1. The arrival of a baby and the efforts of child-raising: The fatigue and the increase of routines bring out “negative” personality traits of each partner that had not been very apparent before, and these traits may bring a partner (or both) to start doubting whether they chose “the right person”. Also, the typical decrease of interest for sex by the woman, as she tends to the baby’s needs, is very difficult for most men; they tend to react by being more distant and seeking fulfillment outside the family, e.g. by overworking or extra-marital flirts.
2. The decrease of the erotic aspect of their relationship: If the couple has become only a parental team and no longer lovers and confidants, each will be (differently) frustrated. Their two frustrations are hard to talk about without making things worse. Frequent quarrels may result, as each tries to assert oneself on other issues and get recognition from the other – which doesn’t work. Sometimes, on the contrary, there is too much avoidance of confrontation, which brings stagnation of their communication, with resulting boredom and distancing, so that the question “Why are we together?” looms.
3. More and more arguments. The differences between the 2 personalities, which were attractive at the beginning, now cause big conflicts for numerous issues. The partners cannot understand why this keeps happening, cannot discuss the issues calmly, cannot come to a resolution or a new, common way of considering an issue. Must they just “sweep under the carpet” the hurt feelings that their arguments have brought?
4. For older couples, when all their children have left home: An atmosphere of emptiness may come, with anguishing questions such as: “Can our sexuality or sensuality – rendered dormant as parents – be revived?”, “What do we still have to say to each other?”, “Do we have enough common interests?”, or the most disturbing of all: “Shouldn’t we just separate, since there is nothing dynamic or attractive left between us?”