Fertility related relationship problems
Fertility problems naturally place an extra pressure on relationships as both individuals in the relationship experience the process of testing, treatment and outcomes in their own way and also as a couple. Relationship communication can become strained as the emotional, psychological, physical and financial burden of treatment increases.
Fertility related relationship difficulties may include:
- Difference of opinions relating to the impact of infertility problem and how/how much to treat it
- Reduced sexual intimacy and satisfaction
- Increased distress in relationship if the couple experience a negative outcome
– as one or both experience sadness, frustration, anger, low mood
- Increased conflict (aggressive or passive aggressive rather than assertive or expressive)
- Negative thinking styles e.g.
– personalizing, “its my fault this is happening, he/she deserves better”
– over generalizing, “nothing good ever happens to us”
– self/other downing, “he/she is hopeless”
– Negative automatic thoughts, “it’s too late, we should give up our relationship”, “I can’t cope with any more pregnancies in his family”
- Isolating from social supports – family or friends
- Lack of agreement about how much ‘talking about fertility’ is needed
- Pushing the relationship to extremes to ‘test’ their partners commitment
Or because one believes, “he/she’s better off without me”
Often couples wait until the problem has escalated and there is a full breakdown before they seek help.
Online Fertility Counselling aims to support couples with:
- regulating emotions during times of distress
- addressing decision conflict using CBT for couples
- establishing coping skills/resources for tests and treatment
- support if experiencing grief
- reducing stress in relationship
- establishing couple goals – what are your wants/needs/desires
- increasing awareness of fertility treatment implications
- identifying and supporting change in any unhelpful thinking/beliefs
- establishing healthy communication styles and ‘fertility free’ zones!