Being a foster carer brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. Not only are you making a major difference in the life of a child who needs it the most, but you are also positively contributing to society in an admirable way. However, just like any type of parenting or care-driven role, there are certain demands that make it difficult to navigate your relationship with a partner. Nothing is insurmountable, it’s all about knowing the right strategies to promote connection, and here are just some of them.
By Knowing What to Expect
The first question to ask yourself is, what is foster care? When you really take a deep dive into the subject, you can understand what will be expected of you and how much your life is going to change. For some people, the adaptation is a breeze, and for others, it takes a little more getting used to. Sit down with your partner and explore everything there is to explore before you accept the first placement. This way, you are both mentally preparing as a team and there will be minimal surprises when the time comes.
Keep an Open Narrative
What is the one thing that causes the most tension and rifts in relationships? The answer has to be poor communication models. If you don’t speak to each other about the small stuff, how can you expect to navigate the big stuff when that comes along? Keeping an open narrative means not letting problems get the better of you, and always seeking comfort and resolution from one another where appropriate.
Each person in a relationship needs boundaries. Fostering, especially if you have no birth children living at home, can be a big shift in the dynamic. You are welcoming a new person into your house and there will always be things to figure out around that. Maintaining boundaries with both each other and the foster child is essential for protecting all the relationships in the house and will encourage healthy attachments all around.
Support One Another
If one person is struggling, don’t chastise them for this. Struggling is a part of being a human, and it is there to be worked through with love and support. There will always be blips along the way, especially when the demand is high, and the pressure is on as it sometimes can be when looking after children. Supporting one another is therefore essential. Take the respite weekends when they are available, and make sure you don’t neglect what makes your relationship work. It is all well and good to throw yourself into the carer role, as you absolutely should. However, your partnership matters within that scope as well. You are each other’s support, and the thing that brought you to foster caring in the first place.
Protecting your personal relationship with a partner while being a foster carer is going to come with a natural raft of challenges. Thankfully, having the right attitude and working together proves that maintaining a relationship while being a foster carer is achievable.