How can you tell someone they are your life and how much they need you one moment then the next how you don’t need anyone? I have my own house and if I don’t consult with him to make decisions, then he seems to get upset about it. I really care about him, but I don’t know if I can handle everything. I have been married twice and have been divorced for three years now. I haven’t dated at all since my divorce. He is the only one I have even talked to and I don’t want to date and I don’t want to date anyone else. I just want to live my life with him, but I also want to live my life happy. — Twice Married, Once Shy
Yeah, you’re not going to live a happy life if you stay with this guy. He hasn’t processed his divorce yet (which isn’t even finalized, it sounds like), and he’s already glommed onto you, relentlessly discussing marriage (while being legally married to someone else), talking about how he wouldn’t be able to do things without your help, emotionally shutting down whenever he’s in a bad mood, blaming you for everything when he’s unhappy, acting like one person one minute and another the next, and even getting mad at you when you make decisions about YOUR house.
He sounds like a weak, sad person and you’re his scapegoat for everything wrong in his life because he doesn’t have the guts, moral wherewithal, and inner strength to take responsibility for anything. He can’t even divorce the right way. He runs home to Mommy and gloms on to the first woman who can help him “do things.” He needs to learn to do things for himself before he can ever be in a happy, mutually-satisfying relationship. He’s not even close to being ready and right for someone like you. You don’t deserve this shit. MOA.
Well, yeah, you might lose her, and that sucks. It’s never fun to be broken up with by someone you’re falling for. But if this child is yours, you have bigger issues to deal with than the disintegration of a four-month relationship. First, pick up the phone and call your ex — discussions about potential parenthood shouldn’t be had over text. Ask if she’s sure you’re the father, ask if there’s anyone else it could be, and tell her that, if the baby is yours, you will support it and you will be there. Explain that you’d like to have a DNA test done to confirm paternity. If the baby is indeed yours, you’ll have to figure out how to be a supportive dad. (Even if you and your ex both agree that you won’t be part of the baby’s life, it’s the right thing to be financially supportive.)
Next, tell your current girlfriend you have something serious to discuss with her. Tell her how you feel about her and how you’ve been imagining a future with her but also that you’ve just learned some news that may affect that future and potentially your relationship. Then tell her that your ex is pregnant, that she says the baby is yours, and that, based on when you last slept with her — which overlaps the beginning of your relationship with your current girlfriend, it is indeed possible the baby is yours. Tell her that you’ve asked for a DNA test when the baby is born to confirm paternity, and that, if the baby is yours, you’ll want to take responsibility. Tell her you are sorry for any pain that causes her, that you understand if she needs time to process the news, and that you’ll also understand if she decides that this is not a situation she wants to be part of. Let her know how much that would break your heart and that you hope she will stay with you and that, together, you two can work through this, but also that, if that isn’t what she wants, you will respect her choice and never bother her.
This is all you can do. There’s no magic solution here. You made a mistake and this is the consequence, and the best thing you can do is take responsibility and be respectful of everyone’s feelings. If you end up losing your girlfriend, then she wasn’t meant for you. There will be someone else. And you may find that the baby fills your heart and brings more unexpected meaning to your life than you could imagine. Sometimes we don’t get the things in life we think we want. Sometimes we get something — or someone — else completely different that’s even better.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.