Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend is Having a Baby with His Wife and He Kept it a Secret for Months!”

A lot of us are still reeling from yesterday’s hearing, and this open thread is still available to vent and share thoughts. And if you’re ready for some distraction, here’s a new column that has nothing to do with sexual assault or with beer-loving rapey overgrown frat boys being handed a seat on the Supreme Court by a bunch of old white dudes:

I have been dating my boyfriend for seven and a half months now. He’s still married, but he has been separated from his wife for just over a year now. The connection we share is something I’ve never felt before. We get along amazingly and have fun. He listens, he cares, he gives me his time, and he’s sweet and loving. He tells me he loves me, and he has been saying it for a couple of months now.

I’ve had a guard up from previous bad relationships but recently have let it down on the advice of others. Last week I came across a social media announcement that he and his wife are having a baby. She has been pregnant the entire time I’ve known him and I had no idea. He never once told me.

I brought it up to him and he sent me a pretty lengthy text about how sorry he was. He was too afraid to tell me as he has fallen in love with me and was scared I’d leave. I’m not mad about his having this baby with his wife, if in fact they have been separated. I’m more mad that he chose to keep it from me. This was a huge shock to me almost eight months in. How should I handle it? — Stunned By Baby News

Setting aside for a minute the likelihood that your boyfriend has been sexually active with his wife since you two started dating and the possibility that he isn’t, in fact, even separated from her, you still have a man who would keep such a big secret from you for the entire duration of your relationship. That you found out about this on social media and not from him adds insult to injury, and it really hurts any argument he might make about being scared to lose you and caring about your feelings. If he cared about you at all, if he truly were afraid of losing you, he would have told you the news before letting you find out from a stupid social media announcement. He doesn’t care about you; he just wanted to ride this side fling for as long as he could, especially as the responsibility of impending parenthood weighed down on him. I hope you tell him the road ends here and you MOA.

Related: “My Boyfriend’s Ex Is Pregnant With His Baby!” and “My Married Boyfriend Won’t Leave His Wife For Me”

I met a guy from OKCupid a few months ago. We became official about four months ago. I am in my late 20s, and he is in his early 30s. He has never had a girlfriend before. I am his first girlfriend (and he was virgin too until we made our relationship official). He works as a mechanical engineer, and he is very introverted and shy. All his friends are males. He has rarely approached a girl because he is so very shy, so that’s why he used an online dating website to meet girls.

I really like him because he is very different from other guys whom I’ve met online or through friends. He is very considerate and caring. He calls me every day and meets me three times a week. He also takes interest in joining my activities. For example, he had never tried skiing and kayaking before, but he spent money and time on taking kayaking courses and buying new gear in order to join activities with me. We also booked airplane tickets and hotels to ski this December, and he signed up for a beginner lesson to learn how to ski. When I feel sad or frustrated, he is always there to support me and encourage me. He also cooks for me and makes handcrafts for me. We met each other’s friends, and my friends really like him.

I thought everything had been going well. Last week I asked him how he felt about our relationship. He said he really enjoys the time with me; however, he was been single for 30 years before meeting me and has found that being in a relationship is so new to him that he feels a bit overwhelmed sometimes. He said he was always alone (and sometimes with his friends), and now he spends a lot of time with me instead. He said he is looking for a serious relationship, but, at the same time, he sometimes wonders if beingsingle is better for him. He also told me that, in fact, he has been seeing a psychotherapist for more than a year, one he started seeing because he was so shy about approaching a girl.

I feel shocked to hear about this. He has been treating me so well! I started wondering if I had done anything wrong. I asked him about this, but he said I am very good. He said I am very caring and I have all the qualities that he respects.

That was our conversation last week. He still called me this week, and we have still gone out as usual. But I feel kind of worried. I am afraid that one day he will tell me that it’s over. I have tried my best to treat him well, but now I am afraid I can lose him. — Afraid to Lose Him

 
It can be a scary feeling falling for someone, letting our guard down, letting ourselves begin to imagine a future with someone we’re connecting so well with. When we get to that place, there are three main possibilities: things work out and we are happily ever after together; we fall more and more in love and things don’t work out and we get our heart broken; the relationship ends prematurely, saving us from from a bigger heartache that we might have had if the relationship had continued for a longer period of time. The promise of the first possibility sometimes isn’t worth the risk of the second, and people often sabotage their relationships for the more neutral/less heartbreak-y third option. I think that’s what you’re doing here.

