He also seems to be controlling and jealous. He does have some good qualities, like he wants to one day coach his son’s baseball team and he can be sweet and gentlemanly (opening doors, playing soft music, lighting candles, etc).
I’m so lost. I don’t have any children yet and part of me wonders if this is my only chance at 31 years old. But I do know I want to parent right. I don’t want to be miserable and I certainly don’t want my children to be miserable.
Oh, and he also would get angry if I didn’t want to have sex with him. He later told me, when we broke up, that he always wanted to have sex with me because “he wanted me to get pregnant.”
I just bought a house with my sister. My ex lives about an hour drive away and I have no doubt he would try to make me move in with him and marry.
Thank you so much for any advice. — Pregnant By Ex at 31
Run as fast as you can from this misogynist and don’t ever, ever give him any reason to be part of your life. I mean, do what you want in terms of your pregnancy, but know this: at 31, you still have time to have a baby (on average, a woman’s fertility gradually drops through her 30s but doesn’t drop significantly until after 40, according to recent studies). Having a baby on your own is fucking HARD (it’s hard even with a loving partner). A baby does not make a horrible, awful relationship magically better. If anything, it makes it worse. There would be no “happily ever after” with a man you fought with nonstop for the three short months you were together and who threatened to “beat your ass.” I don’t care how many fucking candles he lit or soft music he played or doors he opened, the guys is a major, major fuckhead. Please, please do not have a baby simply because you think this is your only chance when you still have years of fertility ahead of you. And please don’t mistake a baby for a band-aid on a relationship whose wounds are beyond healing.
I have always known that my boyfriend and his mother are very close, but this is now becoming a problem as we both work weekdays and I feel we have very little quality time together. I have talked to him about this and asked him to start making bi-weekly trips rather than every week, but he tells me I’m being ridiculous and that he misses his mom. Even if I ask him to only go for one night instead of the whole weekend, he has an issue with that. I tell him that we need time together too because I miss him, and he insists that the time we spend together after work — when he’s not playing sports or I’m not working late — should be enough. I have asked him if he wants to end our relationship, and he says that’s not it. I really don’t know what to do. Am I being ridiculous for wanting to spend weekends together? — Monday to Thursday Girlfriend
No, but you’re ridiculous for staying with a boyfriend who clearly doesn’t.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
SasLinna September 18, 2014, 8:15 am
LW1: My mother has always told me to think VERY carefully about who to have a child with. Because doing so establishes a lifelong connection that you can’t just move on from. Her advice only really sunk in when I got out of a bad relationship and realized how thoroughly f**ked I would have been if I had had a child with my ex. It is MUCH easier to wait a few years to have kids than to have your ex’s baby. In all likelihood, this is not your last chance, and even if it were, there would be a good argument that keeping your ex out of your life should trump your desire to be a mother. Just run far from this dude.
Laura Hope September 18, 2014, 8:55 am
LW1– Did you really not know the answer to your question? Really? Did you read your own letter?
Raccoon eyes September 18, 2014, 8:56 am
“I don’t care how many fucking candles he lit or soft music he played or doors he opened, the guys is a major, major fuckhead. ” UMMMMM, yes. LW, please, please, PLEASE run far far far away from this man and any thoughts you have of reuniting and having a life full of rainbows and unicorns farting puppies. Not happening.
LW2: This is a problem. If Im doing my math correctly, he is at least 21 years old. And still needs to spend his weekends with his mommy. If you are not ok with that, it is time to MOA…like, yesterday.
zombeyonce September 18, 2014, 2:05 pm
Is he really spending weekends with his mommy? Maybe I’m just cynical, but my first thought was that he’s still seeing the person he was probably seeing when they were in an LDR. After all, he couldn’t make much time for his girlfriend then, but now he’s making time weekly for his “mother”? That reeks of bullshit. I’ll bet good money this dude has another girlfriend.
ktfran September 18, 2014, 9:19 am
Dude. Good thing I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I read this… “I’m 31 years old and just found out I’m six weeks pregnant by my ex-boyfriend whom I was with only three months. I go back and forth between telling him I’m pregnant and getting back together and living “happily ever after”–and terminating the pregnancy.” I would have spit it out all over my key board.
