Once Parents, Could We Remain Lovers?

When it comes to being a parent, it is important to take into account very seriously your role as a partner in the couple you’re a part of. Parenthood without taking into consideration your role as a partner is not at all healthy for either you or your child. The reason for such a high number of couples that break up is quite simply due to both partners having difficulties in creating real connection, finding time and space for their roles as partners because they both have difficulties in creating a genuine intimacy.

A little bit counterintuitively, it would appear that the most important thing in raising a child is that first of all you have a good relationship with your partner. After the child is born, everything seems to become less important, priorities change, and the child seems to become the center of your universe and take precedence over everything else. According to the research and to many psychologists’ opinion, the opposite is true. Whenever a couple suffers and is dissatisfied with their relationship, this will negatively impact the development of their children as they grow up.

Firstly, what might prevent the partners from being able to function as a couple in this context in which they are also asked to become parents and in a way which makes them vulnerable ? Some people find it difficult to reconcile the role of parent with the role of partner because very often this requires to ask for help, to be in touch with their needs as  women or men. To be aware of the fact that their inner balance affects their relationship with their child. A child’s birth is a time when anxiety levels rise and a plethora of unresolved issues and vulnerabilities emerge, and as a result of this increase in anxiety, some reactions may be a little bit exaggerated. Parents could become concerned about insignificant stimuli, could feel as though they are not perfect in the new role they have taken on. Typically, this is accompanied by guilty feelings, high demands, and burnout as a result of the excess demands. This leads to a situation where both partners are quickly unavailable for one another, even though both of them are trying to provide the best possible care for the child, which also leads to a sense of exhaustion and disappointment.

As a result, both partners may experience a wide range of negative feelings in their relationship with the other, including disappointment, frustration, fearing that they are ignored by the other, not taken into consideration, or not helped and supported by the other partner. It is impossible for either of them to realize that they have a mutual need for each other, and neither of them is trying to empathize with the other’s situation. They are expecting a certain level of responsiveness from the other, while doing nothing. In cases where couples aren’t able to listen to each other’s needs, neither of them showing responsiveness, a dynamic of rejection starts. A painful wound is opened and touched very deeply, bringing to the surface all the attachment traumas of partners who are feeling more and more vulnerable and also at risk of becoming emotionally threatened.

As soon as you cease to be available to each other, while showing indifference and being cold, you may be communicating to the other that you don’t care, and most importantly, that you cannot be trusted. The more you let the other in, the more you will be able to see the same reaction from their side, while creating distance between the two of you will ruin the relationship. 

The presence of a child in a couple’s life brings an emotional distance between the partners, while their focus is on the way to raise the child, how to meet the baby’s needs, and how to be good parents. It has been shown through research that a relationship remains satisfying when the partners are able to take some time for themselves, while discussing other topics than raising children and changing diapers. In other words, diminishing the emotional distance and making sure that they keep some time for themselves as a priority on their agenda, could be the secret to maintaining a happy relationship and being good parents, as well.  

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