Couples get divorced because of infidelity, because of addictions, because they’ve grown apart. Now, one more common reason that marriages end is because of infertility.
A new Danish study focusing on couples undergoing fertility treatments found that couples who are unsuccessful at conceiving a child after many years of trying are three times more likely to divorce than couples who do succeed. The grief of failed IVF lingers, with a Swedish study reporting that people continue to grieve three years after the unsuccessful attempts to conceive.
Blindsided by Infertility
The majority of couples enter into a marriage with their minds made up about whether or not they will have children together. Encountering unexpected conception obstacles can be a big blow to the foundation of a relationship and can destroy a union that never anticipated the prospect of being childless.
Some couples who remain infertile may stay married because they have weathered a common hardship together, bringing them closer together. But any couple who has faced infertility, in any of its many forms, knows the stress that this challenge can place on a relationship. Feelings of failure, inadequacy, despair, and anger are common reactions to infertility, and these feelings can be projected onto a partner. Women in particular are most prone to depression, low self-esteem, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness following failed fertility treatments. Research has shown that if one partner suffers from depression it can negatively affect the marital satisfaction for both people.
Relationship Stressors With or Without Children
The good news is that having a baby after experiencing fertility issues actually seems to improve a couple’s chances of staying together. But, of course, having children also places its own unique stressors on a relationship.
Ultimately, every relationship takes hard work, and unwanted challenges will be encountered along the way. Some couples choose marital counseling to help them manage difficulties that arise in their union. Other pairs are prepared to call it quits whether they’ve opted for counseling or not.