You're pregnant and your relationship is falling apart?
This article is for you if you're pregnant and suddenly you've found that your marriage is falling apart. Your partner or husband doesn't appear to be the man he was. He's not happy, not interested, distant, not supportive, finds excuses for not being around... and at worst he will leave you, or he already has left you. Your relationship problems have escalated, and you're worried you'll end up on your own. I know how scary this can feel.
But you can’t deal with this problem if you don’t know what's causing it. So in this article, I'm hoping to help you get to the bottom of it. I’ll give you tips and relationship advice to help you get through this difficult time, particularly because it should really be a joyous time. I know you'd hoped he would look after you, rather than the other way around, but hey... it is what it is, and now we need to get it sorted - and together, we can get it sorted.
I'm going to be talking about 'he', but I do appreciate your partner could also be a woman. If so, please forgive me the unfortunate short-cut.
Recently discovered you're pregnant?
If you're unexpectedly pregnant - it may just be a shock to your partner and perhaps he only needs time to process the news. He might need a little longer to adjust to the new reality than you had in mind, but that's perfectly okay.
Is there any chance that you've become over-anxious because you've jumped to conclusions? His mood changed, and you started to worry?
There may be no problem at all. He may just need some time to get used to the idea. You may discover that he really does love you, and that all will be well.
If the surprise is not the reason for his withdrawal, then read on...
What were the circumstances when you fell pregnant?
The timing of your pregnancy will have had an impact on both of you, but perhaps particularly your partner. It may be a problem in itself or a contributing factor:
- Was your pregnancy planned?
- Did your contraception fail?
- Did you 'bring about' your pregnancy, despite his express wishes, by manipulating your birth control method? (I know it sounds horrible, but we may as well be honest with each other).
- Was this pregnancy a repair attempt in the hope of saving your relationship or marriage?
- Did you actually want a baby yourself?
All of the above complicate the situation, so just keep this in mind when you consider how best to repair and heal your relationship or marriage.
You’re probably both stressed out and unhappy about it all now. So, I'm really hoping that this article will help the two of you calm down and look forward to the birth of the baby with less angst. (I'm also going to assume that abortion is not an option for you - and that is material for another article.) If your partner has truly left you, then my breakup articles will be the best help for you right now.
So why might your partner be unhappy? Has he never wanted children, and you just haven’t been able to accept that? Maybe you never truly discussed it. Or if you did, you may have thought he would change. Perhaps you thought he would be delighted the moment he knew you were pregnant. Maybe he felt you have left him with no choice.
So, why might he not have wanted children?
20 Reasons why he may be reluctant to have children
- He fears losing his independence.
- He's fearful of the responsibility of having a child (or another one).
- He's worried about finances and the expense of bringing a baby into this world and the cost of bringing up a child.
- He's worried he’s not cut out for fatherhood.
- He's already self-conscious and is worried about being shown up in public as a failing dad.
- He had a difficult childhood himself and doesn't want to risk putting his own children through a similar situation.
- He suffers from (mental) health problems and fears that he may pass that on to the child.
- He is fearful about passing on a genetic condition common in his family.
- He suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and can't cope with the additional stress of having a child disrupt his routines and rituals.
- He fears having to compete with the child for your attention.
- He may be worried that he knows zilch about pregnancy, if this is his first baby. He may think he should know, and worries about being 'found out'.
- He may be completely at a loss about his role as a dad if this is his first child, particularly if he has grown up without a father,
- The pregnancy is ill-timed in his mind for whatever reason: work, health, finance, etc.
- He may be miffed about a lack of sex and intimacy. Maybe your desire isn’t what it was and now he anticipates that sex is off the menu completely.
- He may translate your pre-occupation with the baby as you not loving him as much as you did before. Or he may remember from a previous pregnancy how you seemed (in his mind) in a world of your own with little attention for him. If that's the case, he needs to know that your ‘lack of interest’ in him doesn’t mean that you don’t love him anymore. It doesn’t mean that you are rejecting him.
