Marty, 31 & Suzanne, 27

Marital Problems / First Child

We met through mutual friends and we hit it off right from the start. We have so much in common. Out political views, religion, values, social interests could not be more alike. We also have a lot of fun together. We both love to hike, bike, ski, see movies and concerts. We even like the same music. Best of all, our communication is, or at least it was, great!


We use to talk for hours over dinner or while taking long walks. Our wedding was one of our happiest days ever.


Well long gone are those late night talks over a glass of Chianti or those strolls along the beach. Now it is spilled milk, dirty diapers and no sleep.


We were so excited to be pregnant. Nobody wanted kids more than we did. We both love our little Charlie but something went terribly wrong once he arrived.


We didn’t notice it right away; we were both tired and excited at the same time.


We understood sleepless nights and we both know that the hormone ups and downs can be trying. But why we have started snapping and picking at each other like you wouldn’t believe, we don’t understand.


Our comments have become more and more nasty and sarcastic. It feels like our love is turning to hate and the communication we had is gone.


Our friends cannot believe it, us of all couples, so angry and distant.


Dr. Barge helped us see that our “special dyad” had turned into a threesome. She helped us see that triangles are very difficult to negotiate and trying to negotiate an infant is just impossible. If a couple is not prepared for feeling the loss of emotional support and the possibility of anger and jealously that can arise, they can end up in real trouble. This was happening to us.


With a father jealous of the attention his son is getting and yet, guilty for feeling such a thing, there is a good chance he will deny his feelings and just withdraw into work, sometimes drinking or drugs or maybe he will look elsewhere for what he used to get. Mom feeling tired, exhausted at times, not getting the help and support she needs and is used to, starts feeling abandoned and increasingly angry.


Ignoring each other and putting each other down certainly is no solution. Now it seems silly; our feelings were just human, especially because we were not prepared for the emotional possibilities. We were prepared for everything else. Our little Charlie has everything; he is treated like a King! But we forgot to take care of ourselves, our relationship.


Counseling has brought us closer again. Dr. Barge helped us understand what was going on and she also helped us to regain our empathy and understanding for each other. Our communication is back on track and we are very happy parents now.


We never thought this could happen to us; it is arrogant but we thought we were above this sort of thing. It was a close call; it looks like we were well on our way to being one of those “half of all marriages” divorce statistics.



NOTE: Patient stories are real life stories. The identities are disguised and sometimes, a composite to protect patients. No identity should be assumed with any of these stories.