preggers ex asks for then spurns advice
November 10, 2006 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My ex recently found out she was pregnant. She asked for my advice, then when I gave it, became bitter and told me to sod off. Was I right?

I broke up with her six months ago. It wasn't a very friendly parting, considering that I drew the line when she turned physically violent. Her rebound, it turned out, was a married man whose wife was pregnant. Now she's pregnant, and re-initiated contact by asking me for advice after the new "bf" denied any responsibility.

She could have been a character straight out of a Ken Loach film, and given her dubious financial future, and the fact that she was going to try to raise this mixed-race child in Northern England, my advice to her was to abort the fetus, giving the above as reasons for the sake of the child.

She became bitter and told me to never contact her or her family again (after first apologizing for re-initiating contact), breaking off an 8-year relationship.

Some facts:

-she's pushing thirty
-she's white (British), the father East Asian
-she came to this (East Asian) country at my behest to attempt "one last try" which ended as described above
-she's never been married nor had been pregnant before

My mixed feelings:

-good riddance! It was a train wreck waiting to happen, and the more distance from me the better
-guilt: I should have understood how alone she was here, and couched my advice in more understanding terms
-guilt: I should have understood her desire to have a kid, and encouraged her positively
-guilt: I let my own feelings get in the way, and only saw her as a "Ken Loach" character rather than being more understanding

My questions:

Did I do the right thing? Is there anything I should try to do now? Should I forget and move on? Should I call Ken Loach?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone asked for your opinion. You gave your opinion. It pissed her off.

This is your ex-, as in, not your girlfriend anymore, so my advice to you is to let it go and move on.
posted by theora55 at 7:36 AM on November 10, 2006

I really don't think there's any way to answer this question without hearing the actual conversational tone. I mean there's 'You should get an abortion", end of story, and then there's 3 hours of conversation and talking about feelings and emotions and at the end coming to the conclusion that the only wise choice is an abortion. Only you know if it was the former or the latter.
posted by spicynuts at 7:38 AM on November 10, 2006

If she did not want your opinion she should not have asked for it. And for an ex yet. Please get past any guilt that you feel. It is unwarranted. Look ahead to your own life. You cannot help someone that does not appear to want help.
posted by JayRwv at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2006

did you do the right thing? I would say no. She came to this East Asian country to be with you and it didn't work out. You still seem bitter, slightly angry, and a little pissed off. Basically, there hasn't been enough distance between the two of you let and you are still emotionally attached to the breakup that you had.

Basically, don't try to re-establish contact now. Merely apologize to her and let her be if you seriously want to have any kind of relationship with her in the future. You need more time to move on.

Also, what's wrong with rasing a mix racial kid in England? Is it any worse then raising a mix race kid in the US?
posted by Stynxno at 7:44 AM on November 10, 2006

It sounds like nothing good will come of either of you ever talking to the other again.
posted by voidcontext at 7:45 AM on November 10, 2006

Did I do the right thing?

obviously not ... she asked you for an opinion but what she really wanted was an affirmation of what she'd already made up her mind to do ... your reply was not real sensitive or fair, but then the question wasn't honest or fair, either

she should have just TOLD you what she was going to do instead of testing you like that

Is there anything I should try to do now?


Should I forget and move on?

yes ... and be grateful, too, that she's not your problem

Should I call Ken Loach?

what will you call him?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:02 AM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

While I don't necessarily agree with your advice, I think you did the right thing - you were asked your opinion and you gave it honestly. She probably wanted something else from you, but you didn't know what that was and you couldn't have known what that was. She may have wanted you to validate her decision to keep the fetus, or she may even have wanted you to take on some responsibility and raise the kid with her. Who knows. Don't worry about it, and do let it go and move on.
posted by Amizu at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2006

I'd guess that she is scared and wanted you to rescue her. You didn't. She's pissed. Even though you have a history, this is not your problem until you choose to make it your problem, and I think you're pretty clear about where you stand on that.

Another way to look at this is, did you respond in a reasonable way? Yes - she asked an opinion question you answered it. She probably was asking a different question, which is a classic communication problem, but not really yours in this case. Did she respond in a way that is reasonable? Eh. It's within human norm for an emotionally charged thing, but it's certainly non-linear. Do you want to continue spending time around someone who reacts this way your best intents? You already made that decision and it was probably the right one.
posted by plinth at 8:22 AM on November 10, 2006

If you used the words "abort the fetus" you did the wrong thing because that is an almost comically insensitive thing to say to a woman in a difficult and fragile situation. Otherwise, what everyone else said: it's okay to give your opinion if asked for it, but she wasn't really asking for it and you probably should have sussed that out, especially if you two were intimate for eight years.
posted by The Bellman at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2006

There's nothing more for you to do now. She's your ex, you're not responsible for her. She asked your opinion, you gave it, she got mad, end of story. Move on.

If we're shopping this around to TV shows, I vote for Jerry Springer.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:52 AM on November 10, 2006

My hunch is that she was hoping this pregnancy would somehow bring you two back together with a fairytale ending. The advice you gave was rejection all over again, and I bet she's more hurt than angry. If you truly have no intentions of ever being with her again, then let her do what she needs to do to move on - don't contact her again and give her more hope that you still have interest in her. She might confuse your caring about her as a friend as something more.
posted by infinityjinx at 8:55 AM on November 10, 2006

You were honest and direct. If she didn't want your advice, she shouldn't have asked for it. You've done nothing wrong. That woman sounds like a train wreck, and the sooner you move on with your life, the better.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:11 AM on November 10, 2006

You were honest and direct.

