How to work past a serious relationship issue?
April 1, 2009 2:22 PM   Subscribe

How can my boyfriend and I work past my feelings of abandonment over his reaction to a pregnancy scare?

I've been seeing this guy for seven months. Around month five, I had a pregnancy scare. It turned into a three-day argument, during which he repeatedly stated that if I chose to keep the child he wouldn't support it. I thought he meant that if I kept it, he would have nothing to do with it or me, so I left him.

We got back together around a week later, under the condition that we didn’t have sex because we had conflicting views on what to do if the B.C. failed. He told me he didn’t mean that he would leave me, just that he would offer emotional and not financial support.

During the months after, I got upset with him frequently, mostly over things that had been bothering me for some time but that we’d failed to find a solution to.

I took the time to really think about things, and I realized that his words/actions during the pregnancy scare made me question his feelings for me, as well as everything he’d said to me in the past pertaining to them. When we got back together, I’d written it off as us not being together long enough for him to feel those things. However , it affected me so much that everything he did that made me question his feelings for me turned into a big deal, whereas before I would have just thought, “Okay, I’m probably just misunderstanding something.”

I brought the subject up again a few days ago, explaining everything I have here but in more depth. He got upset that I brought it up, because he doesn’t agree with my definition of abandonment and maintains that I’m the person who abandoned him by leaving him and not wanting to be friends, as well as ignoring him a few days after we got back together because he said something upsetting. He doesn’t understand why I’m not content with him only offering emotional support.

I tried to use good communication skills, and phrases such as “I feel” and things of that sort, but we still ended up arguing. Ultimately, I got so frustrated with the way it was going that I gave him examples of how his behavior tended to benefit only himself, and asked him why he couldn’t understand why I questioned his feelings for me. I told him that there was only one choice of the three (adoption/abortion/keeping it) that didn’t absolve him of all responsibility, and even if we’d chosen that one he would decide not to contribute anyway. I also told him that, due to current circumstances, option #3 still involved me doing most of the work/sacrifice.

I know that was a poor thing to do. I hurt him badly, and pretty much closed the door on any healthy discussion of the issue.

I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well. I just don’t know how to get past how I feel. I wish that there was some way I could compromise on and work past this issue. Unfortunately, whenever I try to consider his view I just think back to what he said he would do and it makes me so angry that it kills any understanding I might be trying to gain.

I’d like to know what we can do to work past this. You can e-mail any follow-up questions to emailorzmail@gmail.com. Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds like you two have REALLY different life views. Not the recipe for a long lasting relationship.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:29 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


just that he would offer emotional and not financial support.

He's required to offer financial support by law. He doesn't get to say no to that.

Seriously this is not a person who take's responsiblity for their actions. The only way to get past this is he has to admit he was wrong, admit that he will owe child support for any child of his you bear and to stop being a dick.

I mean it. You haven't done anything wrong as far as I can see. He sounds like a manipulator.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:32 PM on April 1, 2009 [56 favorites]


I'll be blunt: you need to not be sleeping with this guy, period. This probably means you shouldn't be dating him. You can still be friends or whatever, but he is just not relationship material - he prioritizes his own needs over yours, and can't even see that he's doing it. There are no magic words you can say to fix that.

I suspect he is comparatively young - age and experience might bring him around. But it's not a guarantee, and it might take decades. By which time you may well have had to raise, as a single parent, his child, and it'd be far too late.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:32 PM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, but I would DTMFA in your situation. Unless it's somehow totally your fault that the BC failed, there's no way he should have treated you that way. If he refuses to take any sort of personal responsibility for pregnancies, should they occur, he should avoid having sex at all. It sounds like the only thing that would really help is to go back to before you slept together and discuss what each of you would prefer if a pregnancy were to occur. If those views don't mesh (i.e. you could never have an abortion, but he would insist upon it), you really shouldn't be in a sexual relationship. Pregnancies, while a small risk if BC is used correctly, can happen. By the way, men can say they won't support the child financially, but the law generally says otherwise, regardless of whether he wanted an abortion or adoption or not.
posted by fructose at 2:34 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


If we could be in healthy relationships with everyone that we consider to be a great person and that we really liked, we'd never be alone. Unfortunately, there's a lot more involved in maintaining a relationship - and trust and mutual support are some of it. If you can't even talk to the guy about how you feel about this without it turning into a fight, I don't think this is the guy for you.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:35 PM on April 1, 2009


I know you don't want to break up with him but realize this:
If the right thing for him to do, if you should actually get pregnant (and you very well could, accidents happen) is to be a man, accept and take responsibility for his actions and support you in your decision, whatever it may be, he won't do it. He will act selfishly and probably leave you high and dry on your own at a time when you need him most. That doesn't sound like the kind of person you should be in a long distance relationship with.
posted by chillmost at 2:37 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


just that he would offer emotional and not financial support.

