What happens to your partner relationship when you become a father?

Becoming parents is a big change, both for you and your partner, and it will affect your relationship in many different ways.

Your new baby takes up a lot of time and energy and can be seen both as something extra in your relationship and something taken from the things you shared with each other earlier.

What happens in your relationship when you become parents:

– Your love for each other can grow.
– Your sex life can be affected – to a lesser or greater degree.
– Your roles may change and new compromises need to be made.

Love can grow

Suddenly you and your partner are sharing a lot of new things: your baby’s development, first words, first steps, and seeing the world in a new light through the baby’s eyes. The two of you know your child best, so you are the only ones who understand every little development your child goes through.

Watching your partner become a mum can be a very positive experience. Many couples find that the newfound love they feel for their child also intensifies their love for each other.

Sex life can be affected

Most couples find that both pregnancy and the time with the newborn have an impact on their sex life. It can affect desire in one or the other or both – and possibly in different directions.

It can seem much more difficult to have a sex life with a baby in the family, because you are not getting your full night’s sleep and the days are full of parenting chores.

Opportunities return
When your child gets a little older, the opportunities to resume your former sex life will return. For some it’s easy, while for others it may be more difficult.

Maybe one of you finds desire returning sooner and more strongly than the other. The most important thing is that you talk about it and find ways to meet from each of your positions. But you may also need to seek advice and help from professionals or some of the websites and books that give advice in this area.

Your roles change

When you become parents, your roles change and there are a lot of new things you need to agree on. It is not always easy, and sometimes it is just not possible to agree on everything.

When you disagree
If you disagree about something in relation to your child, it is frustrating for both of you. Partners often feel different things are important and it can be frustrating if one feels that they are not being taken seriously. Then it may help to talk about what’s important to each of you in relation to the child and parenting – and especially that you both listen to each other’s thoughts and concerns.

You may also disagree on the division of labour at home in relation to the new situation, or in relation to spending time and who does what with the child. If this is the case, try to talk about it:

  • Is there anything in the way you share tasks that no longer works now that you have a baby?
  • What changes would you like to see?
  • What can each of you do to change what you’re not happy with?
  • If you can’t agree, what compromises can you come together on?

Get help or advice from someone else
It is often a good idea to talk to others about your problems if you can’t manage to sort them out yourself. Maybe friends or colleagues have been through the same thing and have advice on how to deal with it. If it is too private, there are also books or leaflets on the subject.

3 tips for good parenting and partner relationships:

– Give each other space to find your new roles.
– Be patient with your sex life at the beginning – the opportunities will return.
– Make sure you keep the relationship alive.

Make sure you keep the relationship alive

Parenting can take up most of your time, but it is important to keep your relationship alive, so that both of you are still happy with it in the long term. You can do this in many ways. Here are a few suggestions:

Do things together that are fun
Do something together that you enjoy or are interested in. You may not be able to bring your baby at first, but many activities can be adapted, so you can take the baby with you. By the time the child is too big to carry, he/she will typically be old enough to be looked after by someone else.

Go on a date
You can arrange evenings where you go out to eat, go to the cinema, or do other things together that you did before the baby arrived. It can be a great opportunity to discuss parenting and how you feel you are doing. Or maybe you need an evening where you simply don’t talk about children and parenting.