Strategies for Seeking Support from Your Partner

Strategies for Seeking Support from Your Partner

Infertility takes an emotional toll, both on you and your partner. Between worries about the future, financial stress, and fertility treatments, it’s common for your relationship to become strained. And yet, this is also exactly the time when you most need the support. How can you reestablish your bond and ask your partner to be there for you? We recommend the following strategies. 

Identify Your Needs

The first step in seeking support from your partner is clearly identifying your needs so your partner can understand and respond to them. Rather than focusing on feeling anxious or lonely, break down those feelings and identify what you need in order to feel supported.

Maybe you need quality time together to help you reconnect, or reassurance that your partner agrees with you on your treatment. Maybe you need to work on a budget together to help you feel more comfortable with your finances. Whatever it is, try to pin down specific needs, and then clearly communicate them clearly to your partner. 

Use “I” Statements

When you approach your partner, it’s important to not come across as attacking or blaming. One of the best strategies for seeking support from your partner is learning to use “I” statements. Although it may feel awkward or unnatural at first, this simple change in communication will prevent a lot of misunderstandings. 

The formula for an “I” statement is simply to state, “I feel ____ when you ____ because ____, and I need you to _____. In practice, this might sound like, “I feel hurt when you go out with friends the day after my treatment because taking all this medicine wipes me out, and I need you to help with dinner.” Using “I” statements helps you clearly communicate how you are feeling and express your need for support in a way that doesn’t come across as an attack. That leaves the door open for communication and problem-solving. 

Connect With Kindness

No one likes to be blamed, shouted at, or accused, so be especially mindful of your tone and body language when seeking support from your partner. Infertility is one of the hardest things you can go through, but it’s important to remember that your partner is not the enemy. If you do your best to connect with kindness, that allows your partner to do the same.

Whenever possible, try to set aside a time to talk when you’re not both overwhelmed. Try to keep a calm tone of voice, and let your partner know that you would like to also hear about their concerns. Connecting physically helps, too. Hugging, resting your head on your partner’s shoulder, holding hands, or placing your hand on your partner’s leg all establish physical intimacy. And that helps with emotional intimacy as well. 

Show Gratitude

The emotional rollercoaster that comes along with hormone injections, rounds of treatment, potential disappointment and expense all place a strain on relationships. The physical effects of treatments, plus time spent going to appointments, can really wear you out. It’s likely that both you and your partner feel exhausted, overburdened, and under appreciated. 

Rather than a constant barrage of requests or accusations that your partner isn’t doing enough, take the time to show gratitude for the helpful things your partner is doing. When your partner drives you to appointments, picks up meals, does the dishes or laundry when you’re not feeling great, thank them! And if your partner is going through their own physical treatments to address infertility, show your appreciation. 

Offer Support to Your Partner

When you feel like your partner isn’t supportive, the last thing on your mind is being more supportive to them. But infertility is hard on everyone involved, and your partner likely needs some support. 

It’s important to remember that not everyone wants, or needs, the same type of support. Be sure to communicate your needs clearly, and ask your partner to do the same. When both partners feel like their needs are being seen and met, it’s easier to reciprocate requests for additional support. 

Make Checking In a Routine

Finally, rather than waiting until your emotions completely take over, make it a habit to check in daily about how you’re feeling and what you need. This can be as simple as a text or a quick call from the office or home.

Daily check-ins are good opportunities to share the highlights of your day, along with any struggles. This might be something like, “I had a really great meeting at work today, but I’m feeling too tired to cook dinner. Are you up to cooking or picking something up for us on your way home?” Or it could be, “I’m having a bad day today. I can’t stop worrying that these treatments are never going to work. Can we just watch a movie and cuddle tonight?” The more often you regularly check in with each other, the easier it is to give each other much-needed support . 

Infertility is one of the hardest things you can go through, but having a supportive partner makes all the difference in the world. Try implementing these strategies to strengthen your relationship and help you stay close through trying times. And remember, although infertility often feels overwhelming, there is hope. Schedule an appointment today and learn more about how HALO can help navigate your fertility journey.

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