Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Tell Him I Had an Abortion?”

I am 23 years old and four years ago I met my now boyfriend. Although he seemed really interested in me for a couple of months, eventually things fizzled out and he told me he just wanted to be friends with benefits. We kept doing “stuff,” and even though I loved him very much, he pursued other women. About two years ago he started dating someone else and after one last night of “stuff,” stopped seeing me because he felt it wouldn’t be right to the girl he was dating.

Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant, and, scared out of mind, had an abortion. He broke up with her after a couple of months and wanted to start being friends with benefits again. I told him I felt sick for a while (morning sickness) and he asked if I was pregnant, but I just told him I miscarried. His only reaction was he wished I had told him, but I don’t even think he believes I was ever pregnant. I never felt the need to tell him because I didn’t like to think about it and I thought he would stop talking to me again.

About a year ago, however, he suddenly started pursuing ME, saying he had been a jerk and idiot for treating me so bad for so long, and that he would do whatever it takes to make me happy. Things have completely changed and we have a very easy going relationship now that I love and that gives us both happiness, but I feel guilty for not telling him about the abortion. Should I tell him now? I know he is very against abortion, and I don’t think he would understand. I don’t want to lose the relationship we have worked very hard to build, but I don’t want to betray him either. — Still hurting in Georgia

This isn’t necessarily the case for every woman who has had an abortion, but for you in your situation, it will continue to be a burden you’ll carry as long as you keep it a secret from your boyfriend. Does that mean that everything will be hunky-dory as soon as you tell him the truth? Absolutely not. You two may break up. Or, you may have a really rough road to navigate for a while as your boyfriend processes the information and learns to trust you. Either way, though, I promise the outcome will be better than living with the burden you’re currently carrying. Whatever sadness you may have to deal with by sharing your secret will be better than always feeling anxious wondering what would happen if your boyfriend knew the truth.

If you do breakup, I want you to remember how your relationship was before — in the years it took your now-boyfriend to stop being a “jerk” and an “idiot” (his words) and start treating you the way you wanted to be treated. Three years is a long time to hold a torch for someone and not have your feelings reciprocated. Maybe there was a reason for that. Maybe you two are not meant to be together. Or… maybe you are. What I do know is that the answer will become much clearer once you tell your boyfriend about your abortion. His reaction will give you the affirmation you need. It may not be the answer you want. You may lose the relationship you feel you’ve worked so hard to build. But what I’m telling you is that perhaps that relationship wasn’t meant to last forever.

Sometimes the success of a relationship can be qualified by the lessons we learn rather than the duration. It would be a mistake to sweep an issue under the rug in an effort to make a relationship last longer. Instead, face the issue head-on and see what you learn — about yourself and your boyfriend. Do you share the same values? He is supportive of you? Does he trust you? Can he forgive? If the answer is “no” to any of these, you are better off without him. It may be a hard lesson to learn, but knowing the answer, one way or another, will open the door to a more fulfilling relationship eventually — whether it’s with him or someone else.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

133 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Elle Marie January 18, 2012, 3:21 pm

    One thing that I find so very frustrating in US society is the incredible shame/guilt/silence surrounding abortion. Commonly-cited statistics indicate that 1 in 3 US women will have an abortion in their lifetime, but it is still not commonly talked about. I was really pleased to learn about Project Voices ) which features the anonymous stories of those who have had an abortion.

    What I really want to say to the letter writer is – you are not the only person who has been in this type of situation. And I feel that Wendy is dead-on with her comment that if you don’t tell your boyfriend, keeping it a secret will feel like a bigger burden the more time that goes on. Personally, I feel that if your partner can’t respect the decision you made about your body, they aren’t respecting you as a person. Every relationship deserves a foundation of respect and honest communication.

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    • avatar

      John Rohan January 18, 2012, 4:07 pm

      1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime? Where did you get that statistic from?

      I think that number must be way off, unless you are including “spontaneous abortion”, more commonly known as a miscarriage.

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      • avatar

        CG January 18, 2012, 4:17 pm

        First sentence of the third graf for your statistic:

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      • avatar

        Elle Marie January 18, 2012, 4:19 pm

        This statistic has been cited all over the media (seriously, just google it) but is also the platform of the http://1in3campaign.org/ .

        I suspect that this statistic does not account for the fact that many people may have had multiple abortions, but it is still a big number. People have abortions (in the sense of purposefully terminating a pregnancy through medical means) every day.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:20 pm

        She might be adding atopic pregnancy. where you have to terminate because the pregnancy will kill the mother. most people don’t consider it the same thing but it happens alot. Also, It divides the number of women by the number of abortions. so some women have multiple.

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      • avatar

        Britannia January 18, 2012, 4:20 pm

        I was about to say the same thing. I honestly think it’s more likely that those numbers are being skewed by the application of nation-wide averages. I imagine that it’s more likely that some women will have more than one abortion, while the other women will never have a single one.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:41 pm

        I just checked online and it says, every year 2% of women have abortions and half had one previously. This still says by age 45 it is 3 out of 10.

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      • avatar

        AKchic January 18, 2012, 5:05 pm

        If a woman miscarries and has to have her uterus flushed, it shows up as an abortion on her hospital bill. Do you have any idea how devastating that is for a woman, to miscarry, not be able to “pass” it and end up in the hospital and have her uterus scraped, and flushed out and then billed for an “abortion”?

        Those are more than likely counted in the 1/3 statistic. If so – I’m right on target, and not exactly thrilled about it.

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  • avatar

    Jiggs January 18, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I don’t think you owe him the truth, necessarily. At the time of your abortion, he was a FWB who treated you like crap and then abruptly dumped you for another woman after getting one more hit of sexytimes, possibly knowing the entire time you were in love with him. You definitely didn’t owe him jack shit back then, and I don’t see how you magically owe him your abortion story now because your relationship is renewed.

    Now if you want to tell him or feel you can’t live with yourself unless you do, that’s another story, and by all means share your experience with him if that’s the case. But if he’s really not going to be understanding about it and is “really against abortion”, I don’t see how this relationship can survive. Option 1 is you don’t tell him and then have to deal with his abortion comments/views knowing you’ve been there and he’s talking about you even if he doesn’t know it, and generally continuing to be uncomfortable about your abortion and his ignorance of it. Option 2 is you tell him and then you get a dose of some righteousness and rage followed by a forgiveness process when you’ve done nothing that requires his forgiveness, or maybe he dumps you. Either way I don’t think a lady who has had an abortion and a man who can’t accept and understand a lady who’s had an abortion can work it out.

    So even though you don’t OWE him the story, I think you should tell him. Maybe he will surprise you and be understanding. But if he’s not then you’re just ripping off the MOA bandaid a little sooner, rather than spending years wondering “would he be with me if…” and castigating yourself for not telling him.

