What about him… How does he feel about it?
Most men express their feelings in a very different way to women, but this doesn’t mean they are not involved in the process
Men and women have different ways of expressing their emotions which makes them different from each other. While most women express their concerns in a more visible way –by talking, sharing them with their closest circles or often by crying– men usually find it harder to express what they feel. But this doesn’t mean they are not worried about a fertility problem, for instance: our experience and recent studies have shown that in such cases, men and women receive a similar emotional impact.
In the majority of cases, the role of the man is to accompany his partner, listen to her and offer her his support. Contrary to what might be thought, the apparently calm, patient attitude of some men may indicate their incapability, due to not knowing how to help their female partners in unknown situations, such as assisted reproductive treatment.
They want to help but don’t know how
In other cases, men decide not to show or share their feelings with their female partners because they want to protect her. They think that by not telling her their concerns they are helping her worry less. Faced with this attitude, women might think their partners are passive or unable to put themselves in their place. Nothing could be further from the truth: according to a study, up to 15% of men describe fertility problems as “the most uncomfortable experience of their lives”.
In this situation, experts agree that it is important for partners to establish smooth communications with each other. “It’s essential for the man and the woman to establish smooth emotional communications with each other”, says Dolors Cirera, Eugin’s psychologist. “Not only is it necessary to talk about the details of the treatment, or when the appointment is or what time the flight is”, she continues. “They must be able to ask each other how they feel, what they think and their opinion about the treatment”, she concludes.
This is how emotional communication is strengthened. In the opinion of Olga Bautista, also a psychologist at Eugin, “It’s more than talking about daily routine activities; it’s talking about feelings”. “Improving one’s emotional communications will consolidate a better understanding with one’s partner”, says the psychologist.
Putting oneself in the place of the couple
If a woman tries to understand how her partner feels before judging him, she will have a better understanding of the reasons for his actions. For example, some men prefer to occupy their free time with some kind of activity or work such as doing jobs in the home or practicing leisure activities- rather than talk to their wives. In many such case these activities are an excuse for them to keep their minds busy and help them banish their worries.
In short, it is important to consider that people have different ways of reacting and expressing their feelings. It’s equally important to feel supported and accompanied by one’s partner and to establish solid communications with him/her.
Establishing a sound emotional communication structure will not only be of help in undergoing a specific process such as assisted reproductive treatment, but it will also serve to prepare oneself for the emotional and thrilling project of motherhood.
- (Male) infertility: what does it mean to men? New evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies.Tewes Wischmann et Al., Heidelberg University Hospital, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg, Germany. 2013.
- ‘The bloke can be a bit hazy about what’s going on’: men and cross-border reproductive treatment. Nicky Hudson, School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK. 2013.
- Experiencies of infertility: where do men fit in. L. Hinton et Al., Oxford University. 2011.
- Differences between husbands and wives approach to infertility affect marital communication and adjustement. Lauri A. Pasch.Fertility and Sterility. 2002