“My Ex-Wife Has Been Trying to Have a Baby with Me For a Year. Should I Tell Her About My Vasectomy?”

My ex-wife and I divorced about two years ago for many reasons, but we remained friendly. After the divorce I got a vasectomy. About a year ago my ex-wife tells me she wants to have another kid — with me. We are in contact as we have a daughter together, but this was rather unexpected.

Long story short, I have been sleeping with her a couple times a month for the past year and haven’t told her I’ve had a vasectomy. I feel like I am a complete a-hole for not telling her about the vasectomy, but I like the relationship we have now. Honestly, if we got along like we are now before we got divorced, we probably wouldn’t have been divorced. We are both in our early 40s, so I am worried she may lose her chance to have another baby if she wastes time with me. I guess I agreed not just for the sex but because I still have feelings for her, which is probably why I feel so bad about not telling her about the vasectomy. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having a baby with her again if it were possible. Maybe I can get a vasectomy reversal? I read they can be done.

I never intended to hurt her or my daughter. I didn’t want to be divorced either, so maybe I was subconsciously trying to “get back” at her. I don’t know. Is there any way to fix this after messing up so horribly? — Complete A-Hole

It depends on what you want to fix. If it’s the relationship that ended in divorce that you never wanted to end and now would like to have back, the answer is no, that ship has sailed. If you want to fix the fact that you’ve basically stolen a year of your ex-wife’s remaining fertility, the answer is no, that ship has sailed, too. If you want to fix your behavior and the underlying psychological issues — like selfishness and pettiness —that have influenced your terrible behavior, the answer is maybe, but only if you commit to the hard work that that is going to take, including therapy, a shit ton of self-reflection, and taking responsibility for your actions.

You can start taking responsibility for your actions by admitting to your ex that you’ve been lying to her for the last year and letting her believe you were capable of impregnating her while you knew you were not. Of course, this will complicate your relationship, including your co-parenting relationship, and you both will have to work extra hard to not let that affect your daughter. You will have to apologize, express extreme regret, and accept that your ex will likely be very hurt and angry and you will deserve her anger. Again, there is little to no chance that your ex will want to renew a romantic relationship with you again, but there’s still a chance, if you act with regret and humility, that a cordial relationship – or, at least, a civil co-parenting relationship — can be re-established in time, but that’s going to take a whole lot of letting bygones be bygones on your ex’s part and emotional rehabilitation on yours.

I am a teacher and single mother of one 17-year-old boy, and I am about to give up on finding Mr. Right as I seem to always attract men that will never commit to me. Three years ago I met and fell in love with a single father. We dated for a year and he actually proposed to me. When I invited him to meet my family, he took a liking to my younger sister. I didn’t think much of it, but a week later I found out they had slept together. When I asked them both what was going on, they both denied it. It was not until a month later that my ex-fiance told me he needed some space—-and then he married my sister. Didn’t see that coming.

A year later, with my heart still broken, I found a lawyer to help me with some legal papers concerning my home. We became friends. Every day we exchange emails and he has helped me get over my heartache. I finally got up the courage to ask him out, but he told me he never crosses lines with former or new clients. Wendy, he listens to all my fears and dreams without judgment or ridicule. He”a always there for me whenever I need him. He’s respectful and caring. What is so wrong with crossing lines? I am not his client anymore — one date will not destroy the world. I really doubt if he lose his license over one date. He told me he reads all my emails to him in the morning and then he re-reads them again at night. — Not His Client Anymore

But you don’t want just one date, right? I mean, what’s the point in one date when you already know each other and you’re already close friends? You want the one date to lead to something and your friend knows you well enough to know you aren’t in an emotional place to start a relationship. He is very wisely letting you know as kindly as possible that he isn’t interested in dating you right now, not because he doesn’t like you or isn’t attracted to you, but because he knows you still have a broken heart. He knows getting involved with a woman who has a broken heart, who happens to be both a friend and former client of his, will risk your personal and professional relationships.

You suffered an extreme betrayal by your sister and ex-fiancé. It’s understandable that you are broken-hearted and angry. And it’s understandable why someone would be leery of getting involved with you knowing that. Frankly, it’s commendable that your lawyer friend doesn’t want to take advantage of you. If you want to keep your lawyer friend in your life, dial back on sharing so many of your fears and dreams with him and consider sharing those feelings with a therapist who can help you work through a lot of those feelings and the aftermath of being so grossly betrayed the way you were.

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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.


  1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    I agree with Wendy’s advice to LW2, but I think the way it was put kind of gently inferred that you agree that he is unlikely to suffer serious professional consequences by getting romantically involved with a former client, and I want to emphasize to LW2 that, in fact, he could very well get in professional hot water if he got involved and was caught. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, or even that it’s infrequent, but the thing is that under every state’s ethics code that I’ve reviewed there is no such thing as a truly “former client;” the conflicts of interest and confidentiality and other such duties that we as lawyers provide to clients we’re actively representing exist into eternity even after the end of active representation, even if the client dies (and, actually, even if WE die; our estates aren’t relieved of the burden either). And this is why almost every state’s ethics rules governing attorney-client romantic/sexual relationships are written similarly to the one in my state, which say:

    “A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
    (2)there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.” (Emphasis added)
    “A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a current client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.”

