Birth of a child, intimacy woes & a cheating husband

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,
I have been married for six years, and it has not been the best six years.

After having my son, my husband and I weren't being as intimate as we were before our son was born. I was the one doing everything in the house and taking care of the baby.

He started complaining about me not giving him any attention and sex. We eventually started sleeping in separate rooms, because I would lay down with our son and fall asleep. He complained about that, too.

It continued, and he started seeing someone else. He said I wasn't giving him any attention, so he sought it elsewhere. He started sleeping out and was gone on weekends — no longer spending time with me and our son. This continued until I moved out and left him there with this other woman.

He kept begging me not to divorce him and for us to work it out, but he was still living with this woman with whom he claimed he wasn't having a relationship. Subsequently, he told me that he has another child by this woman.

I am tired of this; I feel like I am heading for the door.

What you describe is a common occurrence with some couples when a new family member arrives — the attention is refocused from the male partner to the infant.

In some instances, the father is completely ignored as the mother, who is so enthralled with her new baby, uses the presence of the child as an excuse to be away from her partner.

So, what is the deal in your situation? Have you been so engrossed with the child to the extent that you pushed your partner in the hands of another woman?

Don't forget that even though you may not have any desire for sex, it does not mean that your partner's interest would have declined or is eliminated. He will still need to have his sexual needs satisfied, and disregarding him is tantamount to saying, 'I really don't care about you', sending him a direct or indirect message to get help elsewhere. It appears from your account that your husband took the cue and got some assistance that would relieve you of the botheration.

Surely this was not your intention, and so your inattention to your partner's needs may have cost you more than you bargained for.

Let's now flip the script and talk to the men who find themselves on the receiving end of this predicament. It must be noted that the conception of the child requires both parents, and the caring and rearing should involve both as well.

It cannot be that you help to bring the child into being and then you walk away leaving the mother to do all the work, and you offer little or no help in feeding, bathing, and taking care of the daily needs of the child. Surely you can't expect the mother of the child, after spending gruelling hours catering to the needs of the infant, to be physically and mentally ready to attend to your biological needs the moment you walk in the house.

If you really want your partner to be available to you, you need to show her that you care by offering to relieve her of some of the household and child-care tasks.

Looking after a young child can be physically and mentally exhausting, so instead of making demands on your partner's mind and body, why not offer her a body massage and play her some soothing music to relax her?

So back to your narrative. If your partner feels that going out of the relationship and impregnating another woman is the best way to deal with matters on the home front, then certainly he does not understand that he is partially responsible for the treatment he received from you. Had he been more attentive, understanding and helpful, you would have been more accommodating of his sexual needs.

Sometimes men, in an effort to resolve a personal problem, end up creating another one that only complicates matters.

Before you reach out and turn the knob on the door you are heading to, have a serious talk with your husband and ascertain what he really wants concerning the marriage. Is he prepared to terminate the relationship with the other woman and maintain a co-parenting arrangement? If he wants to save the marriage, then you both should commit to a period of couple's counselling to address the issues of intimacy and other relational challenges.

If he refuses to establish boundaries with the other woman, then you must do what is in the best interest of the child and yourself.

All the best and take care.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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