Learning you’re unable to conceive a child naturally is unlike anything else you’ll experience, and the weight of this burden is intensified if your partner isn’t on board “we” board. “We” meaning “in this together” not “I support you from the side lines.” Having an unsupportive partner can make it feel like you’re all alone in your infertility struggle. It also limits your options to conceive with help if you’re considering IVF or a surrogate.
There’s no way to force your partner to take an interest and change his or her mind about fertility treatment, but no matter the situation, proper communication helps. Here are some tips for dealing with an unsupportive partner during infertility:
Have a Heart-to-Heart
The first plan of action during any struggle or disagreement in a partnership is to sit down and talk about it rationally. This can be difficult, because infertility increases emotions and heightened emotions make for a passionate conversation. It’s important not to yell or shout to get your point across, even if your partner is being uncooperative. Try to avoid the use of the world “you” at the beginning of sentences to prevent a defensive rebuttal. When a conversation takes a turn toward the aggressive side it quickly becomes an argument and arguing won’t solve anything.
It helps to be organized before the chat, and have a plan to show your partner. The plan should include possible steps to take to treat infertility or start a family. Show your partner how serious you are about these options and how important it is to you to have a baby.
Seek Outside Help
If a heart-to-heart doesn’t help and your partner is still unresponsive to your hopes of starting a family despite infertility, you might consider seeking outside support. This doesn’t mean asking your friends to speak up on your behalf or berating his or her family members into changing your partner’s mind. If you decide to seek help from outside of your partnership, it’s best to choose an experienced professional.
A marriage or couple’s counselor, or an infertility therapist can help open a flow of conversation between you and your partner and discover what’s holding him or her back. Perhaps he or she is afraid of committing to a child, is nervous about the financial side of processes like IVF, or he or she simply doesn’t understand how important it is to you to conceive.
Try to See Things from Your Partner’s Point of View
It’s important when embarking on a journey to have children that both partners are on the same page. It’s extremely difficult to get the ball rolling otherwise, and it could cause serious problems in your relationship. Before taking drastic measures alone, consider your partner’s point of view. Ask him or her to explain to you the reasons they aren’t on board and try to put yourself in their shoes.
Maybe having children is something that needs to wait a year or two, or maybe your partner doesn’t want to have them at all. Either way, it’s crucial that you know the truth and plan around it.
Be Prepared to Let Go
Sometimes in life we must let go of our dreams; this could mean forgetting your dream of starting a family, or it could mean parting ways with your partner. Not every relationship has a fairy tale ending, but that doesn’t mean your life can’t. Making difficult choices can lead to better and brighter futures ahead. Be brave and be true to yourself. Think about what’s important in your life and what you can’t live without.
Whatever path you choose to follow in the end, be honest with your partner and let him or her know how it makes you feel that they aren’t on board. Express the hurt and loneliness you feel at being left alone with this upsetting news. Communication is key in any relationship, but especially when there are highly emotional issues at hand.