Maintaining a Strong Relationship with Your Significant Other — The Bump
November 2017 Moms

Maintaining a Strong Relationship with Your Significant Other

In reading articles and books (my favorite is "And Baby Makes Three" by John Gotman), a lot of advice is to make sure to prioritize your relationship with your SO and even prioritize it above your relationship with your child. I recognize this may not be the focus or seem like a popular opinion, especially because we all have such new little bundles of joy that require so much attention right now. But overall, to me, it makes sense. If your relationship with your SO isn't strong, then it's going to be harder for you both to be happy, healthy and in a good spot to parent your child together.

So my question is, for FTMs...what are you doing to actively prioritize your relationship with your SO? For STM+s, what have you done in the past that has worked well?
kaitlinliz

Re: Maintaining a Strong Relationship with Your Significant Other

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  • Well said @ariasbabyblog!! honest communication is key. I know I really struggle to be kind when I'm oveetires and feeling overwhelmed. I try to apologize when I catch myself giving him attitude. It's humbling. 
    Just remember you are on the same team and need to treat one another like a partner rather than an adversary which can be hard to do sometimes.
    dragonfly87-2sml1982littlemissc17fishakris
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  • We took a childbirth class and they encouraged us to go on regular dates.  We were able to do that while my parents were here and it was so nice.  Hopefully we will be able to keep that up.    We also make sure to check in at night and talk before going to bed and we spend time talking about stuff that is not baby related.  I think it was hard at first but gets easier as we feel more confident in our roles as parents.  
    dragonfly87-2sml1982kaitlinliz
  • My husband took time off to bond with baby so we have both been home for 3 weeks and we both are returning to work on Dec 11th. He has been great with baby and did a amazing job supporting me when my c section incision was fresh. I'm almost 100%  better now so I don't need any help but he is still doing his part and has been a blessing. This entire journey has made us closer than ever. Since baby sleeps all the time we have a lot of down time to talk and just enjoy each other. My sex drive is picking back up..( I totally lost my sex drive while pregnant) and we find ourselves being very flirtatious. Almost as if we are dating again. Although I know we have 3 more weeks to wait before having sex it feels good that the chemistry is still there because I thought we lost it. His birthday was Wednesday and we took baby girl to my parents and we went out to dinner just the two of us. It was nice to have some time away from baby. Although we ended up in baby r us shopping for baby by the end of the night. 
    Knottie19640588NYTino24
  • We did the motherly.com “Couples” counseling class before the baby was born.  Actually, it was really helpful in spurring discussions. We have been talking about everything, probably TMI on my part with the medical details of my recovery, but he has been good about it. Probably inured to medical talk: his dad and all his uncles are doctors. Lots of bodily function talk all the time is par for the course. 

    We we have really tried to keep up with “us” though.  When we have our parents here, we take a drive out or run errands just the two of us. Sex drive is non-existant right now, although it is really nice to be in bed and able to touch him without a pillow barricade again. 

    Today was really rough though. He was working all day on a woodworking project of his (building the crib he designed, actually).  The dog was particularly needy today and the baby fussy. After 7.5hrs on my own, he finished and I thought I would finally get a little break.  Only he asked for more time to just sit and have a snack for a little while by himself. Nearly lost it on him. 

    The thing I find the hardest part with is the help that is asked for, but forgotten. He has a short-term memory like a sieve. He regularly says to just ask for help when I need it, but most of the time when I ask for help he forgets what I asked him to do and gets side tracked by something else. I don’t want to be a nag.  It is so hard to know what is that line between reminding and nagging. 
    sml1982NYTino24
  • The past few weeks have been really hard for me.  I was reading something on not mom-gating, or called something similar.  Which is where you don't let the SO do it their way,  you know best type of thing.  I've tried too let my SO get her ready for bed,  which is completely different from my way,  which of course is the correct way. 
    kaitlinlizNYTino24
  • @fishakris For me, the biggest stress reliever has been just letting DH do things his way and me doing it mine for some things. It can be hard, but I have realized it's not worth the arguing or stress to fight for one way as long it is isn't hurting the child. Fortunately, DH took the same classes with me, so we have a pretty similar approach on most things.
    fishakrisladymeowmeow2NYTino24
  • @fishakris - for what it is worth, i would encourage you to talk to your SO about this. I have a *much* younger sister (20yrs younger) and watched the marriage of my mother and sister’s father deteriorate as they tried to raise my sister. My mother, a SAHM, very openly criticized her then-husband whenever he tried to interact with my sister in a way that was different from how my mother would do the same thing. His eventual response was just not to bother trying to interact at all.  Of course it was just one factor of many that caused their marriage to fail. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having different ways of doing something, but I would encourage you to talk things through now so you do not let any frustration fester and build. 
    Knottie19640588fishakriskaitlinlizNYTino24
  • Our biggest thing has been communication and trying to balance out how and when we help each other. I am so thankful we took the birthing, breastfeeding, newborn care and postpartum prep classes together. I had read about a lot of it in some books, but having DH go through it really gave him a realistic perspective of what would be coming and how he could help. So working through the challenges of the first two weeks has been easier because he knows when and how to help.

