“Should I Tell Him I Had a Miscarriage?”

For the past year I have had a casual fling with a guy from work. We began flirting, things escalated, and we ended up sleeping together. Things have never been awkward at work. We rarely see each other outside of work unless it’s a night out. So there are no dates, etc. My feelings for him have gotten really strong, and I’ve wanted things to progress.

I’ve heard stories of him being a bit of a “manslag,” but none of this puts me off him. I won’t even go on a date with another guy because I feel so strongly about him. I have asked him how he feels, and he said he does have feelings for me but doesn’t know what he wants. He’s told me he loves me on a couple of occasions, but it’s something I find a little hard to believe.

A few months ago I fell pregnant, but I didn’t tell him as I was scared how he would react. Unfortunately, I had a miscarriage, and he still doesn’t know. I’m really unsure of what I should do. We tried to stop the whole flirting/flanter but that lasted an entire week, as it seems that we (or I) just can’t stay away.

So, should I carry on and stay stuck in this complicated situation or should I get out of it (and if so, how?)? And also, do I tell him about the pregnancy? Does he deserve to know or should it stay hidden in the dark? — Co-Workers with Benefits

I don’t care what you’re referring to, if a question ever includes the phrase, Should I stay stuck?, the answer is always “no.” You know this “relationship” isn’t going anywhere. It’s been a whole year, and you still haven’t even had a date with this guy. If he wanted you as a girlfriend, he would have taken you out for a few dinners by now. As it stands, he barely wants anything to do with you. He says he loves you? Pshh. You’re right not to believe that. This isn’t love; it’s convenience. He doesn’t love you; he loves how easy you are.

As for how you get out of this fling, you stop having sex with him. The end. When he calls you or, more likely, texts you and asks you to come over for a quickie, you ignore him. If he asks you at work what you’re up to later, tell him you’ve got plans. When he starts acting more invested because suddenly you aren’t so easy and that piques his interest, fill your schedule up with fun stuff so you aren’t tempted by his requests to hang out.

In regards to the miscarriage, which I’m sorry you had to experience, I wouldn’t bother telling your co-worker/fling. What would be the point? It’s not going to change your relationship. It’s not going to make him suddenly want something more with you. And you’re not going to get retroactive support. You probably aren’t going to get support at all. What could he say or do that would make things better? At best, he’ll say he’s sorry you had to go through that. At worst, he may say he doesn’t believe you or that he’s relieved you aren’t still pregnant. And this isn’t about him “deserving” to know or not. What does that even mean, anyway? That he somehow has earned your trust? Trust me, he doesn’t care. If your trust is what he was after, he’d have upgraded your status in his life from casual booty call to someone he at least cares enough about to see a movie with.

Forget this guy. Move on. Turn to a good friend or two to help you process and grieve the loss of your pregnancy. Decide you want better and don’t settle for being some guy’s easy lay. Fill your time with activities and people who bring you happiness and make you feel loved. Don’t leave yourself open and vulnerable to the seductive charms of a horny co-worker who “doesn’t know what he wants,” which, by the way, is code for, “I just want to have sex with you, but, if I say that, you’ll probably stop having sex with me, so I’ll just say I don’t know what I want and hopefully that will buy me a little more time until you figure out this train ain’t ever leaving the station.”

Love yourself better.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. “Don’t leave yourself open and vulnerable to the seductive charms of a horny co-worker who “doesn’t know what he wants,” which, by the way, is code for, “I just want to have sex with you but if I say that, you’ll probably stop having sex with me, so I’ll just say I don’t know what I want and hopefully that will buy me a little more time until you figure out this train ain’t ever leaving the station.”

    Love yourself better.”

    THIS. This is definitely going on my Dear Wendy-ism wall! Thanks for this. I really needed to hear this right now.

    1. Marjoralynnia says:

      I for one needed to hear it two years ago. Damn.

    2. Rachel @ Reality Chick says:

      It’s a slam dunk … Love it!

