My girlfriend's sister is pregnant.
November 22, 2005 5:56 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's sister is pregnant.

My girlfriend and I are both grad students in our late 20s. We've been together five years and are seriously talking about getting engaged. Also, I don't know if this matters or not, but my girlfriend is blind. We both have a close friendly relationship with her younger sister, a college student.

When my girlfriend went out town last month for a conference, the sister and I hung out a bit at my apartment. We started drinking a little, things got out of hand and we had sex. The next morning we decided it was just a fluke, would never happen again and would be best forgotten. Everything seemed cool.

Until today. My girlfriend's sister called me today and told me she's pregnant. She says she hasn't been with anyone besides me in half a year, and I believe her. She won't get an abortion, for religion reasons.

She says she doesn't want to ruin my relationship with my girlfriend or tell anyone the baby is mine, but I know she's going to be under a lot of pressure to reveal the father. Additionally, I am rather racially distinctive and it's likely this baby will obviously resemble me.

To be honest, if I didn't think my girlfriend would find out about this, I wouldn't tell her. I love my girlfriend with all my heart and I cannot imagine life without her. I do not want to lose her. How can I keep this from ruining everything we have together?
posted by lazy-ville to Human Relations (42 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: abusing mefi with fake questions

Honesty is the ONLY way you can keep this from ruining everything you have together. The chance is small, but the chance of letting the lie persist successfully and staying together is pretty much ZERO.

It's sad that sometimes the consequences of your actions result in loss. I'm very much concerned that you seem to be more interested in keeping your girlfriend than in your impending child.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:01 AM on November 22, 2005

Holy crap you have balls to post this.

BTGOG has it, though. To be a man you have to take care of the kid, no matter what that means for the rest of your life.
posted by selfnoise at 6:05 AM on November 22, 2005

There is no foolproof way to save your relationship at this point. In fact, there's probably no way to save it at all. Stop thinking about what's good for you and worry about what's right.

The right thing to do is to ask your GF's sister for permission to come clean. If the sister says it's okay, then tell the truth.

But if the sister wants to keep it a secret, you need to respect that. Her relationship with her own immediate family is far more important than your relationship with her or your GF.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:08 AM on November 22, 2005

Agreeing with nebulawindphone here. However you've gotta be responsible for the kid whether she acknowledges your paternity or not, imo.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:10 AM on November 22, 2005

On the bright side, your girlfriend won't know that the baby resembles you unless someone points it out to her. Perhaps you could engage the rest of her family in a conspiracy to keep her in the dark (so to speak) for the rest of her life.

Another option is to get married to the sister, thus keeping your girlfriend in your life indefinitely, although (one would think) not as your girlfriend.

Otherwise, time to do some reading on child support.
posted by bingo at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2005

Holy crap you have balls to post this.

Note the "askingforafriend" tag.
posted by deadfather at 6:29 AM on November 22, 2005

Do you really think you could live with yourself for the rest of your life if you did not tell your gf? I know I could not. I mean, it is not a random girl from a bar, it is her sister.

I agree, you've got a lot of balls to post this, but the balls are really needed IRL. Tell your gf (with permission) and do what is best for your child. The rest will follow one way or the other. Good luck (my fellow Finn) :)
posted by keijo at 6:30 AM on November 22, 2005

Is she keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption? Because if she's keeping it, your girlfriend's reaction is really the least of your problems. Are you seriously suggesting that you and your GF's sister are going to keep this secret for the next 50 years or so until you both die? Don't you think the child should know who its father is? Can you imagine what it will be like if you manage to keep this under wraps for the next 15 years and then the kid find out...and not can you imagine what it will be like for you, but can you imagine what it will be like for the child?

Maybe your question was asked out of despair, as the news is brand new to you, but you seem rather selfish. You made your bed, now be a man and lay in it. If the mother of your child doesn't want to tell her family who's child it is, then you need to exit the entire family's life, including your girlfriend. If she is ok with you spilling your guts, then you have to tell your girlfriend. You will probably lose her...and it seems like you pretty much deserve to.

For a moment, think of how you would feel if you girlfriend came home and told you she was pregnant with your best friend's baby? Would you care that it only happened once or that "oops, we drank a little too much and my panties came off". I would think not.

I guess overall what I'm suggesting is to step outside of yourself for a minute and think about what consequences your actions are going to have on everyone around you.
posted by nadawi at 6:38 AM on November 22, 2005

Make sure you're ready, willing and able to be a dad. This is more important than the exact fate of your relationship with your girlfriend.