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  • avatar

    iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I personally wouldn’t tell him. I would definitely go see a therapist to help me with my feelings of guilt but I can’t see any way the relationship could continue if he is so strongly against abortion. You didn’t include him in the decision to have an abortion in the first place, I don’t think it’s fair to tell him now and cause him immense pain over something that can never be undone just to alleviate your guilt.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 3:28 pm

      I guess to me it’s a lot like the “Should I tell my SO I cheated?” question. Because your boyfriend would probably view this as an immense betrayal of trust of a similar or greater caliber. If he were pro-choice I would say tell him, but he’s not.

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      • avatar

        rangerchic January 18, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Well I agree she should NOT tell him. Working it out with a therapist is a good option.

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      • avatar

        meg January 18, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Not sure I would equate having an abortion with cheating. It’s not like she got herself pregnant. And she probably felt scared and alone after he had just rejected her for another woman and she had to go through this alone. Wanting to confess to cheating to alleviate your own guilt is FAR different from wanting to confide in your boyfriend about aborting a baby you BOTH MADE TOGETHER. I don’t think she should have to keep this to herself. It’s not her fault if he gets mad or resentful, and she shouldn’t have to keep this secret to protect him.

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      • avatar

        Lydia January 19, 2012, 3:15 am

        I agree completely. I think we can all agree that cheating is, generally, not a good thing to do. Having an abortion isn’t like that at all – there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 19, 2012, 10:24 am

        I think the boyfriend would disagree, which is why the LW is in such an unenviable position in the first place.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 19, 2012, 10:22 am

        I do disagree, and I started to explain why, but it was getting really wordy and basically just reiterated what I said above.

        I will just mention this: she didn’t have to go through it alone. She chose not to tell him at the time, for what I believe were excellent reasons. But I also think that that choice (to exclude him at the time) also means that she shouldn’t expect his support now if he’s really as anti-abortion as she says he is. Because either it’s a baby they both made together, or it’s a decision she made by herself without his input. In a perfect world she could maybe expect to have it both ways. But then, in a perfect world, she wouldn’t have had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:23 pm

      I think if she wants to stay with him, she shouldn’t tell him. I have never known a relationship to last an abortion. Sad but true.

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      • avatar

        Nadine January 18, 2012, 4:32 pm

        I’d just like to point out that this may be true for you, cporoski, but is not true in general. For example, it is not true for me. I have no stats either (like you) but wanted to throw my two cents in. But as Wendy says, the relationship lasting may not be the best outcome. I say tell. It either builds trust and forgivness and love through a shared experience, or weeds out someone who cannot look beyond their own behaviour to see that in her case, she felt she had no choice.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:48 pm

        There was no meant judgement in my statement but of the couples I knew (and the guy was part of the decision) it was too much to hurdle. I had one friend that had an atopic pregnancy but that is a little different. To be honest, this relationship seems bad all around. But her not consulting him will probably be unforgivable to him.

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      • avatar

        pamplemousse January 19, 2012, 9:18 am

        *Ectopic pregnancy

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 19, 2012, 10:34 am

        thanks

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 18, 2012, 4:39 pm

        One of my best friends and her boyfriend have lasted two years past her abortion. Sure it’s definitely difficult, but it’s not an impossibility.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:49 pm

        do you think from this letter it will be the case? and do you think your best friend is the exception or the rule?

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 18, 2012, 4:52 pm

        I think from this letter there are a lot more problems and that they shouldn’t be in a relationship given how he’s treated her in the past, but that doesn’t have to do with the abortion. And in fact, I don’t know anyone who has had an abortion break up because of it. They worked through it and it made their bond stronger, so I’m not convinced that they are.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 5:06 pm

        That seems odd to me. I will say i am pro choice but not pro abortion. So i am biased that way. I get the need to be legal but I think the act comes when people are in a dark place. It seems odd to me that people in healthy, committed relationships that are of a legal age are running to get abortions. Like Sarita below, I get that one. They were young. But most abortions come in fragile relationships and they break because of it. I think you are splitting hairs saying it was because of something else like lack of communication or something. I know I am biased but I think you are too.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 18, 2012, 5:12 pm

        They weren’t in a position that they couldn’t support a child or they didn’t want a child so together they chose to have an abortion. It didn’t break their relationship because they were on the same page about things.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 19, 2012, 10:41 am

        Right, and in the Lw’s case, she did it without consulting him. This decision haunts people. They might be sure they did the right thing but it still eats at you…just like it is eating at the LW.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 5:14 pm

        I know a married couple who had one because they don’t want kids. She had an IUD and it failed, so she had an abortion. Still happily married almost 2 years later.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 18, 2012, 7:02 pm

        I think that you might be right, cporoski, that most couples don’t stay together after an abortion – but I think it’s probably due to extenuating factors rather than due to the abortion itself.

        Correlation does not imply causation. 🙂

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 19, 2012, 10:37 am

        You can say that but you also cant treat it like popping a zit. People who haven’t done it can be cavalier about rights but I don’t think they realize the pain that is there afterwards for both partners.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Yeah, I think this is entirely about where the couple was before the abortion. If they agreed on it and had the relationship skills like ability to cope with stress together and willingness to support each other, the relationship is likely to go on in much the same way it would have. If the couple doesn’t have those things, then they probably wouldn’t last. But they also wouldn’t last other stressors like unemployment, grief, new diagnosis of schizophrenia, crazy friends moving in with them, etc. It’s more about the couple than the abortion.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 18, 2012, 4:46 pm

        And I have. One of my friends from high school got his GF pregnant, they terminated. 15 years later they’re married with 1.5 babies. Very happy.

        And I fear that withholding information for the sole purpose of keeping an SO is a slippery slope, I would never withhold information of any kind for that reason and that reason only.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:53 pm

        Honestly, this relationship sounds bad to me. I think he makes her desperate and clingy and overwhelmed. but she didn’t ask that. I said it above. i think one example is not the rule. According to the stats above, 1/3 of the women you encounter (statistically) have had abortions and we are getting one example each. I bet you can name 4 or 5 others that didn’t make it.

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      • avatar

        atraditionalist January 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

        how do you have 1.5 babies? You mean she’s pregnant wtih a second?

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 5:01 pm

        Agh! The mental images!

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 18, 2012, 5:05 pm

        Yup.

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      • avatar

        AKchic January 18, 2012, 5:07 pm

        *giggle* Did she have the top half or bottom half? Right or left half? Front or back half? *snicker* Oh, the questions I could ask!

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 5:24 pm

        Or… remember the teacher with the parasitic twin on her head from South Park?

