How to Deal with the Stress that Infertility can have on your Relationship

Upset couple finding out results of a pregnancy test in the bedroom

Dealing with Sadness, Shame, and Security

Facing infertility or difficulty getting pregnant can come with a lot of different emotions.  Many couples feel deep sadness over the experiences which they are missing.  Even if they are hopeful that fertility treatments will work, they may feel frustration that things are not working out on the timeline for which they had hoped, or feel left behind when their friends start to have children.  Infertility can also bring feelings of shame for both men and women.

Each partner may believe that difficulty getting pregnant somehow makes him or her less masculine or less feminine.  These feelings of shame can lead an individual to believe that his or her partner will leave the relationship in order to have children with another partner.  All of these feelings are normal, and it is important to recognize and talk with your partner about these feelings so that you and your partner can process them together.

The stress caused from the challenges a couple faces with infertility can only make matters worse. Read more about psychological stress and the impact on fertility.

Dealing with Changes to the Sexual Relationship

Participating in fertility treatment can make sex feel like a chore. It is sometimes difficult to make sex feel romantic or like a spontaneous act of love or connection when a doctor is dictating when you should be having sex. Another issue is that couples who are trying to get pregnant may feel a sense of disappointment or failure every time sex does not result in a pregnancy. This can lead to performance anxiety and make the couple more hesitant to have sex.

Keep your sexual relationship exciting by taking the extra time to set the right atmosphere. Try to do your fertility planning and ovulation planning before you are ready to have sex. Knowing when you are ovulating is important, but it is best to have all of those charts and spreadsheets out of your mind before you engage with your partner.

Seeking Social Support

Having appropriate support is very important.  First and foremost, you need support from your partner. With all of the stress involved in participating in fertility treatments, you and your partner need to be on the same page. Understand each other’s goals, fears, and limits. Sometimes, however, couples may need more support than just their partner can offer.

It is important to have a trusted family member or friend with whom you can talk about how you are feeling. Finally, seeking professional support from a therapist who has experience working with couples going through fertility treatment can be an invaluable source of support for both partners.

 

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