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Sunday, 25 March 2001

I Have Not Been The Best Husband

Written by  Dr. Louise Klein

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

I have been married almost 8 years, with 3 children. I have not been the best husband. I have treated my wife badly. But I have come to realize this and she knows this. I have been doing better and she also agrees, but we no longer have sexual relations. Now we do have 3 children which has a lot to do with it and because of our work schedules it is hard. Sometimes she seems to want but when the kids are asleep then it changes. She says she is tired. I mean so am I but I would still be able to make love to her. I am to the point where I'm scared to try or attempt anything and I am at a loss.

I said I treated her bad. I never hit her or anything like that. It was more mental abuse nothing physical. I love my wife and children dearly but I'm confused. I am happy in our marriage and I feel that she is also. Maybe this is just something that takes time I'm not sure. I'll wait as long as I need to. I just hope and pray she will too.

We are also looking into business grants to start a business together instead of working for someone else away from each other. My wife say's she is looking forward to doing that so we can work together and be more involved in each other's lives, instead of only seeing each other when we are both at home, between jobs, waiting to go back to work.

If you can give me any advice, I would appreciate it very much.

ADear Husband in Distress,

It sounds like you're getting things back on track with your wife but it's clear that you also really miss physical intimacy with her. Let's look at your situation.

First, I think that we need to do a reality check on just how much sex parents of small children can expect after a day of work and child care. For most people in your situation the answer is "close to none". What your wife says at 6:00pm and how she feels at 10pm can be two different things. It's important for you to not take this as a rejection for I don't believe that she intends it to be this way. She is just too tired. I'm sure that weekends also leave you little time for each other as children get up early, go to bed late, and need to be driven everywhere in between.

We need to do a reality check on just how much sex parents of small children can expect after a day of work and child care. For most people in your situation the answer is "close to none".

So what can you do? You two need to carve out time that's just for you. Can you afford to get away for a weekend? Can someone stay with the children or could they sleep over at their friend's houses for one night? If you can't manage that, then make arrangements for the kids to be taken out by a sitter for an afternoon while you and your wife stay home. Turn off the ringer on the phones and let the answering machine pick up. Draw the curtains and don't answer the door. Take a bubble bath together, eat a special meal that you brought home from a restaurant, and make love when you're both awake enough to enjoy it.

Try making dates with each other during the week as well. Order in a pizza and have a friend or sitter spend the evening helping them with their homework and getting them into bed. Go out for dinner and just talk with each other. Pay the sitter a little extra to come home to a clean kitchen and tidy house so that you don't have to clean anything before you go to bed.

Your situation is very common for people with small children. It will get better over time as they get older and require less hands-on care.

As for starting a business together, you need to give this a lot of thought before you get into it. Do you have any experience working together? Not all married couples can work together as people's work personalities are very different from their at-home personas. It's also difficult to demarcate a line between home and work and leaving the latter behind when the day is over.

Dr. Louise Klein

Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:53
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Dr. Louise Klein

Dr. Louise Klein

Louise Klein was born on the West Coast of Canada but lived for many years in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Widener University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Louise Klein is an experienced therapist in insight-oriented talk therapy. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups for many years. Her experience with families includes stepfamilies, adoptive families, nuclear families and families dealing with illness or death. Dr Klein is also trained in thought field therapy and regression therapy and has taught and worked internationally. Louise Klein lives in a rural community with her husband and St. Bernard and has a stepdaughter in college in New England.

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