He's required to offer financial support by law. He doesn't get to say no to that.


Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner. I'm dying to know how this wonderful gem of a man plans to move beyond THAT issue.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:38 PM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


1. Suppose you had understood him right the first time, and that you knew he would provide emotional but not financial support in the case where you had a child. Is that okay with you? It wouldn't be okay with me. If that's really how he feels, ask yourself if this is someone you want to be with.

2. I think in the case that you have a preagnancy scare, it is incumbent upon him to be as supportive as possible in whatever way he can. I don't think he did that. So I don't think you are out of line for feeling the way you feel. I also think that he is entitled to his opinion - it just might mean you are incompatible.

3. If you have read both 1 and 2 and still think you might want to be with him, here is the best hope I can offer you: A preagnancy scare can really bring out the most intense emotions in everyone. Given some time and distance, either or both of you might feel and act differently about what happened. However, to get to that point, you really need to be able to have conversations that aren't about one person blaming the other one. Either you need to be able to forgive/accept his action, or he needs to forgive/accept yours, or both. Ideally both. This requires a committment to have the difficult conversations from a perspective of working through the issue together.

I read your question above as you really blaming yourself for a lot of the problems in this relationship. That's not fair. This is a hard situation, you are entitled to your feelings. You deserve someone who, at the very least, will try to see things from your point of view.
posted by mai at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The red flag for me was not that he freaked out over a pregnancy scare. I bet a large number of people, when confronted with the possibility of an unexpected pregnancy, would behave immediately in ways they would regret a bit later.

The red flag for me, however, was the discussion of abandonment. It sounds like he tried to put all blame on the argument on you. He was not even willing to meet you half way, accepting that the way he responded hurt you so much emotionally that you left the relationship. No, instead, he tried very hard to make himself the victim and make you take responsibility for what went wrong.

This isn't an issue about pregnancy, this is an issue about communication and maturity. So long as the two of you keep framing this as The Issue About That Pregnancy Scare And Whatever Future Pregnancy Scares There May Be, you will be skirting the real issue. You have to talk about the ways that the two of you are talking (and this sounds like something you're open to and possibly good at, really). And if he cannot handle that... If he cannot work constructively with you to get out of a vicious cycle of attacking one another over and over again... Then I think you should seriously consider your place in this relationship.
posted by Ms. Saint at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


You had a pregnancy scare, your boyfriend refused to support you. You've misunderstood nothing. Now you know for certain that your boyfriend is unwilling to contribute, financially and emotionally, to any unforeseen consequences of the sex life you share. This is giving you an incredibly reasonable cause for abandonment issues.

I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well.

Other than what, the fact that you're dating an overgrown child who refused, under no uncertain terms, to support you in a potential crisis that was partly his responsibility? Your boyfriend is not only a manipulator, he's grossly ill-equipped to cope with the adult consequences of an adult sex life. This is not the hallmark of a great person, this is the blemish of an selfish asshole. Break up with him now before a real scare happens.
posted by zoomorphic at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2009 [34 favorites]


I realize that came out kind of rambly, so here's a more concise addition:

In your position, I would not stay with him.
"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" - if he can't deal with the consequences of sex, he doesn't deserve to have it.
posted by mai at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


during which he repeatedly stated that if I chose to keep the child he wouldn't support it.

He sounds like a real charmer. I'd move on if I were you.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:44 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I know that was a poor thing to do. I hurt him badly, and pretty much closed the door on any healthy discussion of the issue.

While it may be true that you weren't as nice as you could be, I really think this is sort of on him saying he wouldn't financially support you if you got pregnant. That's not only illegal it's unkind and uncharitable. The fact that you thinkt hat you did something wrong here, something major, makes me concerned about your ability to independently assess your own personal value. I think you're actually correct about him and you're arguing because you both want different things. I don't know if he is a bad man or just not super clued in, but until you can reach at least some level of agreement on topics like this, I think you're well within your rights to not sleep with or date him.

