Is This a Normal Relationship?

Updated on October 13, 2009
S.B. asks from Coppell, TX
18 answers

Moms, I need your help.

My husband and I have been married for nearly 3 years. Before our marriage, we lived apart for a few years into the relationship, so our intimacy was based on our trips to see each other. A few short months after marriage, we learned we were expecting our first child. Since, we've had inumerous arguments regarding the lack of intimacy in our marriage- he wants more than I can provide. There have been times where he gets so frustrated that he pounds the wall or kicks our child's toys, but usually, he just leaves. I sit at home wondering if he is about to throw our entire marriage away on a fling and then pretend to be asleep when he returns home. A lot of our issue is that I have no desire. I talked to by doctor about it and she prescribed me testosterone cream, but to be honest, I haven't even filled the prescription. I feel like my husband "demands" that we be intimate or else we'll have a fight.

Yesterday, he showered and the baby was asleep. It was the first chance I had to just relax in a week (I work a full-time and part-time job also). He approached me naked for a sexual "favor" and I said no. I needed to say no about 10 times and he just didn't understand that I just wanted some time to myself OR even better would have been time to sit with my husband in the same room with no pressures for sex. He didn't get it. Instead, he got dressed and left. When he did return, he fell asleep on the couch (5 pm) only to resurface again after the baby was asleep for the night. We spent the entire day not talking. I feel like my marriage is nearing its end all because I am feeling bullied into giving my husband the "favors" he wants at his beck and call. Please understand, I know that I have very little desire, but my husband 10 days after a c-section guilted me into having sex. Come on! We've talked about divorce (won't even consider a trial separation to work on things), we've made sex agreements, nothing seems to work. I am considering marriage counseling, but then again, am I just setting myself up to think this marriage can last when it can't?

I appreciate any advice, but this is a good way for me to vent, also.

Thanks, ladies!

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answers from Amarillo on

My best friend is going thru a divorce right now for the same reason. This is such a hard one bc intimacy is important, but respect is more important and you aren't getting much of that. I think you should try the Rx and if that doesn't work, then maybe the counseling will be the next way to go. That is, if you really think there is hope. If not, then maybe it's not worth it. It is not good to fight all the time--about anything. Good Luck!

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answers from Auburn on

Hi S.,

You've asked about some pretty serious issues that will be very hard to offer advice on without writing an entire book. I would like to offer my thoughts, though, and hopefully not drag this out all night - :-) First, let me say that I am no marriage expert but I have been married seventeen years in about two weeks. I'm not that old either, I was married at 18. I have three children, two of them two year old twin boys that keep me always tired and a daughter whose activities and school work keep me exhausted so I certainly relate to having to be everything to everybody no matter how you feel. Though I disagree with how your husband has handled his frustrations, I don't fault him for having them. I think it would be very wise of you to find a good book (preferably a Christian book)about the needs of men. I took a Bible study last year called "For Women Only - What You Need to Know About The Inner Lives of Men". My eyes were completely opened to the understanding of what sexual encounters really mean to men. It is a very real and basic biological drive for men and it is exactly how the Creator made them to be. Women and men often have very different ideas of what love looks like. To us, it's more about companionship - having someone we know loves us and cares about our feelings and desires. For men, love is more often communicated by physical encounters - sex. When your husband wants to be intimate with you, he is wanting to show his love and be shown that he is loved. When you continuously reject him, his mind tells him so many things - that you don't find him attractive, that you don't care about his needs, that he is no longer important to you. Basically, you cut your husband to the core of who he is as a man when you continuously turn down his advances. Again, I completely understand that you are tired but I strongly urge you to muster whatever energy you can, whatever desire you can, let go of any selfishness (and we all have it, myself included)and reach out to your husband. Many people will disagree with me but I believe that your relationship with your husband should come before that of your children. He should be your partner, soul-mate, your closest friend. He should know that your devotion to him is rock solid. The greatest gift you can give your children is to show them that you and your husband are so committed to one another that NOTHING could lead you apart.
I know you're probably asking, "Why the hell should I do all the giving and he just gets laid and happy?" I'll tell you why. Because when you start loving your husband sacrifically with a pure heart, you will see a change in your husband that will amaze you. When I was doing the Bible study I mentioned above, I tried to change some things that were pretty obvious that I was failing at. Do you know that my husband was so excited by my attitude that he went out on his own and bought the companion book "For Men Only" and read it and changed some things he was failing at where I was concerned. By letting go of my selfishness and putting my husband first, he blessed me by loving and putting me first.
Let me warn you, if you continue to deny your husband on a continual basis, he will find himself in a situation with someone else that he may not be able to walk away from. There are many shameless women out there that don't give a crap that a man is married or has a family and your husband will justify any "mistakes" he makes by saying if she (meaning you) didn't love me, then someone else will. I speak from experience because at year 11 of my marriage, my husband fell into an emotional affair (Thank God he was caught before it became physical) that nearly tore us apart. While what my husband did was wrong, it opened my eyes to how I was pushing him away and making him feel more like a roommate or a paycheck than a treasured partner.
Now, all of this being said, if you are having some physiological problems that need to be treated by a doctor, run, don't walk to get the help you need. If you're having trouble with desire, find out why and work to get it corrected. If you are so filled with resentment towards your husband that you no longer want to be intimate with him, you absolutely need to get counseling and figure out why. To answer your original question, "is this a normal relationship?", in my opinion, absolutely not (on either of your parts). If you want it to be "normal", then I hope you will start with yourself, I promise he will change, too.
I wish you well and pray that God will fill you with the wisdom, patience and grace you need to find your way out of this dark period in your marriage.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Corpus Christi on