  2. EricaSwagger says:

    LW, because your feelings for this guy are so strong and don’t seem to be reciprocated at all, I fear that you’d only be telling him about the miscarriage to try and manipulate him. To make him feel for you, to bring him closer to you, whatever. You don’t seem to want to tell him to ease your mind, or to confide in him about your loss, or because you even think he truly deserves to know. You want to tell him because you think it will change your current situation.

    It wont.

  3. “love yourself better” is the best advice.

    1. Indeed! It’s good advice for pretty much anyone.
      Also, new newsletter, hurrah!
      And also, thanks to Canadian DW’ers for telling me about poutine. I tried it yesterday, my life is changed.

      1. It really is amazing isn’t it? I bought a British guy a poutine a few weeks ago during his very first visit to Canada, but he didn’t really like it much. I happily finished it for him.

      2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Your welcome.

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        You’re. I’m drinking my coffee, give me a break.

      4. His loss! I’m not even a huge French fry person. Turns out that what was missing was gravy and cheese. I think it might be the new food thing in Cleveland this summer – there was a gal at the bar who said it’s started popping up on menus.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Wait, that’s what poutine is? French fries with gravy and cheese? I thought that was just called cheese fries or irish nachos.

      6. I used your question as an opportunity to wiki it =) According to the article:
        “In the basic recipe for poutine, French fries are covered with fresh cheese curds, and topped with brown gravy.”
        The ones I had used mozzarella instead of cheese curds (I seem to remember someone commenting on a thread that the curds were super important), and also added black beans.

        Sorry for the thread jack, I’m a little food-obsessed atm.

  4. You can OF COURSE stay away from this guy if you decide you really want to. And it’s really the only sensible thing you can do. Either he’ll rethink his position once you stay away and decide he actually wants to date you: win. Or you find out he doesn’t care and then finally get over him: double win.

    He probably doesn’t even care that you had a miscarriage, so don’t tell him.

    1. I’ll add that I have a hard time feeling bad for this LW. She KNOWS this guy isn’t into her. I fail to see any manipulation on his part. She’s dressing this situation up as “complicated” when it really isn’t. It’s all crystal clear. “I couldn’t stay away”, “nothing puts me off him”, oh come on. Stop it. Be glad that things are not awkward at work, that’s the best thing about this whole scenario.

      1. Sasa your comment is disgusting. Go reevaluate yourself.

    2. I honestly wouldn’t encourage the LW with this statement . . .

      “Either he’ll rethink his position once you stay away and decide he actually wants to date you: win.”

      Because by saying that, she’ll think that if she pulls away, he’ll come around. He might for a while, but it won’t last. If he wanted a relationship, it would have happened already.

      1. Yeah you’re right. I was trying to do logics with the LW: IF she hopes that the guy will come around, then staying away is STiLL the best option. But she probably won’t read it that way.

  5. Oh, LW. First of all, I am sorry about your miscarriage. That’s a difficult thing to go through, & I hope some friends or family were able to help you through, or at least distract you.

    My advice is to NOT tell this guy. Like EricaSwagger said above, your desire to inform him sorta kinda ~reeks~ of a manipulation tactic. Don’t do it…not even for his sake, but for yours. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be disappointed by his reaction (or lack of).

    Then, after you *don’t* tell him, please completely stop your fling. It’s clearly unhealthy for you. You accurately described it in the first line as “casual” & then devolve into nonsense about strong feelings, love, and can’t-stay-away from each other. I really roll my eyes at that mentality—you are a sentient being! You aren’t a magnet to this guy. You have the power to stay away from him, and GET OVER him so you can free yourself up for other opportunities. Please do so.

  6. Great advise Wendy! Though I have a feeling that the letter is going to use the following as away to actually try to get this guy to date her.
    “As for how you get out of this fling, you stop having sex with him. The end. When he calls you or, more likely, texts you and asks you to come over for a quickie, you ignore him. If he asks you at work what you’re up to later, tell him you’ve got plans. When he starts acting more invested because suddenly you aren’t so easy and that piques his interest, fill your schedule up with fun stuff so you aren’t tempted by his requests to hang out.”