I can understand why you’re nervous. The things your boyfriend has said about being overwhelmed in your relationship are a little unnerving. But I recommend focusing on the positives in your relationship, of which it sounds like there are a lot. First: your boyfriend is honest with you. You asked him a pointed question about your relationship which he could have avoided, lied about, or only indirectly answered. Instead, he made himself vulnerable and shared his deep feelings with you. That’s a sign of the trust between you and the respect he has for you. Second, he treats you lovingly, with respect, and like someone he wants to be with.

Could it be that your boyfriend is also afraid of a broken heart, and is trying to figure our whether the risk of that is worth letting himself fall completely in love? Maybe! And he may also genuinely be struggling with what might feel like a mini identity crisis, going from the consummate single guy who was too shy to ever approach a woman to having a full-fledged, serious relationship. He was being honest when he said he feels overwhelmed.

I say give him some time to figure it out. It’s only been four months. That’s a short amount of time for one’s self-perception to catch up to a changed reality. Of course, you are also allowed to be overwhelmed and scared, and you can say so, too. But I hope you do so in a way that best supports the first possible path of your relationship (a long, happy relationship) and you don’t sabotage things to protect your heart.

Related: “I’m Afraid He’s Going to Break My Heart”

19 comments… add one
  • avatar

    brise September 28, 2018, 9:30 am

    LW1: what do you do? You leave, to let him own his responsibility towards his wife and baby. Good lord, and you are not even mad he has a baby with his wife he says he is separated from? I think you lack some lucidity. Open your eyes, please.

    LW2: yes, as Wendy says, give it some time. It is encouraging. But don’t go too fast too strong. Let him ajust little by little. Anyway, this is always the best approach in any relationship. Keep your independence and let him take some time by himself. Don’t expect to do all your vacations with him.

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  • avatar

    brise September 28, 2018, 9:31 am

    LW1: and he treats you well because you are his side piece. He treats awfully his wife. Avoid him from now on.

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  • avatar

    Rebecca September 28, 2018, 9:56 am

    LW2, it’s also possible that he’s Ace or Aro, and just doing the therapy/doing the dating thing because that’s what society tells guys they should do.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie September 28, 2018, 10:17 am

    LW#1 -seriously? Well if he didn’t tell you when he fell in love with you – why didn’t he tell you BEFORE he fell in love with you? Like when you first started dating and he said that he was married but separated but conveniently left out he very glaring fact that his wife was pregnant. Aim higher.

    LW#2 – give him time. Give him some space. It’s hard to go from always on your own to having to think as a couple. He doesn’t have the experience to rely on, so he’s finding his way.

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  • avatar

    Allornone September 28, 2018, 10:18 am

    LW- My god, woman, he lied to you for the entire duration of your relationship. A pretty effing big lie, at that. What else is he lying about?

    If he knocked his wife up, he’s obviously not as estranged as he’d led you to believe. There is every indication that you are just the side chick. Don’t be the side chick. MOA

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones September 28, 2018, 10:39 am

      She very clearly is the sidepiece.
      Even if he was ‘separated’ from his wife, they are probably going to try to work it out for the sake of the baby, so she will need to move on anyway.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 28, 2018, 3:13 pm

      Yeah, even if they were “separated,” at that point, then they were clearly more involved than it sounds like he let on. A couple whose relationship fizzles for months before they separate is very different from one who is actively sleeping together right before they separate.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar September 28, 2018, 11:34 am

    LW1 you should handle it by asking yourself why in the hell are you so gullible. People who are separated don’t do joint social media announcements about a new baby.
    Clearly he lied to you about it. When people lie, they lie for a reason. What was his reason for lying? Why wasn’t he upfront in the beginning? It couldn’t be because he didnt want to lose you… because he didn’t have you then. Someone would lie about being separated from his wife if he was looking to cheat though. Just sayin. That you still think there is something for you to handle instead of something for you to run screaming from says a lot about you and how much you actually value yourself .
    But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’ve met all his family and friends already. Maybe the baby announcement was in between posts he made about all the fun he was having with his new girlfriend. Maybe you aren’t the dirty little secret in his life.
    It is one thing to be lied to. It is something else entirely to be wilfully blind to the truth.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 28, 2018, 11:35 am

