Most couples walk into parenthood with the expectation that having children will strengthen the love between them. It can but not in the way they expect.
Providing they can work in harmony to raise their child, their love for one another has the potential to grow through shared experiences.
What couples are seldom prepared for are all of the challenges that raising children can bring to their romantic lives. From the second a baby arrives screaming from the womb, everything immediately changes. The roles and responsibilities of parenthood bring immediate stress to every aspect of a couple’s life; this is most noticeable in their intimate relationship.
Here are the three driving factors behind the challenges to romantic relationships that parents must deal with on a daily basis.
Running out of time
Making sure that all of your child’s needs are met is time-consuming. This is especially prevalent in the infancy and early child stages. It may feel like there never seems to be enough hours in the day for these needs to be reasonably manageable. Both you and your partner will have to give your schedules a complete overhaul. Some things must be left out to create time for others.
Sadly, it is often the one-on-one time that couples require to understand and communicate with one another that is first to get the axe – at least initially. It is so easy to promise that you’ll make up the time when your children aren’t so needy; this is a slippery slope because at best this won’t happen for many years.
Once you’ve made it through the day doing everything required, including meeting the needs of your children, fatigue sets in. You’re out of energy and you can think of nothing better than to completely collapse. Going out or even snuggling on the sofa with a romantic movie is just too much to comprehend.
Seeing your partner only as a co-parent
Bringing children into your home environment changes the way you look at your partnership. Instead of seeing a lover, you see a workmate who needs to coordinate with you in order to happily raise your children.
This change of perception is healthy to an extent, however, problems occur when you’re unable to relate to both aspects of your partner- your parent, and your lover. To have a fulfilling relationship, both identities need to be recognised, valued, and integrated into your relationship as a couple.
Often knowing the roots of your romantic problems isn’t enough. You need to be able to talk to a therapist that understands where you’re coming from and has been professionally trained to help you work through the stresses that having children can bring.
If your relationship with your partner has suffered since becoming parents, counselling can help explore your options on how to restore a romantic connection into your lives. If you need support with this area of your life please contact me for a confidential appointment.