How a baby really affects your relationship and divorce risk
New parents consider divorce at some point during their transition to parenthood. Remember before you had kids and you watched parents interacting with each other and said, “that’s never going to be me”? Then you had kids and it’s you! Let’s be honest, marriage is hard work before the brutal transition to parenthood. Expectant parents should to be aware of the relationship areas affected when having a baby.
6 key relationship areas affected by having a baby
1. Relationship Satisfaction
Both mums and dads have a significant drop in relationship satisfaction after having a baby. The higher a couple’s satisfaction at birth the larger the decrease after birth. Mums of girls also experienced significantly larger drops in marital satisfaction after birth than those of boys.
2. Relationship Confidence
Both mums and dads have a sudden decrease in relationship confidence after birth. New parents are less confident about the future of their relationship and partner.
3. Relationship Dedication
Dads have a significant sudden decline in relationship dedication after birth. They are less committed to the relationship leading to more instability. Dads are less likely to sacrifice for the relationship, hold the relationship as a priority and identify as part of the couple.
4. Negative observed communication
Both mums and dads experience sudden increases in negative observed communication. Being short, defensive and withdrawing from each other when attempting to resolve relationship problems.
5. Poor conflict management
Mums experience significant and sudden increases in poor conflict management. Mums, more so than dads, feel criticised and belittled during disagreements. Small arguments escalate quickly and stray off-topic.
6. Problem intensity
Mums also experience sudden increases in problem intensity. Relationship issues like communication or money suddenly increase in their power, effect and relevance.
Divorce Risk Factors
It’s understandable why couples consider separating when their relationship positives decline and negatives increase. Besides these 6 key areas, research tells us there are extra risk factors for divorce.
- Couples are at the highest risk of divorce within the first 5 years of marriage.
- Today couples (myself included) cohabitate before getting married increasing the risk of divorce.
- Couples often have their first baby within the first 5 years amplifying risk.
- The gender of your baby…also a potential risk!
Apparently, it matters to your relationship whether you have a boy or girl!
Having a girl increases your risk of divorce and reduces marital satisfaction. Talk about blaming the females…again! According to several research studies, parents of boys are more likely to share childcare.
Firstly, I’ve seen many dads take a very active role in raising their girls and dads of boys taking a backseat.
Secondly, this is your friendly reminder to equally share childcare no matter the gender of your children. It will reduce your divorce risk, and more importantly, kids benefit from relationships with BOTH parents.
I feel this. What are my next steps?
Before getting too upset, relationship changes also happen in relationships without children but the changes are more gradual and not as severe. When you have a baby the changes are more sudden and significant. Relationship concerns persist for at least four years, but I’ve seen them last decades longer when couples refuse to act.
These feelings and changes are NORMAL.
Here are your important next 3 steps:
Step 1 – The only question you need to answer
Ask yourself: if nothing changes, what happens?
Answer honestly and then consider your feelings towards your answer. Are you happy, sad, concerned or scared?
Step 2 – Survive or thrive
Do you want your relationship to survive or thrive during parenthood?
Teamwork is essential during the transition to parenthood to thrive. It is the first and easiest active change to determine the future of your relationship. Remember, parenthood is a new world for both people in the relationship. Thriving is based on communication and sharing responsibilities and problems.
Step 3 – Get educated
You can’t make life-changing decisions without all the facts. You aren’t expected to know everything in life. We are constantly learning.
If you are expecting a baby: register now for my antenatal class and receive my top 6 tips to survive your transition to parenthood.
If you are a parent: contact me for a confidential consultation. Or, if you are ready to create the future you want today, join the Mama’s Sensual Safari and get expert help on your journey to thrive.