And as far as how to move forward, I'd just tell him that and he can do what he wants about it. I think you were right, not wrong, to give him some time off after he was jerkish about your pregnancy scare.
posted by jessamyn at 2:44 PM on April 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well.

What that really means is that there was only the illusion of things "going quite well" until he showed you his true colors. Now that you've seen the real him (emotionally manipulative, immature, irresponsible), it's up to you to examine why on earth you'd want to stay with him.

I'm also really curious as to how he defines supporting you "emotionally, but not financially"... Does that mean if the hypothetical baby needed food and diapers and you were low on money, he'd say "Oh golly, I sure do sympathize with you, that's terrible" and then walk away and not take care of his child?... What a man!

This is not an issue you can "work past" and this is not a relationship you should waste any time in "saving."
posted by amyms at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


Dump. Sorry to be harsh, but that's my gut feeling after reading your question, and it sounds like it's the answer you have inside, too.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2009


Thank goodness you found out his true character in a hypothetical situation. There is nothing you can do to change him or change his mind. He doesn't seem to want to change his mind.
posted by saucysault at 3:00 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well.

Yeah, well, it's easy to be a great guy when the going's good. It's when the chips are down that people show you who they really are.
posted by scody at 3:00 PM on April 1, 2009 [21 favorites]


Your relationship is still in its infancy ('scuz the pun) and you are lucky to have seen his true colors relatively soon (rather muddied aren't they?)
After 7 months of dating you state "he’s a great person and things were going quite well", but that has changed with his behaviour in this issue.
You can't get over your feeling of abandonment regarding him, and I really don't thing you should. I think it is your defense mechanism strongly defending you from going forward in this particular relationsip. Listen to it carefully.
posted by Acacia at 3:03 PM on April 1, 2009


A person who will not feed their own baby is not a person you want to associate with. Really. Even animals have an instinct to take care of their young... but not this guy. Ok, maybe there is some animal that abandons their young, but... is that what you want? A guy who will be there for your emotional needs (supposedly, but unproven in the event of you having his child), but who won't be parted with his money to feed and clothe his own child? His money is that important to him, that he can't give to his own kid? He'll even break the law to keep his cash? Honestly, I know it happens but I really don't understand people with that attitude.

Everyone above had the same good advice, I'm just adding one more vote to the landslide.

In most AskMes, you see a variety of answers. I'm guessing that you will not have even one person say that he's an upstanding person who you should carry on with.
posted by Houstonian at 3:06 PM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


You say: "How can my boyfriend and I work past my feelings of abandonment over his reaction to a pregnancy scare?"

Your feelings are not the problem. His actions are the problem. He did something bad, you reacted, and he made it about you and your feelings. Run from this dynamic in a relationship.

jessamyn said something that I think is exactly right: "The fact that you think that you did something wrong here, something major, makes me concerned about your ability to independently assess your own personal value."

It is absolutely normal, healthy, moral, proper, etc. for you to feel upset and to communicate that to him. Again, his actions are the problem, not your feelings (which are a natural consequence of his actions).

Without communication, a relationship cannot survive. If he can't discuss this without making it about you and making you the villain, you need to leave this relationship and find a man who will respect you and share your values.
posted by prefpara at 3:09 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anyone who thinks what pops out of my uterus is my problem and mine alone doesn't get access to my vagina. End of story.

That pregnancy scare was probably at least 50% his fault, and I agree that this is not so much about his initial reaction to the situation (I behaved badly about this one time, too) but about the fact that he put all the blame on YOU for breaking up with him, and also seems to think that the law doesn't apply to him supporting his own offspring, accidental or not. What emotional support was he planning to offer, sympathy while you worked three jobs to support his kid?

There is no amount of understanding you can apply to his situation. He's wrong, and either he's completely clueless or a callous jerk, but either way he shouldn't get to sleep with you until he thinks about all the possible consequences and you can both come to agreement on what you'd do.

I'm willing to bet he won't date you celibately while you work through this, which I think is another answer right there.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:11 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


What if you really do get pregnant? You've seen what he'll do. Do you really want to risk that?
posted by Mavri at 3:12 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realized that his words/actions during the pregnancy scare made me question his feelings for me, as well as everything he’d said to me in the past pertaining to them.

And well they should.

