Can these mommies get their groove back?

Q:

I really appreciated the response you gave to Randi from Denver. The child is the most important factor in this decision.

On that note: My partner of 15 years and I have a four-year-old daughter. We do share a bedroom, but have kept the door open and have remained (for lack of a better term) platonic since our daughter was born. I am really at a loss about how, when, or if to reclaim an intimate relationship with my partner.

I think sexuality and sex are very complex issues and our child isn’t old enough to understand. I worry that if we lock our door it might be trouble in an emergency, or that our daughter might talk about finding our bedroom door locked at school. (Although it occurs to me that if her peers talked about locked doors of heterosexual parents, it would be considered “cute” or amusing.) Silly as this might seem, we really worry about it. Any thoughts?

A:

When is it time for you and your partner to reclaim your intimate relationship? About three and a half years ago! Parents who sleep with the door open at night who still really want to have sex will find a way — by getting a baby sitter to take the child to the park, or both calling in “sick” on a school day, or taking a shower together during nap time. Avoiding sex with each other because it’s too complicated for your child to understand is just an excuse to avoid sex.

(You might think my advice to you contradicts what I told Randi last month, but the big difference here is that Randi’s partner is a new-ish love, as opposed to you and your partner who have been together and co-parented your daughter her entire life.)

To directly answer your question: A four year old does not have to learn the details of sexual acts in order to learn about privacy and respect for boundaries. It’s simple: make sure your daughter knows to knock when a door is closed. When you and your partner are intimate, lock the door, and trust that your daughter is capable of asking for help should an emergency arise.

But right now, the real emergency is the intimate relationship you and your partner have neglected. You are not doing your child any favors by raising her with parents who are distanced from one another. It’s a sure recipe for a break-up in the future, and that definately is not in the best interest of your child. Meet with a queer-friendly therapist, perhaps even one who specialized in sex therapy. After four years, you will probably need some help with communication, trust, and other issues involved in re-establishing your intimate relationship.

3 thoughts on “Can these mommies get their groove back?”

  1. Doesn’t your daughter ever sleep? My partner and I have 2 boys, ages 6 and 1. Our bedrooms are all very close in proximity, and all doors are always open. But when they go to bed, we have time alone. If your child is one that sneaks into your room unawares, make sure she knows that she needs to call out to you before coming to see you. entering the room. That way, you can be intimate, keep your doors open for safety reasons, and still hear her coming if she needs you. Four is old enough for guidelines.

  2. I have been with my girlfriend since her daughter was about 3-6 months old. We have slept together, lived together, and been a “family” for years. My girlfriend however refuses to be open with our 4 year old about our sexuality. She asked me questions about 6 months ago like “Why are you and Mommy together, you can’t get married because only girls and boys can get married..and besides who will lift who up?” I tried to briefly explain that anyone can love anyone and it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl, all that matters is the love you have for the other person. My girlfriend got pissed off at me for attempting to explain, and thinks that she should not believe that it is okay to be gay, due to religious reasons. I have tried to tell my girlfriend that hiding it is going to make our daughter more resentful towards it later in life. She also will not allow our door to be shut with our daughter sleeping and will not tell her that she has to knock before coming into the room, because of this our daughter has woke up and caught us jumping up from something on many different occasions. What should I do? How can I get through to my girlfriend about being more open with our daughter. Should I even stay in a relationship with someone who is so shameful about being a lesbian? I need help.

  3. @Taran: Does your girlfriend acknowledge your relationship with other parents at playgroup/school or with friends and family? I’m confused as to why she’s chosen to share her life and parent her child with a woman if she thinks it is wrong. Our three and a half year old is very open at school about our situation and is actually quite proud she has two mums, because no one has ever taken issue with it. If she’s taught to be ashamed of you now, the older she gets the less chance you have of a ‘proper’ mother-daughter relationship.

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