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2012, 5:03 pm

        It’s not necessarily that relationships don’t last abortions. Usually abortions happen because the couple knows the relationship isn’t likely to last. That’s what happened in my case. Bad relationship precedes abortion, rather than abortion preceding the bad relationship.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 18, 2012, 5:06 pm

        This scenario exactly happened to a very close friend of mine. They had just broken up when she found out she was pregnant, and they decided to get an abortion because they knew the situation was way less than ideal.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 18, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Also, this couple was in their late twenties/early thirties with stable lives. I say this because the common image of a woman who aborts is a teenager in a stupid immature relationship. And that’s simply not always the case.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2012, 5:15 pm

        Haha, well I was a stupid teenager (18) in a relationship that was only supposed to be fun instead of serious. So I’m definitely the stereotype there. And yes, we did break up because of the stress from the abortion. But that would have happened soon after regardless of whether or not I had ever gotten pregnant.

        Now, if my boyfriend knocked me up today and we decided to abort, we would make it just fine. We’ve made it through all kinds of stuff so far, and we’ve got those skills together.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 5:08 pm

        You are right. But the times I saw, the abortion brought everything to light. The couple was forced to admit that they weren’t right for each other.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2012, 5:12 pm

        That’s certainly true. But other stressors also do the same thing. I commented this above, but stuff like grief, new mental illnesses, unemployment, cheating…. all that stuff puts a relationship to the test. Plenty of relationships survive those stressors if the couple has the tools to deal with it. The only difference with abortion is that it’s less likely for abortion to occur if the relationship has those tools, so it skews the question of whether or not relationships can handle abortions.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 3:22 pm

    I agree with Wendy.
    One of the things I’ve talked about with my therapist is discussing the past with my current bf. For a whole lot of reasons that I won’t go into here, I’ve had some issues feeling guilty over keeping things from him, even though they’re really none of his business. My therapist agreed with me, but he also said, “If it’s still bothering you in four months or something, though, you should tell him, because it’s not worth it.” Life is way too short for you to be miserable over something you’re afraid to tell someone.

    So clearly, years after the abortion and a year into this relationship, you are feeling serious anxiety having not told your boyfriend about this. In that case, I say you should tell him. Wendy’s right, though, it’s definitely going to change things. The thing to remember is that if the relationship ends over this, it was never meant to be in the first place. You are 23- you can and will move on to bigger and better things.

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    • avatar

      franny January 18, 2012, 3:48 pm

      I kind of disagree with this comment. I think if you’re intending to spend the rest of you life with someone (I’m just assuming you are), then your business is generally their business. If I had a past that still affected me, I definitely feel I’d owe it to my SO to tell him about it, in case something ever comes up. I’d tell him so that he wouldn’t be caught off guard if he ever found out from some other source. Also, I’d like to assume trust in my relationships. If the guy I’m in love with can’t get over (or at least accept) stuff from my past, he clearly doesn’t love me, and that’s not someone I want to be in a relationship with anyway.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 3:54 pm

        I’m not sure what you disagree with?

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      • Kate B.

        Kate b. January 18, 2012, 4:58 pm

        As a person who likes to keep private things private, I don’t necessarily agree that “your business is their business”. I think it would depend on the situation. If this were me, I would tell him because it was his baby and I feel he deserves to know. If I had aborted someone else’s baby, then I might not tell him. It’s a case by case thing for me.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 5:17 pm

        I agree with you. Although I am THE WORST and keeping secrets, so I would probably end up telling anyway. But that’s just me, and my own issues…there are a LOT of things that I think people are perfectly justified in keeping to themselves.

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  • Budj

    Budj January 18, 2012, 3:22 pm

    I agree with Wendy.

    Two things I would say…1) in the initial circumstance…you didn’t have to tell him 2) you can’t predict the future. If he is a reasonable guy he will understand why you didn’t tell him in the first place…and why you are telling him now. If it’s right you two can ride this one out.

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    • avatar

      callmehobo January 18, 2012, 3:28 pm

      I agree with you, Budj.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 3:48 pm

      While I agree that she didn’t have to tell him initially, I don’t think it’s fair to expect his support and understanding after the fact when she knows he’s anti-abortion.

      By excluding him from the “Holy shit there’s a blue line there” moment, she also excluded him from the immediacy of the situation, the “I’m only a freshman in college and you’re working minimum wage in the record store, we’re not in a healthy, commited relationship, there’s no way we could be good parents right now,” – all the things that cause women to choose abortions in the first place.

      It’s a lot easier to judge someone when you’re removed from the situation, and he’s just removed enough to not need to think about how much it would have disrupted his life to either pay child support for the next eighteen years or take care of a baby. He’s close enough, though, to think of all of the could-have-beens and blame her for the absence of them.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 3:55 pm

        but then he’s still not the right person for her, and their relationship still isn’t the right one for either of them to be in. So I guess I don’t really see how the point you’re making is relevant (although I totally agree that he might react that way).

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 4:52 pm

        Oh, I don’t think he’s the right person for her to begin with – he sounds pretty selfish. But she had a thing for him for four years, been in a relationship with him for one of those years, and wants to stay with him. In that case my advice is don’t tell him, he will dump you and the above is why.

        Personally I’m pro-choice and I don’t think I could date anyone who wasn’t pro-choice, too, because to me that’s a fundamental difference of opinion on what right a woman has to control what goes on inside her own body. I also do not lie and wouldn’t have said that I miscarried when I in fact had an abortion.

        But I also believe I have the ability to see things from others’ perspectives, and with my pro-life man glasses on I would see this as the murder of my unborn child without my knowledge, and I don’t think any person who actually believes that abortion is murder would be able to forgive that of a significant other.

        I also agree with Budj below that he shouldn’t be “FWBing” if he’s against abortion. Also, the fact that he thought she might have been pregnant just from hearing the LW “felt sick for a while” leads me to think that he had a hunch it was possible and wasn’t using protection properly the way a responsible FWB-er should.

        I hope that clarifies things.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 3:55 pm

        I like this comment. While I still feel that she should tell him, I think you did a good job of describing how he (and probably a lot of people with similar views) is able to separate himself from “the immediacy of the situation.”

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      • Budj

        Budj January 18, 2012, 4:01 pm

        It’s her perogative to tell him or not. I don’t care either way what she does there. I’m just saying if she does tell him and he’s an ass hole about it then their relationship should have stayed in the past.

        A lot of people are also “anti-abortion” until they are in the scenario. I agree he may be “removed enough” since he didn’t deal with the stress of the initial scenario that he can just pass judgement on her without considering all the cons of his life had she gone through with it before he “realized she is what he wanted.” But I think often enough when a guy has an “oh shit moment” with pregnancy he may be relieved when the woman chooses to abort when he led his life thinking he was rigidly against abortion.