I don’t even need to ready the rest of LW1’s letter. No, LW, you will not live happily ever after. The end.
Keep the baby and raise it on your own, if that’s what you want. Or give it up for adoption. Or abort it. Just don’t tell this man in hopes you’ll have a happy family.
ktfran September 18, 2014, 9:30 am
*read, not ready.
scattol September 18, 2014, 9:20 am
LW2: …hmmm…. that guy has 2nd girlfriend back home?
ktfran September 18, 2014, 9:22 am
LW2, I would cut my losses and run. You told your boyfriend how you feel. He doesn’t want to change (and this would be a good change, you’re not controlling him, you want more time with him). If that’s not acceptable to you, and it’s not, then it’s time to MOA.
Amanda September 18, 2014, 9:23 am
LW 1, how would you feel if this man told your child that he’d beat their ass? Happy? (God, I hope not.) This is not a good man to start a family with. Figure out what you want to do, but whatever you do – do not get back together with him!
LW 2, MOA. This relationship is going nowhere.
Also, I didn’t know lighting candles was considered a positive quality. If that’s the case, I’m a fucking saint.
jlyfsh September 18, 2014, 9:49 am
I know right? I light so many candles I’m a saint a few times over!
MsMisery September 18, 2014, 12:59 pm
I know the people at my local Yankee Candle think I am a saint, or at the very least their store’s mascot.
Sunshine Brite September 18, 2014, 9:33 am
Wow LW1, you got sucked into that abusive relationship quickly. He couldn’t even hide how evil he was for less than 3 months. That’s what those romantic gestures were, attempts at hiding not love. Cut your losses and run. Stay far, far away from him.
If you’re already considering terminating the pregnancy, do so and don’t tell him. He will make your life miserable forever and likely the life of that child’s as well. Move on and work on yourself to avoid a repeat of this type of relationship.
LW2, He’s clearly not going to be breaking this pattern any time soon. He sounds like a stereotypical mama’s boy.
Sunshine Brite September 18, 2014, 10:14 am
Also, him admitting he wanted to get you pregnant and you being pregnant right now is no mistake. It’s another form of control.
MissDre September 18, 2014, 10:40 am
Sunshine Brite September 18, 2014, 1:04 pm
Agreed, it’s a scary concept that usually turns into another way to keep someone in a domestic violence based relationship. I think some people are just that controlling. Usually it takes longer than 3 months to take it that far.
Pearl Girl September 18, 2014, 9:23 pm
That was exactly what I thought when I read this. This guy showed you his true colors very quickly – please, for your own safety and sanity, do not have any further contact with this man. He will only make your life miserable.
jottino September 18, 2014, 9:47 am
I have nothing to add, really. I just wanted to say that these are my two most favorite Wendy responses ever. I fist-pumped when I read them.
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 9:56 am
LW1, if you do decide to keep the baby, you have to tell your ex. The baby has a right to know his father and for the two of them to have a relationship (if the father is willing). .. I’ve seen a lot of women try to cut off the fathers, thinking because they are graciously foregoing child support, the fathers should have no rights. It’s not right, I say. (Not that this was a course of action she mentioned in her letter, but I always worry about this scenario.)
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 11:47 am
Hey I have a question about custody/support for you family lawyers and non-lawyers who may know: well, you know how you can give up a child for adoption and you are no longer responsible for that child? Well, can a father give up the child (not for adoption b/c the mother has custody) and then become no longer responsible (i.e., not responsible for child support)? It would seem that if a mother can give up a child for adoption the father can too but then you hear about all these dead beat dads that don’t have custody or even visitation rights but that are responsible for child support and it would seem those guys who don’t want to be a father could then give up rights to avoid paying support…. how does this work?
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 11:49 am
^ sorry, i was thinking about that this morning and wanted to ask but this isn’t completely relevant to the letter…. anyhoo, Guy Friday? How does this work?
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:01 pm
My father gave up his paternity rights. But in that case he gave them up to my now father stepped in and I guess both sides signed something saying forget child support. I’m not sure if you can just give them up and be like nope don’t want to be a parent – my guess is that the other parent has to agree and not need the child support – like it can’t just be unilateral and maybe there needs to be evidence that its Ina child’s best interest? Not sure if there needs to be a replacement parent to step in though.