Hi S.,
I don't want to get yelled at here, but my personal opinion is that married people should be willing to have sex and be intimate with each other regularly, you need it for your marriage to be healthy (if he isn't getting it from you, he isnt getting any intimacy from anybody, if he's faithful). Every day?? No.. but if you're only in the mood once every few months then I can't blame your husband for feeling pushed aside. It does something to you, to your self esteem, your sense of attractiveness, etc. when your partner repeatedly rejects your requests for intimacy.

The deal about 10 days after your C-section, however, makes your husband sound like a jerk, personally...

My husband and I have the opposite issue, I have a much higher sex drive than he does, so to a degree I know the feeling your husband gets when you reject his advances. It hurts.. .. so what i've done is force myself to chill down to once a week which seems to work for both of us, but it took a while for me to get to this point.

The fact that he is still coming to you and wanting sex from you is a good sign that you guys can find a "happy medium". If he wasn't, then I'd be worried.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It just so happens I read a blog about this subject recently. Go to and read Thursday, January 24 and Friday, January 25 for some excellent thoughts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Just want to add something from the male perspective - sex is often the way to say "I love you" to your mate. By refusing, he may be hearing loud and clear "I DON'T love you!" Your libido will recover. Where do you want to be when it does? If you want to be with your husband, try to gain a compromise for the short-term where frequency is reduced for him, but increased for you. Remember, true compromise means that you give more (or give up more in his case) than you really would have preferred...hope this helps rebuild some of your compassion for your husband's feelings. Maybe you could even connect the time period for this compromise to your job situation since, when it improves, so will your energy level.

p.s. Your doctor will probably tell you that one of the methods for increasing desire'll never guess this one...having sex. Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

Dear S.:
A certain amount of sex is expected in a marriage. After all, you forsake all others, so if your partner always says 'no', you have no sex at all (assuming he does not cheat). That can be frustrating, and I am sure what you describe has built up over years, so his reactions get harsher over time. I know of cases the other way around where the husband is tired and the wife wants more. My own wife left me because she needed more 'affection' (which was sex).

Now if you do it once a week and he wants four times, your husband may have to cut back a little, but if you haven't done it in months, his reactions are somewhat understandable. Be glad he is still coming to you. I'd worry if he stopped that, because that may mean he found another avenue to get what he wants.

If you are not attracted to him, you may have chosen the wrong person to marry. Sex should be fun, not a duty. However, as I said earlier it is expected every now and then once you promise your lives to each other. I would be surprised if he was still around after one year of absolutely no sex...


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have to say that I agree with Kristen. My husband and I have the opposite thing as well.

You say you have no desire, but have you thought why? I have four kids- 2 babies in 2 years, so I understand all that comes with that end of no desire BELIEVE ME LOL!! But, what about if you take everything away, would you still lack desire? You should really put a lot of thought into that.

Some men really do tend to become jealous of the baby and the attention they lose once a baby comes. We moms, have someone touching us all day and forget dad's don't have that.

I am not all on his side. He is acting a bit childish. I have been married 14 years and it is never a good thing to go to bed mad at each other. It is never good to run out, or smack things around either.

I hope you guys decide to get counseling. I hope you think about your desire, because sex is such a great thing when it is done right. I wonder if you don't desire it because it is all about your husband. It is a great stress relief for you as well if he is taking care of business so to speak! ;)

Biggest thing of all is communication. A marriage will never go anywhere without it! Talk talk and talk some more...most men don't like it, but unless you are on the same page it won't ever make it.

