Parenting is a delicate balancing act where there is so much to do and never enough minutes in the day to get it done. These demands can make it hard for parents to get some time together, minus the kids. It also robs mom and dad of “me” time or personal space. Most couples complain about this, but it can lead to some parents pulling away, often from their spouse. Unfortunately, recognizing this behavior and complaining about it may only make it worse.
Why men pull away
According to experts, men in these circumstances are more prone to withdrawing. This type of avoidance may be due to exhaustion, depression, stress, and loss of the marital relationship. These feelings often emerge because:
- They are frustrated about the lack of personal time to exercise, pursue interests or work.
- They feel mom constantly critiques their parenting style.
- They feel their input regarding family matters is not valued.
- They feel compassion and empathy are replaced by snappy comebacks and bickering from a frazzled spouse.
The outcome of these feelings is to stop caring or not to try.
Shrinking the distance
Nearly any behavior can change through conscious effort. Spouses can make a concerted effort to start with the little things like saying “please” and “thank you,” and complement each other for something they do to make life for the family better.
Parents can also reconnect by setting aside the business relationship of running a family and connect in a way where the other’s thoughts and feelings are valued. Rather than carrying a grudge of a perceived slight, it can be healthier to consider the reason for this negative feeling. The goal for all this is to rekindle the partnership element by working through these issues together.
A bridge too far?
The challenges of maintaining a marriage amidst the demands of raising a family are substantial. Unfortunately, they do not always survive once the husband (or wife) pulls away. If counseling does not work or is not an option, it may be time to think about what a divorce will look like. An experienced family law attorney can provide helpful insight on how to proceed.