Unhappy wife ruing her lost youth

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I have turned into a lonely, sad lady. I tried countless times to tell my husband how much he ignores me and our baby, but he still doesn't care. I am just here holding on to my baby, and sadly waiting for him to give us attention. I am 29 years old and have been with him 10 years now. I feel as though my youth has passed me by and I am here grieving for happiness. Help me please.

Unfortunately, there are too many women who suffer a similar predicament where their partners seem to take a leave of absence when the new member of the family arrives. The AWOL partner is not only absent physically, but emotionally as well. He either stays out late at work or hibernates in his “man cave” or bedroom while the mother bonds with the child, which can be an overwhelming balancing act.

In your case, despite your pleadings, your husband neglects to connect with you and the child which is unfortunate as he, too, needs to bond with the child and give you emotional support. Failure to bond with the child can result in the child clinging to the mother to the extent that he/she ignores the presence of the father who will become like a stranger in the house.

As much as some fathers fail in executing their fatherly responsibilities, some new mothers tend to shut out the new dads and give them no space to bond with the newborns and so they feel unwanted. Have you allowed your husband the opportunity to participate in the nurturing of the child? Are you overly critical of the assistance he provides and often turn down his offer to help? Some new moms can be over cautious when dealing with the newborn and feel that the dad will accidentally hurt the child and so forbid the dad from doing chores like feeding and bathing the child. A dad in such a scenario will stay away from mother and child for a peaceful life.

Another complaint from the new dad is that on the arrival of the newborn his partner ignores his sexual needs and so he feels rejected and abandoned.

If you encourage the active participation of your husband in the childrearing process and you attend to his physical needs, then it is incumbent on him to lovingly and willingly execute his father and husband roles and he should not have to be pressured to do so.

Is there someone whose opinion he respects who you could talk with to encourage him to emotionally connect with his family? His siblings, perhaps? Could it be that he has some psychological challenges that cause him to be disconnected?

If reaching out to him verbally is not moving him to action, write him a letter sharing your feelings about the distress you are experiencing as a result of his emotional distance from you and the child. You can also send him a picture of you and the child. Just maybe this will melt his heart and motivate him to fulfil his responsibilities in providing emotional support to his family.

All the best to you.

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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