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Hi. I'm 29 years old and a first-time mother of an 18 month old son. I've been married to my husband for 3 years and things have mostly been wonderful -- he's a wonderful and loving man, a hard worker, and a good provider -- but since our son was born things have been different. I feel bad coming someplace like this and spilling my problems but I'm very worried and scared and lonely. :(

He seems emotionally distant. We've fought some. Part of the problem is I'm ready to have another baby and he's not. I come from a large Catholic family and wanted to have a large family too, and he seemed ok with that before we were married. But he says now we can't afford it and we shouldn't have any more, "maybe someday." Being Catholic we practice NFP, and one time he even suggested I go on birth control, something he knows I'm against and I thought he was against too. I got VERY upset and he never mentioned it again, but our sex life has definitely suffered. NFP is very workable and not risky if you chart right, but for the past year or so we've only been making love about once a month. He travels a lot more than he used to, sometimes being gone as much as 2 weeks at a time -- and no, I don't think he's having an affair, though I do worry about it sometimes -- and I know he loves me and our son, but he just doesn't seem to be here for us the way he was when we were first married. I've tried to talk to him, asked him not to travel so much, but he says he's just trying to be a good provider. I feel like I don't know him anymore, like this wasn't what I was hoping for and expecting in my marriage. I am pretty devastated right now and it's pulling me down into depression.

I know you'll probably say that feeling this way is normal and I'm just being sensitive, but even that kind of reassurance would be really nice right now.
 

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Most men are taught that it is very important to be the primary provider to his family. It is not that he doesn't want to have more children but he is scared that he is not going to be able to provide for his family. That fear can spill out looking like anger. Your love making is certainly going to suffer if there is a chance you could get pregnant again. Likely he is subconciously pulling away physically. Why? Because he is SCARED. Having a baby is a huge adjustment on everyone. I know 18 months sounds like a long time but in reality, it is not. He is still trying to balance work and family while also making sure his child is provided for. In my opinion, he is being very responsible although I understand your desire to have more children.

You both need to support one another and talk about a compromise. Perhaps take the baby talk off the table for 6 months but at the same time start talking about finances. Perhaps make a new budget now and plan that budget as if there were a 2nd child. If he sees it in black and white and the budget is feasible he will feel less anxiety about planning for another. That will hopefully improve your relationship in and out of the bedroom.

Babies, new or future ones, can put a lot of stress on someone. Your stress is different from his stress. As you know, the key here is communication.

Before you two married, did you discuss wanting and desiring a large family?

Do you currently do non-baby things now? Do you have date nights? Do you spend quality time with each other? Just the two of you? Perhaps he is afraid that if another baby comes that will mean even less time together. If you make individual time for each other now that will help him see that he can have it all! :)

PS -- I am catholic myself, raised in a very conservative Irish catholic household, so I hear where you are coming from. Although I will caveat on that by saying I didn't follow the "rules" when it came to birth control. I just understand it.
 

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Sound like he may have money worries. And if he has suggested birth control it could be he's worry about you getting pregnant and having another mouth to feed. That anxiety could be affecting the frequency that you having sex. NFP is not that reliable from what I've read.

As far as what's normal it's normal to face problems in any marriage. You have to first talk openly about them without accusing each other. Just say what's on your mind like "honey I want to feel more closeness with you."

If you end up seeking marriage counseling just be forewarn it is hard for someone who have taken a vow of celibate to give you any helpful counseling.
 

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He wants to be sure to provide in what is still a tough economy for many. That's #1 at the end of the day, you and that baby need a roof over your heads, heat on, and food in the fridge.
 

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Thanks for your advice and support. I know you're right about doing "non-baby things." Date nights would be a great thing. But it's been hard not to be focused on the baby since he came. I guess it as much my fault as his then. :( I will try to sit down and talk to him and work something out.
 

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His fear of getting you pregnant has caused him to pull away. You say his travel for work has increased since the baby. If you want to save your marriage, you may need to stop talking about a second baby for awhile. See if that brings him back to you emotionally. Also, date your husband. Get a sitter.

At 29, there is still plenty of time to have more children.
 

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You say you wanted a large family and he "seemed ok" with it, but how clearly did you discuss it? And what was discussed? Are you talking about three kids? Five? Eight? Maybe you two need to have more concrete discussions about your family plans -- how many you want to have, how close together you want to have them. Maybe there's a compromise. My wife wanted three but was willing to settle for two, which is what I wanted (I guess there was no way to have 2.5 to meet halfway, ha).

How involved are you in managing the family's finances -- does he manage all of it? You're feeling "I thought we were going to have a large family and now he's procrastinating it" but he may be feeling "My wife doesn't understand how much it's going to cost us." Maybe it would help to actually sit down and look at the expenses together, in detail, compared to your family income. That might help him too -- it's possible that you're underestimating, it's also possible that he's overly worried.
 

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It sounds like he was okay with a large family in theory, but now that the reality of providing for it is setting in he is stressed about it.

What was his childhood like? How are things going for him at work?

If he was poor as a child, he may feel a lot of pressure to provide better for his kids than he was provided for.

If he doesn't enjoy what he does, he could become resentful 'sticking' with a career he doesn't like in order to be a good provider.

I'm sure there are other concerns, but I think as it's been said by others already, it boils down to communication. With a kid to care for, spontanous discussions are rare. You have to be diliberate in planning times to talk, and times to be alone together.

Focus on the communications part, the rest will fall into line.
 

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I'm sorry that your having such a hard time. I don't think that you are being just sensitive. I wish that I had some advice for you but it seems that I too am having a bit of a struggle in my own relationship... If you would like someone to listen message me.
Hope you have a nice day!
 
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