I've been married for almost 10 years, and my husband and I have three kids. We just had our third child a little over a year ago. Life is really busy now, with my job and the kids, and I feel like there isn't any time for us [as a couple]. I also feel like I have changed, and I don't really want my husband the way I used to. I am not really into being intimate with him. I love him, but I'm worried I'm not in love anymore. I just don't want to have sex. I don't know what's wrong with me. Help.
Dear Lonely Wife,
First, you have to give yourself a break. Our culture doesn't give mothers nearly enough time to recover from the physical hardship of carrying a baby for nine months, let alone the effort it takes to care for your child in that first year. You're likely not getting enough sleep, and you might also be breastfeeding, which is incredibly taxing on your body and mind. Add in two other kids and a job, and of course things have changed!
Even without kids, a marriage 10 years in is going to look a lot different than it did at the beginning. But that doesn't mean the love and intimacy you shared with your husband is gone forever. Everything goes through phases: our bodies, our taste in movies and music, and even — perhaps especially — our marriages. There will always be ups and downs as relationships evolve. So it's important to learn how to adapt to that evolution.
Here are some things to consider. You may be just plain overworked and need to adjust your schedule. What responsibilities can you redistribute or bow out of? You deserve some "you time" to recharge and reconnect with your pre-mom self. Go to the gym, get drinks with friends or maybe just take more naps. Then make time to nurture your relationship with your husband. Hire a sitter and go on dates like you used to. It'll remind you of what you love about him and perhaps rekindle your desire.
You may also be experiencing postpartum depression or a hormonal imbalance that affects the libido and general sense of well-being. This is far more common than people realize. Make an appointment with your doctor to see if he or she has suggestions for treatment.
Finally, maybe it's time to see a couples' therapist. Sometimes life gets in the way of connecting with your partner. A therapist can help you both uncover what's at the source of this distance. It's worth finding out and working on. Make happiness for both of you a priority and you're bound to see positive changes.
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