    He can’t get involved because he can’t use ANYTHING he learned about you during his representation in any way, which is impossible to ask him to do. He can’t get intimately involved with you when you guys weren’t sleeping together before you hired him. I know that sounds crass, but this is the kind of thing lawyer licensing boards love to slam lawyers on. So while Wendy is right and there’s likely a number of other reasons he also has declined, it’s not just a blow-off line that he can’t get involved with former clients.

    1. Yeah, if anything this case is a good example of why we have rules barring this kind of conduct. The lawyer often has private information not shared with other people. Good lawyers often take on a role of trusted advocate for personally difficult matters.* It is very easy for an immoral operator to leverage that trust to obtain romantic access to the client.

  2. LW1: Stop that deception and reflect on what you really want. I think you should come clean, but prepare yourself to face the consequences. You deceived yourself too, didn’t you, and now you are in a limbo. So own your feelings and embrace clarity.
    Sit her down and tell her the truth, starting with the project to have an other child. Ask her if she is serious about it, how she would see your life as parents again, how would be your relationship in her perspective, what she is expecting of you exactly. Does she want you as a donor and co-parent, or to rekindle your relationship, and how? Then confess that at first you didn’t take it seriously, you got a vasectomy, and do apologise. Tell her that now you would like to have a new start of your relationship because you still have feelings for her, you share her desire to have a second child and you are reconsidering your divorce. You would be open to have a surgical reversal, if this project is serious and you can agree on a situation that would work for both (would it be ok for you to be only co-parents?). It would be crazy to father a child without a thorough discussion on the conditions. Anyway, whatever happens between you, your utmost priority is and should be for both to keep a good co-parenting relationship, for the sake of your daughter.
    Then she will react, give her some time to reflect on it as well. She will feel betrayed and might shut the door. Anyway, I think you both need therapy. There is baggage here and you are not the first divorced couple to still be lovers. You have major communication issues. Her demand is strange and ambiguous, but you took advantage of the situation. Did you want to take revenge on her, subconsciously? Now you might have both to “divorce” emotionally/sexually again, or to work a lot on the relationship. There is no easy way out.
    Another thing: it will be difficult for her to be pregnant in her forties so this project could fail anyway. You might need to invest massively in IVF, which is difficult and expensive. To have sex again in this sole purpose could be delusional for both, so take that into account in your discussion. What if a pregnancy doesn’t happen? Do you still want to be lovers? Get ready to a frank conversation and this time, be honest with her and with yourself.

  3. Plenty of rapists are not held legally accountable in the United states for their actions. That doesn’t mean he is not a rapist.

  4. LW2, my heart goes out to you! I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. As part of your healing process, I’d like to suggest that you re-assess the dynamic with your lawyer friend. Has he just been a listening ear for you or is the friendship two-way – as in he shares his life stories with you, asks your opinions, etc. you know, like a friend would? If not, I have to question what his deal is. It seems like you might have gotten some mixes messages, like he’s implied emotional involvement (I’ve never had a friend read and re-read my emails and tell me about it, unless it was to tell me what a dork I am) and then quickly backed away, citing legal standards, the minute you suggested an interest. In short, another unavailable, possibly squirrely dude. Maybe I’m all wrong, just my thoughts with an eye to suggesting an area for your consideration. Good luck to you!

  5. I am going to dissent on coming clean. What he’s done is so awful that it will poison their efforts to coparent. He should bow out immediately and limit his dealings with her to coparenting their existing child.

    1. I agree with this. He IS a complete a-hole, but the best interest of their child is to have parents who can amicably co-parent, and they can’t do that if he confesses that he’s been lying to her for a year.
      Stop sleeping with her for the purpose of making a baby, tell her that its obvious after a year of trying that they aren’t able to conceive together this time around and recommend she try someone else, donor sperm, etc if she really wants another child.

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        That’s my thought too. Don’t blow up the kids childhood. She deserves stability and she won’t get that from her mom, rightfully, going ballistic.

        After a year of trying it is obvious that they won’t conceive. That’s pretty standard. When a woman is 40 doctors urge a couple to go for fertility treatment after only six months of trying without conception.

        Urge her to move on and you need to move on also. Focus on making decisions that are in the best interest of your daughter.

    2. I have to agree with this. He’d only be creating pain and a massive amount of drama for his daughter and his ex by coming clean. He needs to stop sleeping with her immediately and deal with the why of it in therapy.

