Attachment Parenting

Do you ever feel being AP hurt your marriage?

DH and I both feel that the AP style of parenting is right for us.  We bedshare, wear the kids alot, did extended BF, etc.  We really love our boys and don't think that we would really change much about our parenting style.  

Lately though, I do sometimes wonder if it is hurting our marriage.   Before, DS1 bedshared with us both, me being in the middle.  When DS2 was born, DH slept with DS1 and I slept with DS2. Now DS1 sleeps in his own bed, but DS2 and I sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room.  And DH sleeps alone.  

Right now our marriage is ok, but we've become more like friends, parents and not husband/wife.  We lack both physical and emotional intimacy.  I have tried to talk to DH about it, but he just says he doesn't feel close to me like he used to.

I know that part of being AP is practicing balance and we are doing an ok job of making sure we have our own down time, but we don't have a whole lot of help, so going out on dates is pretty infrequent.  I sometimes wonder if we would have a better marriage if we just slept in the same bed and had at least that connection.  Or maybe I am just trying to find some simple solution to our problems.  Anyways.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!  TIA! 


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Re: Do you ever feel being AP hurt your marriage?

  • Between the baby and DH's snoring getting worse, we haven't slept in the same bed for a long time. What we do to stay more connected is we do cuddle in the same bed for a while every night when I go to bed (because I also go to bed a couple hours earlier than DH). 20 minutes of being in the same place with no distractions and physical contact really helps.

    We also have sex at least twice a week. Honestly, that's more than I need, but it's a good compromise to keep things going in our marriage. It's scheduled so that DH knows he won't get shot down on Wednesday or Saturday. Wink

  • Although I'm not one for scheduling sex, scheduling something might work great for you both. You need something special that is just for the two of you. Distance can be filled and closeness can be attained even after its been lost. 

    Maybe it is time for you two to start sleeping in the same bed again. A little bit of cuddling goes a far way, and after a hard day of work/kid-related activities, maybe a little quiet time with his wife is all your DH needs to reconnect.

    HTH! Good luck! 

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  • We have definitely gotten into the habit of collapsing into a heap once the girls go to bed, and staring at the TV or our laptops.

    We've been making an effort to turn off the technology and really talk with each other, which in turn makes us feel more connected and makes me more receptive to the idea of sex.

    We also had an interesting discussion around kissing. DH had basically stopped really kissing me. Turns out he didn't think it was ok to have a proper kiss in front of the girls, and that he had never seen his parents kiss. I personally find that ridiculous, and it didn't take long for Dh to feel ok about kissing in front of the girls, once he found out I was ok with it.

    I definitely think that AP can make it harder to find time as a couple. But at the same time, I'm so relaxed as a Mum (because I'm not doing things that would stress me like CIO), and we're completely on the same page about responding to the girls that it also makes our parenting journey relatively easy. I'd find it really stressful if DH was demanding CIO.

    Elizabeth 5yrs old Jane 3yrs old

  • I think parenting, period, was a struggle in our marriage. It took a while for me to refocus on the big marriage picture instead of being wrapped up in the day-to-day of mothering a small child.

    Things seemed to get a lot better for us when I weaned DD and for a long time I wondered if it was nursing that made me more removed as a spouse. I honestly did feel so "touched out" some days. However, in retrospect, I realize that weaning (at 25 months) also coincided with DD becoming a little more independent, and shortly after going off to preschool. That breather gave me more time and space and energy to focus on other things, including my marriage and DH.

    Now that we're TTC again, I have a whole picture in my mind of how I will do things differently next time around- asking for and getting more help when I need it instead of trying to act like I can do it all, scheduling date nights and actually sticking to them even when I feel like I am too tired and would rather stay in, scheduling family vacation time instead of spiriting DD away whenever I have time off (I still do this and need to work on it) and generally being open to being more spontaneous and above all, communicative. I think I expected DH to be a mind-reader a lot of times when DD was very little and obviously, he wasn't.

    I still struggle with how I am going to handle BFing next time around. I know I took on a lot more DD duty using BFing as an argument. I think I will encourage DH to give more bottles of pumped milk, even though the first time around I hated pumping and didn't see the point of doing so unless I was going to be working.

