Q: We are married for seven years and have been lovey-dovey couple always. My husband is a great guy and I dote over him. We have a great wavelength and have been envied by friends and folks for the strong bond that we share. Of late, I have noticed that he is not giving me as much attention as before. He is devoting all his time on my 4 year old daughter who is cute and lively. Since I have always been cajoled and cuddled by my husband, this shifting of attention is making me jealous and possessive about him. I know he loves me and is just too thrilled with all the cute things done by the little one. I also love my baby very much, but first comes my husband. I want it that way, for my husband too. I feel very depressed when he insists on my baby sleeping in between us and keeps himself engaged in other activities, instead of sticking around with me as he used to do before. I know it sounds very silly, but I am not willing to share my husband’s love with anyone, even my own daughter. I am getting all negative feelings that he does not find me attractive any more and I am not the first person in his life etc…Because of his long working hours, we are also not able to enjoy enough sex as to my requirement. Although, my husband is being good and affectionate with me, I am missing the spark and pampering.. Maybe I am an attention seeker…But being the youngest at home, I have always as been hogging the limelight. As a couple, we get very little time alone as there is none to baby-sit. Pls help me as I am getting into depression because of these negative thoughts. I hate to be this sulky person, with nostalgic thoughts of the good old days. I am also ashamed to be a competitive mother.
A: Having children can change the dynamics of a relationship, sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. Many times it comes down to whether or not you have similar beliefs about raising children. An obvious discrepancy can come when one thinks once you are a parent, the children should come first while the other still feels the marital relationship should come first. I am not saying that one is right or wrong but it creates conflict. In some ways I think you need to learn to appreciate that your husband loves your daughter and is an affectionate father. Many fathers are not that involved and you should be grateful. You definitely need to learn how to share your love with your husband and child and vice versa. However, if your husband always picks your daughter over you and is withdrawing in other ways, you have some legitimate concerns. I’m not a big fan of children sleeping with their parents unless they are sick, scared or for special occasions. This is partly because I feel that it stunts the child’s independence and ability to learn to self-soothe and partly because it affects the couple’s intimacy and closeness. I know that there are some parenting philosophies that disagree and feel the children should be with a loving caretaker at all times. Everyone has to find what is right for them. I suggest that you consider both individual therapy and some marital therapy if you can so that these issues don’t become worse and deteriorate the marriage. You both may have to make some changes and compromises but I think you can find a happy medium. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Mar 2007
Counts, H. (2007). Am I too possessive of my husband?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/03/am-i-too-possessive-of-my-husband/