More Advice About Rekindling Desire After Kids

Updated on July 27, 2019
B.A. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
13 answers

You ladies gave me really good advice when I recently posted about having a crush on another man. I don’t think the crush will go anywhere and I’m working through my feelings about it and taking a class from a different instructor. My problem is I still don’t feel attracted to my husband. When he tries to initiate sex (which isn’t often) I feel turned off by him. This is upsetting and I don’t know what to do. I do love him but don’t feel desire for him. He’s a good guy and a great dad but is angry and irritable a lot of the time. He doesn’t plan dates or think about anything other than work or home repairs. We’ve got our hands full with two kids and a house and jobs but I wish I desired him as much as I desire this other guy (who I don’t know very well at all). We’ve been together 16 years and I just want to feel attracted to him again which right now I don’t. He’s fit and takes care of himself so it’s not his body or anything. There’s some underlying issue for me of being unable to summon desire for this person who feels too familiar. Is this just marriage? The thought of going on like this without any passion seems very depressing. I should say that before kids we had a pretty good sex life and had fun together and traveled a lot but our relationship was more about stability and emotional connection than lust. What do I do? He’s not really open to counseling although if I said it was totally necessary he’d do it. Thanks ladies.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much ladies! I’m not sure what will work for us but you’ve given me a lot of good things to think about, especially what he may be picking up from me in terms of lack of desire, which then makes him angry and defensive. I’ll try to keep you posted!

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answers from Norfolk on

Work on being friends.
Do nice things for each other - be sweet - make him his favorite dish.
Having little kids is exhausting for both parents and exhaustion drives down desire.
But being friendly keeps the relationship going until the desire can be kindled again - and it gets better once the kids are sleeping better through the night.
Try to plan a date night every so often.
Have the kids stay with grandparents while you and Hubby do something fun together.
A movie, a nice restraunt, maybe a weekend at a bed and breakfast.
You'll be fine for the long haul just give it time.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Anchorage on

The grass is only greener on the other side if you don't water your own lawn. Of course the guy you barely know feels more exciting, you don't have kids or a mortgage together. It is normal to feel disconnected for a time after kids come along but it is so important to figure out how to reconnect and then stay connected because you two will be together long after the kids move out. You have to grow and change together or you will grow apart. For me, it started when I finally found a way to tell my husband that I did not feel connected to him. We talked a lot, without judgement while trying to see things from the others point of view. We started making time for just the two of us, even if it was just an hour a night without the kids. We also made sex more of a priority and talked about all our fantasies etc, and even tried a few. Now that we have found our way back together if one of us begins to feel disconnected we speak up right away so we can adjust course. One thing that was important was for us to stop thinking about what we think the other person should be doing for us (you mention he never plans date night etc) and instead focus on what we can do to make the other person happy. I actually started this without telling him and as was expected he just naturally started to do more to make me happy, because when someone feels truly happy they want those they love to also be happy.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

You need to have fun with your husband. (You can go to counseling, but talking about your issues is way less than fun and I think could even set you back). I don't know what that looks like for you but for me and my husband it’s going to see local music, going to dinner with friends and our absolute favorite thing is having a few drinks in our hot tub (we do this all year long). I really believe our marriage is so great because we have our hot tub. It’s where we can talk and laugh under the moon and stars without any distractions.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think it's a pretty common phenomenon to become disenchanted with the ordinary and everyday and long for some adventure.

and strange.

it's work to reconnect, but so worth it. either it will work, which is awesome, or it will become so clear to both of you that you'll be able to make a measured, mature decision about how to proceed.

but it needs time and real effort on both your parts.

when you first fell in love, it was probably effortless. it would be lovely for it to be effortless again, but it won't be. plan to work at it with the same focus and dedication that you'd put into a big work project or something for your kids.

date each other. find ways to have fun together. the lust comes after the connection at this stage in the relationship. make a little time, even if it's just 10 minutes, to sit down and talk to each other, looking into each others' eyes, not just barking out information in passing. focus on listening actively.

express appreciation when he does something nice, even it's just a practical 'nice' thing like taking out the trash. try to do a little something nice for him every day.

date nights are cliche but vital. make time for them. seriously.

initiate sex even if you're not panting for it. if you plan it in advance, you can work yourself up, right? it's more likely to be a 'hell no!' when it's sprung on you. and feel free to fantasize to make it more fun during this meh phase- but NOT about your gym crush. movie star or literary boyfriends are your focus here, not real guys.

be patient. it takes time to work your way back to this.

good luck!


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I admire you for taking ownership and addressing the issue. If counseling helps you, just go on your own.

I was with my husband 30 years, he died suddenly in 2015 shortly before our 27th wedding anniversary.

We believed in continuing to date each other. We dated a lot before we had out daughter and a big factor after she was born was to set aside a minimum of 1 date a week. We valued that as a priority and it was in our budget to have a sitter weekly and go out. Our daughter moved out on her own for college in 2013 and We did this up until his sudden death.

Now, people will say how much $$ is costs to do this. Look at your end value? Your relationship. Our weekly dates consisted of maybe a great dinner and wine to simply a long outing in a park or me tagging along with him to play golf, etc. What you choose to do does not have to cost a lot of money.. it is the time and effort to be together, keep connected like you were or recharge yourselves.

I will be the first to say there are ups and downs in all marriages and no marriage is perfect. It is too easy to get into an unhealthy rut.