I would suggest a date night and I would suggest making arrangements- say he puts the baby to bed and gives you time relax and then you guys can play mommy and daddy. If he knows that on Tues and Thurs you will make time for him, that might help him manage his wants and needs as well. (just an example)

Good luck..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A LOT of women lose interest after having babies. Men don't understand this. They aren't going through the changes we are. He wants what he had before the baby. So, I guess you really need to ask yourself a few deep questions. Do you want this marriage to work? Do you want to raise the baby by yourself? Do you want to have sex with this man again? Are you attracted to him?

To me, it sounds like you both need therapy. You seem depressed. You found information to increase your desire and went to the lengths to get a prescription, but you never filled it? That says you don't want to try. If you want it to work, you need to get it filled. Sex is a major part of a marriage. Sometimes you just have to start even if you aren't initially interested and you might get there.

I know it seems like he is being a pig and yes he is in that he is throwing fits, but at least he's attracted to you still. At least you know he WANTS you. He desires his wife. Has this changed from before the baby? He may also feel a little left out. He's not getting the attention he was before because of the baby. My husband went through this... it sounds weird, but it happens. In a marriage, everyone has to make an effort.

You have a lot to think about, but I would tell you to get your hormones in check before you make drastic decisions. Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

I can relate and think ya'll need counseling. The truth is, there are peaks and valleys in marraige, in EVERY WAY... You are working two jobs and have a child. Does he pitch in at home so that you get a break? Could you concede to once/week until you are over your "valley"? If you love each other work it out... but don't let him bully you.
Where there are exhaustion/strained finances and a baby, there is a lack of sex. POINT BLANK. I hope he can get over himeself and try to understand you a little better.
AND while it is indeed a Christian Wife's role to please her husband in EVERY way, it is also a Christian Husband's role to be patient. We aren't their slaves, sexual or otherwise. He will have to settle for less, while you will have to get it together and "perform" a couple times/week. Daily is JUST not necessary, if you want to know the truth.
It sounds to me like he is being so ugly about it that you have lost all hope/love.



answers from Dallas on

One thing men often fail to realize is that foreplay is a 24 hour game. It's him doing some laundry, dishes, washing the car, folding a load of clothes, etc., all without you asking or nagging. It's splitting the chores and playing with your kids together. My husband is never sexier than when he's playing with our daughter and making us both laugh. Try to talk with him during a quiet, non sexual time when you're both calm and there's no pressure. You might tell him that for a woman to be interested, she has to feel good about herself that day; you know like she's had a good day and done things well. If he's making you feel guilty or if he's angry at you, no wonder you're not interested. I laughingly told my husband about 24 hour foreplay long before we were married, several times. He laughed, but he got.



answers from Houston on


WOW!!! It seems there are a lot of things going on. First of all, you are working a full-time and part-time job and caring for a baby (how old???). Does your husband work full-time? If he does, is there a need for you to work both full and part time? There may be nothing wrong with you physically other than stressed both physically and mentally. What do you do for yourself to help relieve the stress? Are you able to work out a few days a week or walk? Does your husband help out in any way with his child or around the house? How old is your husband? I hope I don't offend you but he sounds rather childish and immature. You will have to sit down and decide what YOU want from this relationship and then talk to your husband. So you want to be a sex slave or do you want to be a partner and if so what do you expect from him? I'm sure if you take some time to think, you do have some fantasy of some sort. You will also have to decide if working both jobs are worth it. You can't be giving very much time to your baby as well. I'm talking about "quality" time. I'm sure you don't neglect your baby but when as a mom we are worn out, we don't have much to give. It's important to think about your priorities and what YOU want. Marriage counseling would be ideal but it will only work if the two of you are on board and want the same things from the marriage. You mentioned that you lived apart before marriage, how was your intimacy then? Was it enjoyable for you as well as your husband or was it "sex on demand?" Also, did you have a low sex drive when you were going back and forth before marriage? It sounds like you need time to reconnect with the man you chose to marry. It's so easy to get out of a marriage but it isn't so easy to make a relationship work. It takes two people to make it as one and that's what God intended marriage to people. Two people working together as one and not against each other. Do you have someone-family member or neighbor that could sit with your little one and you and your husband have a date night? What about taking an evening after the baby is in bed for the night and having dinner for two. Candles, wine and take the time to sit together and eat and enjoy each other. See what happens when you have time to relax and reconnect. I also noticed you didn't mention how you feel about your husband. I mean truly feel! You need to reconnect with God and pray about this before taking drastic steps such as divorce. You also need to reconnect with S. and see what it is you want and need from this relationship or any other relationship for that matter. I hope this helps. Remember, a relationship is TWO people NOT ONE!!!! You also NEED to take care of S. first. You can't take care of those that you love and need you the most (your baby) if you have nothing left to give and that sounds like it may be a big part of the issue. One other thought, is it possible that your husband is jealous because of the baby? You work two jobs and the baby needs you so it may be that you don't have anything left to give your husband and meet his needs. So many things to think about. Take time to reflect on what changes may need to be made and pray and ask God to give you strength and I'm sure you will know what to do.




