Requesting advice from sensible people: how to navigate weird/awkward post-hook up situation
November 4, 2011 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Seeking advice from sensible people: how to navigate weird/awkward post-hook up situation, with bonus unplanned pregnancy.

I recently hooked up with a friend a couple of times. It was obvious it wasn't going to become a serious thing, and I was pretty happy (if a little awkward) hanging out as friends afterwards. I then found out I was pregnant and have since had an abortion (FWIW, we were using condoms; I've now switched to a more idiot-proof form of birth control). I didn't tell him about it, but I've been lucky to have had support from close friends and family. I feel comfortable about my choice, have been giving myself lots of time and rest, and I'm doing fine.

In the run-up to the abortion, I felt pretty antisocial and stressed. I was going to multiple doctor's appointments, feeling exhausted every day, and reading about (and eventually experiencing!) the side effects of misoprostol. I started to avoid the guy in question. When I did run into him I felt sad and awkward, and I once rather blatantly blanked him in the supermarket (boo!). It's now been about a month since we've spoken.

Since getting the abortion I've been feeling a lot better. Although I don't expect us to be best buds, I have enjoyed his company in the past, and we share a social circle. We'll both be at an event with some friends (none of whom, as far as I know, are aware of any of this) over the weekend, and I'd like it if we could be on friendly terms in the future. He started seeing someone else shortly after we hooked up, and I don't want him to think I want to be anything more than friends, because, err, I don't. I don't think it would be remiss to make some friendly/neutral overture to break the ice, though, and would like advice on how to do that. I've been telling not close friends/work people some version of the truth (e.g. "I've been having some health problems lately, but I'm doing fine") to explain not being quite myself lately, and would consider doing that with him.

Finally, I know it's stupid for me to be getting out of shape about this, and if it turns out the best way to feel okay in this situation is to cut my losses and make some new friends, I am happy to do that.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total)

I don't think it would be remiss to make some friendly/neutral overture to break the ice, though, and would like advice on how to do that.

Yeah, this is the right way to handle it.

"Hi, I'm sorry things have been awkward. I had some personal stuff going on. I hope you're doing well and we can be friends." Smile and if he says something, acknowledge it then just go do something else at the event for awhile. Maybe later you'll end up talking.

The key to stuff like this is to be both light and serious at the same time. It's something that is hard to master, people in these situations tend to act either too lighthearted, too serious or just ignore the other person. All of those are not the right way to handle things. Here you're direct, apologetic and real. Then you give him his space to process it and see what he does.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [9 favorites]

Really just admit its been awkward and you're sorry abot that and the whole it's you're not you thing. If he asks (which he wont) give the whole I've been having some health issues thing. Guys never dig deep into anything unless they are crazy devastated in love which he clearly is not (yay for you cause you feel the same way). I generally think you should tell the guy that you are pregnant and plan to abort but after the fact this seems cruel and unnecessary. Apologize (even though in reality you have nothing to apologize for) and I think all should be hunky dory.
posted by boobjob at 2:27 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Me not you, crazy auto correct
posted by boobjob at 2:28 PM on November 4, 2011

Guys never dig deep into anything unless they are crazy devastated in love

Yeah, sometimes we do actually, but I would bet you probably know his personality well enough to guess whether this might happen. If he picked up on your sad/awkward feelings or knew he'd been intentionally blanked, he might do it just out of wondering or feeling guilty that you were bothered or something similar.

Honestly I think the best thing you can do is to just be yourself. It may not be as an immediate a resolution to "what does he think/where is our friendship going or not" but it's probably the most likely thing to put him at ease without making him think it's about your hookup, his new girlfriend, etc.

My two cents is, next time you see him or are with a group he's in, just act naturally (or pretend it's before the hookups if that doesn't seem to flow) and avoid the temptation that you need to do anything. If he brings it up, that would be a good time to just say, "oh yeah, last month was crazy, but it's all good now" or whatever you'd like to convey.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

It sounds like she can't be herself until she clears the air. What you're suggesting is that she ignore it or pretend it never happened which isn't what she wants to do.

It's not like you need to make a huge showy apology. Just hey sorry I was awkward. Because he probably noticed the grocery store thing.

