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Marriage Makeover: Can Our Marriage Survive Infertility?

"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."

EXPERT ADVICE: "It's not hard to see why sex lost its emotional meaning for Steve and Monica," says Waichler. "You have to do it a certain way at a certain time, and then report to doctors." To get back to the love, she says, they have to start with the basics. "Monica and Steve need to cuddle more and give each other massages," says Waichler. Monica was right on with her nostalgia for their dating days, she adds. "They should think back to when they first fell in love and how they demonstrated their feelings for each other, whether it was by holding hands or kissing for more than just a greeting," Waichler says. "These little steps could help break down the wall that infertility has built."

They should also allow for spontaneity — both with sex and with other activities — since that was lost. "There's no way to really plan spontaneity, but Steve and Monica should agree that they'll be open to the other one suggesting something at the spur of the moment," says Waichler. "Spontaneity is what makes love fun!"

"WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S NEXT."

Monica and Steve - Bedroom

MONICA: "Sometimes I look at Steve and think, Would the baby have had your eyes? I thought I had already mourned not having a baby, but then there are these times when I feel like I could just burst into tears. I keep going back to it, having a family. I love being around little kids. I keep bringing up the possibility of adoption, but then it goes on the back burner."

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