answers from Houston on

Most married couples can relate to your story. Although it is common, it isn't healthy. When me and my husband of almost 22 yrs. went through a similar situation we went to our pastor for counseling. One of the things he gave us was a terrific book called "His Needs, Her Needs" by Willard F. Harley, Jr. This book is very enlightening and helps couples understand each other better. I began to see more clearly how he viewed and felt about things and he was able to do the same for me. As a result, we have been able to be more open, honest patient and considerate of each other. I highly recommend this book. The most important thing we learned as a couple was to be selfless. When you take the time to be understanding toward your spouses feelings and needs and they do the same for you it results in a fulfilling relationship. Whatever you do don't give up. It doesn't happen overnight and it is an ongoing commitment. One of the best gifts that you and your husband can give to your child is a healthy marriage. Hope this helps. God bless.



answers from Dallas on

I think counseling is totally the way to go. The top two things married couples fight about is finances and sex. Have you guys sat and talked about what is a resonanle amount of sex to expect from each other? I'm sure both of your answers would be different but maybe if you work on a compromise. Scheduling sex with little ones helps too. Not spontaneous but can totally help.

You guys should try reading the book his needs, her needs how to build an affair proof marraige. It helps both husbands and wives know what the opposite sex needs. If you aren't feeling like your needs are being met then you won't really feel like meeting his and vice verse and a horrible cycle starts. My church has an awesome class for married couples needing help called re-engage. It's helped many a couple in crisis and is free and offers free childcare. Keep trying you are not alone and this is not an unfixable problem!!



answers from Dallas on

It is not normal, and my husband and I have a very similar disagreement. He obviously has stronger sexual desire than you do. However, I also think it is partly his fault for trying to guilt you into it. When men do that, it cheapens the opportunity for love- making. Ultimately they shoot themselves in the foot. Sorry to hear you are going through this. I understand 200%.




answers from Minneapolis on

Try the testosterone cream, my sister had to use that and a progesterone to get her hormone levels back to normal. And I think your hubby is being a bit of a jerk/selfish, you should go see a counslor to discuss your different desires and get to a mutual conclusion.



answers from Dallas on

First, I'm sorry to hear that your having this type of difficulty in your marriage. Second, I think counseling is your only hope. However, I think your husband is wrong in two ways:

1) Leaving when you have an argument. I see no right in that. How does that help? Does he have anger-management issues?

2) Making you have sex 10 days after having a baby! That is ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous! I cannot even imagine. He sounds very selfish.

Good luck in whatever you decide, but I do think that counseling may help.




answers from Dallas on

I'm sorry you're going through this. Your DH sounds a bit immature. Don't get me wrong...mine can be, too, but him leaving the house during an arguement is really immature. That's not what marriage is about. Plus, he's leaving his child, too, & that's not right.

Men just don't get that in order to get into their pants they need to get into the woman's head. It's the opposite for men. I would go to counselling & tell him that he has to work with you in order to get what he wants. I'm going through a similar situation with my DH. He's not as bad, but he doesn't understand that I don't want to talk or think about sex all day long like he does.

I think if you try different avenues to make your marriage work and none of them help, then it's time for you to make a decision. Life is too short to be in a bad marriage.

Good luck, & keep us updated.



answers from Dallas on

YOu need to get the Rx filled and try it, see if you don't feel differently in a month or so, if not them look into some other kind of help but no that isn't normal but common. When you have a problem with hormones and that can happen any time but pregnancy, nursing, and menapause can cause it you need to get them balanced for a number of reasons. One of which in your case is your marriage relationship. He belongs to you and you to huim and sex is very important to our men. It not only is important physically and that is a ton of it but also emotionally. They feel wanted, loved, needed through that connection. YOu need to get help for you, your husband and your child. YOu baby deserves 2 parents that love each other and are commited to staying married!

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