I’m just going by my own experience – our biological dad was a cruel messed up man who refused to see us regularly or pay child support for his 4 kids! He also had forged my moms signature as a guarantor on his business loans and then he stole money from the business – he was a dentist so not exactly in desperate need of cash- and then ran off. But he came back to sign the ‘get the fuck out of our lives’ papers and I think then thr courts absolved him of child support. I just remember we all had to see child psychologists and all this crap and I’m assuming it was to evaluate this. I was 10 when he was gone for good but up until my teens I never realized what a dick he was i just thought we weren’t good enough.
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 12:04 pm
Oh man – I’m really sorry you had to go through that.
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:16 pm
aww thanks – it’s ok. It will always be a part of me but with my dad now it somehow feels like he’s been my dad forever – we call him dad and he truly is my dad. The other is just a sperm donor that stuck around a little too long. The crazy part is his crazy girlfriend and him got married (I have excellent internet snooping skills) and it looks like they adopted a child and named her the same name as me but with one letter different. I’m not joking. His whole family is fucked up – even his parents were assholes and didn’t care if they saw their grandkids anymore. His dad told my mom to put an ad out in the paper to get a new husband and leave his son alone. He also called my autistic brother a “retard”.
lets_be_honest September 18, 2014, 12:17 pm
Unfortunately not in NY, even if both parents agree and waive child support.
lets_be_honest September 18, 2014, 12:20 pm
That is, unless a stepparent adopts the child which would have to be ok’d by both bio parents. Whether or not a parent has custody or not makes no difference either.
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:25 pm
That’s what I thought – I thought there had to be some sort of,we don’t need your support + the child gets a second parent who will step in. It’s weird because technically a single parent can adopt a child that’s up for adoption. But I guess the idea is they don’t just want some shady parents just dumping their children on the other parent.
lets_be_honest September 18, 2014, 12:31 pm
I think its so the child doesn’t become a ward of the state…meaning the state would have to pay for medicaid, etc if the one parent cant afford it. I get that more money is better in the eyes of the state, but even when no child support is ever given, they still don’t allow it, regardless is the parent with custody proves they can afford this child alone. Its kinda fucked up they force it the way they do.
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:35 pm
Yeah – it would be interesting to see how it varies. I’m not sure how it is in Canada. Family law always interested me but I think given my history it would be a terrible field for me to be in – I would just be so emotionally involved in everything.
Also the math on Wendy’s site is getting hard. It asked me 9+8. That has always been my weakness. Also 9+7.
jlyfsh September 18, 2014, 11:49 am
Hmm it would be interesting to hear from a lawyer. I know my father had his rights taken away and he still had to pay child support. I’m sure that’s an entirely different can of worms though!
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 12:01 pm
It would seem to me if people can voluntarily give up a child for adoption then a deadbeat father an voluntarily give up the child to avoid child support but me thinks there are ways to prevent that? but if you are able to give up a child for adoption for no reason or for reasons including you don’t want kids or you’re not financial able to support them it would seem the father should be able to do the same. … But I don’t know. I don’t practice anything that remotely touches family law. And I think I skipped that class a lot.
stickelet September 18, 2014, 12:23 pm
Usually parents can give up their rights, which includes paying child support, only if the other, custodial, parent agrees. Or, if the parent is in jail, they have no parental rights. So, for example, a father may sign his rights away if the mother agrees, and then the mother would receive no child support from the father. Fathers (or mothers) can’t give up their rights without the other parent’s consent. At least, this is how it works in my area.
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 12:26 pm
Ah so if the mother wants to give up a child for adoption but the father does not, then the father can have custody and the mother must pay child support? Like, essentially, the other parent can nix the other’s attempt to walk out of the child’s life?
