Relationship After Baby – How much do you put up with in relationship?
In my therapy practice I often see individuals excepting behaviours in relationships they would never advise a friend to accept, simply to due to the fear of rejection. This is particularly common in a relationship after baby number one or more arrives into a couples home. One of the by-products of being a nice person is accepting less than you are worth just to either keep the peace, or to try to avoid the possibility of someone leaving you. Women and men who are more sensitive in nature (and let me note that sensitivity is not a bad trait) are the most likely candidates for this behaviour.
Why do women often place their own needs last?
Many women in their 30s get drawn into the media hype surrounding age and babies and end up believing they must meet someone before it’s too late to conceive. Others interpret failed relationships as a reflection of being unworthy or unlovable. In both instances, when such women meet a potential partner, they put up with much more than they normally would, out of fear the relationship might end.
What is acceptable compromise in a relationship after baby?
All relationships need compromise, however there are acceptable and non-acceptable compromises, particularly in a relationship after baby. Often when your baby arrives, there is a period of closeness in your partnership as you welcome this new bundle of joy into your life. However, once things settle down and sleep deprivation settles in, relationships can become strained. In order to keep the peace, you may make a range of compromises. However, it’s important to ensure any compromises you make do not lead to built up resentment. It is also important to ensure any compromises you make do not lead to harm (self or others).
Relationship After Baby – Acceptable compromises
This type of compromise refers to behaviours such as accepting:
- friends and family you may not get along with
- hobbies and passions you may not find interesting
- to give up things you love during times when a partner needs support
These compromises are very different and usually have a detrimental impact on your (or your child’s) self esteem, health and wellbeing. For instance, compromising on:
- being treated with respect (eg accepting your partner regularly ignoring you, or not considering your feelings and needs)
- feeding your family a healthy/balanced diet
- the agreements you made regarding safe faith and religious family practices
- trust (eg accepting your partner having an emotional affair)
- respect (eg accepting your partners hot & cold feelings towards you based on daily moods).
Starting on the right foot
At the heart of every relationship there must be a strong foundation. Therefore, at the beginning of any new relationship you must be clear on your values and speak up when behaviours make you feel uncomfortable. In all relationships (especially a relationship after baby) it’s imperative to inform others of how you want to be treated. For instance:
- telling your partner you are not comfortable with him cancelling plans at the last minute regularly
- discussing with a child that you don’t appreciate being spoken to in an aggressive/sharp tone
- asking your partner to speak to you calmly, rather than in a snappy tone
These boundaries should not be compromised. When you allow yourself to regularly be treated with disrespect, you never feel good about it, regardless of how well you try to convince yourself there is an excuse or reason behind certain behaviours.
It’s vital to maintain trust and respect within your relationships. This is never more important than with life after a baby arrives. Children place a lot of pressure on couples because they demand a lot of attention. Therefore couples need to work as a team and support each other through the exhaustion and time demands, which take away from this time previously reserved for each other. Thus, it’s important to start on the right foot and keep the lines of communication always open.
The key ingredient necessary here is self respect
When you respect and value yourself and your partner, you feel confident enough to trust that you will always have people who love you in your life. You will also have the courage to stand up for your beliefs. Thus, if others will only be with you if you devalue yourself, you can discuss and walk away with confidence if necessary.
Don’t allow fear to dictate how you should be treated in any relationship. Respect yourself first! By all means give of yourself to care for others, but never compromise on self respect and trust. You deserve more.