There was a post on Reddit this morning from a man considering leaving his wife due to lack of sex in the 18 months since their child was born. It stirred up some feelings of guilt and shame about that period of time in my own marriage, the unexpected psychological impact of becoming a mother, and my sense of failed womanhood due to H's affair.
I had severe PPD/A following S2's birth. I had some birth trauma and PTSD-type symptoms that took a while to process. My sex drive was below zero, but I was desperate to want it again for his sake. My efforts weren't enough in the end, but I'm not sure what else I could have done. I was honest about my feelings, sent him scientific articles about postpartum hormones, went to therapy, played around with different anxiety medications, went on and off birth control, scheduled sex, agreed to maintenance sex, bought various toys, gave him suggestions to turn me on, showed him love in other ways...
We went from a couple times a week pre-baby to once a month post-baby. It took me 3 months to work up the courage to even have sex after giving birth. I cried after sex for a good 6 months due to pain and different sensations and PTSD. Obviously not a turn-on for anyone.
I probably did stuff wrong, too. I asked him to sleep in the spare room whenever he had an early/late shift or stayed up late playing video games to help me preserve my sleep. He might have felt rejected by that. I explained many times that my postnatal hormonal state interfered with my sex drive and he would just need to be patient. Perhaps 15 months was too long to wait for things to return to normal. At one point, I even made comments about him fulfilling his needs elsewhere if that would satisfy him, because I felt so guilty for turning him down so often. Obviously, I shouldn't have been so flippant about that.
I understand why he turned to a young, attractive woman who was under his control and willing to give him what he wanted. That doesn't make it okay. I do wish he could have given me more of a chance. Becoming a mother is the biggest upheaval a woman will ever experience. Her brain chemistry is completely rewired, her organs are settling in new places, her heart is walking around outside her body inside that little person. The first two years of a child's life are supposed to be the most difficult on a marriage, but it gets better, right? I wish someone older and wiser could have told him "What's two years in a lifetime of marriage?"
Submitting to unwanted sex in order to please him never felt right, but maybe I should have done that to keep him happy. I was of the opinion that sex is something you do with, not for, your partner. But maybe I am wrong. He was never able to express how he felt about it, other than petulance and blame, which made me feel guilty and defensive. I explained many times that you cannot pour from an empty cup, and that I needed more emotional support from him without the expectation it would lead to sex. As the saying goes, women are not vending machines that you put niceness coins in until sex falls out.
I don't know. Thanks for reading my Monday morning ramble.
W32 X30 S2
June 2019 | Runaway husband May 2020 | Legal separation Xmas 2020 | Divorce hearing