Stressed by your husband? Is your partner not happy? 21 possible reasons why, and 12 ways to make life easier
This article is for you if you’re pregnant and suddenly you’ve found that your marriage or relationship is falling apart. Your partner or husband doesn’t appear to be the man he was and you’re feeling alone.
Your partner is unhappy, uninterested, distant, unsupportive, finds excuses for not being around… and worst of all, you’re worrying that he or she will leave you – or they’ve already left.
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 your partner 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.
Only recently discovered you’re pregnant?
If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, it may just be a shock to your partner and perhaps they only need time to process the news. They might need a little longer to adjust to the changing 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? Maybe their mood changed, and you started to worry?
There may be no problem at all. They might just need some time to get used to the idea. You might 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 to the contrary, 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.
Chances are you’re both stressed out. 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 or she never wanted children, and you just haven’t been able to accept that?
Maybe you never really discussed it. Or if you did, you may have thought they would change. Perhaps you thought they would be delighted the moment they knew you were pregnant. Maybe they feel you’ve left them with no choice.
Why might he or she be behaving in such a selfish way?
21 reasons (not excuses!) why your partner may be withdrawing
- They fear to lose their independence.
- They’re fearful of the responsibility of having a child (or another one).
- They’re worried about finances: the expense of bringing a baby into this world and the cost of bringing up a child.
- They’re worried that they’re not cut out for parenthood.
- They’re already self-conscious and are now worried about being shown up in public as a failing dad or mum.
- They had a difficult childhood and don’t want to risk putting their own children through a similar situation.
- They suffer from (mental) health problems and fear that they may pass that on to the child.
- They’re fearful about passing on a genetic condition common in their family.
- They suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and can’t cope with the additional stress of having a child disrupt their routines and rituals.
- They fear to have to compete with the child for your attention.
- They may be worried that they know zilch about pregnancy if this is their first baby. They may think they should know and worry that their ignorance will be discovered.
- They may be completely at a loss about their role as a parent if this is their first child, particularly if they’ve grown up without a father,
- The pregnancy is ill-timed in their mind for whatever reason: work, health, finance, etc.
- They may be miffed about a lack of physical relations and intimacy. Maybe your desire – understandably – isn’t what it was and now they anticipate that making love is off the menu completely.
- They may translate your preoccupation with the baby as you not loving them as much as you did before. They may feel rejected. Or they may remember from a previous pregnancy how you seemed (in their mind) to be in a world of your own with little attention for them. If that’s the case, (s)he needs to know that your apparent lack of interest doesn’t mean that you don’t love them anymore. It doesn’t mean that you are rejecting them.
- If you got pregnant by donor insemination, they’re now confronted with the fact that you are really carrying another man’s baby. You may be over the moon, but they may feel a failure.
- He (or she) feels trapped. Perhaps they had plans to end the relationship.
- He or she feels ill-prepared for taking on increased responsibility for your other children.
- They 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.
- They’re having an affair (see: The complete guide to surviving infidelity).
- A combination of any of the above.
Now that I’ve given you a start, you may have some thoughts of your own about what the problem is and why your partner’s being so off with you.
Once you can understand the root of the problem, you can (both) take steps to address it.
Marriage problems during your pregnancy? Stressed by your husband? Non-stop arguing?
I can so understand that you feel alone and frightened about the future and depressed about your relationship.
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 article on the signs of an abusive relationship though because it’s really important to me to know that you and your baby are safe. Also, visit my article: 25 common relationship problems to help you decide what else you can do to relieve the stress in your relationship.
I’m sure you’re already aware of 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.
Read on for my tips on how to deal with this problem…
- Pen and paper
- Soothing background music
- Some candles to create the right atmosphere
- Good ears(!)
- Willingness to learn and try a new approach
How to make discussing your thoughts on parenthood together a success
- Listen intently - with respect
Give your partner space and time to express how they're truly feeling.
Aim to discover 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.
