Unborn baby key concern for fighting couple: Ask Ellie
I’m 23, in a relationship with a man who’s 42. He’s never been married and has no children, but has said that he’d be open to doing both with me.
We’ve been on-off together for 18 months and it’s been extremely unstable. We’re both very insecure people.
He has a history of lying and cheating, while I tend to lash out aggressively when he upsets me.
We’ve been trying to change — both in individual therapy and in couples’ therapy.
Nobody wants us to be together. His family thinks I’m crazy and that my outbursts are too much, and my family thinks he’s a cheating sleaze-ball.
But we keep reconciling because we do love one another.
We’d broken up yet again when I found out I was pregnant.
He told me that he’d support me whatever I chose to do, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Since I told him I was leaning toward keeping the baby, he’s continuously been berating me.
He tells me what a mistake I’m making, that I’m ruining his life, and he’s even said that he might continue cheating on me since I’ll be “out of commission” after giving birth.
Eventually I break down crying, and he apologizes and says that he just needs time to absorb everything, but that we’ll try to work it out.
I’ve told him that if he doesn’t want to have this baby, I’ll do it alone with the help of my family, and that he doesn’t have to have any part in the baby’s life.
That isn’t good enough for him. He wants me to terminate the pregnancy.
I want to believe that he’s just having a hard time accepting the news, but that he’ll come around, but what if he doesn’t?
I don’t want my child to have a father that resents both him/her and me. But I also just can’t imagine not having this baby.
Torn and Hurt
There’s a hugely important decision looming ahead very soon, so it’s good that you’re both in therapy sessions where you can discuss this.
Terminating a pregnancy draws deeply on both religious and political attitudes you each may hold, as well as the personal reactions you both bring to raising a child … whether alone, or together.
Make sure you know where each of you stands on these intensely emotional issues.
His reaction, from your description, isn’t promising.
People who regularly have sex together should have some awareness that a pregnancy can happen, not turn to berating you and threatening to cheat.
Your own tendency to lash out aggressively when upset is equally worrisome. There are plenty of occasions when raising a child — whether on your own or in a difficult union — to get annoyed or angry. Aggression will only make things worse.
If you do opt to be a single mom, it’ll be a big bonus if you can truly count on your family’s help. Seek their support.
Most important, you’ll need to mature beyond accepting being “very insecure” and rise to the challenge of loving, protecting, and being responsible for an innocent newborn’s life.
Stop guessing whether the father will come around to accepting a child. He’s said he wants you to terminate the pregnancy.
If a few therapy sessions don’t show a marked change in his decision, the ultimate decision is with you.
It’s not about the father. It’s about having/raising a baby.
Tip of the day
Keeping or ending a pregnancy from a problematic relationship is a complex decision with long-lasting impact emotionally and practically. Don’t be bullied or coerced over it.
Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email or visit her website, ellieadvice.com.