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Play together, Stay together!

Trying to build a family using infertility treatments can be hard and can start to consume so much of the woman’s thoughts and time. It also starts to take over so much of the couple and their relationship.

Intimacy and sex start to revolve increasingly around ovulation. Financial decisions are made around treatments as they can be very expensive. Decisions about can we travel? Can we attend this family wedding or will we be pregnant? Which car do we buy, maybe a car which is safe for a child? Do we want to spend our holidays with family, where they ask us difficult questions about having a baby? A lot of these decisions are made keeping infertility treatments and the family that is yet to be built.

This can take its toll on the relationship.And create a chasm between the couple as they feel and handle things differently than each other.

It has been found that couples who found ways to play together at every stage of their relationship stayed together. Play is a form of intimacy, because it requires an intimate knowledge of your partner’s inner world. In the words of Kyle Benson, Play is the air that keeps their love inflated! Without it, both partners would deflate emotionally and feel stuck in a flat relationship.

Dr. Gottman’s research says that a huge part of a relationship’s happiness comes from the friendship that the couple shares (More on friendship in another article). The couple who found ways to play together through their relationship stayed happily together!

Play makes emotional connection easy and enjoyable. Helps partners open up emotionally and with intimacy! A playful friendship with one another creates a strong relationship.

There are many ways to increase play in your relationship; I will talk about a few ways to intentionally create this culture of play.

1. Try New, different and Unfamiliar activities:

Psychologist Arthur Aron recruited 53 middle-aged couples to study novelty and boredom in long-term relationships. The couples were asked to do one of three things: (1) engage in activities that were familiar and enjoyable, (2) change nothing about their routine, or (3) to find something new to do together.

After ten weeks, who do you think had a better relationship?

You’re correct!

The couples who did new and unfamiliar activities had a much higher satisfaction in their relationship than the couples who spent their time doing familiar things.

A few ideas for you:

- Go for a hike together or for a walk on the beach

- Try something new like playing pool, bowling, gardening, skating.

- Take a cooking class together or try a new cuisine.

- Walk around your neighbourhood , take a different route than you have taken, explore.

- Go for a long drive to another city!

2. Create Non- Fertility zones

Make sure you go on a date night and for this one evening you both don’t talk about treatment, diets, injections- just have fun. Take a salsa dancing class or bake something together at home. Watch a play together. Go for a painting class or watch a comedy show! Bring into focus other areas in your life that bring you joy and fun together!

3. Reconnect intimately

Increasingly much of a couple’s life around sex and intimacy can become about timed intercourse around the ovulation period. Sex can bring up difficult emotions for the woman and she might start limiting it to the time she is ovulating and for the man this feels like he is meant to perform on cue. This can lead to conflicts and a distance between the couple and can impact their intimate life.

For a wonderful night in- get sex off the table- and just spend time with each other doing sensate focused activities. E.g. Giving each other a massage, Taking a warm bath together, cuddling, kissing etc (Reach out to me to know more about this)

These are a few tips, to learn more about reconnecting as a couple during this time and supporting each other, reach out to me and we can build a plan just for you.

I can be reached on I am a Counsellor and Certified Coach trained with Mind body interventions from Boston IVF as well as with British Infertility Counselling Association, UK. I have also worked with hundreds of couples and women going through IVF at a Fertility clinic in Dubai. I am also trained as a Couples coach in Gottman couples work. I also have my own journey of Infertility.

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