The baby had no say in this, and deserves a good life. Even if you're conflicted now, I guarantee you'll love the hell out of the kid once it's born.

Also, there's no need to mention that you and the sister got drunk. Most of us are able to refrain from having unprotected sex with our girlfriend's sisters, no matter what our level of sobriety. The fact that you couldn't is indicative of more than your blood alcohol content.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:41 AM on November 22, 2005

Your new #1 priority, for the rest of your life, is the welfare of that child. What is best for the child? Your happiness, your relationship with your girlfriend, the sisters' relationship with each other, what people will think, are all trifles. Start thinking that way and the answers will come to you.
posted by LarryC at 6:48 AM on November 22, 2005

Well, if you tell your girlfriend what happened, she may or may not forgive you. But if she finds out from someone else (and she will, if not sooner, when the baby is born and looks like you), the likelihood that she'll forgive you goes waaaaaaaay down.

On the other hand, whenever you discuss this with your girlfriend there will likely be a big blow up between her and her sister, so you'll have to consider whether it would be more harmful for that to happen while she is pregnant or during the time after the baby is born, which should be a happy time. As for it happening while she is pregnant, would it cause her more stress to have the blowup and get it out of the way, or to be constantly worried about the impending blowup?
posted by leapingsheep at 6:59 AM on November 22, 2005

This story just doesn't make sense. Half a year is six months. Pregnancies begin to show in half that time. There's just no way you had sex with her six months ago and she's only beginning to show now. Did she sit on the news? If so, why is she telling you now? Seriously, you need to get a "second opinion" that establishes the girl is really pregnant and, if possible, that she's pregnant by you.

If she is pregnant, it's not the end of the world. But you will have to make some hard, hard choices. At this point, you need three things (1) a plan (2) as much support as you can you muster (3) money. Now is the time to sit down and think very long and very hard about your future. You don't just need a plan for the next six months, you need to know what you'll be doing for the next eighteen years. Talk with the sister, of course, it's her baby too. Both of you need to have a clear idea of how this baby is going to be clothed, fed and sheltered on a day-to-day basis. The child's life depends on you now.

As always, honesty is the best policy for getting what you need. Talk to your girlfriend (preferrably with her sister present), tell her what happened and, if she lets you, explain to her how you're going to take care of this baby and her for the rest of your life. If she buys it, you're set. Things will be tough--tougher than you can possibly imagine--but in situations like this, love really is all you need.

More likely she'll never want to talk to you again. This is her right, and may in fact be the best course of action for her. She can probably find a smarter guy who hasn't knocked up her sister. (Seriously--unprotected sex with your girlfriend's sister? Not a wise move, amigo.) Either way, you won't have the luxury of moping around for a year. You'll still need #1,2,3. Your best bet is to appeal to your families. Make it very clear that you intend to do the best thing for the kid, but you need some help. With the support of the kid's grandparents, again, you can pull it off.

The worst case scenario is that your girlfriend leaves you and your families abandon you. In this case, you should not have the baby. There's no need to completely ruin your lives trying to care for a baby that has the barest support structures in place. Raising a kid is fantastically difficult; doing it "solo" is torture.
posted by nixerman at 7:13 AM on November 22, 2005

She says she doesn't want to ruin my relationship with my girlfriend or tell anyone the baby is mine, but I know she's going to be under a lot of pressure to reveal the father.

You need to convince your girlfriend's sister that this is not the best course of action. It sounds like she is doing this to protect you, but this is a bad, bad idea. There is going to be an exponential curve of outrage the longer the two of you sit on this and the secret will be out as soon as the baby is born. The mother of your child can't have her family not speaking to her as soon after she gives birth.

People are going to get mad. Some of them may never speak to you again, but whether you like it or not you are part of this family permanently. Everyone is going to need a few months to stew before they will be willing to accept this baby and even longer to accept you. If the mother of the child is still in college she will need all the support she can get. This includes you, too, and you can't do that hiding behind a lie.
posted by Alison at 7:14 AM on November 22, 2005

nixerman: they had sex last month
posted by sohcahtoa at 7:16 AM on November 22, 2005

nixerman: it looks like they had sex last month and the sister simply said that she hadn't had sex with anyone else last month or the five months before that. On preview: sohcahtoa
posted by Stauf at 7:17 AM on November 22, 2005

