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How did having DC change your relationship?

(60 Posts)
DontPutMeDownForCardio Wed 07-May-14 20:36:14

I was talking to my mum the other day about planning to TTC in the next couple of years and she said to enjoy this time with my DP before we have children together as having DC will change our relationship. My DP already has a little boy so I'm not totally clueless about how having a child around can affect having time together but DSS's only here on weekends so it's not the same, and we got together when his son was just 3 so I've no experience of the baby stage.

I was looking for other people's experiences of how having DC has changed their relationship - for better or worse?

Quitelikely Wed 07-May-14 20:43:32

Where to start............there's just too much! I'm sure someone more helpful will be along soon

PoundingTheStreets Wed 07-May-14 20:43:59

Well, in my case having DC killed the relationship, but that's only because it wasn't a good relationship and we just hadn't realised it until the pressures of DC made it inescapably apparent.

While the presence of my DC has obviously had an effect on the pace, development and management of my current relationship, it has been very much a positive effect. If anything, the presence of my DC has enhanced things. I think that's how it should work in good, strong relationships.

However, all bets are off in the first couple of years as sleep deprivation and colicky babies can affect even the strongest of relationships. Sometimes it's just a case of gritting your teeth and getting through that stage. You're more likely to make it if you work as a team and remember to see yourselves and each other as individuals and partners as well as parents though.

What does your DP say about it? Have you had the chat about how you expect your relationship to change when you have DC? What was the cause of his previous relationship breaking down?

Chopsypie Wed 07-May-14 20:50:35

In some ways it's better, in some ways worse.

I resent him some times, as I feel like a lot of the family 'stuff' (bday parties, dentists appnts, shoe buying, clothes organising) is left to me to organise. He'll do something if I ask him, but I have to think for everyone! I also feel like he resents me, as my social circle is a lot more kid friendly and I tend to do more 'fun' stuff with the kids while he works. He also gets more alone time than I do.

But, we are much stronger. We've learned to communicate more effectively and I really appreciate the lengths he will go to for mine and DCs happiness. We also appreciate our time alone a lot more. We have had a lot of bad things happen since we had kids (redundancy, family bereavements) and I know I can lean on him and vice versa.

We are more truly a team than we ever were before kids.

littlegreengloworm Wed 07-May-14 20:52:48

It's much better. We were married for over tow here and I think it brought a bit of fun and life into the house. Now at the start, there were niggles. But we pull together too. It isn't spontaneous - no holidays or wild nights out (usually bring our baby out for early tea etc) but I make sure I get me time and dh gets me time.

Jemimapuddlemuck Wed 07-May-14 20:53:57

During pregnancy, I felt very vulnerable and a bit clingy (not like me at all), and I felt like I needed DH around me a lot. It was a bit odd really.
When DS was born I felt closer to him than I ever have in my life. He was in awe of what I had done and I was taken a aback by how smitten he was with DS. It was a strange time because we weren't together sexually for about 5 months but I felt like I saw a totally new and wonderful side to him.
I think as time goes on and you have to start making decisions about discipline and things it can become a bit fraught if you have different views. I thought we had the same views until we got down to the nitty gritty of it. That's where I have had to be assertive and stand my ground on the stuff that's important to me and compromise on the stuff that is less so.
I have found him a little selfish sometimes especially since DC2 came along and things got harder. It's a trait I knew he had but it never affected me as directly until I needed him the way I did when I had a newborn and toddler and he didn't always meet the mark. It's nearly broken us a few times. Tiredness and financial inequality breed resentment if you're not very very careful.
Basically if there are cracks they will widen but also you will share a wonderful thing together that makes it worth working through the tough times.

DontPutMeDownForCardio Wed 07-May-14 20:57:19

His son had health problems from birth with long hospital stays which put massive strain on their relationship - eventually his ex left him. I haven't spoken to my DP about it yet - I wanted to get some outside perspectives. I've no doubt we would cope but I think I have a rather romantic view of having a baby around and have no idea at all of the pressures.

We don't have holidays and wild nights out anyway so we won't miss that!!

ThinkIveBeenHacked Wed 07-May-14 21:06:39

The hardest time for us was the first few weeks, doing the whole Competitive Tiredness thing. Then we both realised we were making life more shit for one another.