Portia September 18, 2014, 1:19 pm
There was an interesting legal case that involved something like this, except slightly different (father first gave up his parental rights, then wanted to take it back after hearing the baby was given up for adoption) and involved the Indian Child Welfare Act that went before the Supreme Court. I listened to a Radiolab podcast on it and found it fascinating. The case is Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl and the podcast episode (aired last year) is here: http://www.radiolab.org/story/295210-adoptive-couple-v-baby-girl/
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 2:43 pm
Oh i’ll check it out!
ktfran September 18, 2014, 12:30 pm
I don’t know what the deal is, legally…
But I’ve thought about this. If I accidentally got pregnant by someone I had no intention of ever having a relationship with and I wanted to keep the baby, I would let him know I was having a baby but I wouldn’t expect anything from him. This might be backwards thinking, but I kind of feel like it’s my body, my choice as to whether or not to have a child and I shouldn’t hold someone else responsible just because I wanted to keep it.
NOW, if I was in a relationship. we both accidentally got pregnant and we both decided we wanted this baby and we broke up, I would 100% hold him to child support – whether that’s financial only, or financial and being a dad. I would leave that up to him.
I know this doesn’t answer your question, at all. But I’ve had one night stands. I’ve also been in committed and casual relationships. I use protection. But accidents do happen. So, I’ve thought about different scenarios if I were to ever have an unplanned pregnancy.
RedroverRedrover September 18, 2014, 3:32 pm
The father can’t “give up” the child without the mother’s consent. Essentially the rule is if one of the parents is supporting the kid, both parents should be supporting the kid. If paternity is established, the only way for the father to get out of support is if he agrees to let another person support it (a stepfather or adoption), or in some states the parents can agree that he can give up support.
Personally, I think that the paternity rules are messed up. I saw a TV show where two unmarried teens had a baby. The baby’s mother died in childbirth and her parents took the baby. The father had to kidnap his own baby in order to keep it. Why did the grandparents have more rights over that baby than the natural father? Is that really how it is in the US? In Canada the father can claim paternity, and then either the mother agrees and he becomes the father, OR a DNA test is required and then he becomes the father if the test shows he is. A grandparent would never, ever have more rights to the child than a father, unless the father was deemed unfit as a guardian or something. Or was that just for TV and that’s not how things really work?
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 6:18 pm
Well, first, generally, I believe, custody is a state by state thing. Second, I don’t think that’s right. Unless the father is deemed unfit, he should get custody over grandparents. … But I don’t really know the law in this area. I have some but not a lot of family law experience. (I say I have “some” because I worked on a pro bono case involving a same-sex couple that had broken up but had kids together and there were custody issues. It was actually a pretty fascinating case and was in a state that did not at the time have any laws in place to protect same sex couples. So the custody issues was interesting because all the custody laws assume a wife/husband or biological parents.
RedroverRedrover September 18, 2014, 3:15 pm
No, one parent can’t just say “I’m out” and not support their kid. In some states they can if the other parent agrees. Personally I don’t think that should be allowed either.
Here’s the thing. Child support is for the child. One of the main goals is to ensure that the child is looked after so that the government doesn’t have to support the child. Because if the government is giving support (through social programs), and one of the parents is not, how is that fair to the rest of society? Now they’re paying (through their taxes) because one of the parents didn’t want the responsibility?
Not to mention that future success is highly correlated with parents’ incomes. If a child only has access to half of their parents’ incomes, they won’t do as well as they could have. And then they have a higher risk of needing govt help in the future, again putting the burden on everyone else instead of on the unsupporting parent.
Basically someone has to pay for the kids. The government wants it to be the parents as opposed to the rest of the taxpayers. I agree with that stance. If the parents can find someone else who will support the kids instead (adoptive parents, step-parent), then that’s fine and the burden can be handed over. Otherwise the parents should be responsible.
Addie Pray September 18, 2014, 9:54 pm
Ok but then how do you reconcile that with the right afforded to parents to give up the child for adoption? It would seem only fair that if the mom is able to say “you know what, I can’t care for this child, I want to give him up” – and that’s ok and the mom is now off the hook – that the dad should be able to do that too. I’m trying to find the fine line, if any, between the two concepts that justifies allowing one but not the other. If that makes sense. I don’t think I’m making sense.
RedroverRedrover October 3, 2014, 2:27 pm
This is late, but the idea is that if they both agree, they can do it. So, they decide to give the kid up for adoption, that’s fine. They decide that a step-parent will adopt the kid so one of the bio parents is off the hook, that’s fine. But one parent can’t just decide that they’re done and leave all the support to the other. Not legally, anyway.