        Also…this guy should not be FWBing if he is anti-abortion…that just makes no sense to me.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 4:09 pm

        Love the use of “FWB” as a verb. Love.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

        I TOTALLY agree with you about this “Also…this guy should not be FWBing if he is anti-abortion…that just makes no sense to me.”
        If you want to have sex, damn the consequences, then you shouldn’t be enforcing on your FWBs how they deal with those consequences. Its just irresponsible, and a little bit cruel.

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  • avatar

    AKchic January 18, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Look, this guy wasn’t exactly “there” for you during the time you did this, was he? He was an on-again/off-again FWB, and let’s be honest, the benefits were HIS, not really yours. He asked you if you were pregnant, you deflected and you’re pretty sure he didn’t think you were ever pregnant in the first place. Honestly, I would not even bother telling him. He wasn’t invested in you at the time, and couldn’t be bothered with YOUR well-being to even make sure that you were okay after a “miscarriage”. You were a place-holder while he went on better conquests. If you had carried his child, you would be “that woman” who takes his money on occasion for “the kid” and inconveniences him.

    If you are feeling guilty, talk to someone like a therapist or clergy member. Not him.

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    • avatar

      CG January 18, 2012, 4:04 pm

      ITA. And even if she doesn’t tell him, I think she should still consider MOA-ing. Having his shit together for a year doesn’t make up for the three that he treated her like dirt, strung her along and used her to cheat on his then-girlfriend.

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    • avatar

      John Rohan January 18, 2012, 4:12 pm

      Well, he wasn’t “there” for her during this because she didn’t tell him until after the fact, so it’s not really his fault. He certainly could have been more honest with the other woman he was dating though.

      And the “benefits” were his, not hers? Unless he was raping her, the benefits were mutual. This isn’t the medieval world, where women aren’t allowed to enjoy sex.

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      • avatar

        rangerchic January 18, 2012, 4:18 pm

        I don’t think he strung her along so to speak….she chose to keep seeing the guy knowing full well what his intentions were at the time.

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      • avatar

        cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:28 pm

        totally agree!

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      • avatar

        AKchic January 18, 2012, 5:19 pm

        You and I are probably going to have to agree to disagree when it comes to this, but honestly, the way I see it is this: He had other women he was seeing on a more regular basis than the LW. She doesn’t mention any other guy she was seeing. She put herself on hold, waiting for him. What kind of benefit to her was that, other than knowing who impregnated her?
        He wasn’t being honest with the woman he was dating while sleeping with her. He was stringing her along emotionally (by allowing her to think that there could have been something along the road, so she kept her availability to him open, thereby closing the door to any decent relationships), and then emotionally closed himself off to her and didn’t pick up any real cues. He ignored his gut when he realized she may have been pregnant and then blithely accepted her “miscarriage” when she was more than likely still pregnant (morning sickness) and never bothered to give her any emotional support for the loss of his own child. Honestly, that right there should give her the clean slate to have an abortion without telling him since he wasn’t bothered with comforting her when she told him of the “miscarriage”. Pro-life or not, he wasn’t concerned with her own well-being at the time. So long as he got his rocks off.

        Yes, it’s nice that he’s had a nice soul-search and in-depth touchy-feely with his heart and realized that he was an ass and has decided to treat her better than a human condom. It doesn’t mean she needs to forget HOW he treated her before. One year of better behavior and an apology does NOT change three years of poor behavior, even if the LW condoned such poor behavior in the past. She needs to grow up and realize that what happened was childish on both parts, and expect better treatment of herself in the current and future (regardless of who she is in a relationship with). She does not owe him more of an explanation. If he even asks.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2012, 5:30 pm

        I don’t think him having more partners than she did means that he was benefiting more than she was. Did the LW say she was waiting on him? I don’t remember reading that. She could have very well just happened to only have one casual sexual partner. And honestly, I don’t remember reading that she didn’t date anyone else in all of that time.

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        atraditionalist January 18, 2012, 7:41 pm

        I think what is meant by “the benefits were his not yours” is that she was still very clearly into the guy whereas he didn’t really care – therefore she went through a long period of feeling like crap emotionally -irregardless of what the sex felt like -whereas he went through a period of feeling awesome. However, she did put herself in this situation so I don’t blame the guy for going along with sex with multiple partners when she was a willing participant.

        That being said LW: I don’t really see why you are with this guy in the first place. I just don’t see how you can trust this person again to have your best interests at heart.

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      • avatar

        AKchic January 18, 2012, 8:34 pm

        Thank you. My brain is fried from three morning meetings. Operational, Corrections and a RX Disposal meeting. 3rd Wednesdays of the month are brutal mornings.

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  • avatar

    Kristen January 18, 2012, 3:44 pm

    LW, first, like a few people have said, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not telling him all those years ago. You weren’t in a relationship, and it didn’t seem like he was going to be in your life. You made a personal decision that can remain personal if you want it to.

    That being said, if you decide to tell him, it should be for you. Not for him, or because you owe it to him, but because it’s something that you feel you need to share so you can stop agonizing over hiding it. I can completely understand how something like that can get woven into your everyday life, until you can’t even remember a time that you weren’t thinking about it in the back of your mind. It makes you miserable. And until you talk to him about it, you’re going to have to keep suffering silently through things that come up in daily life (like if you’re watching a TV show together and they mention abortion). If it will put your mind at ease to tell him, then please go for it. I know it’s scary to not know how he’ll react, and to possibly be putting your relationship on the line… but it’s better to find out now than later.

    If he’s as reformed and amazing as you say, then he will understand and be supporting. He will say he’s so sorry you had to go through that alone. And then you can move forward in your relationship knowing all the cards are on the table. Trust me, being able to finally breathe will feel so good.

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  • avatar

    YouGoGirl January 18, 2012, 3:54 pm

    It is hypocritical for the boyfriend to be vehemently against abortion while insisting on having sex with no strings attached ie. “friends with benefits”. Because birth control is never 100% effective, sometimes even protected sex can still result in a pregnancy. After the boyfriend dumped her, the letter writer felt so alone and scared that she saw abortion as the only way out of her situation. The boyfriend shares responsibility for the letter writer’s pregnancy and decision to have an abortion. If not for his cavalier treatment of her, she may have chosen to carry the baby to term.

    Now she is afraid of his self-righteous wrath if she tells him about the abortion. Even though he will become angry, I think she needs to tell her boyfriend about the abortion because it will give her information about what kind of man he is. Will he show compassion and acknowledge his role in her decision? Or will he condemn her even though he is equally responsible?

    I am so sorry that the letter writer went through such a terrible experience. I hope that she can find the strength to MOA if her boyfriend continues to treat her poorly. She deserves a boyfriend who will love her and cherish her rather than condemn her.