  7. You say you want a relationship, yet you sabotage any way to find a real one by taking yourself off the market to have sex with someone who wont give it to you. Figure out if yi uh really want that and if you do, make yourself available to someone who wants the same thing. Good luck!

  8. Avatar photo kmentothat says:

    I can’t imagine the pain of going through a miscarriage, unexpected pregnancy or planned. I encourage you to have compassion for yourself and allow yourself the best opportunity at healing, which means surrounding yourself with people who genuinely support you and involving yourself in things that will help keep you happy and moving forward. Which mean there isn’t room in your life anymore for will he/won’t he drama. Would you encourage your best friend to wait around for a guy for over a year and shut herself off to other more available options? Of course not. So be your own best friend here and do what’s best for you, even if it isn’t what your heart wants right now. Create boundaries, cut off sex and after work contact, be polite and focus on yourself. It won’t be easy. Especially if he suddenly tries to get your interest again. But you will gain so much in self-respect and happiness from refocusing all the time and energy wondering why he doesn’t want to be with you on just enjoying your life. And once you have more self respect, you’ll see that you deserve a way better than this guy.

    As far as telling him, I put everything on a risk / reward graphic. This one has VERY low potential for a good reward (he realizes he loves you? Is happy he knows?) and a lot of potential for a bad outcome for both of you (he is cold about it, he becomes angry you didn’t tell him, he has to deal with knowing he had a child created that was lost, feels shitty for not knowing or being able to be there for you when it happened) so why put yourself in an emotionally risky situation for very little promise of a good outcome? Unless you just want him to feel bad too, which I am hoping is NOT the case, it isn’t worth doing. Best of luck finding peace.

  9. “A few months ago I fell pregnant”

    This is such a passive, whoops look what happened, kind of statement and if the LW really is in such a mindset I need you to take a much more active role in BIRTH CONTROL… in all situations but particularly with a guy that you aren’t monogamous with (because you aren’t monogamous with your fuck buddy I can almost guarantee that).

    And when you want something more in a relationship, express yourself and it doesn’t happen – MOA and save yourself the brain gymnastics of convincing yourself someone has feelings for you when they haven’t even taken you on a date. Words don’t mean shit, actions matter…

    1. It’s a regional expression actually. Based on the “manslag” comment and the “fell pregnant” comment, I was thinking LW was from outside the US. I hate the expression too but it’s the normal way of saying it (whether the pregnancy is accidental or intentional) in some parts of the world.

      1. Do you know where? I’ve never heard it before.

      2. lets_be_honest says:


      3. Yes, I was thinking the same. Although UK English and slang are the norm in most parts of Europe so could be from a number of places.

      4. Elle Marie says:

        I’ve heard/seen it commonly used in TV shows/literature from the UK.

      5. I think it’s a British expression. Not sure. I’ve heard it a few times.

      6. I had never heard the expression before either, weird. Though I still stand by my birth control comment…

      7. ‘Fell pregnant’ is the same as got pregnant in the UK and slag is UK slang for slut so I assume that’s what manslag is. From an American but I like British culture.

    2. That line stood out for me too. It is like she is a passenger in her own life instead of steering her own course. Disappointing. How come no one pays attention to consequences anymore? It’s like everyone just abdicates responsibility and then is confused when their actions have consequences.

      1. Regardless of the expression’s origin, I agree with this: “It is like she is a passenger in her own life instead of steering her own course.” That’s definitely where a lot of her problem is stemming from—I mean, look at how she explains their “attempt” to stop seeing each other (“We tried to stop the whole flirting/flanter but that lasted an entire week, as it seems that we ((or I)) just can’t stay away”)

    3. Here’s an article about the use of the phrase. Looks like it began as an expression used for accidental pregnancies but now the general usage includes any pregnancy, e.g. “we were delighted when we fell pregnant last June.”

  10. You ask a lot of ‘should’ questions. Should you do this, should you do that. Worry about yourself first, and not what you “should” do. Only you can make those choices. But you seem old enough to know that he is not looking for anything more from you at this point. If you don’t like the current situation of things, then change it. It’s that simple. Stop talking to him, stop allowing yourself to be used in this situation.

