How Infertility Can Impact a Relationship

Male and female looking with worry at a pregnancy test

Infertility is something that impacts so many women and couples, but yet it continues to be tip-toed around. Often those involved do not want to talk about it with family and friends in fear of seeing the pity in their eyes. And the misconception that if you just “stress less” you’ll be able to get pregnant can be maddening to anyone.

Trying to get pregnant at first, can feel hopeful and exciting. But as time goes on and still no baby, these feelings can turn to anger and resentment. It can be incredibly trying on an individual and even more so on a relationship. We have all known a couple struggling to conceive, or have been that couple. It is easy to get lost in the despair of wanting a baby so badly, and not getting it.

“We are starting to argue a lot more.”

You might find you and your spouse arguing a lot more while experiencing infertility. When do we seek outside help? Should we tell our friends and family or keep it private? Seeking outside help is always a sensitive subject, but one that should be discussed at length with your spouse. It doesn’t mean you’ve ‘failed’ or there is something ‘wrong’, it just means that it might be best to try all avenues towards having a baby.

Keeping your struggles private is a personal decision. But you might be surprised at how many other people can relate, or who might be going through the same thing. Having a sold support group through this trying time, can be a huge benefit whether it is family, friends, or doctors.

“Is it my fault?”

A lot of couples who experience trouble conceiving, start to have thoughts of fault. Is there something wrong with me that I can’t get pregnant? Is there something wrong with my spouse? There is a real fear about a spouse leaving if fertility work is not successful. That can really put a lot of stress and strain on a relationship.

Seeking help from an infertility counselor or therapist can help a relationship navigate these troubled waters. It helps to speak to your spouse about what exactly is expected, and what plans B and C are.

“I don’t understand my spouse’s coping mechanisms”

This can be a real issue when problems arise in a relationship. Often times two people do not cope in the same way. One may be very out and open about their struggles, while the other prefers to keep things private and personal. This can seem like one person ‘cares’ more than the other. Or one person is putting more effort into finding a solution than the other.

Recognizing that everyone copes differently, and you might not be able to physically see someone who is struggling. Communication can be key here. Talk to one another, and ask for what you need during this time. Understand that you are both feeling frustrated, hopeless, and stress, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be showing it the same way.