Intimacy can mean emotional closeness as well as sexual intimacy and it plays an important part in healthy relationships.
Sometimes parents of children with additional needs are too busy and exhausted to invest time in developing intimacy in their relationship.
‘I feel so guilty that I neglect my husband and whilst he understands that our child’s needs come first, it does cause friction between us,’ says Suzi, a mother of a child with an additional need. ‘I sometimes think how hard we’ve had to work to stay together but we both love each other more than ever and even if we don’t have time for nights out or “us” time, we always find the time for a hug and to say “I love you”.’
The stress of parenting can take its toll on your sex life. At times you may feel like you couldn’t care less about being intimate, but your partner may not agree. At other times, you may be interested when your partner is too tired which can lead you to feel rejected.
Putting some effort into maintaining a sex life is a worthwhile way of looking after your relationship. Making time to be close to each other is a good start.
Even if you are feeling worn out the following simple tips will help to create intimacy in your relationship:
- Touch is an excellent way of bonding with your partner. Simply holding hands can help you to feel more connected to each other
- Offer each other a massage or a foot rub on a regular basis
- Set aside 15 minutes each day to catch up with your partner, ask about their day and end your conversation with a hug
- Spend time kissing and cuddling
- Book regular nights in where you share a favorite meal or DVD
- Go to bed sufficiently early so that you don’t fall asleep instantly, take a box of chocolates to share and enjoy kissing and cuddling
Get further advice on how to maintain your relationship with your partner when you have a child with additional needs:
- Supporting each other at meetings
- Supporting each other and your child’s behavior
- Acknowledging different feelings
- Improving communication
This is an extract from Special Needs Child: Maintaining Your Relationship by Antonia Chitty and Victoria Dawson, White Ladder Press £12.99. The book is available online and in your local bookstore. Quote ISBN 978-190541056-9 to order.