Maintaining intimacy can be a struggle for new parents experiencing the stresses and frustrations that come along with having children. Your precious baby is not going to take up less space over time, and experts say carving out room for your partner as soon as possible is important. If you wait for the perfect moment until you lose the baby weight or you have to catch up on sleep first, finding the old carefree intimacy can become increasingly elusive. Here are some different steps to rebuild an intimate connection with your spouse or partner.
Nurture your intimate relationship.
Timing is usually never perfect whether you’re thinking about having children or reconnecting with your partner. Don’t wait until you’re back in great shape or no longer drop-dead tired. Your marriage is an important relationship that requires regular nurturing. Renewing intimacy becomes increasingly difficult if you become complacent. Parents who put off reconnecting until after their children leave home often find they’ve been leading parallel but separate lives. You may not have much in common at that point.
Start over at your own speed.
Your doctor says you’re cleared to have sex as soon as six weeks after the baby’s birth, but you are sleep deprived and simply don’t feel you’re ready. It helps to remember that intimacy involves more than physical desire. It’s also about enjoying the warmth of cozy moments together and commitment to loyalty. Start over by remembering how you first got to know your partner. The connection grows when you move from making out to holding each other to enjoying the touch of bare skin.
Take care of yourself.
Nurturing your individual physical and emotional needs will give you space to reignite your relationship. You shouldn’t have to feel that intimacy is a chore to be checked off on your to-do list. Relying on others is a way to work on intimacy, and that’s okay. Your spouse can offer support by listening to your struggles with parenting and finding ways to allow you some time for yourself.
Take care of your partnership.
Remember what you and your partner did together as a couple to feel close. Consider how that’s changed now that your time is consumed by taking care of the baby. Experts say missing out on that connection is huge and recognizing the change is important.
Go back to what turns you on.
Discussing with your partner how you had a great sexual connection will help rekindle intimacy. It’s also helpful to recognize that experts say different types of desires are normal. The spontaneous desire that appears out of nowhere is one. Another is the responsive desire that flows from erotic stimulation.
Don’t rely on spontaneity.
When you were first getting to know your partner, you left little to spontaneity. You spent a lot of time and effort in the early days nurturing the relationship. Careful planning went into what you were going to wear on a date. You would stay up all night talking until dawn. In some ways, you’re starting over again, and you shouldn’t expect the desire to erupt in spontaneous combustion.
Individual or couples’ therapy can be a good place to start if you find your level of sexual desire doesn’t match your partner’s. Couples with young children may not have much room in the budget for therapy. They can turn to several podcasts that offer advice such as “Relationship Advice” and “Marriage Therapy Radio.” New parents also can find TED talks about relationships that marriage and family counselors have posted on YouTube.