Change your way of thinking. Remember why you dated him, married him, chose him to be the dad to your children. Those values are there... they just need dusted off and rekindled.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

If you are familiar with the old “Calgon, take me away!” commercial, maybe you can think in terms of this crush you’re feeling taking you away from the bore of your everyday life and 16 years of marriage. The fantasy is better than the reality. Add to that your husband’s shortcomings, and it’s a recipe for not being sexually interested.

At least you are dealing with this in an adult way instead of running off and doing something stupid like some men and women do. And at least you’re trying to figure out a way to connect back with your marriage. It’s not just important for you, but for him so that he won’t lose interest in being married.

Scheduling a date every week and not talking about the kids is important. You need time together without their distraction. Buy some romance novels or the like that’s kind of racy and read pieces of them before going to bed. It will help you get in the mood. Even if you aren’t in the mood, fake it til you make it.
It does help you get there.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If he's angry and irritable, sometimes it's hard to feel a connection. My husband can be these things at times, and it's understandable with kids and working - being stressed. Sometimes depression (doesn't have to be severe) in men especially, can come out this way. For my husband, this is the case. It was not present very much before kids, and came out afterwards with the stress, less sleep, worries, financial burdens, etc. of a family.

The thing is, we're not the women/gals they married either. I think it goes both ways. Women get depressed too - and stressed, and irritable .. so if that's the problem, sometimes compassion, understanding .. is the new stage in marriage. That can bring new intimacy. Seriously. On a whole new level.

I went through a loss in my life, and my husband, who I hadn't connected with in a while (kids) was there, and we connected. Trust me, romance/connection comes and goes. Just don't be closed off or look elsewhere.

Maybe the gym guy reminds you of who hubby was. Try to lose that way of thinking and open up to the future. This is your new phase. Instigate physical connection. A lot of moms I know do. It may have been hubby in past - take the reins. Trust me, he'll love it. Are you in your 30's? This could be the whole new phase. :)

It does keep changing, but you need to change with it too. Be the change. Good luck :) Keep us posted.


AKmom this is so bang on "One thing that was important was for us to stop thinking about what we think the other person should be doing for us (you mention he never plans date night etc) and instead focus on what we can do to make the other person happy."

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Does he know this? That:

1. You don’t feel an emotional connection, and
2. You want to

He may feel the same way...and it may be no-fault from either of you. Just the course of life. I think communication is the first step, but only if you are able to have an honest, open, loving discussion.

I think this is the work part of marriage. Working on and keeping that emotional connection protected from outside stress, influences, interference...whatever you want to call it.

Your husbands response to going to see a counselor tells me he thinks you guys need to go, but is dragging his feet because he is afraid. Afraid that the denial (walking on eggshells) you are both in regarding the state of your marriage that allows you both to function day to day will be broken. Then you both will have to do something about it. Just not sure what, and that is scary.

Harville Hendrix is a marital therapist who has authored books for couples to work on overcoming marital problems. He even experienced his own and is quite forth coming about it. You can google him.

So I think it is a good idea for you guys to contact a marital therapist, even if it’s just you that goes. Until then see if his books interest you. They might be at local library

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Wow, this post describes my life almost to a T. It couldn’t be any closer. I was glad to read the responses as well. Glad I’m not alone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think what you are feeling in fairly normal. After having kids things definitely change. The only way for them to get better is work. I think you both need to go to counseling. You said he's not really open to it unless you say it's totally necessary. I think it's TOTALLY necessary if you are going to keep your marriage together.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You BOTH need to attend therapy, so he can learn how his behaviors may be turning you off, and how to modify them. Maybe he is unaware that his irritability and lack of date nights is affecting your sex drive and affecting your marriage so negatively. You might be feeling he doesn't care or just sees sex as robotic, I can understand that. I don't feel like having sex with a man who yelled at me or called me ugly, for example, yes, words can cause resentment to the point there is no going back, unless you both admit it's a problem and work on it. He might blow up if you bluntly tell him that he makes no time for you and is moody, but a counselor can help him realize this in a more neutral, positive way that may not make him react in an angry manner or think you're making excuses because you want to be free of him. Perhaps he is only reacting to what he is seeing from you, a neglect in your relationship, frustration, and depression, so it is a mirror image response. That is why I think counseling, and choosing some alone time together, like a weekend trip out of town with some romantic surprises (a sexy negligee on your part, a nice oil massage on his, for example), would do you both much good.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

He’s angry and irritable....could it be because there’s no desire coming from you? He senses that for sure. He probably feels like you don’t want him anymore. No with someone who he feels isn’t attracted to him anymore. I’d be angry and irritable too!

Life gets in the way, you may talk to one another but only about to-do lists and schedules, kid milestones/worries, etc.
But what about putting aside time to just work on your marriage?

Agree together that you both will make it a priority to communicate with each other more regularly (e.g. every 2 days) and talk about your feelings from the heart. No talking about kid stuff. No expectations of leading to sex. No accusations or being defensive but truly listening to each other. Just talking about how you’re both feeling. Put in on the calendar and commit to it so it doesn’t get swept under the rug of daily life.

Just this one simple practice will help you both.

You could try just having sex but if you’re not connecting emotionally with each other, sex won’t be that great for either of you, so start by reconnecting first.



answers from Dallas on

I mean, yeah, this kind of is just marriage. It's a lot easier to focus on the kids and the jobs and ignore the relationship part. It's hard. I do think that you need to start by spending time together. I know you're tired and you both work, but honestly, you have to start there. You might have to force yourself into it but I'm sure you'll feel better once you do. Sex is kinda the same way. Sometimes you have to just do it. If you really want to be connected to him again, you both have to put in the effort. Talk to him about how you feel and tell him that you want to feel more connected than you do right now. Ask him to help you spend time together and be more intimate.

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