"I love you" is not compatible with "I'm not paying to feed the child we conceived together."
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:18 PM on April 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Let's extrapolate: not only does he not care about your feelings, he doesn't care about his POTENTIAL CHILD'S feelings, were such a child to come into existence.
posted by December at 3:20 PM on April 1, 2009


Your feelings are not the problem. His actions are the problem.

Quoted and emphasized for absolute truth. This is it in a nutshell.
posted by scody at 3:23 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I love you" is not compatible with "I'm not paying to feed the child we conceived together."
Flippin' brilliant, Sidhedevil.

Like Judge Judy says "If it doesn't make sence, it's not true.
There is you, and there is him, and baby is the sum of the both of you. By his rejecting the baby, he is, in essence, rejecting the equation.
He can't possibly love you, sorry.
posted by Acacia at 3:26 PM on April 1, 2009


Let's take the pregnancy out of the picture. Let's say that you have the opportunity to go a very nice, very expensive restaurant. It's completely unexpected and not really in the budget, but it's a really rare and unique opportunity. You can not go, you can both go and spilt the cost, or you can go and you foot the bill. You run the idea by the boyfriend and he tells you repeatedly that the only real option is to not go, and if you choose to go, he won't support you. You storm off, determined to go.

Turns out, the restaurant was closed that night, so the whole argument was pointless. At this point the boyfriend continues to tell you that he's hurt that you would even consider going to the restaurant without him, even after he said he didn't want anything to do with it. He then tells you that what he meant was that he'd be okay with you going, but he wasn't gonna pay for it. In fact, he'd even have been okay with you going and watching you eat, but not paying a dime towards the meal, even if he sneaked some food off your plate.

When you try to discuss this with him, he makes you feel like you misunderstood everything and are out of line bringing up this restaurant thing because he said he support you, just emotionally!

DTMFA. Seriously, the manipulation and convincing you that everything is your fault is only gonna get worse. Trust me. Been there, done that.
posted by teleri025 at 3:28 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


You are very lucky to have found this out the easy way. If you are not reading all the answers here and thinking "Right. What was I thinking? I'm out," and then acting on it, then I think that Jessamyn is correct, there is an issue with your being able to independently assess your own worth.
posted by HotToddy at 3:32 PM on April 1, 2009


I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well.

Everyone has expressed pretty well what a gem your SO is and how you should handle the issue.

I would add that, if his behavior really is as you've described, and if you're willing to put up with such behavior in an SO, you should consider that you may have serious self-identity/self-worth problems, and therapy may be in order. Your attitude is that of a trauma survivor.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:45 PM on April 1, 2009


Just wanted to add that I'm getting the sinking feeling here that you're relying solely on the pill as your "B.C." method with a person you cannot completely trust.

If that's what you're doing, STOP DOING THAT.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 3:46 PM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Run away from this relationship.

This boy not only did not support you emotionally whatsoever during your pregnancy scare, he has subsequently manipulated you enough for you to doubt yourself for your very appropriate response to his abandonment. As said above, his actions are the problem here, not your reaction to them.

Your initial reaction to leave him was the right one. Go with that.
posted by bedhead at 4:04 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't have a new way to say "he's an asshole, don't have sex with someone who won't take half the responsiblity." Maybe if it's a one night stand he can say he doesn't want to have anything to do with the baby, but after being with you for 5 months, if he even respected you a little he wouldn't repeatedly tell you he wouldn't support the baby, he would find a better way to discuss this with you, putting your feelings first, because you're the (potentially) pregnant one.

Break up with him, you're lucky you found out how he felt without actually getting pregnant.

Don't sleep with him, what if you do get pregnant? It's not your "feelings" of abandonment, it's him actually abandoning you pretty much, by saying the things he did. This is not someone you want to stay with long term, and definitely not someone you want to just sleep with, knowing the way he is. Get rid of him.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 4:04 PM on April 1, 2009


You feel abandoned because he abandoned you. This is normal. Do not date (and especially do not have sex with) someone who abandons you in tough times, particularly when the reason you're having tough times is directly related to his actions, whether he intended the outcome or not.
posted by decathecting at 4:35 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I bet this is the kind of guy who flees the country in order to avoid paying child support.

