‘Our love has changed, it’s not the same. And the only way to say it, is say it, it’s….’ not necessarily better or worse…. It’s just changed.
I might disagree with the famous Tom Baxter song in the main, but he did have a point.
Relationships change over time.
They have to, because we are always changing and adapting to our lives.
I’m with my other half eleven years today. It didn’t even strike me until the obligatory Facebook memories popped up on my feed morning. Pictures of us in cities like Barcelona, Berlin, London, seeing the sights, eating in nice restaurants, messing around, taking stupid selfies, looking fresh faced, no dark circles or grey hairs, just us being young (ish!) and in love.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve felt like that in my marriage. And that’s not to say I’m not in love with my husband, I am, but I’m talking about that new, young fresh butterfly feeling of being in love you have in those early years. The first time you go away together, the first time you go to a wedding together, the first time you live together… all that newness is intoxicating.
But relationships change over time and while that newness might fade, it does develop into something so much deeper. It’s not better or worse, it’s different.
Over the eleven years, our relationship have gone through oodles of changes. The boyfriend / girlfriend phase, the living in sin phase, the engaged phase, the newly married phase and since 2016, the parent phase.
I sometimes think of our lives together now as BC and AC, Before Kids and After Kids…..
Children change your relationship. There is no question of that. No matter how much you crave a family or plan for kids, their arrival will be like a grenade going off in your life. All of a sudden, it’s not just about you two anymore. You can’t have that lazy lie in you wanted, you can’t go off on a mini break on a whim, you can’t even run to the shops for milk without considering this new little life first. All at once you realise you two are solely responsible for the every need of this small little part of yourselves you’ve created together. You’ve no training for the job whatsoever and yet here you are.
It’s a seismic jump into the deep end.
And it will affect your relationship.
In lots of good ways of course. I mean there are times when I see my kids with my other half and I think I’m going to explode with love. You’ll also find yourselves in the trenches with only each other for backup. Worrying together over green poo, how to get the car seat in and out and if you can die from sleep deprivation… and it will bring you together like nothing on this planet.
But for all the love and awe you’ll feel together, there will also be immense pressure.
And to be really honest, I think having children is the ultimate test for ANY relationship. There’s pressure from every angle - sleep deprivation, new responsibilities, changing hormones, differing opinions, work life, sex life, social life.
Everything will change.
You might find yourself at each other’s throats, resenting each other over sleep, care of your baby, in laws, you name it.
Those first few months can be a baptism of fire like no other.
But things do settle… however even when they do and you find a calm and a rhythm, it’s still not just about you two anymore. Now you think of your child or kids first. Even if you do get an evening out, I guarantee you’ll spend most if it looking at pictures of your baby on your phone.
It’s easy to lose yourselves.
I had two babies in three years. And as we get closer to Luke turning one I feel like our relationship has changed utterly.
At the start, things were stormy. The ship has steadied a bit, but still... I think myself and my husband have lost ourselves a little along the way. We rarely make any time for each other, conversations tend to revolve around our children and we feel more like a family and less like a couple.
But as I sad at the start, change isn't necessarily a bad thing. Our relationship is more focused on our children at the moment, but I don’t think that’s unusual. In fact anyone who has a baby and three year old or similar cohort of small children will tell you likewise. Their relationship has changed, but here’s the thing, it will change again. The day is coming soon when we can turn the focus back on ourselves a bit more again, maybe the odd evening out without looking at baby photos or who knows a night or two away to just be us.
To hold hands, to talk about non child related things. To kiss like we’re dating again and eat a meal together as adults.
Relationships will change, having kids will both test and strengthen it in ways you never imagined.