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’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.
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.