Infertility can be one of the most difficult experiences a couple can go through, both individually, and together. The feelings of loss, confusion, and stress are enough to put a strain on any relationship. If you’ve decided to seek out fertility treatments of any kind, that add even more stress because most of your focus will be on those strategies.
Even if you’re doing everything ‘right’ to fight back against infertility (timed intercourse, charting, etc.), it can sometimes feel like you’re disconnected as a couple, and you may not be taking the time to focus on each other as much as you should. Remember, you’re both going through this together, so it’s important to have that constant support from one another.
It is absolutely possible to survive infertility in a marriage, and come out even stronger. Use the following tips to stay connected through your infertility struggles, and you’re likely to feel more supported than ever by your partner.
Communication is always important in a strong relationship, but perhaps even more so when you’re going through something as stressful as infertility. Without regular, healthy communication, it’s easy to make assumptions about what your partner might be thinking or feeling. Sometimes, that can cause problems to arise that simply don’t need to exist.
It’s important during this difficult time that you express your thoughts, concerns, and your needs, all while listening for the same from your partner. Healthy communication, especially during times of struggle, is all about give and take. You could be on the ‘same page’ with a lot of subjects, but you’ll never know unless you have real conversations about them. Making sure your lines of communication as a couple are always open can alleviate a lot of unnecessary tension, and help to ensure you that you’re not alone through this process.
You’re probably doing a lot of planning when it comes to timed intercourse, testing when you’re most fertile, etc. While this can be beneficial for your ultimate goal, it can also take away some of the natural spark that comes from intimate connection with each other. Don’t forget to be spontaneous whenever possible! Extra intimacy certainly won’t hurt, and your partner will likely appreciate the extra affection, attention, and touch.
Be a Teammate
Remember that there are still other aspects of your relationship to consider while you’re going through the ups and downs of the infertility process. Don’t ignore those crucial parts. If your partner is having a rough day at work, think about what you can do to cheer them up. If they have something to celebrate, share in that joy with them.
Remember that you are on the same side, and the same team. No one will know exactly what you’re going through like your partner, and you can lean on depend on them to be your rock through the entire experience. Far too many couples shut each other out when they experience the struggle of infertility. In reality, it’s the perfect time to become closer as a couple.
Is infertility a huge challenge, and even a huge obstacle for some couples? Absolutely. However, that also makes it an opportunity. The hardships in a relationship can make it strong and unbreakable, depending on how you handle them.
Use these tips to gain a deeper understanding of your partner, and both of your roles in your relationship. Show each other that no matter what happens, you are committed to one another. That way, no matter the outcome of the situation, you’ll always know you have someone on your side for support.
Written by Kin Leung, MFT, providing couples therapy Burlingame