Friday 23 August 2019

Dear Mary: I'm desperate to leave sexless, loveless marriage but I would miss the kids

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Mary O’Conor

I am writing to you, looking for serious help. I have been married five years and my wife and I have two children, but sadly we have also lost two. There was a minor issue with our youngest, but he's fine now.

After we lost the two children, I had told my wife that I didn't want any more kids as the heartache from the two who passed away was too great. However, we ended up having a second child.

Since this child was born, my wife and I have been fighting constantly and the relationship is in serious bother. I may as well sleep in the spare room as there is zero love at the moment or for the foreseeable future. My wife has admitted that she is a bitch to me but when asked about it she is unable to really say why.

I am finding it hard, because if my kids weren't around I would have left four years ago. She is not a nice girl at all and too set in her ways. I don't find her attractive anymore, nor does she even wear anything nice.

I would love to leave her but would miss my children too much, so I don't know what to do. I would like to meet someone else who is good craic and wears sexy clothes and loves having a laugh. What should I do?

Mary replies: I am profoundly sorry for your loss. It must be unspeakably awful to go through the death of a child and to go through it twice seems so unfair. You don't say whether they were miscarriages, stillbirths or neonatal deaths but whatever happened both you and your wife must have suffered greatly.

A loss like the ones that you have had often causes difficulties in the relationship. Both partners are grieving but people grieve in different ways and sometimes are not able to be there for each other. Perhaps you find it difficult to express your emotions - a lot of men do. And if emotions are suppressed reactions such as anger, depression or hostility can occur up to many months after the baby's death. It is quite understandable that you are feeling all sorts of different emotions, whether expressed or repressed, but what you say about your wife, while it may be honest, is pretty devastating. In between having two children she has carried two more babies only to lose them and I imagine that wearing sexy clothes and having the craic is far down on her list of priorities.

I realise, however, that it is no fun at all being in a fractious relationship, and it is not good for the children either to witness this. Have either of you had grief counselling? You have to be really sure that both of you have fully processed your losses fully before you begin to look at what is wrong with the relationship. A good place to start would be to visit which is a website for parents who have lost a baby. There is also A Little Lifetime Facebook page which provides information and support to bereaved parents and families.

If you feel that you have sufficiently grieved your losses, and that your wife has also, then you will have to decide if your relationship with your wife is beyond redemption. It may be that separation is the answer but I urge you first of all to attend couples counselling. Your two children are of paramount importance in any decision that you make because you will be deciding on their future. Nobody takes the step of separating lightly but if this is what has to happen then you will want to be sure that you have explored all avenues before making the final decision. I hope everything works out for you.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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