Really, there's no way he'd be around "emotionally" and not pay money. No, no, no. What a dick.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:39 PM on April 1, 2009


Why on earth are you with this person? I don't often chime in on these types of questions, but wow, this is such a no-brainer. How can you get past the feeling that he abandoned you? You can't. Because relationships don't work like that.
posted by meerkatty at 4:40 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I agree that you should DTMFA, but I see a few more nuances to this than others seem to. I can actually understand where the guy is coming from, and I don't think that 'failing to want to provide for his hypothetical child' means he's an asshole or lacking some innate spark of humanity. Folks, some people just don't want kids. Period. And some people don't want kids right now. That doesn't mean that these people should never have sex. What it DOES mean (and where this guy fails) is that they should be very careful to talk with their partners, BEFORE sex happens, about the options the COUPLE would be comfortable with should their birth control fail. And if, during this discussion, one or both of them isn't comfortable with the other one's preferences, then they should reconsider whether or not to have sex.

I know, I know, it sounds like a libido-killer. But hey, a lot of people in this thread are willing to point out that sex has mature consequences, and that if he's willing to have sex, he should be willing to take responsibility for the potential consequences. In that vein, then, he, and you, should be willing to have a mature talk before doing the mature deed that leads to the potentially mature consequences.

I say this as a woman who (at present) really doesn't want kids, who (at present) never hopes to have kids, and who once upon a time ended a relationship with a very nice guy who was pro-life precisely because I saw the potential for this same scenario, albeit with different details and a switch in roles. To wit: I had nightmares that I'd end up pregnant, by some weird, contraceptive-defying fluke, with a partner who did not at all support my decision to NOT have kids; that he would either pressure me to continue the pregnancy, or decide to abandon the relationship because of the choice I might have to make. Being able to envision a scenario in which he didn't support my decision about my own body made it very difficult for me to envision having a happy sexual life with him. After all, as others have pointed out, birth control can fail. Hence, the end of our fledgling relationship.

So, yeah, OP. DTMFA! He showed no maturity in the way he handled this situation. But for your consideration re: future relationships, I think that life will be easier if you determine that both you and your partner are on the same page about Acceptable Options If Birth Control Fails before you put the birth control to the test. If anything, it will give you peace of mind during those annoying months when your period decides to take a breather.
posted by artemisia at 5:02 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do you ever want to have a child? If the answer is yes - you need to leave this guy. NOW.
Even if you don't ever want to have a child... would you have an abortion if you did become pregnant? If the answer is no - you need to leave this guy. NOW.

Until you can leave him, make sure you absolutely positively do not have sex with him again.
posted by 2oh1 at 5:35 PM on April 1, 2009


Wait. I just reread your post. He said he would not financially contribute to any of your options? Meaning, he would not financially contribute if you carried the baby but gave it up for adoption, and he would not even help pay for an abortion?!

Please, don't give him another thought. Your every suspicion is right. He is selfish, greedy, and self-serving.
posted by Houstonian at 5:37 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend and I had a pregnancy scare a week into the relationship. I took the morning after pill, but in our discussions, until it was a reality, he never told me anything to make me upset. In fact, he said that although he was not ready for a child, and didn't know if he would ever be, that if I was dead set on having this hypothetical accidental baby, that he had no problem supporting the three of us.

I wasn't pregnant, but the moral of the story is that it doesn't matter how long you are with a man, as long as he is a MAN. Mature, responsible, and aware that his actions have consequences.

It's a good test for a relationship, and your boyfriend has failed. Next time (with your new boyfriend, when you start dating him) sit down and have the "what if" conversation before sexy time. Don't hope that a jerk will bloom into a man just because everything else is good, and convenient. People make a lot of excuses for the ones they love, but if your core values are at odds, you're better walking away. If he's not acting as part of the "team", then you should replace him.
posted by anniek at 5:42 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think we have a consensus. What surprises me is how much bullshit the OP seems to be willing to put up with.
posted by yclipse at 6:20 PM on April 1, 2009


Wow, I almost never post in these boyfriend threads, but, wow. I'm pretty forgiving, but I could never forgive the conduct you describe. For me such conduct would end things completely and forever. And the fact that you wrote, "I know that was a poor thing to do ... I hurt him badly," oh, sweetie, that's just sad, you need to get out.

