Relationship Stress: Coping with Infertility as A Couple

During the ups and downs of the infertility process, some tension or disagreement between partners is not unusual. For many, it seems as though their partner doesn’t quite understand what they are going through and that they are all alone in this difficult process.

But it is important to remember that you are on this journey together: you are simply experiencing infertility in your own individual ways.

In this situation, men and women often react and cope differently. Men tend to be problem-focused. They want to ‘fix things’ and move on, while women tend to be more emotion-focused and need to stay with the emotional experience. Furthermore, men may tend to look inward, while women may reach out for support.

By Dr. Julia Sen | Published in Healthy Living Magazine

Since there is often a difference in our ways of coping, it is important to try to respect each other’s differences, moods and opinions. For example, if one partner wants to share and confide in others and the other partner does not want others to know, try to come to a compromise where you tell two mutually agreed upon trusted friends.

Through respect, and in turn understanding, you will be able to provide and receive the support you need from your partner. It is often helpful to let your partner know how you prefer to cope with disappointment or anxiety. For example, do you need a hug or do you need help figuring out what to do next? Tell him or her what comforts you – and what doesn’t work for you as well.

Sharing your feelings with your partner is helpful. Feelings of sadness, worry, guilt and frustration are normal. Don’t assume your partner is a mind-reader. In fact, it is likely that he or she does not know what you are feeling and what you need. The infertility roller-coaster can be very unpredictable. Try to maintain a sense of control by letting your partner know what you need in the moment.

Infertility treatment can be a long and difficult process. While it is important to go to appointments together and discuss decisions together, it is also helpful to maintain a regular dialogue over the course of treatment to let your partner know your personal concerns and questions, and what is happening for you during the process.