Having a baby can have a pretty big impact on your relationship with your partner. Sometimes positive and sometimes negative, the one thing guaranteed is that there will be plenty of change as two becomes three (that’s not quite as catchy as Spice Girls’ 2 Become 1, but you get the gist).
That’s not to say that having a sprog dooms your relationship forever though. The important thing is to embrace the change rather than live in the past mourning over how you used to be as a couple. Yes, you may not be able to get your leg over as much, you will probably be more tired and conversations change in topic to mainly cover poo, sick and milk, but that’s just life. Stuff changes.
Much like Boy George’s favourite tree-dwelling lizard, your relationship has a better chance of surviving if you adapt to the changing situation of having a tiny human in your life. Do you ever see a chameleon bitching and moaning? No, of course you don’t. That’s because they adapt and are more than happy to come and go, come and go-o-o-o. I digress…
To try and help you newbie dads prepare for how your relationship will change after having a baby, here’s three things that I’ve learnt over the past few months:
A baby can be an intimacy killer:
The arrival of a small, wrinkly person has a tendency to put an end to all sexual activity in a relationship. It’s hardly surprising though if you think about it for a minute – your partner has either just decimated her lady garden by pushing out an entire human, or undergone a pretty traumatic slicing to give birth via C-section.
On top of the recommended six-weeks or so required to recover from any internal and external trauma, she is probably going through some major changes too which means she is not particularly in the mood. Among a number of other reasons, hormones will be taking over her body, her boobs will have gone from sexual play things to the vessel with which to feed her child, and she will be bloody knackered.
So, if we’re honest and forget about our junk for a few seconds, you can’t really blame her for not necessarily feeling in the mood. Stay safe in the knowledge that things will get better, just give her a bit of time and space. In the meantime, you can always test out your laptop internet video download speeds, if you get what I mean.
You no longer warrant or deserve all of the attention:
Once upon a time when that little baby still lived in your scrotum, it was just you and your missus. Well, that is unless you were a fan of swinging or had an open relationship, although I must confess I have very little experience in that area apart from what I’ve seen on Sexcetera.
As it was just you two, I imagine that you did everything together and only had to consider the other person in your relationship. A baby majorly changes this though. It is now just you and her, it is now you, her and it. Both yours and her attention shifts from solely being on one another, to focussing on this small, totally dependent sprog that you are expected to look after.
This doesn’t mean that you no longer love each other or think any less about each other, but it does mean that you need to realise that you are no longer her entire world. In fact, the truth is that you’ve probably been relegated to number 2, so get used to it. There’s no point competing with the little one as the bond between a parent and child often outweighs that of the couple.
You might be able to feed yourself, wipe your own arse and hold your head up – which is way more than the baby can do – but unfortunately, this won’t put you back to the top of her list.
You talk about, and do, different things:
Life before and after a baby can be massively different from each other. Wild nights out on the town with bottles of beer are replaced by early nights in bed with bottles of milk. Getting dressed up for date nights at fancy restaurants soon become nights in front of the TV wearing whatever you have lying around not covered in sick. Conversations about any topic, be it work, holidays, the future etc, no longer take place, as they are swapped with talk about dirty nappies, how badly you slept and something called ‘nipple confusion’.
This is fine when it’s just you and your partner, but can become pretty awkward when interacting with any other person who doesn’t have a baby. For whatever reason, they just don’t give a crap what colour your baby’s shit is or that you’re considering buying some baby oil for the cradle cap. Chances are you’ll barely be able to make conversation having not watched TV or kept up to date with current affairs since your missus went into labour.
For your relationship, life revolves around the sprog and will do until they pack up and fly the nest in 18 or so years time. So, everything you do and everything you discuss will be baby-related for the foreseeable future. Pay attention and contribute to the limited conversation topics and you’ll be just fine.
How did your relationship change when you had a baby? Did you find that a baby altered things for the better or worse? What tips would you share with new parents on how to ensure they still have a relationship?