Infertility’s Impact on Marriage

I thought about writing about the impact infertility can have on a marriage using my own as an example but held back until I saw an article earlier today (thanks for sharing Fran). The article discussed the impact infertility has on a marriage. After reading it got me thinking that maybe it’s time that I shared how infertility has impacted my marriage.

I’ve talked on this blog about how I spent seven months in 2013 in therapy. What I haven’t mentioned is that my wife and I have been in marriage counseling since last March. We’ve had many screaming matches and many nights that either I’ve slept in the guest room or K has slept on the couch. It hasn’t been pretty. The cause of our stress isn’t always because of infertility directly but indirectly.

You see K has worked the same miserable job since three weeks after we got married which will be seven years ago in September. She had been looking to find a new job but held off when we started to try to have a child. The 18 months we wasted trying to have a child she could have been looking for a new job. The guilt I have from that because of my spermless nuts kills me. Because of them K is stuck at her miserable job and that kills me.

Adding that stress she’s had on top of the my bitchy infertility grief has caused us to take it out on one another. I’ve said things I wish I never said and she’s fought back. When we fight I don’t fight fair. Usually she’ll back me into a corner with something I have nothing to come back with and then I’ll go for the jugular. I’ve accused her of not wanting children because she isn’t ready to look into adoption and she’s accused me of her not being enough for me. There have been times when I’ve thought she would leave me. But she hasn’t by some miracle.

Things have gotten better though. We are communicating better and the fights we have are not lasting days as they did last year. But we still have a long way to go. We can’t move on until K lands a new job and I have worked through my grief to the point where I can be around babies and not hurt when I hear that someone I know is pregnant.

I’ve read stories of couples who don’t survive infertility and I understand why. In a lot of cases people put their lives on hold to have children. The stress that it causes when things don’t work out is something that is hard to describe unless you’ve been through it. Though I think if a couple can survive getting through infertility that their relationship can last forever. Because as the saying goes what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

9 thoughts on “Infertility’s Impact on Marriage

  1. Infertile Male

    Glad to know I am not the only man who has gone through some of what you describe. It certainly did things to my marriage that might not have happened otherwise. We got through it. Glad you wife agrees to counseling, not all spouses are willing to go.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      The line about working through issues that you might not have if not for IF is so true. If my wife and I had no issues and were parents right now we would have gone through the same types of issues we are working through now.

  2. kiftsgate

    I think all the effort you are putting in working through your problems really shows your commitment to one another. My cousin went through infertility treatments and ended up splitting up with his wife. He refused to try IVF again, so she tried to get pregnant by finding alternatives. He found out and left her. See, it’s the same problem: they both wanted a baby but to different extents. He wasn’t ready to continue, she wasn’t ready to give up. But instead of trying to work through things like you, they messed it all up.
    I am always surprised when reading through infertility blogs I only read about perfect relationships. Hardly anyone talks about fights. So thank you for this post. It makes me feel less lonely. My husband and I have gone through a lot of fights. In early 2013 I thought we were not going to make it. But then we calmed down, went through the problems, and decided we wanted to be together. We still fight occasionally but it’s a lot better than last year. As you say, since it didn’t kill our marriage, it made it a lot stronger.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I don’t see how infertility doesn’t impact marriages. I mean unless it’s a situation where both people don’t have a strong desire for kids it’s impossible not to have disagreements.

  3. Lesley Pyne

    Thank you for being so honest Greg.
    Having been through this I agree with the saying that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. We didn’t struggle with our relationship in the same way, but we are stronger together with all that we’ve been through. it’s great that you’re both having counseling and I wish you the best.

  4. Joanne

    I used to think that my husband and I had a strong marriage. I would read about how infertility puts an emotional toll on marriages and I didn’t think it would really affect our relationship. I was wrong. Through this experience we haven’t always been on the same page when it came to how much we wanted children. We also weren’t always there emotionally for each other. I do like to think that our marriage is getting stronger though with each obstacle that we face.
    We only plan to undergo one cycle of IVF and if it doesn’t work we’ve decided to end our efforts to have children there. My husband and I don’t want to spend the money and go through the emotional roller-coaster of endless IVF treatments and adoption. Our attitude may change but this all we’re willing to handle for now.

  5. Whole Belly

    Greg, thank you for sharing your story. Infertility absolutely impacts a marriage and I agree that it can make one stronger in the end, if they work at it. You both are working on it and that’s huge. I wish you both the best.


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