But given that your opinion was basically that she should kill her unborn child because of her personal character, her poverty and the child's race, I'm not sure how you can be surprised that she got offended.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:26 AM on November 10, 2006

She became bitter and told me to never contact her or her family again (after first apologizing for re-initiating contact), breaking off an 8-year relationship.

1) Respect her wishes.
2) Count your blessings.

Anyone who purposely stays in touch with a physically abusive person gets the kind of relationship he or she deserves.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2006

All of the above. Seriously, be glad this is a Sombody Else's Problem. Be glad you didn't get sucked in to being the Rescuing Prince, because I think that's what she wanted you to do. We all know that would have ended badly. Instead, you gave her a coldly rational personal assessment, including advice that (while rational) some people have ethical qualms regarding! Classic miscommunication, yes. But situation you don't want any part of, you bet. [/rumsfeld]

Frankly, there are parts of this strange tale that make me wonder if there is no pregnancy at all, and she will have a mysterious miscarriage a few weeks from now.
posted by ilsa at 9:52 AM on November 10, 2006

it was a no-win situation. yes, you could have been more diplomatic. yes, you could have left out the race stuff. yes, you could have merely hinted, allowing her to reach conclusions on her own. but you know what? she asked you for your opinion.

don't fret over it, move on. there is nothing you can do. except beginning to look out for an attorney. because if she is the type of person you make me believe she just might be, she might just take you to court over paternity issues, in spite of knowing better.
posted by krautland at 9:52 AM on November 10, 2006

oops, left out a /small. Fixed now?
posted by ilsa at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2006

You're not responsible for her feelings anymore. That's what being broken up means. All you need to do is be honest and civil, which you have been.
posted by orange swan at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2006

can someone explain this: and the fact that she was going to try to raise this mixed-race child in Northern England ?? Is northern england such a hotbed of racism against mixed race kids?
posted by rsanheim at 10:53 AM on November 10, 2006

Is northern england such a hotbed of racism against mixed race kids?

And is it better to not be born at all than to be a mixed race kid in Northern England?
posted by JekPorkins at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Abortion "for the sake of the child"? That's nonsensical advice anon, and she's mad because you were cold about it. However, it's a messy and hurtful situation for you, I'm sure. Your reply may have derived more from feelings of betrayal than logic.
posted by dropkick at 11:00 AM on November 10, 2006

I think you got a little confused by what she meant by "advice". You told her what you would do under the circumstances, which on the surface seems fine, except that she's not you.
just y
When you give advice, you're not just supposed to give your opinion; you need to look at things in terms of the other person's life instead of your own. Obviously your answer to her should have taken into consideration her goals and desires, and yours didn't (she wants kids and you told her to abort.. are you insane?).

You should have asked her what she wanted, then helped her figure out if it was a reasonable thing to do. You could have tried her work it out instead of tossing out an answer and expecting her to smile and say "Abortion! Fantastic idea! I'm amazed I didn't think of it myself!" Really, it's about helping her make her own decision, not just telling her what to do.

In any event, you should just let it go. Whatever relationship you had with her is pretty much crap at this point, and there isn't much worth saving. You're both probably better off not having contact with each other.
posted by stefanie at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

Don't worry about. Write her off. She asked your opinion and you were honest with her.

And I hate the word "preggers."
posted by drstein at 11:16 AM on November 10, 2006

You did nothing wrong. She asked you for your opinion, you gave it, it's not what she wanted to hear so she storms off. Let go of your guilt, it's really unneeded as you did nothing wrong.
posted by Meagan at 12:22 PM on November 10, 2006

Is northern england such a hotbed of racism against mixed race kids?

Not based on my experience living in Manchester and surroundings for several years. The families I knew and lived around were a veritable smorgasboard of race and ethnicity and the kids seemed utterly oblivious to it. It would have been heartwarming had the little tykes not been constantly engaged in crimimal activity. As a parent, the local educational system and youth crime rate would worry me a lot more than mere skin color.
posted by fshgrl at 12:23 PM on November 10, 2006

If you want to be helpful the next time a friend asks for advice, ask "What are your options," and "What's your gut feeling." You intent should be to help them weigh their own conflicting thoughts. She may have been looking for someone to tell her what she wants to hear, but more likely she's feeling overwhelmed and just wanted to talk. Did you do the wrong thing? Bah -- who knows?

What are your options? Apologize, stew about it, confront her, forget about it, and _________ (fill in the blank). Which of these really feels right to you?
posted by wryly at 2:52 PM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Couching an abortion as a racial issue and using the phrase "abort the fetus for the sake of the child" sorta makes you either insensitive, dumb or both. She should be angry, you should never speak to her again for both your sakes.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

Eight years is a long time. Probably most of us could describe some friend's life choices in ways that make him sound like a train wreck -- that doesn't make the friendship or the person without value. And eight years is a long time. You and she aren't together, but you loved her once, and she is in a very tough spot now. You aren't without obligation here. Does anyone really think that you could just say, oh well, walk away, and sleep great?

You don't think so, it's clear. You're being funny, you're defending your advice as rational, you're intellectualizing as hard as you can, but you feel bad. So contact her. You best know how to do this, but I think in person is mandatory -- not phone or email or her sister or whatever. Tell her you know you hurt her with what you said, you never meant be hurtful, you know she is in a tough spot, and you have known each other so long that you want to help her if you can.

I don't think she is likely to misconstrue that as "marry me." If she does ask more than you can do, you can tell her how sorry you are that you can't do it (but you can do X.) Maybe all you can do is let her talk, even this one time; that is not nothing. If, on the other hand, she spits in your face and tells you she meant NO contact, your conscience is clear.
posted by Methylviolet at 9:01 PM on November 10, 2006

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