Dave and I are mutual friends with this couple, Allan and Serena (names changed to protect their identities). They are both wonderful people, married for 5 years and have 2 great kids (with a 3rd one on the way!).
Like us, they are also pursuing FIRE (Financial independence, retire early) and have put a system in place to help them achieve that. An amazing thing about them is how they have been supporting each other in their lives and the level of respect and love that they have for each other. A great family unit.
Recently, Serena called me. Well, she’s pregnant and all and she’s slightly more emotional during this period (can’t really blame her, hormonal upheavals in the body causes some neuro havoc at times!) and she was telling me how negative she felt.
I can totally understand. I mean pregnancy is supposed to be a happy period and all but then sometimes, emotionally, you feel strained, stress etc. It’s really not the fault of the mother but it’s extremely important for the mother to feel happy to enjoy her pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.
Anyway, according to her, she felt that Allan hasn’t been that considerate towards her compared to previous pregnancies and that she felt like she’s not showered with as much care as concern. In addition, she has felt pretty pressured from Allan as he constantly wants to “talk to her”.
To be honest, I don’t think this is true. We have met up with the couple sometimes and could tell that Allan was still showering her with tender loving care, but I guess being her 3rd pregnancy, he might have thought she would be more independent to deal with certain things. Also, most of Allan’s conversations tend to be pretty serious, focus and heavy. He might not be an easy conversation partner but Serena is a pretty intelligent lady so she’s able to offer some thought provoking pieces during their conversations. My guess is perhaps that Serena just doesn’t want to be some emotionally invested in such conversations so she has been trying to put them off for now.
At the same time, Dave and Allan had a separate boys night out. Apparently, Allan has been feeling rather down himself as he felt that Serena hasn’t been giving him much attention. They have been married for 5 years, and he felt that their relationship has transited and the focus has now been changed more to work and family. Sometimes, he wants to find the opportunity to chat with Serena but she would either be ignoring him or would “pretend” to be busy with other stuff so as not to hear him out. Accordingly, it has gotten worse during this period, since Serena is pregnant, and she’s feeling tired constantly, and hence paying much less attention to him.
I can understand that. When you are pregnant and feeling terrible because of all the havoc that your body is experiencing, the last thing you want to do is to be engaged in any activity. All you want to do is rest, and ignore everything else.
And I can certainly empathise with Allan. For a lot of couples, once they get married and have kids, the focus slowly drifted away from them to other things, especially kids. It is quite susceptible for either party to feel less “loved” and less “required”.
There’s no perfect formula for that. Each couple has to find their own formula. What might work for one might not work for another.
Serena once admits sheepishly to me that she was a terrible listener and because sometimes listening to someone else is an extremely emotionally invested activity, she would feel a bit burdened listening to it and especially Allan normally talks about stuff which he would expect some level of reciprocation. Having said that, since it’s her husband, she should probably credit him some air time I presume?
Conversations between couples are one of the most important aspects of a relationship and that is probably the key to keep it going. I can understand what Serena is going through but it might be better for them to talk.
Perhaps it might also help if Allan does make it an easier conversation for the 2 of them so that Serena doesn’t feel so stressed up.
Argh… couple dynamics!