    And for what it’s worth, a long time ago, I made a mistake and got pregnant with a fling, and had a subsequent miscarriage. I was really young, and told him out of manipulation (though I had no idea that’s why I told him), and trust me, it’s only going to end up hurting you more.

  11. You’re unwilling to get over him because you think if he “doesn’t know what he wants,” that there’s always the possibility that he’ll finally decide that what he wants is to be with you. But Wendy’s right. He knows what he wants, but he doesn’t want to say it. I mean, do you really think that after all that time, a person still wouldn’t know? Has it ever taken you over a year to decide how you feel about someone?

    Also, it’s really silly to avoid dates with other men for this guy. You’re giving him exclusivity when he doesn’t even want it. In return for what? Because he sure as hell isn’t turning down dates with other women.

    As for the miscarriage, I’m sorry. I also don’t know why you think he “deserves to know.” He surely is not going to WANT to know. I feel like you just want to tell him because you think it’ll bring you guys closer, but a guy who doesn’t even want to date you is not going to want to bond with you over a miscarriage. And this is not the kind of guy you want fathering kids, so please try to use birth control.

  12. Cut him off, listen to Wendy & start using birth control and condoms, especially when you know you are being used for sex.

  13. Getting over this guy won’t be easy because you see him every day. And getting pregnant with his child, keeping it a secret, and then losing it? These are huge hurtles. You WILL clear these hurtles but you will need help. Heed Wendy’s advice about surrounding yourself with support. Friends, activities, and I’d also recommend a good therapist.

    I miscarried last summer with the support of my loving partner but it was still one of the darkest emotional periods of my life. There is a severe hormonal flux that follows a miscarriage –for the same reason women experience post-partum blues. The hormonal levels that slowly built up in your body suddenly come crashing down. This condition on top of the usual heartache, unrequited love feelings –is a serious whammy. I saw a therapist to help me through this time of what felt like a bottomless sadness. She was kind and nurturing to me in a way that I needed. Please find someone who specializes in relationship troubles and grief counseling. It will be the best decision you can make.

  14. I’m sorry about your miscarriage but yes – that is something you don’t tell him. Merely contributing the sperm is not a sufficient reason to confide something so personal to someone who has shown no interest in you beyond the bedroom and some flirting to get you there. I get you want to believe him when he says he cares or he is confused but – really – he doesn’t and he isn’t. He just isn’t relationship material. You can’t mold him into a boyfriend or wish him into a partner worth having. Consider it impossible and just move on. It’s like staring at a pile of nails and wishing it was a cupcake. It has nothing to do with you – it is what is it – he just wants uncommitted sex. What does have to do with you however, is the ability to recognize that a pile of nails is not a cupcake and will never be a cupcake. So work on that. You need better cupcake radar.

  15. Condoms & birth control. Use ’em.

  16. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    This guy is using you. Seriously, he is full of shit. Doesn’t know what he want’s after a year? No, he knows what he wants- sex and he’s getting it and doesn’t want to upset the status quo so he’s feeding you line after line. I’m sorry you had a miscarriage. I’m sure that it really hard even if it was a surprise and you had mixed feelings about a pregnancy. I do believe that every father deserves to know when he has fathered a child. This doesn’t really fall into that standard but I would tell him for selfish reasons. A guy that uses you is likely just going to run at the sight of anything resembling to commitment and if you tell him about this he is likely going to want nothing to do with you after which would make it easier for you to move on. Which you 100% need to do.

    1. Somehow out of all the comments, I agree with lemongrass, to tell him. I had a slightly different situation with a man whore. He actually took me out on dates and made it appear that we were in a relationship. We got close, then he left the country suddenly for his job, without real notice. After he left I started gaining weight, getting bloated, 13 pds gained in a month. My stomache at the third month looked like I was three months pregnant, body aches, lower back pain, etc, I had all the symptoms. I did not say anything to him for three months as he was out of the country working on his new job promotion. But the doctors ran numerous tests for everything and they could not find a baby , additionally a few of the home pregnancy tests were positive. Doctors tests negative. In a state of anxiety,depression and confusion I told him while he was out of the country, to figure out what happened, that I might be pregnant. Then ultrasounds later confirmed no baby. Anyway he was mad and blamed me for being manipulative, trying to trap him, etc. It was bad. Until I emailed him the pic of my three months stomache, overseas he never believed the reality. But it did change the relationship too, he is distant now. It definitely did not make us closer. But you find out what the men really want.