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    • Budj

      Budj January 18, 2012, 4:02 pm

      haha your first sentence is what I said up in a response to my comment. I agree with that.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 4:05 pm

      That’s a good point that you make! I think the “I’m against abortion, but if one of my casual sex partners got pregnant, no WAY would I take responsibility/ agree to raise the child on my own b/c she didn’t want to!” is particularly prevalent among young-ish guys (don’t see a lot of teenage single dads out there). Anecdotally, my ex-boyfriend (both in our early/mid-20’s) told me that before his first long-term relationship he was against abortion. But then he started having sex regularly, and went “hey….wait a minute….” So that knocked some sense into him REAL quick.

      Personally, I think it’s really important to have a conversation about this *before* you start having sex, even with a casual partner….but everyone makes mistakes.

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    • avatar

      John Rohan January 18, 2012, 4:15 pm

      It is hypocritical for the boyfriend to be vehemently against abortion while insisting on having sex with no strings attached ie. “friends with benefits”.

      No it’s not, as long as he’s willing to be a parent in the case of birth control failure, and financially/emotionally support his child. Since she didn’t have a child, we don’t know how he would react.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 18, 2012, 4:37 pm

        Regardless of all of that…I still think it’s not a smart decision to be in a casual relationship with someone and risk pregnancy if he is completely against abortion.

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        Sonia January 18, 2012, 5:28 pm

        I have a friend who got pregnant and her boyfriend was really distant when he found out. She decided to keep it and after a couple of months he finally came clean and said he was disappointed in himself because he always judged people who got pregnant before being married to someone. While she took it in stride, I was so angry for her, because I felt his distance was him punishing her for wanting to keep it when HE created that very disappointment! They are better now and he’s gotten over it, but I always think, if you’re going to judge other people make sure you don’t put yourself in that very situation to be judged.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 4:43 pm

        I gotta agree with you John. I don’t really get the logic that Yougogirl and Budj are using here. If that were true, anyone ever having sex in any situation should either be willing to be a parent or not have sex ever. I don’t think that’s really fair to say when birth control is involved (yes, I know its not 100% effective). Just kind of confused by the statement. What if they were married and he didn’t want kids? Should they not ever have sex then?

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        SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 5:04 pm

        No anyone having sex in any situation should be willing to become a parent, not have sex, OR HAVE AN ABORTION.

        Also you’re missing the other half (maybe more than half) of the equation, where the woman he’s having sex with ultimately gets to decide whether to get an abortion. Whether you ethically agree with it or not, the fact remains that a woman can hide the fact that she is pregnant and get an abortion without the father’s knowledge or permission. So if he’s that opposed to abortions, he should only be spreading his seed with like-minded women. To do anything else is hypocritical.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:08 pm

        I think we posted the exact same thing at the exact same time. You phrased it much better than I did, though.

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        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 5:16 pm

        Oops, I said that too, nearly word for word. I’m going to start refreshing before I post – this is like the fourth time I’ve done that.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 5:17 pm

        caitie’s comment made sense in that either way, he’ll have to live with what she chooses bc that’s just how it is, but who said he wouldn’t have been willing to be a parent? It seems like you’re debating whether or not this woman was “allowed” to have an abortion without his consent. That wasn’t my point at all.

        I was commenting on —-its hypocritical to be vehemently against abortion while insisting on having sex with no strings attached—-
        That is the comment I was not understanding. I think my statement above (What if they were married and he didn’t want kids? Should they not ever have sex then?) is what I was hoping for some input/debate on. To say anyone who is anti-abortion should not be allowed to have casual sex while using birth control is absurd to me.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:21 pm

        Maybe I’m just less forgiving of the guy than you are? This guy seems fundamentally selfish, and I don’t see him being all that eager to be a parent. If a selfish, staunchly pro-life dude knocks up his FWB, I don’t see him “settling down”. Instead I see him trying to “force” or coerce the girl into having the baby, and then not taking responsibility as a parent and leaving the burden on the shoulders of a woman who may not have been all that eager for parenthood but felt that she “had” to because he wouldn’t forgive her if she terminated the pregnancy (or something).

        Hey, maybe he would have been totally ready to be a single dad, but SHE would be the one who has to be pregnant, and from what I understand, that’s no picnic (and carries some serious medical risks).

        So I’m going to second what SpaceySteph said: if he’s *that* pro-life, he should only be hooking up with pro-life people, or be prepared to deal with the consequences.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 5:24 pm

        I’m speaking generally, not this specific guy. I guess I should’ve said that. So what are your thoughts if I had said
        What if any couple were married and the husband didn’t want kids? Should they not ever have sex then if the husband is pro-life and does not want kids?

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        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 5:28 pm

        Vasectomy.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. January 18, 2012, 7:06 pm

        Exactly. Whenever I hear a guy say he doesn’t ever want children, I ask him what’s he’s done about it. I have asked this of a couple of my friends. One guy had aa vasectomy in his 20’s. The other guy was terrified of the idea. So, I said, you don’t want kids but you won’t do the thing that will guarantee it won’t happen? Doesn’t seem responsible to me.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:29 pm

        I guess I just really don’t understand how a married couple could have gotten to the point where they’re married and unexpectedly pregnant without talking about this. I would never marry someone prolife. I can’t imagine this scenario taking place in real life with people who aren’t kind of dumb involved being the major players.

        Sorry, I know that’s really harsh….but really? You got married, decided you didn’t want children but also didn’t want an abortion? You know how birth control works, right?

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 5:33 pm

        I’m not relaying my point well at all today 🙁
        Poor example I guess using the married couple scenario.
        I do not think it is fair that a pro-life person should never be allowed to have sex even with protection unless they are planning on keeping the baby. Most people assume if using protection, no one will end up pregnant.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 18, 2012, 5:49 pm

        Nah, I get what you’re saying. I agree- just because you’re pro-life doesn’t automatically preclude you from having a FWB relationship. I really think that, regardless of whether you’re pro-choice or anti-choice, a responsible FWB-er will discuss their views with their partner and come to an agreement about what contraceptives will be used by whom and what would happen if a pregnancy would occur.

        Now, does that usually happen in real life? I highly doubt it. People don’t like to have that talk if they can possibly avoid it.

        I just think that if you’re pro-life, it’s probably a good idea to find a FWB who’s also pro-life. Otherwise nothing but bad will come from an accidental pregnancy. I think it would be irresponsible of a pro-life person to have a FWB thing with a pro-choice person who would be likely to choose an abortion.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 6:26 pm

        Thank you silver! It’s not every day people can get what my yammering means haha.

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        SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 5:30 pm

        I think the main difference is casual, NSA sex is not the same thing as sex with your spouse.
        If your spouse gets pregnant and you don’t want kids, you have some expectation that they will honor your pro-life views, if not share them with you. You also have an expectation that you can decide together the right path for you- whether it be to raise the child, give it up for adoption… or become less pro-life because of how your situation changed.
        He has no expectation that his random hookups or FWBs will give a rats ass if he’s against abortion when they are staring down the barrel of pregnancy and/or parenthood.

