Becoming a parent for the first time (or second, third…) can be exhausting and many couples argue more. We spoke to a relationship counsellor about how new parents should deal with some of the issues that may arise…
Research published earlier this year revealed that couples with children notice a greater strain on their relationships than those without, with parents citing financial pressures as one of the main issues.
The annual study of over 6000 people, carried out by Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care, found that a third of participants with children under five said childcare and bringing up children was a top strain.
Michael Kallenbach is a relationship counsellor who works in London and Marlborough. He shares some of the issues couples may encounter after a baby comes along – and how to resolve them.
Issue: Break down in communication. This happens when one or other in the relationship assumes their partner can guess what they’re thinking. They usually can’t.
Solution: Communication is key in a harmonious relationship, make sure you keep the conversations flowing – tell each other how you’re feeling and what you need from each other.
Issue: Feeling as if your partner isn’t thinking about you any more.
Solution: Make sure he or she knows you’re thinking about them too – don’t let the focus always be about you.
It’s often the small, seemingly unimportant things that count
Issue: Burdened by all the extra chores that come with having a baby.
Solution: Help the person you live with; make their life easier. It’s not always a fine balance but in a relationship, two people can share things like shopping, washing-up, loading a dishwasher and taking out the rubbish.
Issue: Finding every day habits even harder to bear.
Solution: Be mindful of the things that irritate your partner – don’t leave the bathroom towel on the floor or your undies lying around if you know it will annoy the other person.
Issue: If you have a stubborn nature and are not willing to listen to the other person, it can spell disaster.
Solution: Try to change habits that are irritating or infuriating; we all can change.
Issue: Trust and reliability.
Solution: If you say you’ll be home at a certain hour and are late, mobile phones and text messages make it easier to alleviate the other person’s fears and anxieties.
Issue: It’s often the small, seemingly unimportant things that count.
Solution: Look out for these things – like putting the plates in the dishwasher after a meal, etc.
Issue: Boredom, which can set in easily when you’re at home with a baby.
Solution: It’s important to think of the interests you and your partner have in common that you can do together.
Issue: Not giving enough space to your partner in a relationship can be suffocating and tiresome.
Solution: Make sure you know when to back off.
Issue: Not spending enough quality time together can be dangerous.
Solution: Try to arrange a ‘date night’ every so often.