How to Strengthen Your Relationship/help


QUESTION: So I have a two year old daughter by another man. And currently been with my current boyfriend for a year. I am now 8 wks pregnant... We had future plans of marriage we live together etc. Well ever since i found out i was pregnant feels like everything has gone wrong.  we argue about every little thing... We have sex maybe once every two weeks... We have no friendship... I walk on egg shells now to avoid conflict. Its like two head strong people who are set in there ways and can't mesh well. I don't know what to do. I feel myself in this great depression... I need this relationship to work for this family. I can not afford another broken home. Please help! Advice anything!

ANSWER: Hello Sammy,

I need to clarify a few things if you don't mind. First, does he know you are pregnant? If so, had the two of you planned on having kids first or was this a surprise pregnancy?

Next, what happened in the other relationship? Were you married? How long did it last? What's your connection to your ex now?

Before becoming pregnant, what was your current relationship like? Was he good to your daughter? Is he good to her now? You say there is no friendship. Was there friendship before? You say you are like two headstrong people. What are your differing views with regard to what's currently going on?

I need to know a bit more before I can advise, but I'll let you know that hopefully the relationship can be salvaged, but I don't want you to consider giving up everything  because you can't afford another broken home. A broken home is not ideal, but even worse is a child growing up in a home where everyone walks on eggshells, Mom and Dad are constantly fighting, and there is abuse.

So, get back to me and we'll try to figure this out.

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QUESTION: Yes he knows I am pregnant. We were not trying to have kids but then again we were not trying to have kids. He wanted me to have a baby asap, and I was ok with it trusting that we would be engaged atleast this same year and move forward.

In my last relationship I mistakingly got pregnant after being with him for only 3 months. We barely knew each other and we were not planning to have any kids or anything. We did not get married and our relationship was on and off about the length of my pregnancy and some time after - so about 1 year 1/2. He is very involved in my daughters life and he is a good dad. He and I get along for the most part for the baby and to raise her accordingly. He respects my relationship.

Our relationship was really good. We were both crazy about each other, we argued once in a while, but for the most part got along. He is very good with my daughter and very close with her. I cant really say there was much of a friendship before pregnancy. Although we love each other and wanted to be together and enjoyed each others company... we never really could put eachother in the friendship bond category. . .  He is very happy about the pregnancy, and he wants a child badly. We are just both very defensive towards eachother... he can be harsh with his words, even when he is joking, and I can be sensitive. Many small things that have added up. These conflicts basically all started once I moved in which was in May and then finding out I was pregnant shortly after.

We both love each other, and we are both good people and want similar things. . . Its really getting our personalities to mesh well and to build that friendship we just do not have... before this all falls apart and we end up hating each other :(

ANSWER: Hello again, Sammy,

There are three variables at play here. So, it will be hard to determine what is causing the difficulty. First, you may be at the end of your honeymoon stage. That happens in all relationships usually somewhere between 6 and 18 months in. I want you to take a look at this to get an insight on that (

Second, you had just moved in together. Dating someone you are not living with is a very different situation from living with this person 24/7. The idiosyncrasies that could be overlooked now become annoying.

Third, you are now pregnant and that brings a whole new dimension to the relationship. Here's a link that can help with that a bit ( I am not trying to push my book on you, but I did write a book on how relationships change and what a guy can do to keep romance alive during these 9 months. It's called "A Labor With Love" and you can get one used here for about $5 (

Here's the good news. He wanted to have a baby, so he's not upset with becoming a surprise daddy. He cares for your daughter. You were both crazy for one another. So, you have a strong foundation. Now, you just need to get through this stumbling block without any resentment. Have you spoken with him about these changes in the relationship? If you do, you need to approach the conversation without attacking or being defensive. One way to do that is through "I statements" (

It sounds to me that he wants this to work out, but there have been changes that have made him feel out of sorts, and he may be blaming that on you. He may be worried about being a dad, although he wants it, it can still be nerve-racking. He may be unnerved now that you two are living together. He may be worried about having sex with you for fear of hurting the baby. Some men also are reluctant to have sex once they realize that your genitals are more than just a place of pleasure. Knowing that a baby will be emerging from there can also be off-putting. Communicating with him to help flush out his concerns will help pin point what to work on. And, feel free to come back and ask me once you know where the concern is.

Don't count out that you two are going through hormonal and physiological changes that may be making you moody and emotional. Let me now and I'll be glad to try and advise.

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QUESTION: Thank you the links were very helpful! His main thing right now is that he feels I am trying to change him, that I am very defensive when he jokes or says anything and that I nag him for things that he enjoys doing. I do not feel like I am nagging at all. However, I have learned over the past years to be very honest and up front about my feelings or when I am bothered by something rather then holding it in. Well, it seems to come across to him as complaining or nagging. So should I continue being honest? Or should I just hold most of it back until things settle down, maybe not say it right away? I am trying to avoid me building up negative feelings towards him and blowing up later on.

Hello again, Sammy,

I don't think that you should hold back being honest if that's going to cause resentment. But, maybe don't respond immediately. Maybe with a ten-minute lag time you can soften your blows, and phrase your feelings in a way that will feel better to him.

You know, I have a daughter who, in the heat of the moment, gets really upset when I tell her things that I feel are innocuous, yet when and how I say them, cause her to feel attacked. So, I have learned to send her an email when I want to tell her something right away. What that does is give me an opportunity to choose my words wisely. There's no "tone" involved since there's no voice in an email. And, finally, she reads the email later, when her emotions have balanced again. Consider something like this.

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