I had a not-good boyfriend years ago. He wouldn't commit, he was flakey, he cheated, he took me for granted, he blew me off, we fought, etc., etc. My girlfriends universally hoped for the day when I would move on. One summer we had a similar situation to your pregnancy scare, and he was awesome. Supportive and adult and serious and present. Lesson: This is Basic. Your guy failed, and it's not reparable.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:21 PM on April 1, 2009


nthing DTMFA.
posted by alms at 6:28 PM on April 1, 2009


You'll continue to have these feelings because this was the reaction of a punk. When this relationship inevitably fails you might want to clue him in on the realities of child support: men (in the U.S. anyway) are legally obligated to support the offspring of the children they sire. Also he meant exactly what you thought he meant, he just backpedaled when his attempt to blackmail you to get himself off the hook for the potential consequences of his actions backfired on him. Go look for a man to date.
posted by nanojath at 6:35 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


To quote the inimitable Liz Lemon: "What the WHAT?"

If you ever really DO get pregnant by mistake, why do you think he'll act differently then? He'll do precisely this, the fucking weasel.

DTMFA now, you deserve so much better.
posted by tristeza at 6:59 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Folks have given you some great advice upthread. I agree that this guy is not worth keeping around. Maybe you two could have dated awhile and broken up over something less significant than an utter and complete difference in values, but the pregnancy scare forced the issue and you should accept what he's shown you. This relationship is not for the long-term.

just that he would offer emotional and not financial support.

I just have to know what he means by this. Would he help raise the kid, but not pay? How does that work? Did he think he could just be like a fun uncle? Or does "emotional support" mean being happy for you that you have a kid now, and then riding off into the sunset?
posted by juliplease at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your feelings are not the problem. His actions are the problem.

One more time! Because it's the truth. He's just not a good guy. Oh, and I agree with what was said above about having the What If talk beforehand, but even so...people can change their minds after a positive test result. The What If talk is not even a guarantee. There's always a risk of an unpredictable reaction. All you can do is try to find someone whose values and basic goodness you respect, and who respects yours.

This guy isn't that.
posted by Miko at 8:33 PM on April 1, 2009


Sorry, but DTMFA and be happy you learned what a shit he is during a drill and not the real deal. Best of luck, there really are better people out there.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:33 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


You didn't ask if you should dump him, so I'll try very hard to go with the given that you're sticking with him for now. This isn't easy, because we have a lot of evidence that this guy is a jerk. But okay.

I can understand him reacting badly and stupidly in a panic. I can even kinda sorta imagine a scenario in which your later explanation pushed some defensive buttons regarding your use of the word "abandonment." So I re-read this paragraph for a third time:

I brought the subject up again a few days ago, explaining everything I have here but in more depth. He got upset that I brought it up, because he doesn’t agree with my definition of abandonment and maintains that I’m the person who abandoned him by leaving him and not wanting to be friends, as well as ignoring him a few days after we got back together because he said something upsetting. He doesn’t understand why I’m not content with him only offering emotional support.

Wanting to be friends. "Friends?!" Is he fucking delusional? How does that work? Gee, just because he adamantly denies the possibility of him having a little bit of responsibility for pregnancy resulting from sex with you, sheesh, why don't you wanna watch TV and maybe order a pizza?

Nthing that his theory that financial responsibility for his hypothetical child is somehow optional...also delusional.

You asked how you could work past this. I think the answer is that until he understands that pregnancy is a risk for which you both share responsibility, you are going to be (rightfully) hurt and angry with him. And you'll harp on him, and he'll be pissed off about it, and you'll both be miserable. If he is so sure that he doesn't want a kid, he should at least be willing to discuss how to minimize the risk to as close to zero as you two can get. You could go to Planned Parenthood and discuss all the options with a counselor. Maybe a health professional explaining this stuff will make an impression on him.
posted by desuetude at 9:50 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, what? It's nice that he decided that if he creates another human life that he will not financially support it. Unfortunately for him, the LAW says that he must, whether he wants to or not, irregardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy. I'd say abandonment is the perfect way to describe his behavior in this case.

When you have a sexual relationship with an adult, it should go without saying that both partners will share equally the consequences of said sexual relationship. One of these consequences is that even with responsible use of birth control, there's a small chance a pregnancy can occur. He's putting all the responsibility on you. What a great deal! He gets to have all the fun (sex with you) with absolutely no responsibility.