How old is this college student sister? I'm assuming she's young, probably scared to death of all this, so you need to have her back. I agree with those who say the sooner you get this out, the better (although I would wait until she's out of the first trimester, so sitting on this for a few more weeks is OK in my book).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:20 AM on November 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

And, call me crazy, but I think you should get a paternity test.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:21 AM on November 22, 2005 [2 favorites]

Adoption is the only halfway reasonable solution here. You will almost certainly lose your girlfriend in any scenario, but the thought of being cast in the role of father and de facto brother-in-law to your betrayed girlfriend - who may never speak to her sister again either, by the way - sounds utterly excruciating.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:27 AM on November 22, 2005

Ah, yes. That makes sense. Sorry about the mixup. Still, for this sort of thing it doesn't to double-check. It's the rest of your life. A paternity test is still in order.
posted by nixerman at 7:27 AM on November 22, 2005

ditto the pink superhero. Trust, BUT VERIFY.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:28 AM on November 22, 2005

I agree you should wait until after the first trimester before saying anything. Take the next two months to seriously discuss with the sister how you are both going to handle this.
posted by gfrobe at 7:36 AM on November 22, 2005

I agree with waiting through the first trimester. And, she has had a pregnancy test, right? Did I miss that? It's only been a month, she's not just late?
posted by gaspode at 7:39 AM on November 22, 2005

It's only been a month

Good point. Make sure she's had the test.
posted by Miko at 8:00 AM on November 22, 2005

But if the sister wants to keep it a secret, you need to respect that. It's his child; he has a right and a responsibilty to have a relationship with the child. He can't just decide he's not going to be a parent and his sister can't just decide she's not going to let him be a parent.

Fess up after the first trimster. If you lose your gf, you lose your gf. Then step-up and worry more about your kid and less about yourself. That's what parents do.
posted by duck at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2005

You cheated on your girlfriend (and you describe the event in such a dispassionate way, as if to say you accidentally fell on top of another woman), got her sister pregnant, and your only concern seems to be "me me me, how can I keep from losing her." The dickwad boyfriend tag is wholly appropriate.

Confirm the pregnancy (as others have said, the sister may just be late). But even if this is all just a panic attack due to a late menstrual period, you need to be honest with your girlfriend about what happened. She deserves that much. Besides which, since you cheated on her with her sister the odds are not zero that the sister will someday have an attack of conscience herself and spill the beans. Your girlfriend needs to hear about your screwup from you, and you need to accept whatever consequences that entails.

And, as others have also said, you need to prepare yourself for fatherhood. If the sister is pregnant, and if she's keeping the baby, you are on the hook. Start having some very serious conversations with the sister about what her plans are for the child.

On preview: "sex sometimes happens"? In this case, it's called infidelity, and it's not a concept that is restricted to repressed Amish people.
posted by Gator at 8:21 AM on November 22, 2005

agregoli: your Victorian romance novel delusions of love are quaint. Where human beings are concerned, sex sometimes happens, especially when alcohol is involved.

You'd be surprised how many people would disagree with you, both about modern and Victorian times. Contrary to your implication, infidelity is not a modern invention, and monogamy is not extinct.

All that's irrelevant though. The important thing is that the father start acting like one. His future decisions need to be made in the context of his child's welfare, not his own convenience.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:30 AM on November 22, 2005

I don't think it's unhelpful. I think he really needs to evaluate why the infidelity happened - cheating doesn't happen in truly loving and respectful relationships. Something must be missing from his relationship with his girlfriend.

I agree with this whole-heartedly.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:33 AM on November 22, 2005

So do I. Look at the way he phrased the whole thing, he doesn't express any remorse at all for what he did: "My girlfriend's sister is pregnant" instead of "I got my girlfriend's sister pregnant," "We had sex" with no mention of "I cheated on my girlfriend," no mention of "I feel terrible, not for myself but for her and the pain this will cause her" and worst of all, "if I didn't think my girlfriend would find out about this, I wouldn't tell her." Ugh.
posted by Gator at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2005

Actually, I misspoke: Worst of all is the total absence of any mention of taking any responsibility for the child.
posted by Gator at 9:04 AM on November 22, 2005

Also, I don't know if this matters or not, but my girlfriend is blind.