    3. Yeah, I mean, I cannot see any good coming from him telling her that he’s been lying to her for a year. Obviously, this arrangement must end immediately, butI just don’t think it is in his child’s interest for him to drop this on the mother right now. It sucks because he’s SUCH A TOTAL ASSHOLE and he rightfully deserves every bit of anger and disgust this woman would throw at him if he confessed, but, man, his daughter doesn’t deserve to deal with that when she’s got a stable life right now. This LW is SUCH A SELFISH PRICK.

  6. Carla Wallace says:


  7. You are all right! I gave bad advice to LW1; I don’t know what I was thinking. For his daughter’s sake, he shouldn’t confess to his ex that he got a vasectomy – he should just say that he’s had a change of heart and is no longer open to having another baby and that she should try other means of having a baby if she’s still interested.

    1. anonymousse says:

      FWIW I think he should come clean.. If he’s this much of an asshole, he deserves the full consequences. I wonder what kind of parent he really is capable of being. He’s been taking advantage of another woman for a year! His ex deserves the truth. They might be able to coparent just fine regardless of her feelings.

      1. I don’t see the ex-wife as blameless. The whole situation is fucked up. There are many ways of getting sperm for artificial insemination. What did she feel she had to get it by having sex with an ex she wouldn’t have sex with more than once every several months while they were married. Did she want to re-marry him for some reason. There are so many legal entanglements which come from having a baby the normal way. This would be a second kid to co-parent, a longer time for the two of them to be linked through co-parenting of this year away from being a newborn. It is an increase in his child support.
        He had ulterior motives: he just wanted to bang his ex. A major lack of honesty and character on his part. She also had ulterior motives. Lots of men in the world. Lots of random, anonymous sperm. Sperm donated by a friend with a contract for no paternal rights or obligations. But no, she wanted to make another baby with her ex and she wanted to do it the old-fashioned way. Why?

        She is early 40s and rapidly running out of/already run out of time for another child, so this is a hugely asshole action on his part. Still, I don’t see what is gained by telling her the truth.

  8. anonymousse says:

    Maybe because she knows him and wanted their child to have a sibling? I never said she was blameless, but it doesn’t sound like she has been lying to him about her fertility for a year. He’s banging her under false pretenses.

    If this letter is real, it is not like any of the adults here have done much thinking about how their behavior affects the child they’re coparenting together. He asked how he could fix this. I propose being honest, but I doubt he will be. The point of being honest isn’t that he’ll gain anything, but he may actually feel less guilty. It’s the right thing to do. Just because the truth may affect him in a negative way- his ex wife might be angry, that doesn’t absolve him of being decent and coming clean.

  9. To me, being decent means he needs to stop (and should never have started) banging his ex-wife under false premise that he was helping her become pregnant. I don’t see coming clean to his ex as being decent. It is only decent if it helps the other persons involved, rather than simply alleviating his own guilt. In fact, it seems the opposite of decent, because it potentially harms both his child and his ex. It will certainly cause a blow-up, which will leave the ex feeling like a fool and without a doubt will damage their co-parenting ability and damage their child. It serves no good purpose, apart from salving his conscience. He did a bad thing. He deserves to feel guilty. It would be another bad thing to unload part of his guilt onto his ex, and severely upset her. The first thing he needs to do is to immediately stop the current fraud, in a way which leaves his ex feeling good about herself. The second thing is to unload all of this to a counselor.

    1. And whether he or anonymous donor sperm was used by LW to become pregnant, their child would have a sibling.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      His first and primary obligation is to protect the child. If he had thought of it that way a year ago he wouldn’t have done any of this. A year later he has done this. It can’t be undone but he still has an obligation to protect the child. That means stop having sex with his ex but don’t say anything about the vasectomy.

      1. allathian says:

        This is it. Confessing to the ex would only complicate matters unnecessarily. It might salve his conscience, but it would certainly make her angry, justifiably so I might add, and make co-parenting that much harder. The essential thing is to protect the interests of the existing child, and that means maintaining a good co-parenting relationship.

  10. Anon again. Update if anyone cares to hear. Last week my ex came over for sex. I told her I didn’t think the baby was going to happen. I did not tell her about the vasectomy. She didn’t seem too upset about me telling her I wasn’t going to have sex with her anymore. I talked with her for awhile and told her there were alot of other people she could have a baby with. Things seemed to go ok.

    Things must not have been as ok as I thought as she disappeared for about a week. She would usually come over to see out daughter every 2 or 3 days and call quite a bit. (Our daughter lives with me). I got a call from the hospital and she had overdosed. She has had a drug problem in the past but had been clean for over a year now. She is ok and in rehab now. My daughter and I saw her for a bit before she left for rehab and she said she just had an accident.

    I had my second therapy session today and am trying to work on why I did this to my ex. I feel entirely responsible for her using drugs again. I am working on getting myself better. I appreciate a lot of the advice I received here. I got a little irritated in the forum posts and I apologize for that. I realize that after a few weeks everything isn’t just great now. It is going to take a long time for my daughter and my ex to recover from the selfish choices I made.

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