Please don't try to salvage this. His selfishness regarding this situation makes him an unfit candidate for a mature relationship.
posted by katyggls at 11:02 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can my boyfriend and I work past

It doesn't sound like he's doing any of the work. It sounds like he's shutting down the discussion and blaming it on you. You're trying too hard and he's not trying much at all.
posted by salvia at 11:03 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, you can stay with this guy but you better pray to your personal jesus that you never get pregnant again... or sick for a long time... or hit a big financial problem... or, etc.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:24 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, whenever I try to consider his view I just think back to what he said he would do and it makes me so angry that it kills any understanding I might be trying to gain.

Take the "unfortunately" off this sentence. Keep that angry feeling. Pay attention to it. Your brain is trying to tell you something.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:19 AM on April 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


You think your are pregnant. Boyfriend says you're on your own.
This obviously puts a wedge between you.
You harbor unacknowledged resentment for months which sours the relationship.
You decide to fix it.
You acknowledge your resentment to him to put it past you.
You apologize for your role in harboring this for some time.
He does not apologize.
He doesn't understand how you could reasonably have these feelings
... and he gets upset that you even brought it up,
... and you think you hurt him badly by stating your grievances in plain terms.

There's a fundamental empathy gap here. You started upset because he hurt you, and he can't see why and you end up feeling like you're the one hurting him, then forget about the pregnancy issue. It's just not working.
posted by cotterpin at 12:26 AM on April 2, 2009


I don’t want to break up with him, because other than this he’s a great person and things were going quite well. I just don’t know how to get past how I feel.

I don’t want to break up with him, because other than [the fact that he hit me/slept with another woman/stole money from me/has a drinking problem] he’s a great person and things were going quite well. I just don’t know how to get past how I feel [and he doesn't want me to bring it up and is upset with me for breaking up with him].

Do you see the problem here? You've hit a major deal breaker, and it doesn't matter how good things were before that point. This situation isn't salvageable now.
posted by orange swan at 4:58 AM on April 2, 2009


My partner and I have had pregnancy scares, and his reaction to them is one of the reasons I married him.

He never pressured me. He never ran away. He told me that if I were pregnant, what happened after that would be my decision, and he would support me (financially, emotionally) in whatever I chose. He told me that while he's uncomfortable with abortion, he accepts the risk of me becoming pregnant and then choosing abortion every time we have sex. He said that he chooses to have sex with me anyway, so he wouldn't get to complain later. He held my hand. He told me "We'll get through this no matter what. It's okay. I'm here for you." He went with me to buy a pregnancy test. He looked at the results with me. We talked about how we felt afterwards. I never had any reason to doubt his commitment.

For me, his reaction in that situation is way more informative and important than all of his cuteness and humour and the fact that he actually likes cleaning. Your boyfriend's reaction should also trump all of that.
posted by heatherann at 7:09 AM on April 2, 2009


Break up with him. What kind of a person wouldn't support their own child? Really there is no other answer.
posted by Penelope at 8:26 AM on April 2, 2009


Reread this - thank God everyone is telling you the same thing (break up with him). You sound very young (that's not a bad thing).

Believe me you HAVE to break up with him, unless future unhappiness is your goal. ; )

I hope that if all these posts don't guide you in the right direction, you have a wise/mature/thoughtful person in your life who can. If you have someone whom you respect that you can confide in, please do. Someone who knows how to take care of themself and respects themself and others. If they love ir even just like it you or humanity in general, they will tell you to break up with him, post haste.

You were lucky it was a scare - ponder the other scenarios for like a second, and I think you know what the right thing to do is.
posted by Penelope at 9:41 AM on April 2, 2009


I am not as a general rule a proponent of the DTMFA crowd, but in this case? Sweetie, your emotional well-being is worth more than that. For him to pressure you and emotionally abuse you during a time when you're already vulnerable (OMG, I might be pregnant, I can't deal with a baby right now, what's gonna happen to me?) is unacceptable. You've only had seven months with this guy. It's probably time to cut ties.
posted by Night_owl at 9:43 AM on April 2, 2009


You haven't done anything wrong as far as I can see. He sounds like a manipulator.

I just wanted to repeat this.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:49 AM on April 2, 2009


We got back together around a week later, under the condition that we didn’t have sex because we had conflicting views on what to do if the B.C.

Yeah, he wanted to offer a shoulder to cry on, while you tried to feed and clothe the child. That's not conflicting views, that's "We can't be together 'case you're a irresponsible, selfish and manipulative jackass."

Dump him and don't look back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2009


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