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  • Honestly, I think it's more the change of becoming parents that impacts a marriage more than any parenting style.  And I also think that many neglect the balance part of AP (or don't even realize it's there).  AP isn't about sacrificing everything for your kids; it's about being responsive to their needs and about being respectful of the needs of everyone in the family.

    Actually just the other day DH was saying how he liked how we parent as he feels like he "gets" our kids more (this was coming from a convo he'd had with some of his buddies).  And "getting" the kids more makes it easier for him to be involved in their care which in turn is good for our marriage.

    As for sleeping together...I think that's more a personal preference thing.  DH works nights and prefers to sleep in the darker and quieter guest room.  That's something we did even before kids so it's not weird to me at all.  I like my space - lol!  We often still have cuddle/hang out time before I go to sleep even though we don't sleep together (and only very rarely even go to sleep at near the same time even when he's not working). 

  • I don't think it's the parenting style. I think it's having 2 young kids that is hard on a marriage. Ours are 4 years apart, and it's still hard to stay connected. It think the first 2 years of each baby are really tough because they're so needy. Sleeping in the same bed doesn't make a difference for us. We don't go to bed at the same time. (DH stays up late all the time.) We have a 2 yo in our bed by the middle of the night, so we don't have any time alone in bed. I know we need to make a conscious effort to spend time together after the kids are in bed. I think marriage is just more work than we both realized.
    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
    Charlotte Ella 07.16.10
    Emmeline Grace 03.27.13
  • Ditto PP that having kids period is stressful on a marriage, regardless of parenting style. I think sleeping together CAN be a way to reconnect but isn't always a requirement.

    My H has been on afternoons for ~3 years and I get up at 6:30a for work, so we haven't gone to bed at the same time since before LO arrived. I do miss laying in bed and sleeping in on Sat/Sun mornings lol but that has nothing to do with a parenting style.

    IMO it's important to make time to be together without distractions. My H and I take LO for a walk on weekend evenings. It's lovely to just chat and walk while LO is kept busy looking around. And we make an effort to get out at least 1x a month without LO, even if it's just dinner. Regular sex is a big thing, especially for men (I know this is a huge generalization but it's true in many cases). I don't see an issue with scheduled sex if that helps your marriage. And it certainly doesn't preclude non-scheduled sex if the opportunity arises. Technology can be a huge inhibitor to closeness in a couple if you're always spending your time together in front of screens. 

  • I think that one of the best gifts you can give your children is a healthy, happy marriage.  All the AP in the world isn't going to balance out the effects of unhappy or divorced parents on a child.

    It is tough sometimes to find the time and energy, but I am working on making DH more of a priority.  There are times when it feels like we are parents only, not husband and wife.  I don't ever want to feel like that, and I don't want DH to either.

    I should add that we don't bedshare, never have.  I love the connection of sleeping in the same bed.  I have asked DH to go to bed earlier so we can talk, snuggle, or whatever.  That's what works for us.

  • We've had some serious dry spells since our kids were born. You currently have two kids under 3, and one of them is a baby. Not having sex a lot is par for the course, even if you're sharing a bed all night.

    Find a babysitter and go out by yourselves. We've gotten a regular babysitter, and have had a good amount of dates over the past year, and it's really, really nice to go out without kids being around. Would it be possible to arrange one night away from your kids? Or maybe a full-day date sometime?

    Do you start the night in the same bed? Our kids go to sleep before we do, so DH and I sleep together in one room, and then DH deals with DS2 overnight, so we get at least a few hours together most nights. We've finally started having sex again, and taking the plunge was the hardest part...I was so wiped out from night nursing DS2 (and dealing with small children all day), that sex was the last thing on my mind for a long, looooong time. But we've always cuddled, hugged etc. even when we're not being more actively intimate. 

    I will say, I think as a society married couples are expected to be having sex on a regular basis all the time, which just isn't realistic, IMO. Sex drives can vary, kids are exhausting, etc. etc. HTH.



    I still struggle with how I am going to handle BFing next time around. I know I took on a lot more DD duty using BFing as an argument. I think I will encourage DH to give more bottles of pumped milk, even though the first time around I hated pumping and didn't see the point of doing so unless I was going to be working.

    I found that DH had a lot more work to do when DS2 was born. I never pumped to have DH feed him, bc DH was taking care of DS1 a good amount. Night weaning made a ton of difference for how burned out I was - but I didn't night wean DS2 until past 18 months, again.

