50 percent of marriages end in divorce. And surely, asking couples who aren't married why they break up, it will be for a reason that's similar to why married couples call it quits. Some reasons may be that the love is no longer there, they’ve lost their identities being in their partnerships, or the intimacy between them and their partner has hit a roadblock that neither one of them will fix. But one reason that often gets overlooked is the new addition to the family - a baby.
Babies, as precious as they might be, are hard work. They're tiny and have to learn all the things we know how to do naturally. Because they are so needy, a lot of our focus goes to the new baby and is less spent on each other. Besides the attention aspect, having to share responsibilities and harsh opinions, getting on the same page and working as a team can be frustrating. Especially when you're in a partnership with someone who believes they know it all.
The strongest relationships are put to the test once a baby is born. This chapter in life can shine a spotlight on areas in a relationship that already had its errors and was cracking before the baby arrived. There is a host of reasons relationships fail. Here are the 15 ways your little bundle of joy could destroy your relationship.
15 Less Attention For Each Other
The first few weeks of your baby's life will be one of the hardest experiences in your life. If you went to college or had to study hard for an important exam on little sleep, you'll probably believe that surviving with just a few hours of rest as a new parent won't be that different. It is. Pair that lack of sleep with every waking moment needing to tend to a baby and you've got a situation where your focus is on baby and not so much on your partner.
Though you won't tell each other this, you'll miss one another. Every time you see each other, one of you will be holding the baby doing your best to get them to stop crying, feeding them, or giving them the attention that babies require. After all of that, you'll feel you don't have the energy to offer attention to each other. Difficulty expressing this will evolve into never-ending arguments about things that are so insignificant, you'll look back at those times as silly… if you're lucky. One way to combat this is to get away, just the two of you. Separation anxiety from the baby may be a reality for you right now but giving each other some of that attention will keep you and your partner happy and will let each other know how much you care.
14 Six Week Wait After Birth
Most doctors suggest that you wait at least six weeks before engaging in any sexual activity. This applies whether you've received stitches after delivery or had a C-section. Even if you've had a C-section, your body is still healing and bleeding, sorry for the TMI. This is lochia, and it occurs as the uterus heals itself after childbirth. During this time, your spouse, or maybe even you, will find the wait to be exhausting. This is even more difficult if before you had the baby, you had a healthy sex life.
Also, while you are healing, your hormones are doing their best to return to its normal state. So, chances are your patience is at a minimum and you have more emotional outbursts than usual. All of this is normal. But your partner may not completely understand this, resulting in disagreements. Besides the shock of new parenting (or a new member to your already growing family) they must deal with having to not be intimate with you for a few weeks. This can be tough. Something to remember is that you don't have to have sex to be intimate. Kissing is definitely satisfying and just cuddling while watching a movie is pretty romantic. Creativity is your friend, call on it during this time to make the wait an exciting time for the both of you.
13 Disagreeing Over Parenting Styles
You two can read all the baby books and come to an agreement that before the birth of your baby, you will do things in a certain way as parents. Like to never put store bought pampers on your little one. Or to refuse to give them formula, only breast milk. These are just two agreements you'll make post-baby. Here's the truth: you don't know what you'll do until you are dealing with it in real time. There are more parents than we can count who have said they would never do something before they had children only to end up doing it and doing it well.
This inconsistency can cause many disputes between the two of you especially if one or both of you are not the understanding types. If you argue and never really talk about it afterwards only to argue about a similar thing in the future, you're not really resolving the main issue which is lack of communication. There is nothing wrong with not agreeing with how the other parent, parents. Coming up with an alternative solution to both of your reservations is always key. Experts suggest that if you two cannot reach a common ground regarding your disapproval of your spouse’s parenting style, you should agree to disagree to prevent the arguing progressing to another level. It’s okay not to agree with their style. If what you are disagreeing about is harmless, it’s best to just drop it.
