Marriage Makeover: Can Our Marriage Survive Infertility?
"WE CAN'T EVEN TALK ABOUT OUR FEELINGS." continued...
Waichler suggests that Monica and Steve each write down three ways that the infertility has impacted them and pick a set time each week to talk about what they've written. "Writing is a safe way to express your feelings," she explains. "You can get everything out there, uncensored." Not only will this get the Kleins talking again, but it will also help each of them understand what the other went through. "When you can't talk about the infertility, you tend to make assumptions about how your partner is feeling," says Waichler. "And if those assumptions are wrong, then they can actually drive you further apart."
The couple should also consider seeking out a group therapy session to hear other couples talk about what they've gone through. "Sometimes it's helpful to be able to ask someone else, 'Did you feel this?'" says Waichler. Steve and Monica can start by contacting their local chapter of Resolve: The National Infertility Association — its Website, resolve.org, has a nationwide list of resources.
"SEX FEELS LIKE A BURDEN."
MONICA: "When we got married, I saw sex as a way to have kids. After going through IVF, I was so frustrated, I didn't want to do it anymore. I didn't want to have sex because I had decided I didn't want to have kids anyway."
STEVE: "Sex definitely lost something when we were trying to conceive. You're not doing it for pleasure; you're doing it for a purpose. There were times when we were both dead tired — sex was the last thing on my mind. It's almost like a job."
MONICA: "We've definitely de-prioritized sex now since it was such a chore for a while. And life gets in the way. When I get home from work, I'm wiped out. And Steve is always preoccupied with home-improvement projects. The only way to get him to pay attention to me is to come out wearing a 2x4! I want to be wooed like when we were dating."
STEVE: "I know there's more that I need to do to get Monica back into having sex. She's turned me down a few times, though, so now I let her initiate. But the attraction is still there for me."