    Also, as crazy as it may sound, we have tried to maintain some level of intimacy/closeness in the past two weeks. Of course we are abstaining for the 6 week postpartum period, but even a quick bath together or let's just say anything other than the full thing lol, has definitely helped us feel like our normal selves. He even spontaneously offered to give me a back massage the other day, which was amazing since breastfeeding has made my back ache in new ways.
    angbaby83littlemissc17sml1982NYTino24
  • I'm feeling really disconnected from him and it's not really his fault. I need to be more open and ask for what I need from him. He does his part with the kids and more but our physical relationship is lacking. He is a very "you know I love you so don't be worry" type person and then doesn't show affection much. 
    My anxiety doesn't really help this as I'm usually crying or mad so I need to get that under control. 
    Definitely taking at least an hour a day for just us to talk or eat helps. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

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    fishakrisNYTino24
  • @curiousfool1 @dragonfly87-2 thank you for the comments and support.  Very similar to the article I read,  about not criticizing. I was trying to be funny at the end of my post,  but it didn't read that way. 
  • DH and I are kind of struggling right now. He spent most of my pregnancy working away from home and was only back a week before LO was born. Since LO has been born (4 weeks today), we haven’t had much time with one another. He has been handling the two oldest while I care for the baby. It works, but we don’t spend time together and he hasn’t really had a chance to bond with the baby. He admitted last night that he doesn’t feel as connected to LO as he was with our older DD, which made me hurt for her. We decided I’m going to start pumping so he can start feeding her and we are going to go out to dinner for a date night on Saturday. Hopefully we can get back on track soon. Having three kids is hard lol. 
    dragonfly87-2mymulligansamsterrrNYTino24
  • @littlemissc17 we are struggling also and we only have 2. It's like we constantly have to "divide and conquer." We are going out to dinner tonight to try to reconnect but we are taking the baby so FX he sleeps the whole time so we can have some good convo. 
    I pump twice a day so DH can give him a bottle. We try to have time the 3 of us after DD goes to bed. That has helped DH bond with baby.
    littlemissc17samsterrrNYTino24
  • @mymulligan I hope you guys get to enjoy your night! It’s definitely going to take some effort for us, but it seems like just acknowledging it yesterday has been positive. 
    samsterrrmymulligan
  • @littlemissc17 we had a nice time! Baby cooperated and slept nearly the whole time in his car seat and we enjoyed a 3 course meal with wine!
    dragonfly87-2littlemissc17ladymeowmeow2NYTino24
  • @mymulligan awesome! Glad you were able to enjoy your date!
    mymulligan
  • I'm dying over here!!! DH and I are fine in the marriage department, IE not really fighting (more so just complaining when I need help lol) but how do you get help with LO? I do ask, I ask whenever he's around/awake and 9/10 he will do it but he kinda gives me that look like why cant you, which is frustrating. Today I woke him up n asked him to spend time with little man before he took a nap/DH went to work, so I could poop. He gave him a hug and told him to go to sleep and put him down....really? BTW DH works odd hours so he wont see him again today. 
    NYTino24
  • dragonfly87-2dragonfly87-2 member
    edited February 2018
    @kaitlinliz ugh that is tough, sorry you are struggling with that. Have you had a heart to heart with him about how you need his help and support? 

    My DH has been very helpful, but mostly because I had him go to baby and postpartum prep classes (which he dreaded ahead of time) so he could hear from someone else how hard raising a baby can be. They also gave specific tasks that a partner can do to be proactive and help, which made it clear to DH how he could be supportive. For example, he changes almost all diapers when we are home and then brings DD to me after to breastfeed. On weekends, he wakes up when DD does at 7am and takes her downstairs in the boba wrap so I can sleep an extra two hours. So we have established roles and routines. 

    Do you think being specific with your DH and defining roles might be helpful? 
    NYTino24
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