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How to Cope with Infertility in Your Relationship

Infertility is a heartbreaking reality for many men and women across the world. Not only do you want to become a parent, but you may feel your relationship becoming strained from the “work” it takes to get pregnant. As months or even years pass without a baby, the emotional stress can trouble any couple’s relationship, not matter how tight their bond. What used to be the romantic and intimate times you enjoyed with your partner become a monthly schedule of when and where to have sex – and what could kill the mood more than that?

By understanding how infertility impacts you and your partner as individuals and as a couple, you can learn how to make special efforts into putting positive energy into your bond. Men and women generally react differently to infertility in the context of their relationship. For example, women may feel resentment towards their male partners because they must endure hormone shots, blood draws, and the recurring, nail-biting lead-up of facing the reality of seeing yet another negative pregnancy test. On the other hand, a woman who is impacted by her own female-factor infertility often feels ashamed and like less of a woman because of her body’s seeming inability to successfully conceive and carry a baby to term. Men typically feel less satisfaction in the bedroom and suffer performance anxiety from sexual intimacy.

Work as a Team Without Playing the Blame Game

Infertility is a joint problem, regardless of which partner is “to blame” for their woes. Approach the issue of conception as a team and share responsibility rather than finger-pointing, which will only foster resentment and kill your intimacy even further in what already feels like a full-time job – getting pregnant.

Plan Adult Playtime and Fun

Nurture your relationship and reduce your stress by taking the time to appreciate each other rather than focusing exclusively on your desire to have a baby. Plan romantic dates together or take a mini weekend getaway to inject a new spark into your relationship. Focus less on the tediousness of baby-making and find ways to recreate the passionate lovemaking you once enjoyed. Even during non-peak fertile times, you can plan to take a dip in the bathtub together, give each other a massage, or redecorate your bedroom so it feels cozier.

Plan Alone Time to Relax

Make an effort to relax and recharge. Enjoy a hike, watch your favorite movie, or do whatever restores your tranquility. Meditate on what you are grateful for, take a deep breath, and live in the moment. You may even want to try a new smartphone app to help get you started.

Seek Outside Support

Typically, couples in the throes of infertility will keep their struggle private and rely only on their partner for emotional support. This becomes isolating. When you’re surrounded by family members and friends posting their pregnancy and birth announcements on social media or texting you that positive pregnancy test or sonogram image, it can be uncomfortable at best. What’s more, your friends may even start avoiding you if they sense their own happiness with their family bothers and triggers negative emotions in you. Rather than suffering in silence or having your partner bear the brunt of your despair, enlist the help of an outside source and share your infertility journey with them. You might want to open up to your closest friend or a parent to see how you feel about sharing the news, or if you still feel uncomfortable, there are also anonymous online message boards and support groups that can help you.

Remember, Every Couple Is Different

There is no handbook on how to survive infertility in your relationship, and that’s why it’s important to have a skillful, compassionate fertility doctor on your side to help you navigate it. Our fertility specialists recommend that hopeful parents-to-be take individual or couples counseling to deal with the hand they’ve been dealt in their relationship. While infertility is undoubtedly stressful and emotionally, try to turn your experience into one of personal growth and remember you are not alone.

Struggling with infertility? Contact us at Palm Beach Fertility Center for a consultation by dialing (888) 819-5177 for an appointment.