  17. Avatar photo gatecrashergirl says:

    First off, WWS. This might be the best advice she’s given yet. Love YOURSELF better! I’m going to start paying that bit of advice forward.

    Second, you will gain absolutely nothing by telling him about the miscarriage. Best case, he says “Sorry for your loss” (note the your – not our). Most likely, he’ll say something along the lines of “Well I hope you’d have done the right thing and gotten rid of it.” Why such a harsh statement? One of my friends heard it from a guy she was actually dating, not just sleeping with, and it tore her up. Don’t put yourself in that situation.

    Third, maybe it’s time to get yourself a new job. Remove yourself from that situation all together. And next time, don’t sh(t where you eat. Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Oh man, the multiple reactions he could have that I’m imagining are all awful. I was told “call my sister, she can help you get rid of it” as he rolled back over to sleep. Yea, hearing nothing would’ve made me feel better.

    2. Avatar photo landygirl says:

      My thoughts are that if she tells him about the miscarriage, he’ll disappear for good which would probably be a good thing.

      1. Yeah, I was about to say that. He’s not going to want to risk her getting pregnant again.

  18. Bittergaymark says:

    Telling some hook up that you got knocked up and then lost the baby isn’t going to make them suddenly fall in love with you. Quite the opposite. Honestly? I can see why a guy might doubt this story… Sure, it may all be very true… But as others have wisely pointed out, your reasoning for telling him are beyond manipulative… Give it up. Find somebody actually interested.

    The biggest fallacy of the female heart is that far too many of you foolishly believe that if you simply love some dolt enough, he’ll miraculously wake up one day loving you back. Um… This. NEVER. Happens…

    1. I can’t agree with your last paragraph enough… Speaking from experience, it really doesn’t matter what you feel/do. If a guy doesn’t like you that way, he doesn’t like you that way.

    2. Avatar photo landygirl says:

      I’m sure there are more than a few men who simply believe that if you love someone enough they’ll realize it and love you back otherwise there wouldn’t be so many men complaining about being Friendzoned.

      In any case, this woman is having a relationship in her mind, not with this guy. Who would want to have a baby with someone you barely even know? I don’t understand the motivation behind that. I’m not sure the LW is in touch with reality but then again, she is young.

      1. EricaSwagger says:

        My best guy friend is the epitome of this. Hopeless romantic who has been in love with the same girl for years. There’s no explaining to him that she isn’t into it, even when it comes straight from her! Sigh.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I had a friend who confesses feelings that weren’t reciprocated. We still hung out a lot though, and during that time he got a great job offer in California. He called me from the airport when he was leaving, and said if you ask me to turn around, I will. I told him not to, of course, but wouldn’t you know who showed up that night at my place with flowers in hand. It sucks to be in that spot where you just refuse to hear what the other person is saying.

      3. OK, when i see 4 of you unanimously agreeing with BGM, I start to think maybe the apocalypse is upon us. 5 including me.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Technically, it appears he was agreeing with us. Just sayin’ 🙂

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh, and of course he only spoke about women doing this, and my example was of a man doing it.

      6. Oof, yes, I call this the princess syndrome. I know many couples where the woman settled on the guy who spoiled her the most –grand gestures, expensive gifts, and ultimately provided the lifestyle she was after –lavish wedding, big house, private schools for the kids, etc, etc. NEVER turns out well. The guy figures out she married him for the lifestyle and not for him. The woman eventually realizes that “stuff” isn’t fulfilling. Both developing wandering eyes and deep resentment for the other.

        I see it especially with the early 30s (last chance) set.

  19. AliceInDairyland says:

    What’s a manslag??

