Updated: Jul 11
Things will get better when the kids are older.
That’s what some couples, and men especially, are telling themselves daily.
They are looking to the future all the time. Of situations which are external to them will make it easier and better. For sure in some ways they will. If you have a babe in arms and you are a breastfeeding mother then of course a few nights away is going to be difficult. As a mother who breastfed her children until the age of 4 I strongly encourage you to do so for as long as can and wish. I’m keen to point this out. The breastfeeding. As it can become a scapegoat and an excuse. As can the excuse of having children.
What I’m talking about is people using their children as an excuse to avoid working on their relationship. To point the finger at their children as the source. It’s like, if I turn my head the other way and don’t look I can avoid seeing it.
My husband and I did this for years. We told ourselves that our decision to forfeit our lives and put the children at the centre and above all else, all the time was better for everyone.
Except it wasn’t.
What it was, was preventing us from looking at the serious holes which were ever increasing.
Holes of communication around boundaries. You can read more about what boundaries are here and why we struggle to set them here. We had holes of communication about asking what we wanted. We had holes in our relationship in being responsible for our own behaviour and how we showed up for ourselves and each other.
We didn’t feel worthy or deserving of having our needs and desires met and I talk about this more in ‘Why You Don’t Have Desires In And Outside The Bedroom’.
We spent a lot of time imagining when the children would leave home and we would be able to begin living our life.
What actually happened is I ended up with anxiety and intrusive thoughts and my husband? He became a Forgotten Father.
I instigated the change in our relationship. I learnt about boundaries, I learnt about the ego, the inner-child, trauma… I studied and worked on myself, my needs and my boundaries. In essence, as a mother, I gave myself permission…
Permission to say ‘no’.
Permission to get it wrong and let go of ideals of ‘perfection’.
Permission to not carry the weight of society’s expectations on what I should or shouldn’t be doing as a mother or wife.
Permission to allow myself to have desires and then go and get them.
And with my change, as a result, my husband began to adapt to my changes. He began asking for his needs instead of me checking in and taking the responsibility. He began advocating for himself in family and personal dynamics instead of me carrying the weight. He had to make shifts and changes too.
What I am currently seeing with many of the men who resonate with The Forgotten Father and reach out for support, is that it’s almost ‘too late’. The children are older, their relationship with their partner has grown far apart. The last time they had sex or were intimate wasn’t weeks ago, it was months and in many cases years ago. These men were waiting. Waiting for their external environment to change. Waiting for it to ‘get easier’ and ‘get better’.
Let me tell you, if you want it to change, if you want it to get better or easier, now is the time to start. It doesn't need to be the woman. It can be the man too.
It only takes one person in a relationship to shift. The option is to wait and hope that the other person ‘sees the light’, but if you’re reading this and there’s a light bulb overhead then this is the light, this is your invitation.
Your invitation to choose to do it differently.
Your invitation to give yourself permission.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.