioned, practical and the final nail in the coffin of our relationship.”
“I finally ended our marriage after 26 years, where things got so bad that the last 11 of those years we were 100 per cent celibate. Unfortunately, not a very uncommon outcome.”
READ: 10 things you should know about sex after giving birth
Looking back, Michael said that if he were to do it all over again, he would insist that his wife and he have a date night at least once a week no matter what.
No distractions of any kind allowed unless it is an emergency.
“As her husband, I would also be much more cognizant of her needs during this time, not be so quick to rush into sex.
“Instead, I would spend a great deal more time being fully present for her and giving her plenty of time to ‘warm up’ to the point where she wanted physical intimacy.”
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