    Having small children is just tough on marriage!

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I would say co sleeping really has put a damper on our personal time.

    we realized that though so weve made more of a conscious effort for doing it while DD naps since she naps in her own room in her own bed. Other than that I'd say no, I never wore DD, but DH did and i do extended bf... id say that the only thing would be the co sleeping but we are adjusting ourselves to remedy that.

  • At first we had a hard time adapting to nursing around the clock and co sleeping. This might sound silly, but we bought a couple games and we play games and talk and shut out technology. this one is our favorite. Don't know how to make clicky on iPad. A little pass the pigs and talking and laughing really helped us. I know it sounds silly but for us it worked.  

    Air Force Wife and proud SAHM to baby E, TTC #2 while BFing Uploaded with Snapbucket
  • I'm sorry you guys are having a rough time right now.  We had a rough time after #2 was born.  Dh was doing his own thing in the evening, and I was doing mine, and we just weren't spending any time together.  We were still sleeping side by side, but I was staying up later than dh and so I wasn't getting any time with him.  We finally broke down and talked about it and realized that we needed committed time together in the evening.  So once the bigger kids are in bed (our 19mo usually outlasts Daddy, so it's not 100% alone time most nights), we hang out on the couch together and watch junk on Netflix (right now we're going through Dawson's Creek lol).  We've gone through periods of time that we played games together too.  I think it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you are spending some time together.

    I agree with trying to make sure sex happens too.  How much each person/couple needs is so individual.  For us, if we don't do it every 2-3 days, we can tell a difference.  Dh is one that if he goes 3 or 4 days without, he can easily go 10.  But if I go that long, I start to feel rejected and unloved, no matter how I try to be rational about it, I cannot talk those feelings away.  So we try to make sure that happens, even it's just a quickie on Saturday afternoon while the kids watch a movie in the living room and eat some chocolate chips.  We just sneak away to the bedroom and lock the door and hurry before we're missed.

    Sleeping together is nice,'s not essential as long as you're making sure that you're getting the affection other ways.  Dh and I spent an entire year sleeping apart after #4 was born because #3 was just NOT ready to sleep alone, even on our floor.  He still gets in bed with me most nights, but usually it's after dh hits the couch.  He has some sleep issues of his own that he feels are better served on the couch, and even though it took a long time for me to get used to, I just had to be reassured that it wasn't because dh didn't want to be around me.

    I hope that helps a little.  Keep bringing it up gently with your dh so you guys can work out what works best for you.

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  • I am going through the same thing.  DH and I are just checked out with each other.  We have both admitted that we aren't as "in love" as we used to be.  It is super hard to have a 5 month old and struggling in our marriage.  I can only hope we weather this storm together and it gets better.  I grew up in a divorced family and i don't want to separate my time with my son if we can work things out.  DH blames it on my AP parenting style and that I don't give him enough attention.  I am truly struggling with finding a balance of parenting the way I want to parent and giving DH what he needs.  That being said I wish he would understand that this is a hard time as a mother.  DS needs a lot from me especially with BFing.  I try to pump so DH can help out here and there.  I am not sure if it's my AP style parenting or if this would have happened to us anyway.  I really hope things get better for you.  I have lots of empathy for you
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  • DH sleeps on the sofa and has for a while. He sometimes complains about it... but honestly he used to fall asleep on the sofa even before DS came along and I used to have to call him into the room at 2-3am anyway. 

    I think having children in general kinda pulled our intamacy apart.  I'm just so tired and have zero patience at the end of the day.  Maybe if I had more help around the house and for the nightwakings.. IDK.

    Part of me wants to move DS to his own room to bring DH back to the bed.  But I enjoy having DS next to me tremendously.  I will transition DS in a couple of months to his own bed and then DH can return.  DD currently does not sleep with me anyway (I can't do both DD and DS).

    Maybe you need to return to the bed. Sorry you are going through all of this.  I just wanted to share so you know that you are not alone.  I don't have much advice for you. 

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  • jshfjshf member
    Thanks for all your support!  We have been trying to be more affectionate and just touch even if it's while we watch tv.  It's kind of wierd that we have to make ourselves give hugs and kisses, but once we start cuddling it feels natural.  I'm just glad DH wants to make things better.  I was feeling like he was staying in the marriage just for the kids.  
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