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      • avatar

        John Rohan January 18, 2012, 5:51 pm

        I don’t see him being all that eager to be a parent. If a selfish, staunchly pro-life dude knocks up his FWB, I don’t see him “settling down”. Instead I see him trying to “force” or coerce the girl into having the baby, and then not taking responsibility as a parent and leaving the burden on the shoulders of a woman who may not have been all that eager for parenthood but felt that she “had” to

        Whoa!! Back up here a moment. This is ridiculous in the extreme – you are assuming an awful lot about someone you don’t even know (unless you happen to be the LW), and even making up a whole fanciful future scenario based on what – your own experiences with other men? It sounds like you are projecting; confusing him with someone else you may have known yourself. Whatever jerks you have known in your life, this guy is not them. Let’s stick to what we know, not what we think all “those people” will do.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:59 pm

        Dude, I really think you’re just a troll based on your responses to past letters.

        The ad hominem attacks about how I have “trouble with men” are also totally uncalled for.

        Bottom line is that this guy didn’t act in a mature manner towards the LW for what? three years? So I *highly* doubt that he’d be mature and responsible regarding a potential pregnancy.

        What evidence do you have to support your argument?

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        John Rohan January 18, 2012, 6:28 pm

        1. Of course you call me a “troll” since your statement was so indefensible, so you have to resort to insults. You completely made up facts on the fly, and then accuse me of trolling. Whatever.

        2. Having “trouble with men” is not an ad hominem attack. It’s something that everyone goes through at one time or another. It’s hypocritical anyway, since calling me a “troll” IS an ad hominem attack. If you haven’t ever met someone like him (or what you imagine he is like) before, then I would love to know how you think you can predict his future behavior like you have a blueprint or something.

        3. I NEVER said that he was mature or responsible. I just said that he wasn’t one of the other people you may be confusing him with.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 6:38 pm

        mmmhmm.

        Can you provide some evidence for the point you were trying to make, please? Preferably using the LW’s letter.

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      • avatar

        John Rohan January 18, 2012, 7:02 pm

        Provide you with evidence of WHAT exactly? You were the one making wild claims about what you know this guy would do in the future, not me.

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        SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 5:25 pm

        If they are married and don’t want kids, what will they do if they get pregnant? Whatever they want. As adults in a relationship they can decide together to abort, keep it, or give it up for adoption.
        But as an unattached individual with no control over what the woman does, if he really thinks abortion is so terrible and should not occur, then why is he out there having sex. He is potentially allowing an abortion to take place every time he has sex with a woman who does not share his views on abortion. If he’s so staunchly opposed, he should be actively trying to ensure he is not half the cause of an abortion. By having casual sex, he is taking a risk that an unwanted baby will be created. And by having casual sex with a woman who is not anti-abortion, he is taking a risk that she might abort that child. Something which he strongly opposes… but in word, not deed. That sounds extremely hypocritical to me.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2012, 5:31 pm

        So everyone should just assume birth control won’t work? Or might not?
        I still do not see how it is fair to say that anyone who is pro-life should never have sex, even while using protection, unless they plan to have children every time they have sex.
        Yes, its smart to be cautious and of course to talk to your partner about your feelings on abortion. Absolutely. I just don’t think its fair to say, given the fact that people have access to multiple forms of birth control, that any pro-lifers should not be having sex ever unless they are trying to or willing to have a kid.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:38 pm

        So get a vasectomy then. If someone is soooooo pro-life that they’re not willing to even confront the possibility (despite not wanting to have children), vasectomy or tubal ligation are literally their only options. Can’t afford it? Don’t have sex, then. Birth control fails. Don’t like it? Not my problem.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:51 pm

        Or, to be less hard-line: don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t share your pro-life views. BAM. it’s that simple.

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      • avatar

        Renee January 18, 2012, 8:38 pm

        And make sure your extended family and his are just as pro-life also, as in the walk the walk and not talk the talk.

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      • avatar

        Renee January 18, 2012, 5:57 pm

        I want to respond to this later, on mobile now. My husband and I use ‘nothing’ for the past 11 years.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 5:57 pm

        Everyone absolutely should assume that birth control might not work. Because that’s reality. If you can’t handle the consequences you should not have sex.
        One of the consequences of sex, even protected sex, is that you could wind up pregnant.
        And if you are pro-life and your partner isn’t, then there could be an abortion. If you aren’t ok with that, don’t have sex. It seems completely logical to me; but I think we are probably not making any progress on swaying each other to our side.

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        Britannia January 18, 2012, 11:18 pm

        I think it all boils down to the fact that assumptions make an “ass” out of “u”, lets_be_honest. Assuming that bad things WON’T happen to you is one of the MOST foolish and immature things you can POSSIBLY do.

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        iseeshiny January 18, 2012, 5:15 pm

        I agree that anyone who isn’t willing to live with the possible consequences of their actions should not be taking those actions in the first place. Anyone ever having sex in any situation should either be willing to be a parent, give birth and give the child up for adoption, have an abortion, or not have sex ever. As a man, the decision whether or not to have an abortion isn’t really, in the end, his, so, no, I think a man who doesn’t believe in abortion should not have sex unless he’s prepared to live with the consequences. Is it fair? No. But it’s also not fair that I have to bleed once a month and my husband doesn’t, amirite?

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't January 18, 2012, 5:07 pm

        Soooo…..is he going to insist that she have his child, then? Is he willing to be the sole parent to that child? If his FWB is pro-choice and chooses an abortion, what is he going to do about it?
        Ultimately, she’ll make her decision and he’ll have to live with the consequences. So if he can’t handle the fact that his FWB might abort *his* (and her) child because that’s the best thing for her, he probably shouldn’t be having casual sex.

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      • avatar

        atraditionalist January 18, 2012, 7:49 pm

        It’s very easy for someone to sit on their high horse when they know that they will never ever experience that situation.

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        Britannia January 18, 2012, 11:20 pm

        I’ve discovered that most people on their high horses do, eventually, get sweet sweet irony served to them via karma… and then they fall far and hard, and in the case of pregnancies, it’s the children who truly suffer.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:30 pm

      It isn’t hypocritical because she didn’t tell him.

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  • avatar

    XanderTaylor January 18, 2012, 4:13 pm

    If you feel you need to tell him, then go ahead. Just be prepared for all of what could happen.

    If you are on the fence: How many people know about the abortion? Who knows about it? Would they tell him about it? Would you forever wonder if they would tell him? Can you live with the possibility of someone mentioning it to him one drunken night? I guess I am looking at this in a way that is different from most others. Depending upon who knows about it, you may not really have a choice.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 18, 2012, 4:31 pm

      These are GREAT questions. It would be way worse for someone to let it slip.

