There’s a reason diets are difficult. You have to switch from eating for pleasure to eating for a specific goal. That can make food unenjoyable. Cooking, a chore.
For couples struggling with fertility, sex and romance can feel the same way, only more intense.
Sex and romance can feel like an all-consuming, full-time job.
“At least it’s fun trying, right?”
Maybe not. Before, you and your partner probably had sex because you felt like it, because it was Saturday morning and raining.
But now, depending on where you are in the fertility process, you might need to have sex at very specific times to increase your chances of getting pregnant—whether you’re in the mood or not.
Here’s the reality: sex on a schedule isn’t always that sexy.
During the fertility treatment process, sex can become simply a means to a baby—if you let it. You or your partner might be so focused on getting pregnant and the next steps in the fertility treatment process that the rest of your relationship—including romance—takes a backseat.
And that can really strain your relationship.
Fertility treatments can be taxing, emotionally and physically. There are days you’ll feel sick, sad, grumpy or just plan unsexy. But remember: Sex isn’t the only way to connect.
Here are four ways to keep the flame from blowing out in your relationship during fertility treatments:
Talk About Other Stuff
You probably didn’t talk or stress about babies all day everyday before the fertility process. Perhaps when you first got together, you talked about the crazy people at your job, your next vacation or other things that make you interesting, complex people. Ideally, pick something that will get you both out of the baby conversation and back to seeing each other as complex people with other interests.
Because guess what? You still are those interesting, complex people. Check in with each other on the other aspects of life. And that shouldn’t be pushed aside just because having a baby has become a priority.
Remember the Beginning
Remember what connected you in the first place. Try to get back there. Maybe when you and your partner first got together, he made you dinner, and it blew your mind that he was such a great cook—or such a terrible one. What did you and your partner like to do before you started fertility treatments? What was something that made you feel close? What was something your partner did that attracted you in the beginning?
Save the scheduled sex for a specific location that lends itself to doing what you have to do and getting it done—like an unoccupied guest room. Then, have another spot—like the bedroom—for the real-deal sex, when you’re both feeling romantic and aroused and just want to enjoy it.
This separation can remind both of you that there is a slice of your marriage that you will not allow to be taken over by the fertility process. It’s off limits, and it’s just for you two.
Show Your Love
Sometimes, there’s nothing sexier than a genuine compliment. Make an effort to give them and receive them with gusto. If your husband says, “You look really pretty today,” don’t come back with, “Ugh, I feel so gross.” Rub each other’s shoulders; leave each other love notes; plan fun dates. Then, remember to express appreciation for even the smallest romantic gesture.
The positive side is that you and your partner are a team, working toward something together. During the fertility process, make sure to keep your romantic spark a priority, too. Besides, it’s not like romance will get any easier when you become parents.