Was this behaviour inappropriate?
June 6, 2012 7:30 AM Subscribe
Some twenty years ago, I fell pregnant and had an abortion. Now my former partner has contacted me wanting to know more details.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (75 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The sentences above say it all, really. It was an unplanned and very much unwanted pregnancy. My then-partner and I agreed that we did not want to have a child. I arranged the abortion with my doctor (thankfully safe and legal where we lived), my then-partner drove me to the clinic and brought me home again afterwards. We broke up a few months later.
Just to clarify: While I am not exactly happy to have had an abortion, I have never regretted it. Since then I have married and had two very much wanted children, and my experience of giving birth and being a mother has only made me even more pro-choice than I was before.
The former partner and I were in touch off and on for a while (we lived in quite a small town), but I hadn't heard from him for at least ten years. I now live in another country. Last week he sent me an email. He must have had a hell of a time tracking me down: we have no acquaintances in common any more and I have a very common name, making me hard to Google. He found me through my work website (which includes my photo) and sent an email to my work address, stating tersely that he needed information and would I tell him the date of the abortion. No further details other than commenting that I looked well (from the photo) and making a comment about my work's website.
I am shocked by how much this email has unsettled and angered me. My sister said to me, "Well he has a right to know; it was his baby too." Well, yeah - but he was there! I feel somehow as if society (extrapolating wildly from one person's opinion here) sees me as somehow forever responsible for supplying him with any and all information he needs about the event. Even though he was there at the time. (For the record, I have no idea when it was. I didn't exactly write it in my birthday book.)
My question is: Is his request normal and understandable? Is my response to it over-the-top? (While I acknowledge that feelings are feelings, I'm curious to know whether this whole situation is as outrageous as it seems to me or whether it's actually not that unusual to email someone at work out of the blue asking for the date they had an abortion.) Does the fact that he was the father of the unborn child somehow give him the right to do this? Do I owe him something? Why might he think that I did?
Obviously nobody here can help me see into his head, but I am determined not to engage with him on this because it seems to be such a blatant attempt to get my attention. Although - I can't see any reason why he would WANT to get my attention.
(My husband knows about the situation and is supportive of me but understandably dismissive of my ex, who behaved very badly at the time of the abortion.)