    LW1]. You are the very definition of clueless..
    .
    LW2]. You are wasting your time as he is clearly too big of a fucking mess to date. NEWSFLASH — Anybody who is a virgin by their late 30s has serious fucking issues.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 28, 2018, 3:11 pm

      It’s his early 30s, but I assume it’s probably the same advice.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl September 30, 2018, 7:01 pm

      I work in the engineering field, you’d be surprised by how many older virgins there are (i.e. late 20’s, early 30’s). Fortunately though, many of them realize they are quite introverted and work hard at breaking down those barriers. I’ve seen a few of them succeed at this and go on to have very fulfilling relationships, marriages, and even become parents! Sounds like this guy is no different; he definitely seeks love and is just finding his way. Give him a little space, and the relationship will hopefully continue to grow.

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  • avatar

    JD September 28, 2018, 11:44 am

    The math indicates that he was separated for what, 5 freaking minutes, before you started dating him? That was a bad idea right there. Please have some self respect and leave. He likely has lied to you about their relationship status all along and I can almost guarantee they will try to work it out for the baby, if they already haven’t been doing that the whole time. Heck, who knows if he actually ever was technically separated.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph September 28, 2018, 12:02 pm

    LW1, your friends told you to let your guard down around a dude who was still married? I question their judgement AND yours.

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  • Copa

    Copa September 28, 2018, 12:31 pm

    LW1: If your relationship is open and honest, it’s really freakin’ weird not to share something major like the child you are bringing into this world any day now! You are absolutely the sidepiece here. Move on and don’t look back! I’d hate to be this guy’s wife. In the future, it’s probably best to wait until a guy’s divorce is finalized before getting involved with him.

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  • avatar

    Oracle September 28, 2018, 2:10 pm

    LW1 Never date a married man. Someone who is separated is still married. And you are really bad at math. Or you are just fine with thinking sleeping with the wife is a separation.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 28, 2018, 3:10 pm

    LW1: This happened to me, except I hadn’t been dating the guy quite as long when I found out. Dump him. Coming clean about a months-long lie doesn’t mean that he’s now being honest. It means that he’s a liar. He will lie again. He’s shown you that he is either a naturally dishonest person or he’s so much of a coward that he’d rather lie to the person he is with than have an uncomfortable conversation.

    LW2: I think you need to have further conversations with him. The big question is whether his statements mean that he’s simply overwhelmed and needs to adjust or whether it’s truly that he doesn’t want to be with someone (or with you — a lot of people think and/or say they don’t want a relationship and mean they don’t want one with you…not out of dishonesty necessarily, but out of a lack of self-awareness). I’ve been single a long time and I could see myself feeling the same way as him, but there’s a fine line between feeling that way because it’s the wrong fit and feeling that way because it’s a big adjustment. Talk to him more to get an idea of what that is.

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  • avatar

    moe September 28, 2018, 6:12 pm

    LW2:
    So he had never been in a relationship with a woman, never had sex and probably even had very little social contact with women before you met and it seems within a month or several months, you made it “official” (whatever that means) before even having sex? Of COURSE he is overwhelmed! A guy in this situation would need a HUGE amount of patience and time, even if he IS truly interested in a relationship with a woman.

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  • avatar

    Ashley September 30, 2018, 10:24 am

    For LW 2, I think some space is in order, as in maybe you and your bf should stop making long term plans and focus on the present, on getting to know each other better. It is so tempting I think to plan trips and holidays when you meet someone new, and maybe it just hit your bf what that all means. It’s grrat he’s putting in effort to do you things you like, but I think some pressure needs to be taken off your bf

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  • avatar

    bomba October 1, 2018, 3:17 am

    LW2: Your boyfriend has had a pretty big lifestyle shift since he met you. He genuinely enjoys the time he spends with you, but going from a lot of time alone to very frequent hangouts is overwhelming, in his own words; why not ask him if he needs more time to himself? Perhaps you only see each other two times a week instead of three.

    Him seeing a therapist is a great, healthy sign that he wants to make this relationship work with you, without you being the sole dumping ground for whatever reservations and problems he’s facing on his part. He honestly sounds like a really great guy who just needs things to go a little slower while he adjusts.

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