Orla Barry: I want another baby, but my husband's acting odd
MY husband and I used to have a good sex life. I can't say exactly when things changed, but looking back on it, we haven't had a proper sexual relationship in more than two years.
Initially there were obvious reasons; my husband's mother died and later our little girl was quite ill. I only began to really take notice when I suggested we should consider having another child before I become too old. At first my husband resisted the idea, then said he was on board, but since then we've had little success.
Sometimes he says he is too tired, and other times it just doesn't work out. I figured he was stressed, but now I'm starting to worry. He has a new boss who is recently divorced and is always putting the office under pressure to go to various events.
My husband has told me of the young girls he has seen his boss with, and though I never worried before I'm starting to get paranoid about the late nights out they have. He also drinks much more now than he used to.
I have also been reading up about various health issues and I know sexual problems can be driven by other health factors. I told my husband maybe he should discuss it with his doctor and he was furious. We haven't talked much about having another child because I was hoping it would just happen and he would get used to the idea. I'm starting to panic -- maybe I should look into IVF before it's too late but what if it's nothing to do with me?
There are so many issues going on here I think you have to start dealing with the situation one step at a time. Your own emotional response to wanting another child seems to have brought all kinds of feelings to the fore. The first thing you need to do is take the emotion out of the situation and look at the facts as you know them.
Leaping from sexual dysfunction to possible infidelity to IVF indicates your mind is running away with itself. Deal with the basic facts first.
An irregular sex life is hardly news in any relationship. Your points are valid -- bereavement and concern over a sick child are more than enough to turn someone off sex for a while. Usually men are quicker to get back on track, though, and two years is a significant length of time.
Relationships change, and the frequency of sex changes too in any marriage. You might never go back to the routine of the early days. Most people don't have the energy, time or genuine inclination to do so. I wonder if it would have become such a problem for you if you hadn't thought about having another child?
To what extent was there an effort by either of you to get your sex lives back on course? Routine is a great passion killer, and failure to work on the physical side of your relationship can see things start to wilt quickly.
The greatest contraceptive when you have no plans to become a parent is to be reminded that your behaviour could result in pregnancy. Telling your husband you'd like to have another child might not be the surest way of reinvigorating your sex life. If your husband is hesitant about having another baby, it's not hard to see why his mind might not be on the task.
Having sex with the aim of conception is not often always amorous either. Despite his verbal support, perhaps his body is betraying the truth of his feelings.
Erectile dysfunction, formerly known as impotence, is hugely common in Ireland today. The causes can be varied -- it's often associated with older men, but there are a range of reasons why younger men suffer it, too.
Many of the causes are temporary, ranging from stress and fatigue to tobacco and alcohol consumption. Others can be linked to medical conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and prostate problems.
Your husband's difficulties could very easily be attributed to exhaustion or excessive alcohol, although I think you are right to raise the possibility of a doctor's visit. Doctors are very well aware of the causes and treatments and are best placed deal with it.
If the issue is a longer term one, there are treatments in the form of drugs or ultimately the possibility of surgery. These are far down the road though. Usually erectile dysfunction can be sorted out by a GP in the short term.
The first task for both of you is to figure out whether this is psychological or physical. Avoiding the topic of having another child is hardly the responsible way to deal with it.
If, as you hoped, you became pregnant without any bother, do you not think the issue might have come up at some point? Railroading someone into having another child will come back to haunt you some time in the future. Your husband needs to reach the decision for himself.
Right now I suspect you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting pregnant. It is only fair that your husband gives you an honest answer on whether he wishes to become a parent once again.
If he wants to have a child, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't take the issue up with his GP. Many women who have difficulty conceiving believe that they are at fault, but the problem might just as easily lie with the male partner. It is also easier for a man to have his fertility levels checked before any treatment options are explored.
Your husband's new boss sounds like a piece of work. Do your really think your husband is taking a leaf out of his book? It might be hard trying to impress the new boss, and perhaps the additional alcohol consumption is all part of that. If he has a new boss who needs impressing, announcing that he has another child on the way won't be the best route to do so.
Both of you, I suspect, need to be a little more honest with each other. Tackling what could be wrong in the bedroom when all this is going on in your heads strikes me as a waste of time. Figure out what you both want first and then examine whether or not any physical problems are still there.
If so, medical advice can be sought. In the meantime, all this worrying on his behalf remains counterproductive to any notion of either a healthy sex life or an easy conception.
Health & Living