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  • avatar

    amber January 18, 2012, 4:30 pm

    I can see considering what you relationship was like at the time why you chose to not tell him. I think if you’re going to tell him now like Wendy said depends on why you’re doing it. If you truly don’t think you can move on from this point without him knowing I would tell him. Just be prepared like others have said for him to react badly.

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  • Tracey

    Tracey January 18, 2012, 4:31 pm

    I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of him suddenly pursuing you out of the blue again after the way your relationship ended. From the way you describe the situation, I’m fearful he’s using you as a placeholder until he meets someone he likes more, and I do hope I’m wrong about that.

    I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of you being afraid to tell him you were pregnant when you were and that you had an abortion now that you’re back together. It feels like he was the one in control of your relationship and your feelings, and to me there should be more of an equitable distribution of emotional power between the two partners in a relationship.

    I think you should tell him, simply to gain a sense of control over your feelings for him and to get a clear picture of who he is. Tell him everything – about the pregnancy, your misleading him about the miscarriage (including why), about the abortion, and about how his behavior toward you made you feel. Then listen to him. You’ve known him for some time now, so you’ll know if he truly wants to work through things or not as he responds.

    I really hope that what he said to you was true, that he realized he was “a jerk and an idiot” toward you and wants to make things better, and that he doesn’t hurt you again. Best of luck to you, and be prepared for both the best and worst outcomes. I’m hoping for the best.

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    • avatar

      Nadine January 18, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Great advice!

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      Ktfran January 18, 2012, 4:53 pm

      Love your advice Tracey!

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    • avatar

      Painted_lady January 18, 2012, 10:56 pm

      This. Is. Awesome. I was on and off with a guy who essentially used me as a placeholder for – I’m embarrassed to admit – eight years. He was always a step ahead of me in life – a senior in high school when I was a freshman, a senior in college when I was a freshman, out of training and shipping off for his first Air Force assignment when I was a senior in college, etc. So when he was home for the summer, or on leave, we would start dating again, and we would try the long distance thing for a few months, but inevitably he would meet someone new. And I fell for it. And we were different people from the beginning; I’m about as politically progressive as I can get, agnostic, artsy, intellectual, and he was a cowboy-boot-wearing, Republican, pro-life, Catholic, sports-loving, book-hating country boy. We both became more extreme within these constraints as we aged, but because the relationship was always on his terms, I was always so afraid that if I let him see those parts of myself where I knew we would butt heads, he would leave for good. Our last attempt to make it work, I finally got completely exhausted with diluting my own personality and quit censoring what I said. And we had a lot of fights, and we broke up for good. It was ultimately so good for me because letting him see me for real allowed me to let him go.

      LW, tell him. I see a lot of this relationship in your letter. You need to know, once and for all, whether this will work. Hiding bits of yourself so someone will love you is soul-sucking. I know. From what you’ve said, it will probably not end well. I knew with my ex that as soon as I quit pretending I was the girl I thought he wanted, it would probably be the end. But you probably have no idea how hard you’re working for this guy, and you have to stop.

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  • avatar

    Ktfran January 18, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I’m in the tell him camp for all the reasons Wendy stated, as well as others. If this news is going to eat a way at you, tell him. I don’t think it’s the same as the cheating scenerio. The intent is different. One doesn’t accidentally cheat, but one can accidentally get pregnant. From what the LW says, I don’t think she is doing this to relieve guilt. Frankly, she has nothing to feel guilty about. I think she wants an honest and open relationship.

    And, as others have said, how he reacts will say a lot about his character. If people are saying to stay with him because he’s against abortion and will leave her, so what? Why stay with someone who doesn’t respect, or at least try to understand, your decisions? I say if he ends up being an ass, she’s better off without him. No relationship is worth walking on eggshells for.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl07 January 18, 2012, 4:37 pm

    LW, would you still feel guilty about it if he didn’t grovel his way back into your good graces? You did what you had to do, if he can’t accept that then that’s his problem, not yours. If it makes you feel better, then tell him but be prepared for his reaction.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones January 18, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I disagree with Wendy on this one. Based upon the status of the relationship THEN I think you made the correct decision to have an abortion at the time. And while having an abortion is not an easy path to take, it is sometimes the best choice. If you think your BF would not be understanding then I would not tell him. The relationship 3 years ago was different from how it is now. If you were to get pregnant now, while you are with him, in a committed relationship then you could navigate whatever decision together, to raise a child together, or not. But then you were FWB. FWB does not in my mind confer permission from the sperm donor (which is what he was then) to be a part of the decisionmaking, UNLESS you are actually in a relationship. So I would not tell him. Perhaps you are lying by omission, but there are some things that people really do not need to know. Especially if you think this would be a dealbreaker. Would it be a dealbreaker for him if you EVER had an abortion? Is he really hard line? People grow and change. Perhaps once he is older, if you are still together, and his views have matured and softened a bit, you could tell him, but for now, why? Therapists and priests are also good for unburdening, but some secrets are meant to be kept and this may be one of them.

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    • theattack

      theattack January 18, 2012, 5:46 pm

      I don’t think the FWB status from before matters when making a decision about what to do now. If you want to have an open and honest relationship with someone, you have to tell them about big things. Acceptable lying by omission in a relationship is something like buying a new pair of expensive shoes, or making a tiny scratch on a car, or having an extended conversation with an ex at the store. This situation is about an abortion she had that was also his. Not an abortion she had from someone else. It can’t be treated the same way.

      And do you really think it would be better for them to grow old together with him assuming their relationship was open and honest and then he all of a sudden finds out that she had been lying to him for years and years?

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones January 18, 2012, 9:05 pm

        Ideally I agree with you, that he should know about big things, but he sounds….young with black and white opinions and perhaps at this stage of his maturity it would not go well given his present intolerance. People do change as they mature and perhaps as he matured he could handle it better. A big IF, I agree, but at the same time, the fact that they were NOT really in a relationship when it happened, and he was with another girl even makes it a moot point. I treat it as a previous relationship. I do not believe, for instance, that current partners need to know all the sexual details about past sexual relationships, ESPECIALLY if you sense that they would not handle it well, or it would trigger jealousy and insecurity, etc…. But for current relationships? Absolutely full disclosure is required for a healthy relationship. I sort of treat it like would you tell your parents everything you have ever done? I sure didn’t, because, WHY?? I felt no guilt omitting certain details of my young adulthood that would have freaked them out… I see this as the same, but from here on out, while the relationship is active, certainly full disclosure is necessary. But stuff that happened while they were in a FWB situation with “no strings attached” that is gonna just freak him out, WHY?? Especially if he has matured to the point where they now have a good relationship, but not to the point where he could handle the truth of the abortion without freaking out.