I went back to work ft (shifts) at 8mo so DH knew from the start he would have to be parent in charge at least one weekend day and a couple of nights. he totallt embraced it tbh.

Now, I cant imagine us not beinf parents.

littlegreengloworm Wed 07-May-14 21:12:10

Jemima I found I need to stand my ground too with dh, he is good natured but sometimes is a bit selfish ie. hobbies are the first thing on his min on a Saturday morning and I'm left catching up with ironing, paperwork for work, batch cooking baby meals. So resentment is not far away! Talking a lot helps. Also making time for nice stuff to do as a family so it's not all finances and housework

Bananasandnutella Wed 07-May-14 21:59:37

We are not together now. He quite openly wasn't ready for children but I said I was desperate. Drove a wedge between us and within weeks of dds birth he was having an affair with a co worker.

StripeyFool Wed 07-May-14 22:27:36

Only one year in but tbh not that much seems to have changed so far, apart from the fact I have discovered his hidden talent for ironing that he kept quiet about for the previous 18 years.

We rarely argued before (most disagreements usually stemmed from something his mother said/did) however we definitely butted heads much more but much of that was sheer exhaustion, I think it started to get better once we realised that. Also I don't think I was mentally prepared for how much I missed alone time with dh, he was fine with it, he expected it, I didn't think much about it beforehand so was surprised at how hard I found that.

MsVestibule Wed 07-May-14 23:07:47

We'd only been dating for a few months (exclusive but fairly casual) when I became pregnant. We continued to see each other about 3 times a week but didn't decide to move in together until I was 6 months pregnant. I finally moved in when I was 34 weeks pregnant.

I think part of the reason we've managed is because we didn't really have any 'precedent'. We didn't have to adapt from being a couple to being a family because we spent so little time being just a couple. We hit the ground running and managed to make it work.

Of course after 9 years, 2 children, stress induced depression, a wedding and two house moves, it's not exactly been plain sailing. We still have the same arguments everybody else has. But in a strange way, I think the quickness of it helped us. Trouble is, life's a bit boring now wink.

minipie Wed 07-May-14 23:29:09

Argue more (due to tiredness) but still not much

Very little sex (see tiredness)

Less cuddling/kissing between DH and me, I think possibly because DD gets so much

Very little time just the two of us except after DD is in bed, and we are knackered by then.

However:

We need and rely on each other more.

Feel more of a partnership.

I love watching him play with DD and vice versa. And we love watching dd together. It's brought us closer in that sense.

mrsbrownsgirls Wed 07-May-14 23:30:14

killed it stone dead

mandy214 Wed 07-May-14 23:47:29

Premature twins here. H had been my perfect husband, we spent a lot of time together, I thought the sun shone out of his behind smile. He liked that. Then all of a sudden he was 4th on the list of priorities. The babies then me, then him. I forgot to be a wife for a while. I de-camped at hospital (they were in SCBU) for 2 months, he went back to work. Lost that feeling of partnership, just didnt have time or inclination if I'm honest, just overwhelmed by parenting and too tired.

Much better now they are older but we've had to work at it. Agree with PP that the 'housey / children' stuff gets shunted onto me, plus work; he just has to work. Less time / sex / money / 'me' time for both of us which can be a strain. We have to work at being a good husband / wife because that sometimes falls by the wayside when you're trying to be good parents.

But, I love him more when I see the father he has become, how hands on he is and the way the children's faces light up when he comes in. He is perfect Daddy material which is hugely attractive.

Keepithidden Thu 08-May-14 07:57:11

DCs arrival seems to be slowly killing our marriage, we're no longer lovers. Friends who share children is the most accurate description.

Not sure if things will go back to how they were, or even if they can. As others have said, DCs tend to highlight a dodgy relationship that may have previously been hidden.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-May-14 08:30:12

I think the main change is that you are three people instead of two. Instead of only having eyes for each other & time for each other you have to take a third, rather demanding and time-consuming, person into account. If your relationship is good to start with & everyone's a grown-up with realistic expectations about what a baby means then I think it brings you together. If your relationship isn't good to start with ... if there is any kind of inequality, selfishness or pretence going on... then a baby shows up the cracks.

tiawalters Thu 08-May-14 13:50:31

Haven't read previous posts, but I can say that children, as much as we love them and cherish them, have been a huge strain on our relationship and life in general.

