Every relationship faces it’s own obstacles and goes through what I call, seasons. There are ups and downs and happy and sad moments. Relationships don’t keep getting better or improve in a very linear kind of way. It’s not a straight path to marital bliss, and perhaps nothing throws you for a loop like becoming parents. It’s no secret that having children can change a relationship. I know it has changed mine. Everything changes—-some good, some bad. You become busier, you’re more tired, and life kind of gets away from you. When you become a parent, sometimes you go in to survival mode. You’re getting less sleep yet you have more things to do than ever before. Not only is it easy to neglect your needs but also your partners or perhaps you may feel neglected and feel disconnected. What was once easy is now extremely difficult. Simple things now require a lot of planning. Having date nights or even finding time and energy for sex can seem impossible. This is the perfect storm for couples to drift apart and this can leave you two feeling more like roommates than life partners. Here are seven ways to get the intimacy back in your relationship after having children.
1. Don’t count on spontaneity.
Great sex is usually considered spontaneous sex. And I’d have to agree, mostly. There’s nothing like 2AM sex just because you felt like it. But life gets really busy. Especially when you add kids to the mix. Once you both feel comfortable having sex again (because after birth things can be a bit painful or new) you might find that you may have mixed libidos or perhaps cannot find the time or energy to have sex. Planning sex dates may sound like a terrible idea, in fact it may sound like something that would actually ruin your relationship but in fact it can save it. The key to planning sex is to find a day/time that you both can fit in a “session”. Be straight up but don’t mention it like your simply saying “On your way home, pick up milk”. Make sure it’s as inviting and exciting as possible. The more your into it, the less it will feel like planned sex and instead of being planned it will be anticipated. Text your spouse before your “appointment” and let them know that you can’t wait for your time together later on. Buy lingerie, set the tone, and make it fun.
2. Talk but don’t criticize or place blame.
Communication is key, yet it’s probably the most difficult part to maintain in a relationship. When you approach your partner about your concerns try not to place blame, use a harsh tone, or criticize them. Instead of saying “you’re not romantic anymore” say “I really miss when we used to go dancing”. Let your partner know how special those moments were and that you’d like to get back to that place. Avoid having this conversation when you are mad or emotional and try to focus on current issues and not the past. Make sure you are realistic about your expectations. There are just some things that you may not get to do (at least for a while) depending on the age of your child(ren) or if you do not have someone to care of them while you are away. Discuss ways you can do some of the things you both did together before you became parents. Make sure you acknowledge their effort if they start trying a little harder.
3. Lead by example.
If your partner is no longer as affectionate or romantic as they were before, be the change you want to see. Take the lead and treat them the way you want to be treated. Don’t wait for them to plan a romantic evening or for them to buy flowers. Instead, plan ahead and find ways to show them how much you care. Let them be on the receiving end and perhaps it will motivate them to do the same.
Some suggestions by my followers:
*Order their favorite meal and deliver it to their job with a note.
*Cook their favorite meal and have a candle lit dinner when the kids are sleeping while watching a movie.
*Give them a message.
4. Utilize your “village”.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and if you’re lucky enough to have a village, utilize them. Be open with those that you are closest to and let them know that now and again you need some time with your partner. Start slow and perhaps aim for once a month, or even once every other month, even if it’s just an hour or two. Do something together even if it’s as simple as getting coffee. Write it down on your calendar and try to have a backup plan just in case plans fall through.
5. Touch and kiss more throughout the day with out the intent to initiate sex.
Intimacy isn’t really about sex, in fact it’s simply having a deep connection or affection towards someone. In order to rebuild your intimacy, you have to start at the beginning again. Remember when you were dating or when your relationship was still brand new? In the beginning we all kissed and touched more, we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. But as a relationship grows, we tend to save physical affection like kissing and touching for the bedroom. Instead, try to kiss, hug, or touch more throughout the day with out the pressure of sex. Something as simple as this can make you both feel more affectionate towards one another and bring back some of those feelings you both had so long ago.
6. Show an interest in their hobby.
When you have kids, a lot of your hobbies get thrown to the side because you simply don’t have a lot of personal time anymore. If you’ve noticed that your partner has abandoned one of their hobbies since becoming a parent, try reintroducing it as something you both can enjoy together. Try playing video games together or painting. Try to avoid choosing something that you would have to pretend to like or something that would require a lot of explaining on their part. Choose something simple and fun.
7. Plan date nights at home.
Netflix and chill is a great option but it can get boring. Try a date night subscription box, play board games while you stream an easy to watch series, or work on a puzzle together. There are a ton of date night ideas for staying in if you just Google it. It may feel really dumb at first, but the effort is what counts. Acknowledging how limited your options are and the little time you have together is the first step, but learning to utilize that time is the next and most important step. Always plan ahead to insure that you have time every day to at least reconnect with each other.