- If you got pregnant by donor insemination, he's now confronted with the fact that you are really carrying another man’s baby. You may be over the moon, but he may feel a failure.
- He feels trapped. Perhaps he had plans to end the relationship. Or maybe he is having an affair.
- He feels ill-prepared for taking on increased responsibility for your other children.
- He may have experienced your previous pregnancies and births as difficult, based on what you went through - whether that was a traumatic birth, post-natal depression or any other kind of problem.
- Now that I've given you a start, you may have some thoughts of your own about what the problem is and why he's being so off with you.
I can so understand that you feel alone and frightened about the future. It's natural that you're now worried that you're going to be all by yourself; that giving birth is going to be tinged with sadness.
However, the more stressed and depressed you are, the worse your sleep pattern is going to be and the less resilient you'll be. Add to that your fluctuating hormone levels and you have a recipe for non-stop arguing.
Yes, you may think he's being unreasonable, but you need to take care not to be, however difficult or tempting that may be under the circumstances.
I do really want you to read my pages on the signs of an abusive relationship though, because it's really important to me to know that you and your baby are safe.
I'm sure you're already aware how important it is that you look after yourself - not just with an eye on your physical well-being. It's just as important to care for your mental and emotional well-being too. A stressed mum means a stressed baby. And just in case it was on your mind... this is no time to consider a separation or divorce.
Read on for my tips on how to deal with this problem...
What to do about it all?
It is always scary to realise your marriage is 'failing'. It's even more worrying when you become responsible for the happiness of that tiny little person you’re carrying inside your body. Of course the thought of it being unwanted is horrible.
So, what can you do?
- One of the most important things to do is to address the lack of communication. You're not going to achieve anything by constantly repeating yourself and arguing the same point. If you're at a loss on this one, then I'd really recommend starting off by reading my pages on communication skills.
- Find out what the real cause is of your partner or husband's apparent displeasure - it may not be what he says it is. There may be an underlying, undisclosed problem - particularly if there appears to be absolutely no logical sense to his argument. Also, he may not see it as 'cool' to discuss his fears, particularly now that you're more in need. However, you can only begin to address the problem when you know what it is.
- Talk to a trusted person - a professional or a wise, non-judgemental person in your own environment to off-load and to get a different perspective.
- You can only really problem-solve if you are calm. So, if you ever intended to learn how to become calm then now is the time. If you haven't got the patience, then I recommend Omharmonics. All you have to do is lie back and enjoy.
- Work towards repairing your relationship if you can. I find Lee Baucom's method the best there is.
- You may be in crisis now, so it's really important that the both of you try as best you can to meet your essential emotional needs. These human givens will help to steady you in the storm.
- Take my relationship test, which has a really important section that helps you to reflect on how you are in this relationship or marriage. You’ll discover exactly what you can do to make the marriage work, and also understand what's really going wrong and what to do about it.
- Continue to communicate respectfully at the very least, whilst you're problem solving.
- Pay attention particularly to what is going well in your relationship (unless you're in an abusive relationship). Focus on that and do more with/of that.
- Take responsibility... don't hand that over to your partner or husband, as in: "If he behaves differently then I’m okay". That makes you very vulnerable and don't forget - you can't change him anyway. One of your most essential emotional needs is to have some sense of control - knowing and feeling that you can affect your environment, your way of life and your emotions. Take charge of yourself - not of your partner - and this will help you so much.
- Get as much support around you as you can. Make no judgements about what people should offer. Some will be good with practical support, some with emotional support, while others will take your mind of your problems by making you laugh. It all helps.
- Consider getting professional help. You can get online support right from my site.
- If, sadly, your partner really has abandoned you, then I know it won't be any comfort to you if I say, "good riddance". You've probably already heard that from other people. But I can help you more on my page on reconciliation and How to Get Over Someone.
- If there's an opportunity for you to attend maternity classes, then go with a friend, or choose a class where husbands are not taking part. Don't skip them - but don't cause yourself pain, either, by putting yourself in a situation where you have to explain yourself. Equally, ask a trusted person to accompany your to any appointments if you don't want to go by yourself.
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