The article titled Rules Help When Talking About Infertility:
refers to a study that claims that infertile women are more apt to open up to others about their infertility, whereas infertile men are more inclined to want the news to be kept a secret. It goes on to suggest that the couple set rules about who besides themselves can know about their struggle so they can avoid upsetting each other.
In my years of experience I have found that women as well as men sometimes subscribe to the die-hard macho attitude and be inclined to protect the man from facing the fact that he’s not Tarzan. Furthermore, if the woman is infertile, whom to tell is not so clear-cut. I’ve found that setting rules, while a good idea, is not so simple.
Complexities involve your sexuality, who should be allowed into the sanctity of your marriage, who has what kind of connection to family and friends, your capacity to communicate with each other, and much more. It is a topic to which I address a whole chapter in my book, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. Here’s an excerpt.
This excerpt is from Chapter 4, “Infertility’s Impact on Friendships/Family: From Involvement to Isolation.” The title hints at the complications.
The advice to set rules makes sense. But as a therapist, when I work with people I like to frame things so that you can feel successful. It you think it is easy to set rules and then you and your partner get tangled up in issues that are attached here, you’ll only wind up feeling worse. It makes more sense to see the “whom-do-we-tell” issue as being attached to many things that you might need some professional help unraveling.