Going through infertility may be the first major life crisis that a couple faces together, and it may be the time when you need each other most. Yet sometimes couples withdraw from each other at a time when they most need support because of problems communicating. Recognizing that you and your spouse need not (and probably cannot) be in the same place emotionally at the same time, or express or cope with your feelings in the same way. In general, women may feel the need to talk more and connect with others, while men may throw themselves into their work with greater intensity. However, just because you cope in different ways does not mean that you can not derive emotional support from each other.
Merle Bombardieri, M.S.W., suggests a technique for couples’ communication called the “Twenty-minute Rule.” If you find you’re needing to talk about infertility a lot of the time, but your spouse gets overwhelmed by this and shuts down, Bombardieri suggests limiting the talk to 20 minutes per day. This way you know you have your spouses undivided attention for that time and he/she knows at the end of it you’ll stop. Knowing that you have a fixed time each day may help free up your energy and thoughts for other things and yet help you feel connected to your spouse emotionally. It’s hard enough feeling isolated at times from the rest of the fertile world, but it can be extremely painful to feel alienated from your spouse when you perhaps need that person the most.