Having a baby changes the dynamic of your relationship
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Olivia Rowlatt, Specialist Couple Counsellor
21st October, 20120 Comments
As well as lack of sleep, and 24/7 demands from a new little person, having a baby alters the dynamics of your relationship.
Becoming a family is a major life transition. From being a couple with just each other to be concerned about, suddenly you have the responsibility a vulnerable, needy little person who will be with you for the next 18 years. It takes time to accept and adjust to this new situation.
Often Mum’s focus is on the baby and dad can feel pushed out. Sometimes Mum is overwhelmed, possibly with postnatal depression, and it is Dad who connects strongly with the baby. A similar dynamic can occur in same sex relationships. It is important for the couple to find time for each other and their relationship.
Occasionally, you need to put down the parenting role, and spend time by yourself, or as a couple. Spending time by yourself allows you to relax, and keep a connection with yourself, what makes you happy, what makes you tick. Spending time as a couple helps facilitate the transition from couple to family, from two to three.
With a small baby it can seem hard to find time for your relationship. However, if you don’t prioritize it, and put creative energy into spending time with your partner, the relationship can suffer. Consider the following aspects of couple relationships:
Attention – Do you pay careful attention to your partner? Do you think about their needs? Listen properly, and think about what would benefit your partner.
Communication – Try to have face-to-face talks without external distractions such as the TV. Compliment each other: Tell your partner he/ she looks nice; has cooked a lovely meal; is doing a great job as a parent.
Time – Make regular dates to spend time together. We tend to think spontaneous is good, however, we plan everything else in our lives, so why not plan time together?
Fun – Having fun together helps make, and maintain relationship bonds. This could mean a walk, meal or visit to the cinema. Or it could mean tickling, or a picnic in the garden. Try being creative.
Touch – Our patterns of touch can become habitual, or we can forget to lovingly touch each other regularly: give each other a hug; kiss goodbye when you go out; have a cuddle watching TV.
Sex – After having a baby this can be the last thing on your mind, however, it is important to keep it on the agenda. Be sensitive to each other’s needs. Take it slowly, and keep talking about sexual issues, what you like, and what makes you happy.
Be patient with yourselves as change takes time to assimilate!
If things are still difficult between you and your partner after a few months try contacting a relationship, or couples counsellor who will be able to help you get your relationship back on the right track. This is one of the most common times for couples to seek professional help.
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