That’s how it should be, but I believe adoption is a grey area. In theory it should be required for both parents to agree. In practice I don’t think that’s the case unless they’re married. I think a single mother can just give the child up without the father even knowing about it. Maybe if the father is on the birth certificate he has a say, I’m not sure. But if he’s not on the birth certificate then he doesn’t really get a say at all. I always tell men’s rights activists that this is the kind of thing they should be fighting for, but funnily enough, they never seem interested in fighting for MORE responsibility.
artsygirl September 18, 2014, 9:59 am
LW1 – The first three months of a relationship are still part of the honeymoon period. Your partner is on his or her best behavior and life is unicorn farts because everything is still bright and shiny and new. If in the first three months you are having screaming fights and already broke up chances are you are not meant to be together. Having children adds tons of stresses to a relationship and even the most stable ones can sometimes flounder under the sleep deprived, financially and emotionally draining rule of a mini tyrant that is a child. That being said, you need to sit down and figure out ultimately what you want and need. If you decide to go through with the pregnancy you will need to work out your financial situation. Start saving money and working on plans for maternity leave, possible adoption, or daycare. There are services in your local community for women which will help you plan so look into them. Also, figure out how you will go it alone because even if the father wants to help, it sounds like your relationship is toxic and he is likely to disappear at some point. Best of luck!
coconot September 18, 2014, 10:25 am
Loving the tough love by Wendy today 🙂 I have to admit I chortled at my desk when I read “the guys is a major, major fuckhead”
coconot September 18, 2014, 10:34 am
LW2: I think your boyfriend got very used to limited time together over the long-distance years, while you were counting down the days to more time together. For some reason (being an academic, knowing lots of immigrant grad students?) I have many friends and acquaintances who have been long distance from their spouse/significant other for years. It’s interesting to see how after years apart, some assimilate well to spending daily life together, and some do not. In the ones that do not assimilate well, it is usually either because 1) they didn’t know each other as well as they thought before they started their long distance relationship, or 2) there is a mismatch in expectation between the partners in how daily life should operate. It appears that’s you guys are experiencing case 2), and maybe a bit of case 1). Unfortunately, I suspect neither of you is going to be satisfied in the long run if you stay together. Best case scenario, you are going to be constantly begging for your bf’s time and attention and spending every weekend with your in-laws. Do you want that? I would discuss this with your bf before moving-on-already, but be very wary if his “solution” is a marriage proposal…
Kate B.oi September 18, 2014, 10:40 am
LW 1: Why on earth would you want to be with a man who threatened to “beat your ass”? This should be an absolute, no-brainer, deal-breaker. And saying he wanted to have sex with you because he wanted you to get pregnant? He wanted you to get pregnant so it would be harder for you to leave. I can’t tell you what to do about this pregnancy, but know that this child will always be leverage for him to use against you. That is what abusers do, and this guy has all the classic signs. Run. Run now.
Diablo September 18, 2014, 10:41 am
How do people talk themselves into thinking that they even need to ask these questions? Respect yourselves first. When people threaten to hit you, that’s a bad thing, even if it seems to work in certain NFL marriages. When people have no interest in spending time with you, they are not your friends. Aim a lot higher. Wendy should have a donation option where one of us could fork over to buy certain LWs an Aim Higher mug, because we don’t think Wendy’s good advice is going to stick without some ongoing positive reinforcement.
findingtheearth September 18, 2014, 11:08 am
Being a single mom is tough. I cannot even fathom co-parenting with someone that does not respect me. This is not just about you, if you bring a life into this world, you have to deal with ALL of the consequences. People do not magically change overnight, they have to want to change, make the effort, and it takes consistent work. Which it sounds like he’s not going to do.
Elisse September 18, 2014, 11:14 am
If 31 is the end of fertility then I have just over 2 months to find myself a baby daddy. UH OH.
Oh wait…my mom had my sister at 37 and my grandmother had my uncle at 43. Never mind!
LW1, you have so much time. Your fertility isn’t anywhere close to ebbing and you have way more to be concerned with than that.
