Keeping the romance alive . . . after children

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No one likes to admit it, but the fact of the matter is that having children can put a strain on even the most rock-solid relationship. We all know that pregnancy entails all sorts of anxiety and internal hormonal unbalance. After the baby is born, new parents have to suffer through countless sleepless nights, trying in vain to catch even one REM cycle. For those first few years, life is a constant, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week flurry of activity all centering around your newest family member.

Keeping the romance alive after children

And it does begin to take its toll after a while. All that sleep-deprivation can leave normally reasonable moms and dads a little short tempered, and with so much running around it can be awfully hard to keep romance alive. I’ve talked to many new parents who are just too exhausted and run down to even think about it.

No matter how difficult it is at times though, it’s essential to keep that first spark alive, even through all the dirty diapers and temper tantrums. There’s no one surefire solution for every couple, but below are some tips for how to make sure your relationship not only survives, but grows stronger.

Delegate. When you wake up at 2:30 in the morning to sound of crying, the last thing you need is to have an argument about whose turn is to handle the situation. Set a schedule when you’re both fully awake and not feeling cranky, then stick to it. Even petty arguments can wear one a couple over time. If you can sort them out in advance, do.

Talk about it. How are you feeling, honestly? How is your partner feeling? Do you know? It sounds simple, but basic communication is essential. If you feel you need it, set a time every two weeks or so to just sit down with no distractions and vent about what you find frustrating, or what’s working really well.

Don’t forget date nights. In the very early years, these are tough to pull off. But as soon as you find a sitter you trust or a close relative willing to watch the little one for a few hours, take advantage. Take the time to go somewhere special and different, somewhere where you can dress up a little and not feel like parents for just a few hours. Check out a couple of our favorites picks here:

Little gestures make a big difference. Just because you’re busy doesn’t give you an excuse to forget to show how much you care. Sometimes an unexpected gift or act, even a small one, can change everything. So stop by the florist on the way home from office, or pick up a nice bottle of wine or craft brew you know your partner will love.

Give yourself alone time. This might seem counterintuitive to a couple trying to work on their relationship, but sometimes space is a very necessary thing. When you’re caring for a newborn around the clock, hobbies and relationships with friends tend to suffer. Make sure that both you and your partner have time to do the things they want individually. This might mean that one night a week dad watches the baby while mom gets a drink with her girlfriends, or vice versa. If you have a chance to unwind separately, you’ll be a whole lot less stressed out when you’re together.

Photo Credit: Chrismatos ♥Too busy, sorry via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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