When a couple faces infertility, many people in their lives suddenly believe it is okay to discuss very personal information about their marriage. Subjects that were once taboo, such as the frequency with which a couple makes love, suddenly become dinner conversation as part of "offering support" and "trying to help" a couple that is facing infertility challenges. Setting emotional boundaries during infertility can be challenging, but infertile couples must learn how to set and enforce them if they hope to maintain any semblance of privacy about their situation. Here is how to set emotional boundaries during infertility.
- Recognize that you deserve privacy. Those who violate emotional boundaries often try to make the infertile couple feel as if they are entitled to know all of the details. Nobody is entitled to know the personal details about your medical condition or sex life.
- Decide what information you want to stay private. If you decide to talk with a friend or family member about your fertility treatments, decide in advance how much information you want to share. Some couples refuse to tell anyone which person's body is causing the fertility issues while others are much more forthcoming about their particular situation.
- Make a pact to keep this information private. Discuss with your spouse what information will not be shared with others, and hold each other accountable to maintain this privacy.
- Practice enforcing your emotional boundaries. Ask your spouse or a friend to ask you nosy questions. Experiment with different responses until you find a few with which you feel comfortable.
- Enforce your emotional boundaries firmly. When a person asks a nosy question, say one of the responses you have practiced in a firm, no-nonsense voice. Your words are not enough. Your body language needs to communicate that this topic is off limits.
- Walk away. If a person continues to badger you with nosy questions, get up and leave. The physical act of walking out the door strongly and effectively communicates your boundaries.