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:29 pm
I agree. While fertility decreases you will have other opportunities to have a child likely. But if you want to keep this child I would arrange a meeting with a family lawyer. Please don’t bring a child into a messed up relationship – if you have the strength and resolve to decide on what to do with this baby then you have the strength and resolve to stand up to your ex. Don’t go back to him just because you think a two parent home is better. It’s not if the parents are always fighting – besides if you eventually divorce that will be traumatic and costlier as well. you couldn’t even make it to six months with this dude – what makes you think that you can all of a sudden make it for like 50 years?
MsMisery September 18, 2014, 1:02 pm
Especially if she was only with this guy for 3 months and she’s already pregnant. It didn’t take her long, “even at 31,” so she has nothing to worry about in terms of future fertility.
mylaray September 18, 2014, 12:04 pm
LW1: you don’t sound responsible or mature enough to be a parent yet. Even thinking there is a chance for a happily ever after with this man is more than just wishful thinking. It’s desperate. You don’t want to be desperate. A baby is not a band aid, not is it a consolation prize. MOA from this man, like now. Also, use birth control until you are actually ready to have a child.
Muffy September 18, 2014, 12:20 pm
LW1: If you keep your child you will be tied to this man for life. You need to set up boundaries for that. He can’t “force” you to marry him. Just because he argues and yells and tells you YOU HAVE TO MARRY ME does not mean you in fact do. You can still say no. You can arrange with lawyers to have a co-parenting contract if he wishes to be in your child’s life. You can also give the child up for adoption or abortion. But if you want to keep it while you will have this man in your life forever (unless you decide to not tell him at all – but that’s a moral debate I’m not up to giving advice on – I see the merit in both sides of the argument).
LW2: There’s something else going on as to why you can’t come to his parents’ house as well. Look into other living arrangements.
Bittergaymark September 18, 2014, 1:02 pm
LW1) Terminate the pregnancy. Immediately. He’s clearly an douchebag and your writing this letter suggests you are (at best) a 10 watt bulb. The world has enough unwanted idiots already. Trust me.
LW2) You are ridiculous for even having to write this fucking letter.
Lucy September 18, 2014, 2:49 pm
Ha, I knew your comment would be good.
bittergaymark September 18, 2014, 9:11 pm
When the PRO column on a potential mate consists of dreck such as occasionally lights candles — it’s time to seriously fucking re-examine your life.
Vathena September 18, 2014, 1:13 pm
Wow, LW1. Yikes. End the pregnancy. This guy is a shitbag and you’ll have him in your life for the rest of your life if you keep this baby. He’s an abuser. A person who threatens to beat you is eventually going to make good on the threat. He would almost certainly beat your child. He would make your lives miserable, whether you’re a couple or not. Someone who wants to control you by getting you pregnant would absolutely use your child as a pawn against you. Terminate the pregnancy NOW, and don’t ever contact this guy again. It is far better to live your life without children than to be yoked to a loser like this forever. There are LOTS of guys out there who light candles who will not threaten to beat your ass. (I think you know all of this, which is why you had the good sense to end the relationship after three months. Don’t go back. Also, BIRTH CONTROL!!!!)
Sue Jones September 18, 2014, 1:29 pm
Terminate the pregnancy, and move on with your life without any further contact with the ex. You will have your whole life ahead of you free and clear from this douche. With a termination you have a little pain, perhaps even a little guilt, but it is nothing compared to 18 years of having to deal with your ex, even if you aren’t together, because there will be child support issues, co-parenting issues, and the possibility that your child would inherit his personality traits (nobody really thinks about that…). So to me the decision is clear, but I can appreciate that in your hormonal state, more muddy.
Lucy September 18, 2014, 2:53 pm
LW1: If you have this baby, you will be tied to this abusive, controlling asshole for AT LEAST the next 20 years. Nope nope nope. Just don’t do it.
LW2: It sounds like your bf wasn’t really ready to live with you. He was OK with the independence and the minimal day to day time commitment required of an LDR, but living together is a whole different game, and it sounds like he doesn’t want to (or know how to) play.
Simonthegrey September 23, 2014, 3:56 pm
Not only that, but she will be tying this poor CHILD to this man for the next 20 years if she carries it to term. He’s established that he’s willing to threaten her with physical violence…what might he do to a baby?