I gotta know why this is in any way relevant.
You looking for sympathy because you don't get the same kind of girlfriend everyone else does?
Or are you hoping that she won't figure out that the sister's pregnant?
Man, this whole thing is weird. Own up to the situation, make sure she's really pregnant, and get a paternity test ASAP.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:12 AM on November 22, 2005

Trying to bear in mind that this site is for advice and not moral judgement, there are some choices to make. First you need a pregnancy test. If positive, you need the paternity test. If that indicates a foetus belonging to you then you will have to consider further options.

If abortion is ruled out that leaves having the child and either raising it within the family or giving it up for adoption. Will the mother consider adoption as an option? This may lead to issues for her in the future.

With regard to honesty, secrecy is not likely to be conducive to the mother's relationships with her parents (or sister) and there's a very strong chance that the secret will get out, with potentially more negative effects than if you had been truthful. Even if it doesn't come out that you are the father - and the mother's commitment to not telling may vary over time - then the sister is placed in a position which may place considerable strain on her relationship with her family. However, I would remind others answering the question that her relationship with her sister will also suffer if it becomes apparent that she is pregnant by her boyfriend. Naturally, telling the truth will definitely lead to difficulties with regard to the relationships of all concerned, but I would suggest the low level of likelihood that you will be able to keep this secret means that it is wise to tell the truth up front. How your girlfriend reacts will depend very much on her own personality. Yes, she will likely be very hurt, but some relationships survive infidelity and thrive afterwards (with time and care), some don't, some will be over immediately the infidelity comes to light.

Can I remind MeFites that the question does not ask for advice regarding taking responsiblity for the child, it asks for advice on keeping a girlfriend.
posted by biffa at 9:14 AM on November 22, 2005

What biffa said.
posted by JanetLand at 9:18 AM on November 22, 2005

Mod note: removed a few comments, please answer the question without harassing the poster, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 AM on November 22, 2005

sex sometimes happens, especially when alcohol is involved.

yeah, bank stickups sometimes happen too. and lying, cheating stealing, murder. they sometimes just happen, especially when alcohol is involved. seems like the only thing that doesn't just "sometimes happen" is responsibility. funny, that.
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on November 22, 2005 [2 favorites]

well, since she's blind at least she won't notice if the kid looks like you...

but everyone else is right on the money. support the kid, be a good father, tell your girlfriend and wait for her to inevitably break up with you. your question is "how can i keep this from ruining everything"... you can't. it's wayyyy too late for that.
posted by booknerd at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2005

Best answer: MetaTalk
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:13 AM on November 22, 2005

Keeping your girlfriend is not a problem with a solution that anyone here can give you. Her position is so variable that we cannot predict how she is going to react, and no trick we can tell you is going to change what happens next.

You did something, and now she is going to do something. You have to wait and see what that is. Your best hope is that prior to all of this, you were a really decent fella, and someone worthy of giving a second chance after a very personal betrayal.

If you are that decent person, you are not going to pile lies on top of that betrayal. You have some confessing to do.
posted by thirteen at 10:17 AM on November 22, 2005

Can I remind MeFites that the question does not ask for advice regarding taking responsiblity for the child, it asks for advice on keeping a girlfriend.

He asks for advice on keeping his girlfriend given the constraints created by his current situation. Part of his current situation is that he is responsible for a child. People are pointing out that that responsibility (part of his situation) is not realistically compatible with keeping his girlfriend in the dark. Therefore, the situation requires that his girlfriend find out.

While there has been some moralizing, I don't think pointing out the "problem" of his responsibilities as a father is outside the scope of the question or that it necessarily constitutes moralizing.
posted by duck at 10:24 AM on November 22, 2005

all i'm going to say is that in the long run, there's no way this is going to stay a secret, if she's really pregnant ... she'll realize that soon

if your girlfriend forgives you ... (big if) ... perhaps you and her might discuss getting married and adopting the child ... if, and i've got to speak frankly here, you grow up and get used to the idea of being a responsible husband and parent, part of which will be faithfulness

i'm not saying that's what you should do ... but you are a father now and one way or another, you'd better get used to the idea, whether you keep your girlfriend or not
posted by pyramid termite at 10:29 AM on November 22, 2005

Paternity testing is a good idea but that's a later step. You need to get this knowledge to your girlfriend in a way that's the least hurtful since you can't expect it to never get to her. Even if you're not the father, you boned her sister and sis is claiming you are the dad. No way that stays a secret, regardless of which camp you fall into on the "cheating: confess or not" camp. Sit down, fess up to your misdeed and she'll decide what she decides.
posted by phearlez at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2005

posting as quonsar?
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2005

posted by LimePi at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

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