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    Renee January 18, 2012, 5:00 pm

    I would find a post-abortive support group that fits your personal needs, since they vary. There has to be one you can relate best to and discuss with other women who share the same experience. I think they can give the best feedback on how to tell or to say anything at all.

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  • avatar

    sarita_f January 18, 2012, 5:00 pm

    Tiny little detail was missing… that the LW is 100% certain the baby is his. We’re assuming it’s his. The way this was written, the LW could know for a fact the baby is someone else’s, and is simply worried about telling him she had an abortion at all.

    LW, if the baby was definitely not his, and he was pro choice, then it’s definitely not his business and no reason to tell him. However, if you feel like having an abortion is an essential part of the person you’ve become, then you may never feel like you’ve totally opened up and (ideally) been accepted for the entire being you are if you don’t tell him. But that’s 100% your call to make.

    Regardless of paternity, if you’re fairly certain he’d have a terrible reaction and think you’re a lesser person for having had an abortion, well, you’ve got a fundamental difference in values. It’s highly unlikely that you’re simpatico on absolutely everything else, values-wise, except for this one thing. In which case, you really need to consider breaking up now.

    If you do break up now then it’s best you don’t tell him about having the abortion even if it was his. What’s done is done and transferring the bad news to him won’t change a single thing. Only you will feel better in that situation – kind of like confessing to cheating if it was a one-time thing (or even post-breakup!). I know that will be a controversial analogy, but that’s my opinion.

    Also, I throw in behind Tracey’s first paragraph.

    Good luck to you. This internet stranger, for one, supports your initial decision.

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    CottonTheCuteDog January 18, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Do people really want to be in relationships that are “really hard to build”? I don’t know about anyone else but for my fiance and I nothing has been hard. Loving him is as natural as breathing. Maybe that should be a flag to the LW that the boyfriend is not the one?

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      SpaceySteph January 18, 2012, 5:18 pm

      I agree with this. I was in a tough relationship where every little bit was a struggle. He was not the one for me. With my current boyfriend, everything is easy. Sure life and circumstances are hard- that hasn’t changed- but we approach things in a way that makes getting through them easy.
      Clawing for every little bit of happiness is not how its supposed to be.

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        AKchic January 18, 2012, 7:36 pm

        *laugh* I have to agree – a relationship is work, but honestly, loving someone isn’t. It shouldn’t be. The hardest part of my relationship is putting up with a few idiosyncracies and the whole light on/light off in our bedroom when I have insomnia. And honestly, those arguments are funny some nights. Oh, and the petty arguments when he leaves wet laundry in the washer. Those nights, I really want to wrap him in the soured clothes. I deal with his constant desire for more electronics, he deals with my urges to field strip and clean guns in the living room while watching prime time television. I deal with his video game magazines and he deals with my ammo making supplies. I try to teach him to be a better cook (he wants to learn) and he deals with the fact that I have friends that bring over 50lbs of fresh game meat or fish at a time, or mails me a dozen live crab that I have to cook/clean as soon as it comes in, and they are each bigger than our cat.

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        Jubietta January 18, 2012, 9:00 pm

        Are those crabs that big or is the cat petite?

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        AKchic January 19, 2012, 3:03 pm

        Cat is 12lbs as of last night. I have pictures of the first set of crab sent to me on my facebook page.
        Here’s a post with pictures so you can see what they look like.

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    • Lili

      Lili January 18, 2012, 6:18 pm

      I agree, but with reservations. I mean, what about all the couples who think things vastly improve after couple’s counseling. Or do you guys think that any couple who needs couples counseling before a long marriage is doomed to fail? I don’t know what to think and haven’t seen enough examples to really have an opinion…

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        Rachel January 18, 2012, 7:10 pm

        Yeah, but that’s more of maintaining a relationship, not building one. A good relationship should be great in the beginning, even if it requires some work down the road.

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      Sue Jones January 18, 2012, 9:37 pm

      Well what does she mean by “really hard to build”? If every day is a struggle with a lot of psychological processing that to me is “really hard to build”. If it was hard to build because he was an immature teenager (like many 19 year old boys are) but he is older and has matured and now their day to day is easy, committed, and mutually beneficial, I think the relationship is worth seeing what develops. What would be damaging is to hold a grudge over how things were back then. Let it go and move forward, but yeah, if he shows more asshole tendencies in the future, MOA!

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      jess January 19, 2012, 7:46 am

      yes yes yes. This comment, and then the one above

      “Hiding bits of yourself so someone will love you is soul-sucking.”

      If this is a meant to be, long term relationship, she should be able to tell him. But it really doesn’t sound like it is.

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    ForeverYoung January 18, 2012, 5:15 pm

    I don’t think you have to tell him unless you want to. If you do want to tell him to relieve guilt or just get it off your chest so you can start fresh so to speak (weird concept given y’alls history) I would just bring it up as in “hey, remember when I said I had a miscarriage? Well really it was an abortion because we were so unstable at the time. I didn’t feel comfortable telling you and i’m sorry. If this is a deal breaker for you I understand, but I thought you should know.”

    Also – I know you’re not asking for advice on this – but this relationship doesn’t seem healthy. I know not all relationships have fairy tale beginnings, but yikes. I’m hoping the reason you got back together with him is because he had a come-to-jesus style 180 flip in the way he treated you, and you weren’t just obsessed with him for years, allowing him to walk all over you as you pleased and then come back whenever he wanted. A relationship that starts out with such an unequal level of respect is difficult to maintain.

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      atraditionalist January 18, 2012, 7:59 pm

      I agree with this statement and I think you put it really well how she should tell him if she chooses to.

      That being said I also agree she should not be in a relationship with teh guy period. I just don’t believe that he could really and truly respect her again. Especially since she took him back after all that happened between them.

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    MiMi January 18, 2012, 8:48 pm

    There is no need to tell him about the abortion. It was a good decision you made for yourself at the time, while involved in a far from ideal situation. Who cares about this guy’s vaunted ethical standards? His ethical standards were to use you for his own convenience, repeatedly. When someone takes advantage of you without care and commitment over and over again, he gets no say. Period. You took care of yourself at a time when there was no one else to help you carry the burden. No apologies, guilt, or explanations are required.

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    Lindsay January 19, 2012, 1:29 am

    I don’t think you need to tell him. If you want to, then do it. But in terms of whether you “should,” I don’t think it really matters. It was obviously a big deal and a big decision for you, but in the scheme of things, the result is the same in terms of whether he thinks you had a miscarriage or an abortion. I’m not really sure what it would change. People always say they have a “right to know” about various things, but I’m not really sure where that comes from. He wasn’t around at the time and had no interest in being a fixture in your life, so you obviously did what you needed to do for yourself.

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