Our culture is filled with some general, unwritten assumptions that can be unhealthy and even problematic. In terms of romance, we’re expected to find our soul mate and live happily ever after. That means, among other things, getting married and… having kids. When any aspect of this fairy tale is derailed, it can add a lot of stress to your life, whether that’s from external pressures or internal expectations of what your life plan “should” have been.
That’s where the “having kids” part is most unfair. Many couples very much want to start a family, but infertility is working against them. So, they get all the added pressure of just trying to do what is expected, fulfil their dreams, and do the same things that others can. This can take a toll on your relationship.
6 Ways Infertility Affects Relationships
1) A Cascade of Emotions
Infertility can inspire more emotions than you may imagine. In a matter of minutes, you and your partner can ricochet between guilt, resentment, shame, anger, grief, and so much more. All of this adds up. You can end up feeling hopeless and lonely.
2) Insecurity About Your Partner
If you’re the partner struggling with infertility, it’s not unusual to wonder what your other half is thinking. Research shows that couples who try to get pregnant medically without positive results can be three times more likely to split up. Insecurity adds to the burden.
3) Sex Issues
When stress exists in a relationship at any time, it can negatively impact your sex life. When the stress is connected to infertility, the stakes feel higher. Being intimate brings up thoughts of conceiving, and that can be a mood killer. Not to mention, there is the reality of timing your intercourse which takes away any sense of spontaneity.
The medical costs can be onerous. Any kind of financial issue is enough to cause schisms in your relationship.
5) Who Should Know?
You may have people already asking you when you plan to start a family. So, who do you tell and when? Each of us has different views on privacy. In an emotionally volatile time like this, you don’t need more reasons to fight. However, this topic can do it.
6) How to Move Forward
Do you try fertility treatment? When do you need a break? As time passes, you may need to have conversations about adoption, fostering, or living childfree. It goes without saying that these are very challenging conversations and situations.
How to Maintain Your Bond Through It All
– Let each other know how you cope and what your needs are. This positions both of you to better understand each other and better support each other.
– Live your life. As important as conceiving is, you absolutely do not need to focus on it 24/7. In fact, doing so is a recipe for more stress.
– The infertility process can be intense. Divide responsibilities and work as a team.
– Lean on your support system. Get out with friends as a couple. Also, get out separately. Don’t forget how much fun it is to take part in those social times.
Most of all, prioritize healthy, face-to-face communication in your relationship. Let each other know how you’re feeling. Do not suppress emotions or resort to passive-aggressive tactics. Stay connected through your words and actions. You will both deal with this issue in different ways, don’t hold that against each other. Instead, seek to understand and support each other.
You Are Not Alone
Infertility can create a kind of isolation. Who do you talk to? Do you really have to answer all those nosy questions? How do you communicate with your partner? That’s why so many couples in this situation rely on counselling. Meeting with a therapist is an ideal way to navigate this maze. Your weekly or bi-weekly sessions offer you a safe space to hash out emotions and create solutions. All of this is done in the presence of an experienced, unbiased guide. If you and your partner are dealing with infertility, reach out to our office to talk to an experienced and compassionate therapist.