Maintaining and sustaining a successful relationship with a partner, is infinitely more arduous than even the preliminary courtship of a potential romance. Being the introvert that I am, summoning the necessary affable charm to even engage with a women required an inherent confidence with speech, absent from my modest repository of communication. So to meet someone that can tolerate my fascination with a specific hobby, even if she didn’t share the same passion, is a rare and cherished thing.
To build a rapport around each other’s interests, in spite of your differences entails a tremendous amount of patience and time to cultivate. A process that, when your egocentric predilection’s are moderated, affords a compatibility that surpasses mere partnership. But to have a union so assured that you can inhabit the same space in silence and feel perfectly at ease, or using your towel like dental floss to dry yourself after emerging from the shower, while your other half is squatting out last nights Piri-Piri chicken, that’s been simmering in their bowels for a day. This kind of harmony is hard to find. But having kids creates significant impediments to that dynamic.
It isn’t hyperbole to say that having a child changes things. As you can imagine trying to supervise a loud, fetid, inherently selfish creature is a stressful proposition. Certainly seems to be some correlation between my daughter’s birth and the escalating prominence of grey in my hair. It’s a life altering commitment, fraught with many ups and downs that ultimately drives an emotional wedge between yourself and your partner. Your relationship can become diluted by the commitment of child rearing, as your time is monopolised by an attention draining parasite, that is so wholly reliant on you. To clarify, I mean parasite in the most affectionate way possible.
It’s easy, no, necessary to slip into routine. Maintaining a consistent regimen is as important to a child’s development as education. A crucial component in discipline too. But it’s reassuring to know that when our daughter is absent, even for school, that bond that has been somewhat destabilised by our daughter is still there. Strained, sure, but present. More importantly that we can still engage and relate, separate from our parental responsibilities. That if we go out for drinks and a couple of games of pool, that we aren’t sitting idling in awkward silence.
My greatest fear when my daughter was born, other than her safety and welfare, was the irreparable changes to our relationship. Whether we will still retain the same connection we had before. But its comforting to know that despite the years selfless dedication to our boisterous, smarter than her genetics would suggest offspring, that the division created between myself and my partner, isn’t the gaping chasm I feared it would be. That there isn’t a reliance on our daughter to sustain our relationship. If anything, I’d say that the introduction of our daughter has galvanised us. Besides, I’d think Stockholm Syndrome would have finally settled in by now, which is very fortunate for me.