The Reluctant Spouse/Partner

Several months ago, I wrote a post about the benefits of having a fertility plan for those that have been diagnosed with infertility. In counseling sessions with my clients, the benefits are evident as I see how a fertility plan helps couples navigate through the difficult decision-making process of treatment and family-building options.

In reflecting back to the post, and in recalling many past sessions with clients, there is one variable I have witnessed that can really make developing a fertility plan challenging for a couple. It is reluctance on the part of one person to consider certain family building options. There is literature available to those considering adoption that discusses how to address reluctance in your partner, but there is not much available on the topic for other family building options.

The truth is, no matter where you are in your journey to become parents, considering future options can evoke a variety of unpleasant emotions. It can be scary, anxiety-provoking, angering, and saddening to name a few. And to make matters even more challenging, oftentimes your partner may find some options acceptable and worthy of consideration, and others most definitely not. Chances are, they may not be the same ones you are willing to consider, or not consider. So then what?

That is not an easy question to answer, but here are a few things to consider:

1) Don’t take your partner’s initial reactions to certain family-building options as the final word. Many times when a subject is emotionally charged, people say things they don’t mean.

2) Your partner may need more time to grieve. You may need to give your partner time and space to work through his/her feelings about the loss of building a family in a more traditional way before they can consider other options.

3) Don’t expect your partner to react to the idea of certain family-building 0ptions in the same way you do. Acknowledge their concerns and fears while listening with interest, not judgment.

4) Get educated! Learn more about different options from a reliable, trusted source. Some concerns are not based on factual information, but rather misinformation.

5) Get help and support. Several sessions with a counselor who is knowledgeable about infertility and family-building options can be very helpful in helping couples communicate better and improve decision-making skills.

For more information about this topic, call Kerry Christifano M.A., LCPC at 913-515-7338, or click here.