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Bickering constantly with your partner? How to stop fighting

You’re not alone – especially when kids enter the picture. Here are five ways to diffuse tense situations.

Bickering constantly with your partner? How to stop fighting

(Art: The New York Times/Julien Posture)

Bickering constantly with your partner? You’re not alone – especially when kids enter the picture. I spoke to experts about how to keep relations positive during your transition to parenthood.

DON’T BE SURPRISED IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. It’s normal for satisfaction to decline over time. Some research suggests that new mothers may be most vulnerable to that dip.

Mothers in heterosexual relationships report lower levels of marital satisfaction, mostly because they tend to take on more “second shift” work than their partners. Same-sex couples tend to divide work in a more egalitarian way.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS. “Take the image of the ideal parent and throw it in the garbage,” said Leah Ruppanner, a sociologist at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Ruppanner gives this advice especially to mothers, because there are much more aggressive cultural expectations about what a good mother is supposed to be.

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CREATE AND FAIRLY DIVIDE A LIST OF TASKS. Split up household duties, including child care, in a way that seems fair.

If one partner works more hours each week than the other, they will probably be doing fewer hours of household tasks. Merely making the list provides a way for parents to work through potential pain points.

MAKE YOUR LIST SPECIFIC. Jennifer Senior, an author and Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times, says the more granular you get when listing and dividing chores, the less resentment will fester.

(Photo: Unsplash/Becca Tapert)

REDEFINE YOUR SEX LIFE. Parents who gave birth need time to recover, and nursing parents may experience vaginal dryness because of lowered oestrogen levels.

But continuing to connect sexually can help both parents keep hostile feelings at bay. The psychotherapist Esther Perel suggests experimenting with new erogenous zones.

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By Jessica Grose © The New York Times

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Source: New York Times