From the forums:
We met for the donation and it was just instant — we talked for hours, we ordered a take-away, and he ended up staying the night. It felt right, like we’d known each other for years. Now he wants us to date and see if anything comes from it, and he hopes to be a proper father to the baby. I will always keep the door open, but is dating him going to complicate things? If it goes wrong, surely the worst is that I never see him again, which was the original plan anyway. And if he wanted shared custody, that’s fine by me; it’s his child too. He has only donated to a couple of women, years ago, and is a single man with his own home, successful career, etc. He didn’t do this with the previous women and I’m not being naïve: I just want to do what is best for the baby and myself. Any advice is appreciated. — Motherhood, Take Two
This is a really bad idea. You’ve moved quickly from a traumatizing experience – a midterm miscarriage immediately following a breakup. It doesn’t sound like you have given yourself time to heal from either loss and, instead, are rushing to replace them. You say the worst that can happen if you date the man who’s donating sperm to you is that “you never see him again,” but that’s most definitely not the worst that can happen, and that you believe it is underscores how not ready you are to pursue motherhood and dating at this particular moment. You are thinking about logistics in your worst-case scenario and not of your emotions. Your emotions need your attention.
I urge you to put the brakes on pursuing pregnancy until you’ve healed a bit more from the loss of your last pregnancy. See a therapist if you haven’t already, give yourself six months at least to have a little more distance from your loss and to let your hormones settle a bit. If you’re already pregnant by this sperm donor who’s making the hard push to date you, keep him at arm’s length. It’s suspicious that he is pursuing you as aggressively as he is – a woman recently single, who just experienced a traumatic pregnancy loss and wants to immediately get pregnant again. It’s strange he’s talking about co-parenting with someone he’s only just met – and not just talking about it, but actively trying to make it happen. It is not, as you say, professional. It’s the opposite of professional, and I worry he is exploiting your vulnerability – not to mention the power imbalance in your relationship together (as in, you want to be pregnant and he has the ability to help make that happen).
In answer to your question, “is dating him going to complicate things?”: YES, YES, YES. How could it possibly not complicate things? If you break up after having a baby, the worst that can happen is not that you never see him again; there’s much worse that can happen. You don’t even know this guy. You don’t really know what his true intentions here are. He may fight you for full custody of your child, he may fight you for child support, he may work to turn your child against you, he may be abusive, he may leave you emotionally shattered in a way that threatens your ability to parent well. These risks are too great to take. You don’t even know this guy and you want to have a baby and co-parent with him? That you don’t see how irrational this sounds underscores the state of your emotional well-being right now and, again, I urge you to address your mental health first before pursuing motherhood. There’s just too much at stake here and you are in too vulnerable a state to think as clearly as you need to to make the big decisions that will be required should you continue down the path you’ve begun.
I don’t feel I can talk to him about it because there’s not much to confront him on right now and every time he finds out I snoop (even if I do discover something) he gets defensive and angry and turns everything around on me. I should note that if I was not snooping, I would have no indication he’s not happy with our life, and we have a very active sex life. What do I do??? I even went so far as asking a friend of a friend to bait him with a outwardly flirtatious conversation and he didn’t bite in that circumstance. My greatest fear is he’ll cheat on me and I won’t know it. I feel out of control and feel this stress is negatively affecting the health of my unborn child. — Depressed Snooper
I’m not sure what you mean by not having much to confront your boyfriend about. He is actively pursuing other women and you don’t trust him as far as you can spit. He’s emotionally cheating on you, and if he hasn’t already physically cheated, it is not for lack of trying and it is only a matter of time before he does. In addition, he is gaslighting you when you try to talk to him about it – a distinct tactic of manipulative, and often abusive, people. Your relationship sounds dysfunctional at best and potentially dangerous at worst (please have yourself tested for STIs). You need to protect your emotional and physical safety as well as that of your children (both born and unborn) by getting yourself out of this relationship and into a safe home.
Now is the time to call on your support network. Now is the time to summon all your courage and emotional strength. Now is the time to plan to be a single mother, to talk to a family attorney and find out how you can get financial support from your children’s father. You don’t mention domestic violence as part of this scenario and I sincerely hope it hasn’t reached that point yet, but these tips will still prove helpful for you as you make plans to get yourself and your son to a safe place, out of the home you share with your child’s father (especially steps 9-16).
If what I’ve written makes you panic, it should. I worry that you’ve been in denial about the kind of person you’re with, and for the sake of your children, if nothing else, you need to wake up. A man who sends sexually graphic messages (likely unwanted ones) to women – on a regular basis! – when he’s in a committed relationship with someone else, and then gaslights his partner when she questions him about it, is not a good person. He is not someone to be trusted, and he is certainly not someone whom you can build a future with. I think – I hope – on some level you already know this, and now is the time to take active steps to get away from him and build a new future that he will only be part of as a co-parent and only then if he can lovingly do so.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.