Stop yourself from filling in silences, blaming and judging, however understandable all that might be. Remember, your partner may be completely freaked out about the whole baby thing!
- Hold your partner to account
State clearly that they are becoming a parent, whether or not they're prepared for it or even like the idea. Just in case you're tempted to get on your high horse - make it an adult-to-adult conversation, not a parent-to-child discussion. The latter would cause them to immediately shut their ears - end of conversation!
- Share your worries, needs and wants
Ask them to listen without interrupting to your worries, how you are feeling and what you really need and ideally want: "It would be really helpful now if you'd listen to me so that we can then talk about how we can help each other."
Talk about your feelings and worries about becoming a parent. Chances are you have other complaints, but this is not the time to start spewing about those too. Focus on the pregnancy and your changing roles as a couple only for now.
Remember that there's a difference between needs and wants.
What else can you do?
It’s always scary to realise your marriage or partnership 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 that your partner is rejecting it is horrible.
So, what can you do?
10 tips to help you address the problems and make life a little easier
1. Talk to a trusted person
Look for a wise, non-judgemental friend in your own environment to off-load and to get a different perspective. See my article on getting the right relationship advice for more information on that subject. Once you start opening up to people about your despair, you may find some people’s responses are disappointing. However, my clients so often commented that there were unexpected people who were hugely supportive.
2. Learn to meditate
You can only really problem-solve if you’re calm. So, if you ever intended to learn to meditate then now is the time. It will be of huge benefit to your baby too and help you to stay calm and focused during the delivery.
3. Ensure you meet your essential emotional needs
These human givens will help to steady you in the storm.
4. Continue to communicate respectfully
Do it for yourself, at the very least – however difficult at this time. At least you can go to bed at night with your dignity intact.
5. Focus on what is going well in your relationship
That is unless you’re in an abusive relationship. I know, you should have been able to rely on your partner unconditionally, that is how it’s supposed to be.
However, now that you’re in this situation, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to make it easier on yourself.
6. Take responsibility for your role
Don’t hand that over to your partner or husband, as in: “If he behaves differently then I’m okay”. That makes you vulnerable, and don’t forget – you can’t change him anyway (I know… that’s a tough one, isn’t it?). Read my article: How to ‘make’ him love you again to learn how you can get back into the driving seat.
7. 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 off your problems by making you laugh and take you out. You can do with all the help you can get right now.
8. Consider getting professional help.
Ask around if there are free local professional counselling services or connect with an online counsellor. The latter is a paid service, but it is the best I can provide.
9. Get my Loving Communication Kit
It will help you transform the way you communicate – if there’s still a chance to rescue it all. You deserve support and loving care right now, but if he sadly isn’t there for you, take charge! Know that you can get through this and know that excellent communication skills are really going to benefit your baby too.
10. Aim to attend maternity classes
First of all, if you have the opportunity, encourage your partner to come along for one session only, just to see what it’s like. Alternatively, go with a friend, or choose a class where partners 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, you could ask a trusted person to accompany you to any appointments if you don’t want to go by yourself.
Considering ending your relationship while pregnant?
I would only recommend ending your relationship during pregnancy if you’re in an abusive relationship and thus on the receiving end of physical and/or emotional abuse.
If you’re living with your partner or spouse, now is not the time to separate. Get as much personal or professional support as possible for now and reconsider a breakup only when the baby is a little older. It may be that your partner finds the pregnancy difficult but turns out to be a great father (or mother if a different gender).
Pregnancy can create a great deal of emotional turbulence, both for you and your partner. It goes hand-in-hand with change… which, more often than not, is a daunting prospect.
Know that you both need time and space to process your own feelings. You’ll both have your own reasons for thinking, feeling and acting the way(s) you do. I suspect, though, that all you want is for someone to grab your partner and tell them to step up to the plate.
I really wish I could do that for you!
All I can do is to tell you that you were born with the innate resources you need to survive this challenging time and nurture new life.
Know that you’re far stronger than you think you are right now. Know that you will get through this – you can do it. I’m rooting for you!
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