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.