The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Recognize the signs
Ruth Houston, the founder of InfidelityAdvice.com and author of 2002’s Is He Cheating on You?–829 Telltale Signs, advises expectant moms to be mindful of the relationship challenges that pregnancy can pose. “It’s very important for women to be aware that this is a critical time and to be vigilant,” she advises, adding that potential clues include unexplained absences, strange phone calls, spending more time “at work,” less interest in sex and a greater focus on his appearance. “This isn’t to say you should go looking for signs of infidelity, but be alert in the same way you are alert to giving yourself a breast exam every month,” Houston says.
At the same time, you have to be aware that hormones may be affecting your thoughts and emotions, Haltzman cautions. Rather than jumping to conclusions alone, process your feelings with a trusted confidante outside the family. If a certain behavior seems suspect, ask questions rather than accuse when broaching the subject. “Your first approach may be to ask your partner if he can
explain [the behavior in question],” Haltzman recommends. But because deceit is one of the hallmarks of infidelity, direct accusations will often be met with denial.
According to Haltzman, the only way to get confirmation may be to do a bit of investigating. Gretchen caught Marcus after reading incriminating text messages on his cellphone. If infidelity is confirmed, it’s time to seek assistance from an outsider. “You need
to get a third party, like a therapist, involved to help you sort out what, if anything, is going on,” Haltzman says.
An ounce of prevention
Despite the challenges pregnancy brings to a relationship, infidelity is not inevitable. One thing you can do is sit down with your partner as early as possible in the pregnancy to discuss what your plans might be if your sexual interest drops. “If you say, ‘I really want to talk about our options if I don’t feeling like having sex,’ believe me, he’s going to pay attention,” Haltzman says. And sex doesn’t have to involve intercourse. “Experiencing sexual release through touch, mouth or massage speaks very powerfully to men,” he explains.
Reassure your mate that he’s still a priority, too. “Nurture his emotional needs and his need to feel important,” advises Haltzman. “Encourage him by telling him he’s going to be a great father.” And get him involved in the pregnancy and planning for a baby, focusing on his skills. While he may not want to discuss nursery colors, he may want to build a crib. Difficult as it may feel, actively preventing or addressing the issue can strengthen a relationship. “Infidelity is not a death knell; it’s often just a wake-up call,” Haltzman says. “Couples can absolutely rebound from this. Remember, you are going to have a child who will really benefit from having two parents in the household,” he adds. “If you can find a way to make that happen, you shouldn’t lose the opportunity.”