12 Interrupted Us Time
As mentioned, babies don't really do the sleep thing. They're usually up every two hours, if that long. And besides the first two or three weeks, they grow out of just waking to eat then sleep. Eventually, they'd like to eat and play for a little before going back to sleep. And there is no time limit or appropriate hour for this. Because of their short sleep cycle so early in their baby lives, this can mean a lot of interrupted "us" time with your spouse.
So, you two have decided that tonight will be the night that the you both will spend some quality time together. But as soon as the wine is poured, and “play” is pressed on that movie, up wakes baby. And your baby does this all night. Instead of seeing this as a bummer, make it work for you. Your life will not be like the way it was before your baby was born, it's not supposed to be. You must mold around their schedule until they are old enough to sleep through the night. The best way to see this is that, this stage in your experience is only temporary. And it's best to see through an optimistic perspective.
11 Difficulty Switching From Mommy To Vixen
Breastfeeding rates have continued to rise since 2013. For most infants born between then and now, 4 out of 5 of them (which is 81.1%) were breast-fed during the first few months of their lives. For a new mom, having to realize that her breasts now have dual roles can be shocking. Moms have a tough job. We are the architects of society and the original multi-taskers. While we have to be moms, we have to be wives and girlfriends, too. Which means, after the baby is born, we need to switch from being a sexy vixen to a loving mommy and back again. This can get frustrating when you are with someone who doesn’t understand the difficulty of this dichotomy. Learning how to balance these two areas of your life can be a struggle especially if this is your first go-round at motherhood.
Breastfeeding can also throw you for a loop. A part of your body that has been viewed as a sexual object may seem taboo at first to be a source of food and energy for your little one. Having to go from breastfeeding to lovemaking can feel awkward at first. And this can be even more difficult if you three are sharing one room. Understanding that these are all necessary roles you need to play to be the incredible person you are is a start. Even stating your boundaries with your partner can help. It takes time to master, but after some time you'll learn that there's a time to be a nurturing mommy and a time to be a foxy vixen.
10 An Increased Sensitivity To His Comments
Getting criticized will be the norm when you bring baby home. Sometimes their words aren't intended to come off as a critique but because it will regard you and what you are doing with your child, it will be viewed as criticism. And if it happens often, you'll be sensitive about it. This falls under the same umbrella as having disputes about the way you two parent. An agreement of how you would take care of baby may have been reviewed by one parent and decided that it no longer is a route they'd like to take.
If this is happening soon after your baby's birth, part of mommy's sensitivity could be due to her hormones that's slowly getting back to its normal state. Experts suggest that both parents be open to hearing the others' concerns. If the criticisms are valid, then the criticisms should be viewed as an opportunity to improve what they are doing. If the criticisms are leaning more toward complaining and blaming, then this should be expressed in a calm way so that both of you can reach a common ground. Nothing can get done if the two of you are not on the same page. And surely what the two of you want is what is best for your little one.
9 Tough Time Dealing With Coming In Second Place
Before your baby was born, it was all about each other. You two would probably cancel your evening plans with other people for each other. You more than likely received complaints from close friends about not seeing you as often as they did when you were single. One of your priorities was your spouse, and you both enjoyed being the center of the other's attention. Once a baby arrives, things can switch up as it's supposed to. Babies require a lot of attention from the feeding, changing, and helping them to sleep. This can be a shock for the two of you because as some of your friends and family with children have implied, this baby phase you’re experiencing is the easiest time you'll have it as a parent. They really meant that while it's difficult taking care of a baby, it's even more difficult as they baby get older.
A good way to keep your spouse happy and leave them feeling appreciated is to schedule date nights. To reduce the need to hire a sitter, consider having date night at home after you put your little one down. But make it a goal to get away, just the two of you, every now and again. Another great suggestion is to write each other love letters and leave them around the house for them to find and read. If the issue here is not feeling wanted but not having enough time to let them know this, do it through a letter.
