Sometimes, having a child can drastically change you. Something about having a beloved, tiny, helpless little being out in the world with your heart unwittingly in their grubby fist, will do that to you. And, sometimes, children don't change you at all. But no matter what, children are going to change your life and there's a far better than average chance that having children will change your relationship with your partner.
This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, or it can be both a good thing and a bad thing simultaneously because life is messy and complicated and multifaceted. Often times, though, it's just a thing. But make no mistake, it's going to be an adjustment. Because how could it not be, right? In order for this whole family thing to work out you're going to have to work together in ways you just haven't had to before. There's a learning curve, to be sure, but like everything else in parenting, the specifics of how these adjustments will result in permanent and semi-permanent changes will vary from person to person, family to family, and will very likely evolve and shift over an extended period of time.
As a mom who spends a decent amount of time talking to other moms, I've heard a great deal about what changes fellow ladies have noticed in their relationships since becoming parents, but I haven't had as many of those discussion with my dude friends. So I reached out to several of said dudes (and some of my mom friend's dudes and that's the last time I'm going to say "dude", I promise) to ask them about the significant changes they've experienced in their respective romantic relationships, since becoming fathers.
I'm only part dad*, but I'm pretty sure 100% dads will have the same answer: sharing the boobs.
*Writer's note: C identifies as genderqueer.
We have to constantly check in and ask permission for things. We didn't do that before. If I was going out after work, or she wanted to go out with friends, we'd just tell each other. If I wanted to spend the entire night playing video games, I just did it. Now we have to make arrangements at least a day ahead of time if we want to do anything just for ourselves. It's not [like we're suddenly] jealous or controlling, but we need to make sure we're not being dicks about ditching parenting responsibilities.
No more date night. No more dates. Period.
We haven't been able to complete a single sentence between ourselves in years.
I actually think she's even sexier now. Not that she wasn't sexy before. I don't know what it is exactly. She just is.
Lactation sex is weird. It's not bad, but it's weird sometimes.
Things are more stressful. Money is tighter, our attention is more divided. There's more at stake in everything now. [W]e've been fighting more lately, but we're seeing a marriage counselor and so far it's helped.
I'll be honest: there's a lot less sex. I wish it were different, but at least we've gotten pretty efficient with quickies.
We both need more alone time now, her more than me. She's a stay-at-home mom and I think she needs time where she's not being grabbed or pulled or whatever. It's fine for me because it gives me time to play Call of Duty! But we also make an effort to make time for each other, too.
I feel like our relationship deepened after our daughter was born, because it was almost like our relationship became a legacy. There's a little human with both our DNA running around through history now, so in that way we're linked together forever.