Why Do So Many Couples Break Up After Having a Baby?

Why Do So Many Couples Break Up After Having a Baby?

Flipping Out's Jeff Lewis has separated from his partner Gage Edward — and these therapists explain how having a child together often complicates any relationship.

By Marianne Garvey

Jeff Lewis shocked fans with the news that he and his partner of a decade, Gage Edward, had separated and moved out of their home. Many are hoping for a reconciliation, especially since the two share 2-year-old daughter, Monroe, who Jeff took to a hotel after leaving the couple's home.

“This has been a long time coming," Jeff said on his radio show. "We were in separate rooms a significant portion of last year, so it was kind of like a roommate situation."

Like many couples, Jeff did reveal that the reason they tried to stick it out was because of Monroe, and that it pains him to even think about having to work out a custody arrangement if their breakup becomes permanent. "Oh, god, I don't even want to go there. Honestly, I'm hoping that the guy wakes up. I'm hoping that he wakes up. I'm hoping that he sits in that hotel room alone, he misses his family, he misses his life, starts focusing on the positive, and stops focusing on the negative. So let's just pray,"Jeff said.

Clinical Psychologist Mindy Schiffman PhD., explains why couples often break up not long after they welcome a baby, as sad as it is.

Babies are hard work. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and neglected, sleep-deprived and needy. Who is supposed to take care of who?” she says. “Everyone needs more support and help when there is a new baby, and it is not always easy to figure out how to get what you need. Couples who thought a baby would make things better are usually in big trouble once the baby arrives. It takes tag-teaming and good communication, being willing to let small incidents pass, and being your most generous self. This is just to take care of each member of the couple, and then you still have to take care of the baby.”

Therapist Jason Eric Ross tells Personal Space that the fact that the intimacy between the couple tends to change after a baby also has a major effect.

“First, when a child is born, intimacy lowers automatically,” he explains. “The emotional and physical energy normally devoted to the partners now goes to the baby. Some people aren’t ready to ‘share the air’ and the ego gets in the way. Second, with a baby, people are more tired and generally more vulnerable emotionally, thus, decision making and judgment are affected and usually not for the better. People tend to make decisions out of anger. Third, while we are more connected through technology, we are less connected emotionally. That’s the reality of today’s world. And people who aren’t connected emotionally likely don’t survive the long-haul as a couple. Too often children are conceived well before partners truly know each other well enough, or have enough of their own development. Having a child exposed the rift. People don’t feel as obligated to stay these days.”

Relationship expert Andrea Syrtash says that couples who break up after a baby were likely going to break up after another big challenge anyway.

“New parents may not realize the adjustment that less sleep, and giving much of your attention to a new person, takes for a couple,” she says. “The combination of this can make some couples feel less connected or more resentful. It’s important to set expectations before baby arrives, so you remember you’re in it together.

“A baby highlights the way each of you approach things — for better or for worse. You may judge your partner more than you ever have, and he or she may do the same with you.”

Meanwhile, Jeff does say there is hope the two will reconcile ... despite the fact that Gage is reportedly already dating.

Credit: Jeff Lewis/Instagram

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