8 Disagreements About Chores And Gender Roles
Despite it being the 21st century, some people still believe that housework and the caring of a baby all falls on mommy. Sometimes, dad is the one who's staying home with baby and is also taking care of the home while mom goes back to work. Whatever the dynamic may be, it always seems that one parent's responsibilities for home and baby outweigh the other parent’s reponsibilities. This can lead to many disagreements because, really, who likes to get the short end of the stick? Equality is always desired. And this is true inside of the home. If one parent feels they are the one responsible for most of the household responsibilities, they'll feel cheated and they won't stay silent about it.
Why not split the responsibilities down the middle? Gender roles are very confining especially when so much about living today is so different from decades ago. If both parents are working, this is even more important because it isn't fair for mom to have to go to work and feel like she's walking into another job once she punches out and returns home. Everything from cooking to cleaning should be divvied up. If you two have an agreement that one person takes care of the chores and baby while the other concentrates on working long hours, then that's beneficial for the two of you. The important thing is that you two agree about what your roles are. This is a conversation best had before baby is born.
7 Lack Of Social Life Outside Of The Home
You might have been one of those couples who convinced yourself that nothing will change after you have a baby. That you'll still attend every event hosted by your friends and that all you needed was a reliable sitter. This might have been true after baby arrives, but there's a chance that the bulk of the parental responsibilities will fall on one parent’s lap. That parent is often mommy and she'll feel like her social life is as stale as day old bread. She'll crave that adult-to-adult attention and will probably meet dad at the door the moment he arrives home to talk to him because she's dying for a conversation other than baby talk.
After a while of this, her cravings will evolve to complaints. And if her complaints are not answered, this can cause a sense of resentment. Especially if dad's social life has not been impacted as much. Not having a social life can affect a person's happiness immensely. An even clearer fact if their social life was vivacious before they were parents. Me time and time with your friends and family is important. It will help you maintain your sanity and come back happier and better than ever, even excited to switch back into parent mode. Think about pre-planning your get-togethers with friends and family. Let your spouse know from ahead of time what your plans are so that they aren’t surprised and you have something to look forward to during the week. Also, consider joining a mom’s or parent's group so that you can exchange ideas with like-minded people and get great advice on how to survive the first few years of parenthood.
6 Need For Space Away From Each Other
Besides coming in second place, there's wanting space from your spouse. After the baby is born the two of you will see a lot of each other. Taking care of a baby alone can be difficult so it helps to have an extra pair of hands to relieve you whenever you need a moment. The thing is, sometimes it isn't just the baby you need some time away from during the day. Sometimes being away from each other is necessary. Your me time may seem at a minimum and what you want most is not to be around anyone, and to just be alone.
You might argue a lot every time you see each other over issues stemming from earlier problems in this list that were never discussed. So, every time you two are around each other it seems like all you do is argue. You'll feel that you'll be better off being by yourself even if it's just for a moment. Take that moment. Have that space. Because if it isn't taken, there's a chance that you'll want space from your spouse permanently. Talking it out and sharing your feelings is another must. Keeping your feelings to yourself will only make the situation more difficult. If your spouse will hear you out, then a resolution can be met where both of you are happy. If not, this can only lead to bigger problems soon and even resentment.
5 Less Sleep, And Even Less Patience
The average person gets six hours of sleep a night. After you have a baby, that time is cut in half. Babies are on an all-liquid diet until they are old enough to eat solids. Because of this they get hungry more often and wet their diapers constantly, contributing to the repeated waking up at night and during the day. While all of this is understandable, that doesn't make it easier having to survive off less than five hours of sleep. If you and your spouse are dividing the responsibilities equally, this can be easier but the truth is, less sleep will equate to less patience. Much like the baby, you two will be cranky. But instead of needing a diaper change or bottle you'll want more sleep.
Taking a deep breath in this situation can help, but you must build that inner patience to deal with your new situation of not getting enough rest at night. Taking care of your new baby in shifts is one solution you can agree to sooner than later. If you don't at least have the conversation on how to relieve this situation, your patience can wear even thinner which can lead to even bigger disagreements and a relationship that's damaged beyond repair.
