No one told you it was going to be this hard.
You recognized that trying to conceive might not be easy on your body. However, nobody seemed to have the clairvoyance to help you understand that fertility or, worse, infertility, can impact your relationship as well.
The hurt, disappointment, and exasperation all take a toll on both you and your partner.
It's just so sad and frustrating for the both of you.
Infertility can cause doubts not just about your ability to have a child but also in the confidence that you have in one another.
If you and your partner have been working on family building but have had struggles conceiving, it might be helpful to know how infertility can impact your relationship.
1. The Decision to Try Fertility Treatment
The decision alone to try fertility treatment can have a negative effect on your relationship. Maybe you or your partner feel wary about whether or not the process will even work. The doubt that creeps in can divide a couple.
This is especially true if one partner really wants to go through with the process, while the other is hesitant. The result is that there is a divergence in goals, very powerful and personal goals, which can spill over to other areas of the relationship. If the question is not resolved for both partners, it may cause long-term damage to the partnership.
2. The Financial Costs of Infertility
Another way that infertility impacts your relationship is the financial pressure. The methods for trying to conceive can be expensive. For couples working on family building, the costs certainly can cause strain.
The couple may have to cut costs or try to earn more money. Oftentimes, couples take out loans to cover the costs of fertility treatment. Now you have a loan payment to make on top of other expenses. Whenever financial pressure comes into play it is likely to have an effect on a relationship.
3. Misunderstood Feelings
Infertility brings with it unique circumstances that not everyone is going to understand. Friends and family and even your partner may try to offer words of compassion. Yet, their efforts can miss the mark. You may feel judged and misunderstood by total strangers or even those closest to you.
This can create an atmosphere of separation and even loneliness that you and your partner have to navigate. Of course, support groups are helpful, but you really wish your partner (or your parents) could just “get it.” All this adds extra stress to you and your partner and can strain the relationship.
4. The Disappointment When It Doesn’t Work
Fertility treatment is a science, yet it’s not perfect either. It often takes multiple attempts in order for the treatment to work, if it ever does. Each time it doesn’t work that only adds salt to the wound. You may to prevent yourself from feeling optimistic as you don’t want to be crushed again and again.
In fact, when an attempt is unsuccessful, you are grieving a loss that may feel unbearable. Your partner may or may not understand, or at least may express their emotional experience far differently than you do. The possibility of a perceived lack of empathy might strain your relationship. You might feel that they are not with you on this journey and that they just don't have your back.
5. Seeing Other Couples and Their Children
Before it was something that brought a smile to your face, as you imagined your own future family scene, yet now when trying to conceive and undergoing fertility treatments, it’s painful to see families together. It can even feel like everywhere you look you see another glowing pregnant person, seemingly oblivious to how enormously difficult it can be for some people to conceive.
You want to be able to be happy for other people but it is part of the crushing blow of how infertility impacts your relationship. You both see these families and are reminded of the emptiness in your hearts and lives, and the lack of control each of you has about how your future will unfold.
Infertility can impact your relationship in ways that you never would have surmised. Trying to conceive and family building is perhaps the hardest journey that both of you have had to face as a couple. Knowing how infertility affects you both is important for ensuring it doesn’t create a permanent rift in your relationship.
I can help you cope with your feelings and work through the problems that are affecting your partnership. If you would like to know more, please visit my fertility and family building page.