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      “a man who cheats and/or spreads his seed to many women” haha

    2. It’s the man version of “skank” – like calling someone a “manwhore” or a “player”. Of course we can have a whole conversation about how being promiscuous is awful if you’re a woman but A-OK if you’re a guy (in fact it doesn’t put people off – just ask the LW)

  20. LW, I miscarried a few weeks ago and it was awful. I can understand why you want to tell him. I don’t believe that you are trying to manipulate him but are hoping he understands. The thing is, guys don’t form a bond the way that women do. I am married and my husband isn’t as upset as I am. We have been trying forever and the fact is when people ask him how he is doing, he keeps saying that he is most upset that he can’t help me. Or he told me he has nightmares about how hard I sobbed when it happened. He is upset about me, not about the baby. I think you need to lean on your friends and family. Find wome who have been through this.

    This guy will not be your rock and he won’t understand. Find a guy who gives you all the love you would ever want and will do so willingly.

    1. Some fathers do suffer a lot after a miscarriage. Some women don’t suffer much at all. It depends.

    2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      I’m sorry you went through that. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. We’re rooting for you here!

  21. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    How does one fall pregnant?

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I wasn’t aware pregnancy was something you could catch. BIRTH CONTROL.

    2. When one trips and falls onto a penis without a condom.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        See that’s what I was thinking…

      2. Avatar photo landygirl says:



    3. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Pretty sure it’s a cultural phrase.

  22. LW, there is so much wrong here.

    Of course he “doesn’t know” what he wants. He hasn’t FOUND IT yet. You are a piece of tail on the side while he continues to play the field and figure out what he’s looking for and find it. It will never be you. Why? Because you don’t even have enough self-esteem to realize that for the last year, your feelings have grown for him and you’re willing to put up with his shit without a real committed relationship (on his end) in order for him to “see the light”. The only light at the end of the tunnel will be when you regain your dignity and stop laying down under him.

    I am sorry for your loss. I’ve miscarried, and I know that it can be heart-breaking, even when you didn’t want a child, or when you didn’t really care for the father. You, unfortunately, have the added fillip of the father being someone you really want to commit to you. Don’t tell him. It is suspect if you do. A “trap”, if you will.
    Women don’t just “fall” pregnant. I can’t stand that phrase. We don’t just trip/slip and fall on a pecker and when we pick ourself up off the pecker in question, forget to brush off that all-important spot while dusting ourselves off and magically become pregnant. No, it’s a deliberate sex act with consequences.

    You work with this guy, which can make it harder. However, stop hanging out with him after work unless it’s clear that you won’t have sex with him anymore. No more flirting at the office. Be professional dammit, you’re representing ALL women (we all do).
    Look for another guy when you’re ready, but this guy isn’t it.

  23. Avatar photo findingtheearth says:

    I think romantic comedies have truly killed common sense. Why on earth would you think this guy was into you beyond a booty call? If you haven’t even been on a date, then why would you think he would care about a miscarriage. I am sorry you had a miscarriage, it is unfortunate. But in reality, this does not seem like a scenario where he will suddenly become valiant and love you forever. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    1. “I think romantic comedies have truly killed common sense.”

      Yeah, I’m afraid that the LW is hoping that this is the scene where her beloved finally realizes he loves her and and can’t live without her and goes chasing after her at the train station or airport.

  24. You Go Girl says:

    I really like Wendy’s comment that “I don’t know what I want” is code for “I just want to continue having sex”. My former long distance boyfriend said exactly the same thing to me when I told him I wanted us to have a future together. At first, I was confused because I thought he really meant that he needed time to decide. Then I realized that as a Navy Reserve officer, he was trained to be decisive and “I don’t know what I want” really means “I don’t want a future with you”. So soon afterwards I broke up with him.

    I am very sorry that the LW had a miscarriage. I hope she finds people who can support her during this difficult time, and that she finds the strength to MOA from this creep. She deserves a man who wants a real relationship with her.

  25. The whole “this is not love; this is convenience” rings especially true. I’ve been in that position before when I tried to make all the little things add up into a relationship or at least the possibility of a relationship. But after so much time has passed, you have to accept that if he wanted to date you, he would.

  26. Really needed this today. Thanks everyone

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