4 More Baby Care, Less Self-Care
When you are taking care of your baby, you forget to take care of yourself. Most mothers get in the habit of making sure their babies look adorable, smell even better, and dress their little ones in the cutest outfits anyone has ever seen. They, on the other hand, didn’t even remember to hop in the shower. Same for dad. While he's making sure that his little guy or girl is groomed to perfection, he's slacking in the sexy department. A part of being happy starts with taking care of yourself.
Yes, a lot of your attention has been going to your baby and making sure they are eating adequately and putting on the proper weight. But you must make sure you are taking care of yourself, too. There are no sick days in parenthood. So, when you get sick while your baby is young, it can be pure torture. You're already getting through your day on less sleep. There's no use in not feeling well, too. Take the time out to take care of yourself after baby is taken care of first. Your health is an important part of your little one being healthy, too.
3 Increased Responsibilities
Being a parent isn't a walk in the park. Well, technically it is since babies need fresh air, too. But figuratively, it's a tough job. Probably the toughest job you've ever had because it isn't something you can quit without having a guilty conscience. With becoming a parent, comes an increase in responsibilities. Not sleeping in at all hours of the night or deciding to drop everything to go and hang with your friends, are a part of the territory. And all this new responsibility can take a toll on any relationship.
It's kind of difficult to be playful when you have someone's life in your hands. Your baby's future will be at the forefront of most of your thoughts and everything you do will more than likely revolve around them. This can be stressful. Even more so if you aren't used to responsibilities like this. It's a shock to the system when you realize that babies aren't as easy as you might have thought. Thinking you are prepared differs greatly from being right in the action and testing if your preparation was completed just right. Not being able to be playful with your spouse can put a damper on any relationship. Remember to always take a moment to step away from the daily grind of parenting to enjoy some of the freedom that comes with being an adult.
2 Less Alone Time Means Less Intimacy
You have a new baby and you've moved past the six week wait. But with all the new responsibilities that come with being a parent, getting in the mood just doesn't feel right when you've got the possibility of your little one hearing you do the mommy and daddy thing. When a new baby arrives, it's difficult for the conversation to be about much else. A lot of new parents don't get that much help. And if you are a parent who has done this before, you'll get even less help than you received with your first little one. It can be exhausting and with less alone time, bonding with each other can be difficult.
Scheduling time to spend together is a necessity if you want to have an opportunity to reconnect after a long day. Also, opening communication about what you or your spouse’s wants and needs are in the bedroom can make the both of you happy. Perhaps consider adding a little excitement to lighten up a dull sex life. Experts suggest experimenting with fun activities like role playing or fun games that may lead to intimacy like Twister or anything that will get you two active and touching. Just because you’ve become parents doesn’t mean you’ve got to abandon all of your kid-like tendencies.
1 Money Troubles To Cover Baby Cost
According to a report by the USDA, parents spend up to $12K on child-related expenses and $12,500 by the time the baby reaches age two. It seems like a baby always needs something new. If it isn't the onesies they're growing out of every week, it's the formula that needs to be replenished. And let's not get started on the disposable diapers that no matter how many you get at your baby shower, you'll still find yourself at the store stocking up on a new supply. With the lack of money, comes little opportunity to do fun stuff. Stuff that would help you get away together to enjoy yourselves.
Lack of money and debt are two of the top reasons marriages fall apart and surely this applies to couples who aren't married as well. Money disagreements may also happen when one parent feels the other is spending it frivolously on baby items that have little use like newborn shoes and baby wipes warmers. Whatever the expense, it's suggested that you two set a budget and a plan to stay within that budget. It can minimize any problems that may relate to money and can leave you two living happily ever after.
Sources: TheBump.com, CDC.org, BabyCenter.com, ParentMap.com, Parenting.com, TodaysParent.com.