Dear Mary: My husband’s no to fertility test makes me feel angry and cheated –

Q: I have been married for 17 years. We married quite young. I loved my husband dearly and we knew we wanted a large family. I had fertility issues that after some work naturally rectified themselves and we have three beautiful children, two of whom are in their teens.

y in-laws were always very controlling of my partner and demanded that he help in situations where it was not necessary. My partner never said no and it spiralled out of control and affected our relationship. I asked for his support endlessly but I was often left with three kids by myself for mealtimes, bedtimes and trips. It was terribly lonely.

Over the years I got courage and spoke politely to his mum but it fell on deaf ears.

Our marriage was in a terrible place; we had neither friendship nor a loving relationship. I found my husband was watching a lot of porn and my confidence hit rock bottom. We attended couples counselling and it simply made things much worse. He refused to act on any of the suggestions that the counsellor made and we eventually stopped.

Slowly I began creating a life outside of the children and him. I retrained and started setting up a new business. I spoke out to his parents about four years ago and neither have spoken to me since, claiming I was mad and many more things. He and the children still have a full relationship with his family but I am sad that I lost the relationship with his parents.

I was constantly mourning the loss too of the family I didn't get to finish, even though I know how blessed I am with the three children. We got pregnant and I was elated, we were building a new home and I felt this could be a new chapter.

We sadly lost the baby and he became really withdrawn and very nasty at times. He promised to try again but after months of trying said he wanted no more. I was heartbroken. He seemed to see this and the cycle of trying began again.

When nothing happened, my GP suggested we have fertility tests. I was elated when my bloods were positive. My husband agreed to take a home fertility test but when it arrived he ignored it. I said nothing even though I got angrier with each passing day as it sat unopened. I feel cheated, used, empty and grief for what won't be, but I also feel confident there is a life without him which I wish I saw much sooner.

He sits every night on his phone or watching TV. I've asked for changes but the anger I get is not worth the pain. My kids are gaming more because he allows it and I feel like I'm the maid, not the mother or partner. I've lessened a lot of my 'doing' and no one is missing it. I sit alone in my room reading in the evening or studying.

Am I being unreasonable?

Mary replies: Over the years, you have had different problems in your marriage. Firstly you felt that his parents were over-reliant on your husband for help. Your solution to this was to discuss it with his parents, saying that he had to make changes. The result of this was that his parents are no longer speaking to you, which is sad.

Then you discovered he was watching a lot of porn. You went to counselling for this which did not work out. However, you don't say what was decided regarding the porn, or why it was that he felt the need to watch so much of it.

You both wanted a large family and I'm really sorry that you suffered a miscarriage. That must have been heartbreaking for you both. Your husband agreed to try once more and did for some months. When nothing happened, you wanted him to take a fertility test and this is where he seems to have baulked and didn't want to take it. This is where your anger is, I feel, misplaced. He was just as entitled to say no as you were to ask him to take it.

Naturally, it would have been better for him to tell you that he didn't want this, but by doing nothing, he was telling you a lot. This was borne out subsequently by him telling you that he was perfectly happy with his three children. I feel it is a big jump to go from being unhappy because he won't take a fertility test (having shown previously that he is fertile which doesn't decrease very much with a man's age) to you saying that you feel confident that there can be a life without him.

I wonder if you have fully thought about what this would entail for you and the children. If you are really determined, then you should at least consider some more counselling. Perhaps a different counsellor, and therefore a fresh start, would help you both get clarity as to whether a separation is what you really want.

Your children are gaming and watching TV more than they did previously. This is probably true of most houses where there are teenagers who are having their movements restricted because of Covid-19.

They are also beginning the process of cutting the ties to their parents which is perfectly natural in adolescence. And if their parents do not suggest some joint activities, such as simple card games or computer games, then they are certainly not going to come looking for you to do something with them.

Clubhouse Games on Nintendo Switch has lots of games for the family to play together. Fun things like Just Dance - a great dancing game and work-out at the same time - or Overcooked 2, which will have the family shouting cooking instructions at each other in no time, are some suggestions

Instead of being angry at what life has thrown at you, it might help if you could be happy for all the good things in your life.

Heed the words of Geraldine Mullan, who lost her family tragically in an accident recently.

"Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones because in a minute all that can change."

You can contact Mary O'Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at Alternatively, write to Mary O'Conor, c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence.

Mary O'Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately

Sunday Indo Living

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Dear Mary: My husband's no to fertility test makes me feel angry and cheated -

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