Adults can directly acknowledge things and move on, but I think ignoring them is kids stuff.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:48 PM on November 4, 2011

I don't know, it seems to me that you're bearing the entire emotional burden of something he should share -- not only the breakup, but the abortion, PLUS making sure HE doesn't feel bad that you might have acted in a less-than-perky way! I can understand if you don't want to to tell him what happened, but you might want to consider whether that is an option for you. If you don't want to tell him, then I think you should quit worrying what he thinks about you. Just act normally. You're not obliged to do anything else; you owe nothing to him; it's not your responsibility to make sure he doesn't feel awkward.
posted by yarly at 2:58 PM on November 4, 2011 [16 favorites]

If you are feeling what Yarly thinks, maybe you should reflect on that. Me, I believe that you decided to have a hookup with no strings and you decided that the pregnancy was a result of your choice and yours to deal with and that's the best path. Wha I believe may not be relevant to you - it's a point worth thinking about if you haven't mulled it already.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

What you're suggesting is that she ignore it or pretend it never happened which isn't what she wants to do.

I actually didn't say anything of the sort. I said act naturally which is completely different than saying "pretend it never happened". My suggestion to pretend it was before the hookups (and not 'pretend they never happened') was a reference to acting naturally in the moment if that seemed awkward to her.

It seems to me like she doesn't want to directly acknowledge at least certain things, which I can understand, but is part of what may be making this awkward.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:30 PM on November 4, 2011

typing fail, that last bit should read:

but may be part of what is making this awkward.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2011

Having an abortion is a thing. Mine, though 1000% required, had some weird-ass emotional fallout I couldn't have predicted. It took me a while - like months - to get back to regular speed again. You don't owe anybody an explanation about something like that, as far as I'm concerned.

You let this dude way off the hook, both in the decision-making process, and the logistics of the termination itself. That was really nice of you. If you don't want to talk about why you had a tough month, I'd answer any direct questions (there may be none) with a breezy answer. It may be helpful to recall that what you feel self-conscious about, others may be blissfully unaware of. There's a quote I heard in AA, something like "the curse of the self-conscious person is that they have an audience of one."

is there a chance that there's more to this situation than you're letting on? I notice you said you'd be happy to make all new friends. Plus you didn't share your situation with any of your friends?

You're not stupid for caring what your friends think, and it's not stupid to spend time on careful probing of the issues at stake.

To sum up: You're not stupid. You've done the right things. It would be good to show yourself more kindness and less judgement. Just my opinion. Best of luck to you.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 3:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [12 favorites]

Stay away from him. Don't try to fix it. Don't explain it. Continuing to emotionally entangle yourself with this guy just makes the situation worse. You hanging out would just be waiting for an emotional time bomb to go off and make you miserable. Future scenarios include new significant other, discovery of secrets, drunken 2am rants, etc. Let it go. You did the right thing. Keeping him around is just self flagellation.
posted by humanfont at 6:56 PM on November 4, 2011

I'd like it if we could be on friendly terms in the future. want to tell him that you had an abortion and deal with that?

Or you could just phase him out of your life and find another fish in the sea.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:57 PM on November 4, 2011

I'm saddened by the responses that say he shouldn't ever know - it happened despite birth control, which, to my surprise, seems to happen a lot. Just because one of the two people involved can end up pregnant doesn't mean they deserve to deal with it on their own.

He deserves to know why you've been acting funny, and honesty is the only response here. Anything else will both look and sound like bull, and if he's smart enough to catch wind of that, it could sour the friendship even more. On the other hand, if he can't handle that you got pregnant - even by a fluke - he shouldn't be having sex and he's a definitely not worth trying to salvage a friendship for.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:00 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

I agree with those who say you should tell him what happened. He sounds like he's a reasonably nice person, and he'd probably prefer to know. Your desire to protect him, while kind in intention, is probably not in his best interest overall, and almost certainly not in yours. And if you want to be friends with him going forward, and people close to you know about the abortion, it's quite possible he will find out anyway. He might be able to be a really good friend to you here. I think you should give him the chance.
posted by Acheman at 4:31 AM on November 5, 2011

I didn't get pregnant but there was a time after a breakup when I thought I was.

I didn't tell the guy at the time, things were too awkward between us.

Now it seems like we might be friends again, and I did tell him about what happened.

And it felt really good. Just to be able to share those feelings of fear and sadness with him, even though now they have passed. And he said, "I'm really sorry you went through that alone." And it made me feel a lot better.

posted by mai at 7:33 PM on November 6, 2011

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