For a start, someone has to look after them, and it's usually mums who sacrifice their time and jobs/careers to be with them. You feel like you are on hold for at least ten to fifteen years.

Lack of sleep in the first year can cause havoc to your mental health. You and your partner can be very irritable and stressed, having to go to work and juggle life on broken sleep for months.

Financial strain is another consequence on children, either because you have to pay nursery or stop working altogether not to pay it. These goes for at least three to four years until they start school or get some free childcare hours from the government.

With all that in mind, I still think it's more than worth it to do it, but it can definitely be a relationship breaker - or maker.

Generally it has been wonderful,TTC was actually much more harmful to our relationship and was very tense and awful. I have loved seeing this side to DH, he is utterly besotted with his DD and is a wonderful and patient father.
We had no sex for about 6 months after her birth, neither of us felt like it, but all back to normal now and in some ways better.
Its less intense, as others have said, there is another little person around all the time who is the priority. No more staying in bed all morning on a Sunday etc.
But we are lucky in that DD sleeps well, we have family nearby and enough money to be comfortable spending money on babysitters, the odd weekend away etc which makes a big difference. We still have time together as a couple.
I have also gone back to work and I do think the equality in our lives financially and in terms of responsibility for the domestic side also helps.
Go for it, I think its the best thing we have ever done.

Dukketeater Thu 08-May-14 14:17:29

I am probably happier now. Ourrelationship is strong anyway but nowwe have ourlittle one and are veey happy

Writerwannabe83 Thu 08-May-14 14:42:54

Our first baby is only 6 weeks old and already our relationship is taking the strain. We are both exhausted, sleep deprived and stressed and so we see to bicker all the time - just really petty snippy comments. It feels like me and DH are no longer a pair, but me and the baby as one unit and him on his own. We don't get to spend any quality time together anymore, the house is a tip and I'm praying for the day when the upheaval of a new born passes and me and DH can reconnect.

I miss what me and DH had, just the freedom to be ourselves, cuddle up on the soda, go out for meals, watch TV in bed etc etc - it's all gone. I think we were both wearing rose tinted glasses about how we thought our life would be once the baby arrived, imagining us in a bubble of bliss, but it really isn't like that.

We obviously absolutely love, love, love our baby but the change in dynamics within our relationship has been immense.

writer it does get easier, you are right in the thick of it, don't worry.
One thing that really helped us was sleeping separately for a bit, do you have a spare room or a sofa DH can go to?
Then you can take it turns, at least at the weekend?
I found it easier breastfeeding dd alone, she settled faster and I was not tense thinking I was going to wake DH up and he had work etc etc
At the weekends DH took over with some expressed milk and I got 6/7 hours of sleep in a row.
Made the world of differece

Keepithidden Thu 08-May-14 16:30:24

Writer. I can relate to the 2 units you mention, the fact you recognise this is a great sign though and as farfall says it is the hardest part you're going through.

We're 5 years down the line and I'm still looking for that recognition! I doubt most families follow this example so don't be too disheartened by tales of woe on this thread.

mandy214 Thu 08-May-14 17:22:22

I also wanted to be positive (in case my previous thread didn't come across as positive). It is just hard in the early days, there is no getting away from that, all the things that you mention writer I would say are entirely normal. There is no other situation for most couples where you go weeks or months without much sleep and even if you have the strongest relationship in the world, you will bicker and snipe just because you're so exhausted, drained and there is little opportunity to take a breather. Add in feelings of guilt (simply because it isn't the perfect, bonding, candy-coated happy family that you've expected) and it can be very difficult. BUT as lots of people have said, that really hard stage only lasts a short time and once you get used to having children and how that impacts on your relationship, its just about making little changes hopefully that re-captures some of that pre-baby intimacy.

Agree wholeheartedly that sleep (or the lack of it) has a huge impact so if there is any way you can sleep separately / work a routine so you both get some sleep in a decent block, even if nothing else changes, I guarantee you'll feel better.

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